Exchange Server Recovery

How to Resolve “Incremental backups cannot be performed while circular logging is enabled” Error?

Table of Content

    Summary: You may encounter the “Incremental backups cannot be performed while circular logging is enabled” error, when running the backup in Exchange Server. In this post, we will see how to fix this error. We’ll also mention an Exchange repair software that can help in Exchange Server recovery if something goes wrong and backups are not available.

    Backup is an essential and crucial element in Exchange Server. It is important to have a backup to ensure the recovery of data, in case anything goes wrong with the server, such as hardware failure, malicious attack, or human error.

    Sometimes, errors occur while running the backup. One such error is “Incremental backups cannot be performed while circular logging is enabled.”

    Incremental backups cannot be performed while circular logging is enabled for <Exchange Storage Group>. Disable circular logging to perform incremental backups.

    This error is indicating that the issue is related to circular logging.

    Due to this, the backup will fail and you will not be able to have an incremental backup. As it is mentioned in the error, you need to disable the circular logging to perform the incremental backup.

    But before proceeding to the solution, let’s know about circular logging.

    What is Circular Logging?

    Circular Logging, which is by default disabled in Exchange Server 2010 and Exchange Server 2013, is an option designed to save storage on the server. This is done by limiting the transaction logs from filling up the server. The feature allows four transaction logs to be created. Once the four logs are filled, it goes back to the first log file and overwrites it. In today’s time where storage is not an issue, there is no need to enable circular logging. But you need to have the right backup solution that is compatible with your Exchange Server version. This will ensure that the logs are being committed to the database and purged accordingly after a successful backup.

    The transaction logs are saved on the Exchange Server to be used for restoring data. If circular logging is enabled, this would not be possible. You will only be able to restore to the last full backup, as the transaction log sequence will not be consistent.

    Resolving the “Incremental backups cannot be performed…” Error

    To resolve the problem, you need to disable the Circular Logging. You can disable this feature from the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) for Exchange Server 2013 and from the Exchange Management Console (EMC) for Exchange Server 2010. Let’s see how to disable Circular Logging for each version.

    Steps to Disable Circular Logging in Exchange Server 2013

    • Open the Exchange Admin Center.
    • In the left pane, click on Servers.
    • Click on Databases.
    Disable Circular Logging
    • Click on the database and then click on the edit button.
    • In the window that opens, click on the maintenance node.
    • Scroll down and untick the Enable circular logging option.
     Enable circular logging
    • Once you click the OK button, you will get a prompt asking you to dismount and mount the database in question, for the changes to take effect.
    Warning for dismount and mount the database
    • Select the database and click on the more option.
    • Click on Dismount.
    Click on Dismount
    • Select the database and click on the more option.
    • Click on Mount.
    Click on Mount

    Note: If you have more than one database, the above operation needs to be done on each database.

    After this operation, you should be able to run the backup and the VSS backup of the Exchange Server should happen with no issues or warning.

    Steps to Disable Circular Logging in Exchange Server 2010

    • Open the Exchange Management Console.
    • Expand the Organization Configuration and click on Mailbox in the console tree.
    • Click the Database Management tab and click on Properties below the storage group database.
    • Click the Maintenance tab and untick Enable Circular logging.
    • Click OK.

    Now, similar to the Exchange Server 2013, you need to dismount and mount the affected databases.

    Read more – How to Enable Circular Logging in Exchange Server 2010

    Free Download for Windows


    It is to be noted that a compatible and application aware backup software is critical for the backup to be recoverable. You need to also ensure that the hard drive is not filled to the brim with uncommitted transaction logs. In case the backup is not compatible or application aware, new transaction logs will be generated and will never get committed. This will cause issues with the Exchange Server, transaction logs, or databases.

    To quickly recover from such situations with no data loss, it is advised to use Exchange Database Recovery applications, such as Stellar Repair for Exchange. With this application, you can open multiple EDB files with no size limit and from any version of Exchange Server. You can granularly export to PST and other file formats. You can export directly to a live Exchange Server or Office 365 tenant, with features such as automatic mailbox matching, parallel exports, and priority exports.

    Was this article helpful?

    No NO

    About The Author

    Shelly Bhardwaj linkdin

    I am a Product Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 8 years. I write about the latest technology tips and provide custom solutions related to Exchange Server, Office 365, MS Outlook, and many other Email Clients & different flavors of OS Servers. Read More

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Image Captcha
    Refresh Image Captcha

    Enter Captcha Here :

    Related Posts


    Why Choose Stellar?

    • 0M+


    • 0+

      Years of Excellence

    • 0+

      R&D Engineers

    • 0+


    • 0+


    • 0+

      Awards Received