Can Macrium Reflect be configured to work like Ax64 does?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by paulescobar, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. paulescobar

    paulescobar Registered Member

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    So I've kind of had it with Ax64 Time Machine 1.4.1.48. Been my go-to. But for no legit reason I can fathom, it just screwed me over royally tonight. Can't trust it anymore.

    I see on this forum that Macrium Reflect 6 could be an alternative.

    I did some searching & watched some videos. It looks like a complicated program. Can it be configured to be the simple program Ax64 was?

    For example...
    1) I want incremental backups, kind of like Ax64. One full backup, and then incrementals are added to chain whenever I please.
    2) I prefer manually initiating a backup. I don't want to have to deal with schedules or planning or anything in that vein.
    3) I want to initiate a backup using a simple one-click type solution. I don't want to have to go through a 10 step wizard everytime I have to create a little increment.

    I'm smart enough to know that Macrium can do #1. But from what I've seen in the videos, I'm really not sure the program can be configured to do #2 & #3.

    What say you? Please educate me.
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    You can do a one time setup of a def file and short cut.

    Setting to incrementals, all you need to do is double click on a short cut and it is off and running. If you delete the chain or move it from it's folder, then you will automatically get a full image. Just can't get simpler
     
  3. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Wow... Pete's up early :cool:

    Yea, what he said. ...and, if you like to COMMENT those snapshots, the same may be done as above which provides you with (1) small window to both comment and select which type of snapshot to perform (FULL, DIFFERENTIAL or INCREMENTAL <snapshot>).

    The drawback most people find is the expense of REFLECT... it's a bit pricey. BUT... as Pete and I (and many others have found), it's rock solid and provides for quick restores to recent time points using it RAPID DATA RESTORE feature.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  4. paulescobar

    paulescobar Registered Member

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    Sorry guys...what's a def file? Would I have to script this myself? Or can it be created via the GUI?
     
  5. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    It's created via the GUI and based on your requirements, should be pretty simple (we can walk you through this in the Macroum thread when the time comes).

    A "def" file is a backup DEFINITION XML file produced by Reflect. It contains SOURCE and TARGET information for both your images and your definition files, file naming, and scheduling if you wish to use it. It's a set'n'forget thing that's referenced whenever you want to do any kind of operation with the same volumes involved.
     
  6. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Paul, be aware... there's no MANUAL MERGING available with Reflect. You can play some games with the DEF file to cause automatic merging of early snapshots but that's about it... this can be made set'n'forget as well.

    ...and, there's no HOT restore as in AXTM v1.4.1.48, only a WARM restore (snapshot or FULL under a WinPE).
     
  7. paulescobar

    paulescobar Registered Member

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    Beautiful. I like that it's via GUI.
    And I'll admit, the fact you guys would walk me through it if help needed is a total relief.
    Will purchase Macrium today!
     
  8. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    The file that it produces for its own use is a somewhat cryptic XML directive file, but you don't have to deal with it in any way... you just need to make sure it gets saved for future use by Reflect (option offered during DEFINITION creation).

    When you're ready, lemme know and I'll make a li'l configuration startup procedure for you to reference.
     
  9. paulescobar

    paulescobar Registered Member

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    Sorry, I'm a little confused because of unfamiliarity with the slang.

    What exactly does "manual merging" refer to, in terms of user action?
    I imagine it relates to something like user manually deleting a certain increment in the timeline.
    If so, I suppose I could live with being unable to delete certain points...because the increments I create have always been meaningful. I don't think I've ever deleted one, even in Ax64.

    Does "hot restore" refer to restoring within Windows itself? If so, I could live with this as well because I always found Ax64 restoration via boot item was faster and never prone to hanging.
     
  10. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Yes, MANUAL merging in AXTM is the DELETE function used for interim snapshots. That delete always did a merge of relevant information into the following snapshot before the actual deletion.

    Your "meaningful" snapshots... have they tended to be old in age (like last month or many months ago)?

    Yes, HOT restore is under LIVE Windows, WARM restore is done under a loaded WinPE which when invoked under LIVE Windows is an automatic function (if you have the BOOT option installed... likek LOCAL BOOT in AXTM).
     
  11. paulescobar

    paulescobar Registered Member

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    Yes, they tend to be old. Usually they are taken right after a new software is installed. Is this an issue in Macrium?
     
  12. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Nope... was just wondering if an automatic cleanup could be performed for you.
     
  13. paulescobar

    paulescobar Registered Member

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    @TheRollbackFrog,

    I just installed Macrium Home.
    I was hoping you would help me configure it to function a little like Ax64.


    If you recall, I would like to avoid any automation or calendar-based backups.
    I would like to manually create incremental backups.
    For example, I tend to initiate a manual increment backup after every new piece of software is installed.


    Right now...
    I am attempting to create my first "Full" backup.
    In the "Edit the Plan for this Backup" screen, I have cleared & unchecked all the settings.
    It looks to me like this will perform something equivalent to a manual "Full" backup (without any post-backup automated or scheduled task).


    But in the future...
    I am confused about how to add an increment backup to the chain.
    On the "Edit the Plan for this Backup" screen, it looks like everything increment-related is accompanied by some form of scheduling.
    I simply wish to designate the backup as an increment and proceed.
     
  14. manolito

    manolito Registered Member

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    My backup philosophy is pretty similar to yours, and it took me a while to find out how to make manual incrementals.
    You need to select the restore tab instead of the backup tab. There your full backup will be listed. And after highlighting this full backup Macrium will offer the option to make an incremental.

    Cheers
    manolito
     
  15. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Paul, in that window and the ones that accompany it you are only DEFINING your backup spec... your SOURCE partition(s), your TARGET, the target's name, etc... this was done in the window you just came from. In the window you describe above, there should be NO scheduled items (you're not defining a schedule) and NO retention rules (you said youre managing your own). In the "Advanced Options" link at the bottom of that window, that's where you define your COMPRESSION type, etc. The only option in there you may wanna change is the ability to VERIFY the snapshots you take... that DEFAULT is usually OFF. The next window will give you a summary to review... look it over. There should be no schedules, no retention rules set (you said you wanted to manage your own). The next window is the operation window for the DEFINITION you are creating... it offers the ability to take the image and/or save the definition you're working with. Don't take the image just yet but pls SAVE the definition for future use. The SAVE dialogue will allow you to name the definition and place it anywhere you want. This will be the definition referenced by you for any MANUAL snapshot you wish to take.

    Get that far and I'll help you finish up.
     
  16. paulescobar

    paulescobar Registered Member

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    Thanks manolito.
    Restore section. Then in highlighted backup, press the "Other Actions" dropdown. Option "Create Incremental" will appear.

    However, I wish to pursue Mr. Frog's process. Maybe I will learn something new!

    I have done as instructed Mr. Frog.
    I unchecked "Run this backup now" (meaning my backup folder is empty - nothing taken yet).
    I checked "Save backup" and now have a definition file (XML) saved.
    After proceeding, it took me to the "Backup Definition Files" window of the program.
     
  17. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    OK, here we go! Now that you have a DEFINITION or SPEC for your backup, the next thing to do is create that 1-<click> (well almost one) function you want.

    We do this as follows... go to your main Backup TAB, then select your "Backup Definition Files" TAB in the right hand pane... you should see the definition you created. Select that definition (single <click>) . Once selected, <click> on the ICON to the left of the WRENCH in the toolbar above your definitions (it's called "Create a desktop shortcut of the selected file").

    A "Create Desktop Shortcut" window will appear. Use the DropDown and select "Prompt." PROMPT is the option that will allow you to select any kind of image and also COMMENT that image. If you don't wish to go though that process, select "Incremental." Before you move on, use the "Target" data field and give your ShortCut a name, then say "OK."

    A shortcut will appear on your desktop with the name you selected. If you chose "Prompt" in the creation of that shortcut, when you <double-click> it a window will open allowing you to select your image type and add a comment if you wish. Make those selections and say "Finish" and off it goes creating your snapshot. If you chose "Incremental" when you created it, off it goes (no dialogue for COMMENTs or image type).

    Macrium will do as you asked it, based on the directive specs you created in your definition. If you ask it for an INCREMENTAL, and a source FULL or DIFF cannnot be found to be a child of, it will create a FULL for you to start the chain... after that, only incremental if that's what your asking for.

    Lemme know how you make out. You can always place that shortcut on your START button, and if using W7, you can ask it to pin that to your TaskBar to give you a 1-click solution.
     
  18. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    As Mabolito has suggested, there are other ways to perform an as needed Incremental/Differential but doing it through the RESTORE window doesn't allow any COMMENTing of the operation being performed.
     
  19. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Another method giving you the flexibility you get with the above PROMPT option in a shortcut is available from the main UI by using the "Backup" TAB then the "Backup Definition Files" TAB... then istead of creating a shortcut, you can select the tool from the toolbar that says "Run the backup definition" (it's a li'l monitor with a RIGHT facing arrow under it)... it also offers the three backup types as well as the PROMPT option.
     
  20. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I am pretty sure posts at the beginning of this thread indicated it was simple to replicate AX64,,,,it does not at all appear to be so simple to me.
     
  21. paulescobar

    paulescobar Registered Member

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    Mr. Frog, amazing! This worked very well. I have created backup & increment using the shortcut. Works very easily!

    And I agree, your method is better than restore tab.
    Comment is absolutely crucial, or it's nearly impossible to identify key content of each increment.

    I hope they add manual deletion of any increment & merging. But I do like that they at least allow deletion of most recent increment.

    Later, I will go play with the restore functionality.
    After all the trouble I had recently, I'm very excited to see a proper restore on this laptop lol!

    Thank you so much for your help!
     
  22. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    That's the reason I asked about how long you need to keep those snapshots. It's pretty easy to create a window where Reflect will indeed merge forward the snaps you have, including the baseline if necessary... like a crawling 2-mo window or some such sort.
    You're quite welcome!
     
  23. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Paul, pls be sure you have unCHECKed all the Retention options in your definition otherwise you may start losing your snapshots due to what Macrium calls "Incremental Merging."

    You can always change your definition by selecting it in the Def window and use the "Edit Pencil" on the toolbar to make your changes.
     
  24. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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    It depends on how you want/need to use it I guess.

    A lot of folk don't do all the incremental or differential stuff.

    You can just use it to manually make full backups every couple of weeks. Just before you press go there is somewhere you can place a name for the full backup. If doing it today..just put April 22 for example.

    There's no rule which says you have do all the other things or feel that you're not a ''proper image user'' if you don't.

    Just having a backup is the important bit :thumb:
     
  25. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Yes, of course,,,,but the OP was about making MR work like AX64/FB,,,,,,,,this is not a simple thing to do,,,,,it can be done but its going to take some work.

    Perhaps one of the folks who has done this can share their def files with the rest of us. I would not mind replicating AX64 but am not interested in the hassle of setting up MR in order to do so.

    There really is nothing simpler, or as simple, to set up and use as AX64/TM. Now if it were only a bit more reliable.........That being said in the past 2 years I only had 1 restore fail (AX64 v1) and I would guess I do on average 2 or 3 restores a week,,,,,not a bad track record IMO. Still I do not begrudge buying and running Macrium Reflect, I like that extra layer of comfort (I would not in any case ever rely simply on one imaging program or 1 backup destination so this works nicely for me)
     
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