Backups bigger than originals -- newbie's (likely) stupid question:

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Amarone, Jul 25, 2009.

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  1. Amarone

    Amarone Registered Member

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    I've been running Acronis True Image Home 9 for about a month. (Upgraded from a rinky-dink shareware backup app.)

    The power of Acronis TIH is impressive as heck, but I'm a bit lost in the woods on a couple of things.

    First befuddlement: My backups are larger than my originals.

    I have several disks/partitions backed up onto external USB HDDs. Confused by the multiple files in the backup locations, I did a quick check to see how much disk space is being consumed by the backups. In ever case, the folder containing the backups is larger than the original disk (or partition). In most cases, the backup is just a few percent larger than the original, but in one case, it's more than 100% bigger.

    I'm sure I've done something ignorant in setting TIH up. Probably a simple thing, but after reading the tutorial document, poking around for an hour on the forum, and just generally trying to diagnose, I'm stumped.

    My backup needs are dead simple: just ongoing incremental backups of each disk (or partition). I don't need multiple dates/states backed up.

    I'm genuinely in the woods and would appreciate any help.

    Thanks, in advance.
     
  2. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    In order to eliminate any interference from something in Windows, make the bootable Rescue CD, boot with it and do a backup from its menu. If you haven't already made that CD, you should do so anyway as that is what you will have to use if you have to replace your hard drive and restore one of your Backup Images.

    What is the size of the used space on your hard drive? Does your data consist mainly of mp3, movie and picture files? And what is the build number of the version you are using?
     
  3. Amarone

    Amarone Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I have made a bootable CD from the media builder. That said, the advice to boot from there and make a backup from that menu, as a solution to my problem, is a recommendation I find surprising.

    I have scheduled backup tasks from the main TIH application, and I'm keen for them to work from there. So, I would much prefer to use the application, itself, to set up the backups from within a standard XP boot than to set things up via the bootable recovery disk.

    Am I missing something? (Well, I must be!)

    The files are of many and varied types. On some drives/partitions, it's mostly media files, but I've also got my standard (main) system partition set as a single backup task, and my standard (main) data partition set as a separate backup task.

    The sizes of the drives and partitions I've set as separate backup tasks varies quite a lot. The smallest is 50gig. The largest is 280.

    The build version of TIH I'm using is 9,709.

    All help or hand-holding is appreciated.

    --Amarone
     
  4. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Typical points that are mentioned when archive size is brought up:

    The compression ratio given by Acronis is only an estimate. What you get depends on the nature of the data in the partition. Since the pagefile and any hibernation file is not backed up it should shrink the C partition archive size. A typical C drive will give a compression of very roughly 70% for the Normal setting.

    If your data contains a lot of jpg, zip, rar, mpeg and other compressed files you will not get more compression, it might even get larger.

    When TI makes an regular image it must be able to understand the file structure on the HD. If the structure is incorrect it can upset the archive creation resulting in too large an archive. Run chkdsk X: /r on all your partitions. Replace the X with the drive letter of the partition being tested.

    If you make a sector-by-sector image, it will backup the entire partition, not just the in-use sectors.

    If the file data is moved as a result of running a defragger, TI will see this as a change even if the file data is not altered at all. This is often the cause of oversized incrementals.

    IMPORTANT:
    Do not dismiss the use of the TI CD. It is imperative that you test that it works on your PC. This is the environment that must be used to restore your active partition, typically C. It is Linux, not Windows, so even if Windows works the Linux stuff might not, usually due to poor drivers. The absolute best test method is to do a restore to a spare HD - spare HD in case it fails. If it fails you will only have unallocated space on the HD.

    The recommendation to use it by DwnNdrty is likely to remove any Windows issues from the archvie creation since the Linux CD will be dealing with a static HD. However, imaging within Windows is not usually an issue but sometimes there are problems.
     
  5. Amarone

    Amarone Registered Member

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    Thanks, again, for the reply. And, yes, I do appreciate the imperative to test the bootable restoration media.

    To my original problem, however, I'm still not sure I'm getting across how extreme the bloat I'm experiencing is.

    The backup of my C: drive/partition (standard system partition) is 200% the size of the data stored on that partition.

    The backup of one of my data drives is 250% of the size of the original data.

    What parameters should I explore that might be causing this kind of bloat in the backups?

    Thanks, in advance.
     
  6. Amarone

    Amarone Registered Member

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    Is Acronis support really this poor? (Was: Backups bigger than originals...)

    This is an appeal for help.

    A week ago, I posted a question that I presumed was basic and likely easy to resolve. Sadly, I still don't know how to address it.

    That's no fault of the two kind forum mavens who have given of their expertise and offered thoughtful suggestions, for which I'm grateful.

    But do Acronis tech support folks not follow these forums? Is there no way -- other than paying for premium support -- to get an answer from Acronis to a question as basic as mine?

    Whilst I'm impressed by the capability of True Image Home, I'm beginning to wonder whether purchasing it was a wise decision, if support is this hard to come by.

    Any suggestions for how to get answers/support if a week's worth of Forum activity doesn't point to a problem resolution?

    Thanks, in advance, for any input.
     
  7. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Re: Is Acronis support really this poor? (Was: Backups bigger than originals...)

    It sound like your issue may be related to consolidation of backups.
    It sounds like one of your issues may be related to consolidation of backups.

    Suggestions:

    1. In your initial post, you identify your problem as related to version 9. In post #3, you indicate your version as 2009, build 9709. Version 9 is still in use by many although it is several years old. Versions 9 and 2009 are not the same versions and may get you wrong responses. Suggest you download the most current build which is 9796 available from your registration page.

    2. An incremental backup records all changes from the preceding incremental. A differential backup records all changes from the last full backup. An incremental is dependent upon each prior incremental. If any of the preceding date incremental are bad, this would render the most current incremental non-restorable.

    A differential type backup is dependent only upon the original. Thus, any differential could be restored even if the prior differentials were missing--providing the original is available/usable.

    3. If the disk option backup is checked or multiple disks are checked, the original and subsequent backups will include data/changes on all partitions on the disks.

    3. Most of the regular forum contribute would discourage your dependence upon 31 days of backup which would depend upon the original plus each prior incremental based on your restore date choice. You may want to consider more frequent full disk backups. If you wish to retain the older backups, then move them to another folder and allow TI to start fresh with each new full backup.

    4. Acronis support usually responds to any post which is unresolved or where wrong responses are offered. Most likely, part of their response will be to install the newer build 9796 and if that does not solve your issue, then contact support via their Live Chat feature available from their support page.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
  8. Doug_B

    Doug_B Registered Member

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    This is just one recommendation that may help for trouble isolation purposes, not necessarily as a solution to your problem. Other recommendations, such as starting with a new full backup, can also help with trouble isolation. Looking for reproducibility of the problem is important, along with changing attributes / variables to see which one(s) may have an impact on the result.

    Don't discount user-related issues as a potential source of the problem. Grover mentions the potential of inadvertently checking off more to back up than what may have been intended, and subsequent incrementals will faithfully continue that mode. Image sizes as large as you're reporting (now with two partition backups, per post #5) could be due to the program backing up more than what was intended (whether via user entry or some weird quirk; can't rule out that the latter could happen). I cannot speak to consolidation as a potential cause. You could mount the image to see what was backed up. IIRC, there's been at least one post in the past where a previous backup image(s) had been included in a newer backup.

    Reporting back on the results of trying some of these actions may help folks figure out what the problem is or at least help rule out potential causes.

    Doug
     
  9. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Nicely put, Doug B .... narrowing down the cause is the key here.
     
  10. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello all,

    Thank you for using Acronis True Image

    Amarone,

    I can see two contradictory statements:

    and

    Could you please clarify the following? Do you compare the size of the backup file with the size of the source partition or do you compare it with the size of the used space on this partition?

    Thank you.

    --
    Oleg Lee
     
  11. Amarone

    Amarone Registered Member

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    Grover, Doug, DownNDirty, Oleg:

    Sincere thanks for all of your recommendations. Based on your advice, and the incremental understanding I'm garnering based on your posts, I'm going back to re-tune my settings and start fresh.

    I'm certainly not blaming the product. From the beginning, I've presumed that the problems likely stem from my having configured it incorrectly. It's the process of discovering the error and correcting it that I'm finding difficult.

    Once again, I appreciate your help. I'll re-post with results of my efforts to follow your advice.

    --h
     
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