Differential/incremental backups

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Raza0007, May 13, 2009.

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  1. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    I have a small problem and hope someone here can help me solve it.

    I am unable to get my backup software to make a differential backup to an existing complete backup. Actually, I can get it to make a differential backup, but the size of the differential is the same as the size of the complete backup. I am using Paragon hard disk manager 2009 pro. I also tried the evaluation(full) version of Shadowprotect Desktop 3.3 with similar results. The size of the incremental backup was the same size as the complete back up.

    It happens when I schedule the backups to run automatically on both paragon and shadowprotect. First complete and rest differentials in case of paragon and first complete and rest incremental in case of shadowprotect.

    My question. Can there be some service/program running on my computer that is preventing these software from calculating changed sectors on my partition? It appears to me that both programs either think that all sectors since the last backup are new or something prevents them from identifying the changed sectors on disk.

    Has anyone else faced similar problem before?

    Any help/suggestions will be welcome.

    I am running Vista 32 bit, recently installed on a re-formatted disk. I was having similar problems before and also after the fresh install.
     
  2. Webby

    Webby Registered Member

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    So were in the same boat, what are we doing wrong? my HD was also very nearly full and I have not tried any backups since.

    Webby
     
  3. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Both Paragon and Shadowprotect are good backup softwares. I can personally vouch for paragon as I have used it extensively doing complete imaging and restores. I have no idea what could be causing this behavior.

    For example, while I was typing, paragon was making a backup which was supposed to be a differential backup to the complete backup it made yesterday.

    Size of the complete backup 8.70 GB.
    Size of the differential backup 9.1 GB o_O

    It clearly identifies the second as a differential backup. I do not understand why after only 24 hrs the differential backup would be 9.1 GB?
     
  4. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    Seems to me I heard something about running a defrag between differential backups causing this behaviour, I am not sure. ( I do full backups only, after deleting one of my older ones).
    I am sure someone will post here that knows.
     
  5. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Yup, defrags tend to increase the size of your backups, but I did not run any defrag since installing paragon. I do not have any automatic degfrag setup either.
     
  6. Mem

    Mem Registered Member

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    Since these backups are on changed sectors is it possible you have a defragmentor operating on a daily basis? Vista's defragmentor does this - I usually change that to a monthly basis. It may not account for all of it but may be a contributing factor.

    edit: late to this party... :)
     
  7. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Windows built in defrag auto schedule is disabled. I have perfectdisk, but I only run it manually twice a month. I have not run that since installing paragon.
     
  8. Webby

    Webby Registered Member

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    So that makes me fell a whole lot better. I have never used the program before and took the chance when it was offered on Give away of the day. I would not be surprised if I have cocked up the settings :D

    Webby
     
  9. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    I don't think it has anything to do with the settings in paragon. As I am not exactly a computer novice and there is nothing in the settings that could be causing this problem. Now, it might be a bug in the software but that was why I tested shadowprotect. I got similar results. Since both programs are considered reliable by majority of the users so I thought something might be wrong with my system. It appears whatever is wrong with my system was also wrong with yours that caused the differentials to be the same size as the complete images. Mind you I just re-formatted and installed a fresh copy of Vista 4 days ago and currently it only has the bare minimum software installed on it. I have no idea what could be causing the problem.

    I just want to stop using system restore and use a more reliable undo/restore software. Previously I have used Paragon only for making complete images and this is the first time I am using it for making differential images.

    Anyway, I am as yet unable to get it to automatically create a differential image based on an earlier complete image. It keeps on making complete images and yet identifies them as differentials.
     
  10. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    By the way, I wanted to add that I have disabled "system restore" on my OS partition before installing Paragon as I thought I did not need it. System restore uses VSS, but VSS is still running as a service on my computer. Paragon is configured to use VSS for hot processing.

    Could disabling system restore be causing VSS to malfunction? Because identifying new/changed sectors since the last backup is VSS's job not paragon's.

    I will change VSS to "paragon hot processing" in the global setting inside paragon and see if I get the same problem.

    Though I think, I will still get the same problem because I have enough computer know how to realize that what I have said above (VSS malfunctioning due to system restore) does not make sense. But I may be wrong, so I do not feel embarrassed in asking this question.
     
  11. MerleOne

    MerleOne Registered Member

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    When you have Vista and System Restore running, it might just be normal. With Vista, SR takes huge amount of HDD space, which is seen as changed sectors by any imaging tool. So try turning off System Restore and see if the problem remains. That is turn it off (already done I think), reboot, image, perform some changes, re-image.

    BTW, uninstall either SP or Paragon, it is usually not advisable to keep several imaging software on the same machine because of the special driver they install and that run constantly, even when you are not imaging.
     
  12. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    My system restore is off. I turned it off before installing paragon as there is no need to have system restore if I was going to make regular backups using paragon. My concern was whether turning off system restore was somehow causing this problem. Which is not the case, I have checked. Also I do not have SP installed right now. Never had them installed together before either.

    I have also checked by changing the hot processing technology inside paragon from VSS to "paragon hot processing" without any improvement. I scheduled paragon to make backups on every system logon, with the first one being a complete backup and remaining differentials. After first logon it made an image of 8.68 GB and after 2 hrs I again loged off and logged back in and this time it made a differential of about 8.56 GB. I have no idea what is going on.

    Why can't these companies make backup software that work for everyone without hiccups?
     
  13. MerleOne

    MerleOne Registered Member

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    There is something you *must*try :
    download snapshot.exe, just this small executable, from Drive Snapshot website (http://www.drivesnapshot.de/download/snapshot.exe). Do the same as with Paragon : first image backup, then A few hours after, a differential backup (you'll have to select the .hsh file created during first backup), SR being off, and check the difference. Snapshot doesn't requires any installation and doesn't install new drivers.

    And let us know it the diff backup is still the same size of the main one.
     
  14. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Okay, I downloaded Drive snapshot and ran it on my computer. I did not change any settings inside drive snapshot, just left them to their default. Selected a partition and ran a complete backup.

    It by default split the images up, so I have 7 files named completebackup.sn* and a hash file named completebackup.hsh, total size 9.05 GB

    Then 30 minutes after the first backup, I ran a differential backup, selecting the hash file from the first and using default settings.

    I got 7 files names diffbackup.sn* and total size 9.04 GB

    During the 30 minutes, I only browsed internet nothing else.

    Which brings me back to my initial problem. Why are all these highly rated backup utilities failing to generate differential backups for me?

    Any ideas?
     
  15. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Is there a utility that can tell me the percentage of sector change between two snapshots? I want to see if the problem is with the snapshot process or somewhere else.

    I am looking for something that I can use to just take a VSS snapshot and then take another VSS snapshot and the see the % change between the two snapshots.

    Other then Rollback Rx or Eaz-fix.
     
  16. MerleOne

    MerleOne Registered Member

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    Could you run HijackThis (from TrendMicro Website) and post the result here (or use PM).

    Also, sorry to be blunt, but are your sure you are creating a differential backup ? I cannot believe all sector changed ! When you created the the second snapshot backup, was there somewhere on the GUI a mention that a diff. backup was created. Could you post a window capture ? Just to rule out easy explanations !

    As well, do you use some kind of instant recovery software like Recovery Genius, Shadow User, Rollback RX, Goback, etc ?
     
  17. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Yes, I am making differential backups. I can not possibly confuse that as you need to check a box in drive image and select a hash file! In Paragon the cyclic backup automates the process clearly creating a "hold" directory containing a complete backup and "user" directory for the differentials. It is not a setting problem.

    I reformatted my system last weekend and have Norton 360 installed. No virus, spy ware on my system.

    No recovery, backup, snapshot software currently on my system other then paragon hard disk manager 2009

    I have PMed you the HijackThis log
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  18. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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  19. MerleOne

    MerleOne Registered Member

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    I may have got a good explanation, besides the 3 defrag services that are running on your PC (cf. my answer in PM) : you create the backup on the same disk that the one you are imaging !!! No wonder that the diff is exactly the size of the first backup. You have to chose another partition or external drive...

    You can actually do that in special situations, and just as a temporary storage for the image files !
     
  20. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    I gave you the explanation about the defrags in pm. The services are not running on my computer, and they are all set to manual. I only use perfect disk, manually twice a month and I have not run it since installing paragon 4 days ago.

    Why would imaging to the same partition cause problem? Paragon for example ignores the backup image file/ page file during imaging.
     
  21. MerleOne

    MerleOne Registered Member

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    Just try to image on another partition and see what happens !
     
  22. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    Lets talk only here. It is getting confusing shifting between pm and here.

    The degrag services do not run automatically. I just launched tuneup utilities and still its defrag service is disabled. It will only run if I manually start defrag from inside tuneup utilities and I do not do that.
     
  23. Raza0007

    Raza0007 Registered Member

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    I will do that. Give me some time..

    I will run paragon first as I do not own drive snapshot and don't plan on buying it in the near future.

    Thanks for the help and suggestions. Stay tuned.
     
  24. MerleOne

    MerleOne Registered Member

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    Say you have just File A on C:. You image C: into a C_Image file. Then C: holds A + C_Image, and C_Image size is a compressed file having the initial C: size (compressed). When you perform the diff. backup, the new C_Image will have to hold A and C_image, since A has not change, the size of the diff backup is exacty the one of C_Image. Paragon should maybe exclude this file, but apparently it doesn't, and I am sure drive snapshot doesn't unless you use the command live (try snapshot -? and snapshot --? in a cmd windows to see the parameters). Anyway, you should really move your image elsewhere : if C gets corrupt you lose both C: and it's image. Some people even recommend using another HDD, or an external HDD, that will eventually be stored elsewhere, etc... You chose the security level you wish !
     
  25. MerleOne

    MerleOne Registered Member

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    I know this take some time !
     
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