Webmin and Virtualmin FTP Backup Deletion Fails


Anyone who's used Webmin or Virtualmin knows what wonderful tools they are for managing a Unix or Linux Apache web server. One issue that some have run into is that when scheduling backups to an FTP server, and in particular a Microsoft Windows FTP server, if you've configured Webmin/Virtualmin to delete backups older than a certain number of days those backups sometimes don't get deleted. Continue reading for the cause and the solution to this issue...

The reason those backups don't get deleted is because the way a Microsoft Windows FTP server writes the directory listing is different than the way Unix does and Webmin/Virtualmin expects it to be in the Unix style. Add to that the way Webmin/Virtualmin detects old backups is by looking at the backup name (that's why you must include the date in the backup name to enable old backup purging). The major difference is that the MS-DOS style directory listing always displays the creation date and time, but UNIX style dictates that if the file/directory was created in the current year, it will show month/day/time and that if the file/directory was created in a previous year it will display the month/day/year of creation. Microsoft gives a fairly clear explanation of this at support.microsoft.com/kb/256312.

 

To solve the issue, you will want to change the Directory Listing Style to UNIX style rather than MS-DOS style for your FTP server. To do that:

In Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.x & 6.x (Windows 2000, XP, & Server 2003)

  1. In IIS Manager, expand the FTP Sites folder, right-click the FTP site for which you want to change the directory listing style, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Home Directory tab.
  3. Under Directory listing style, select UNIX.
    • Note: The output style set at the individual FTP site level overrides the output style set at the global level.
  4. Click OK to save the change.

IIS 5.x & IIS 6.x

In Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.x (Windows 7 &Server 2008 [R2])

  1. In IIS Manager, select the FTP Site for which you want to change the directory listing style.
  2. Open the FTP Directory Browsing feature.
  3. Under Directory Listing Style, select UNIX.
    • Note: The output style set at the individual FTP site level overrides the output style set at the global level.
  4. Click Apply to save the change.

IIS 7.x

 

When testing, be aware that if you run your backup schedule task manually it doesn't delete old backups. To test, wait for the backup job to run from the schedule or adjust the schedule to have it run sooner. A good way to verify is by opening the backup log after the job has run and see if the "Deleting backups older than [x] days" message followed by a list of deleted backups appeared.Tag: webmin virtualmin microsoft internet information services ftp

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