Backup Location and file naming question

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by MKairys, Nov 8, 2007.

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  1. MKairys

    MKairys Registered Member

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    I am accustomed to managing my incremental backups myself using scripts; so for example I run an incremental image backup of my D:\User partition to C:\Backups\user_.tib, and thus I get user_.tib. user_2.tib, etc. Then when I reach a limit (e.g. 9) the script renames the files to include the date, and I get user071101_.tib, user071101_2.tib, etc., and the process starts over with a new full backup (since user_.tib isn't found).

    I like this scheme and I'd be happy to go on this way indefinitely, but TIH 11 offers the possibility of Search. Now, the one thing I can't easily do is answer the question "what versions of file x.y have I backed up?" I would be ever so delighted if TIH could tell me "you got one on 071101 and another on 071103", or even "there's one in user071101_2.tib and another in user071101_4.tib."

    Now I have no idea if the new Search feature can do that for me; but I see that to use it all I have to put my backups in a Backup Location. And it seems that if I do that I give up control of how the .tib files are named, and maybe even of how many incrementals I keep.

    Is there any way I can use the Search feature and still keep my naming-and-counting scheme? Or am I just behind the times, and I should give over to Backup Locations and let it manage things for me? (I've not usually been delighted by the results of giving control over to TI :))

    Any advice welcome...
     
  2. MKairys

    MKairys Registered Member

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    No advice so far, eh? :)

    I wrote the following questions to Acronis Support, and while waiting for them to reply I would like to ask the same questions of this forum, and welcome any suggestions or advice (Any at all :))

    I am interested in using the new "search" feature of TIH 11. I understand that it requires the images to be in a backup location. I am not now using backup locations for reasons I will explain.

    So I have two questions:

    (1) Can I use backup locations in a way that will be compatible with the system I use now?

    (2) can I use the search feature with images I have created previously, outside of a backup location?

    The system I use now to take full and incremental backups of my user partition uses scripts to manage the number of incrementals. Every day I take an incremental image backup of my D:\User partition to C:\Backups\user_.tib, and thus in C:\Backups I get user_.tib. user_2.tib, etc.

    Then when I reach a limit of 7 files (i.e. a week's worth) my script renames the files to include the date, and I get user071101_.tib, user071101_2.tib, etc. Then of course the process starts over with a new full backup. I then move the files user071101_.tib, etc. to an external hard drive.

    I understand that I can set up a backup location to keep a maximum number of backups, which I could set to 7. But when it reaches that number it will not just start over with a new full backup, it "consolidate" the seven files, a feature I don't need - I just want to move them sometime later to an external drive. And if I did let them be consolidated, and didn't move the consolidated file away, I understand that it would count as one of my 7 backups and my next "weekly" set would only contain 6 backups, is this correct?

    Furthermore once I move files, consolidated or not, out of the backup location to the external hard drive, I would not be able to search them, is this correct? Unless I made the folder on the external drive also a backup location (even though I never actually backed up to it)?

    And what about the files I already have? I typically keep the last 8 or 10 weeks of backups in case I need to recover an earlier version of a file. Is there some way I would be able to search these files? Perhaps if I renamed them to follow the backup location naming scheme and put them in a backup location?

    I hope I have explained my current system well enough that you can advise me on how I can use the new search feature with it.
     
  3. MKairys

    MKairys Registered Member

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    Well, it looks I can't get anyone to do my homework for me :) So I did some experimentation with backup locations, and the results were almost entirely positive:

    (1) Can I use backup locations in a way that will be compatible with the system I use now?

    Actually yes, if I don't care what the filenames look like. I created a backup location with no rules and a scheduled incremental task set to do a full backup every 6 incrementals. This seems to work as advertised, and gives me a weekly backup set. So actually I can retire my script approach.

    (2) Can I use the search feature with images I have created previously, outside of a backup location?

    Again, yes; in fact TIH doesn't seem to care what the file names are. I created a backup location pointing to the folder where my old full and incremental tib files reside, and the search function searched them just fine.

    And the search function appears to be doing just what I want it to: it finds and lists each version of a given file with the date it was backed up, and offers to open the containing backup.

    So all this is well and good so far; I spent some time today converting my system over to using backup locations and a TI secheduled task instead of my own script and a Windows scheduled task. We'll see how it goes.

    Now, I said almost entirely positive because I have two problems to report:

    (1) The search function gives no visual indication that it is searching, so you don't know when it is done (except that your CPU is no longer pinned). And searches of many tib files can take a long time, 10 minutes or more.

    (2) The Explore Backup Locations function doesn't correctly list by datetime. This one is almost funny. It lists by collating sequence rather than actual date, so for example 10/10/2007 comes before 10/2/2007, and 10/.../2007 and 11/.../2007 come before 9/.../2007. I've attached a screenshot.
     

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  4. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Download the Catsfan432 attached text file associated with this link. It can be a real help.

    Create and Configure Backup Locations Incremental.txt
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=172470#13

    The sequence quirk listing is a "feature" of Windows. It is not related to Acronis.

    To have a proper listing sequence, a zero must precede the first nine digits.
    01
    02
    03
    10
    etc

    Archives automatically created by [Backup locations] uses its own unique file naming system using dates & time. Explorer will list these unique names in the proper date.time sequence.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2007
  5. MKairys

    MKairys Registered Member

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    I disagree that it is not related to Acronis. The dates in the list are not directly related to the fiele names; Acronis is getting them from the file dates of the tib files or perhaps from within the tib files themselves. As an experiment I renamed all my tib files in that location to conform to the pattern Acronis would have generated, and I got the same listing.

    Of course I agree that the problem comes from sorting on a numeric field without leading digits; but I disagree that the problem is not Acronis', since they are responsible for formatting the list in the first place.
     
  6. MKairys

    MKairys Registered Member

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    Acronis Support has replied in a most timely manner to my support request with the following information about the Search function progress indication:

    The visual indication for the searching process is the special X -sign button for stopping this process. This button appears when the process starts and disappears when it is finished.

    I see the the UG also references this, on page 83:

    After the search has started, a new "cross" icon appears in the Search area. You can stop the search any moment by clicking this icon. The Search Results window will display the files found so far.

    As to the file listing issue, they say:

    This issue will be transferred to our development team and this discrepancy will be corrected.
     
  7. MKairys

    MKairys Registered Member

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    I realized that last is not quite true. When searching for a file in a backup location containing a full image and its associated incrementals, the search listing will find the file in all the incrementals even if it didn't actually change (and thus is not really "in" that incremental). The only way I've found to know if the file actually changed from one incremental to the next is to see if its size changed.
     
  8. MKairys

    MKairys Registered Member

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    I wrote this up for Support and they have replied: Please note that our Quality Assurance team was able to reproduce the issue and now our developers are working on it. Most probably the issue will be fixed in the next build of Acronis True Image 11 Home.
     
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