Macrium Reflect Image Verification

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by puff-m-d, Jun 15, 2014.

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  1. puff-m-d

    puff-m-d Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I am trialing Macrium Reflect and I have noticed that with default settings on install, image verification is disabled. I have a few questions regarding user experience with the image verification. Since so many users report Macrium Reflect has never failed them, do many of you think verifying the image is necessary since it basically almost doubles the time to complete the image? Have many enabled this option and use it regularly? If you always verify your images, have you ever found a corrupt image? I ask these questions since Macrium evidently does not deem it necessary since it is not a default setting and I wonder if anyone using this option has seen a corrupt image. I have turned it on and will leave it on for a while just to see if it ever catches a corrupt image.

    What do users think of this. Is this option worth the extra time and do you think I should make it part of my default set-up? Thanks in advance for any feedback...
     
  2. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    I think that it's worth the time as corrupted image won't help you much when you'll need it. I use free version of software and don't have that option in settings, so I manually run verification after each backup. It also takes me extra 3 minutes to verify do it's really quick.
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Kent

    I never use image verification. If I want to make sure an image is good, I mounted and then, play a video. I have never had an image fail if I could do that. On the other hand I've actually seen an image(not macrium) fail to mount, but when I explored the problem I found I could verify(successfully) the image, restore the image, and it looked like it restored, but the system wouldn't boot.

    So my recommendation would be leave the verify off, and mount the image and explore it.

    Pete
     
  4. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    Good advice Peter! Would mounting and exploring always show errors in image if corrupted? If I mount an image and open few files, does that mean that image is 100% safe?
     
  5. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    What I use to test is a PDF file with a video embedded in it. But a video file is good as it tests different parts of the system. 100% safe. Hard to say. All I can say is when I've tested an image this way I've never had a failure. The bad image I referred to when mounted gave an access violation so I couldn't explore the image.

    To put my statement in perspective, I do a lot of restoring. For a few years I was actively beta testing for Storagecraft(Shadowprotect) and it that time I know I did over a thousand restores on my systems. Before I went active with Macrium Std, I put it on my first desktop, and did nothing but image and restore for two weeks. Probably did over a hundred restores. Test mounted all the time. After two weeks success I move the trial unto my other desktop and finally my laptop. Again imaging and restoring. Another example here recently storagecraft asked me to beat on there upcoming X64 Winpe. Also in doing that compared it to their other recent recovery environment. That weekend test involved taking an image and the restoring it 4 times for the different RE's

    My experience also tells me the only way to be 100% certain an image will restore, is to restore it. There is also another huge benefit to this. When things go really bad, there is already a lot of stress. Not the time to have stress over restores. When I was testing the RE's things did go wrong, leaving me with an unbootable system. No sweat, just did a restore with Macrium and all was well.

    Pete
     
  6. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    OK thank you for clarifying. In the future I will probably use both methods: first I will verify it with built-in option then I will mount an image and open few files. Restoring every image I take is not acceptable to me and my SSD :)
     
  7. puff-m-d

    puff-m-d Registered Member

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    Hello Pete and hqsec,

    Thank you both for your comments as they have gave me food for thought... They are helping me answer my my thought as since no one ever seems to have restore issues with MR due to corrupt images (at at most very, very rarely), does the doubling of imaging times really justify always verifying images (by setting of option to do so or by doing it manually)... Pete, your method definitely is worth me considering.
     
  8. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Puff, I'm not sure there will be a "doubling" of image times.

    If the image is a baseline, and Macrium does a checksum type verification (not sure of this), it should be much shorter than the image taking operation due to the type of processing involved. If the image is an INCREMENTAL/DIFFERENTIAL, the same will be true as only the I/D image must be checksum verified.

    Pete probably knows what type of verification Macrium uses. IFW offers either an image checksum check or a full data compare... the full compare operation is not needed in my opinion. The checksum operation is much faster than the image taking itself.
     
  9. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    Time needed for verification is not the same as time needed to make backup. I did a quick test and have create a backup of my system partition (20,3 GB of data) from SSD to built-in HDD.
    Backup was created in 3:57, image was verified in 2:01. So in my case verification takes about half a time that is needed to make backup.
     
  10. puff-m-d

    puff-m-d Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I have not done any differential or incremental yet but so far when doing a full image on my system, the verification process takes just a little less than the imaging. Imaging time was 50 minutes, verifying was 47 minutes.
     
  11. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    This does surprise me, Puff. During the WRITE of the image, your computer must use a pretty heavy data compression algorithm when compressing the data, then it must compute the MD5 Checksum for those data blocks (much less computer time involved) and add in the checksums before it even writes the image to your disk. The verification process only duplicates the checksum process above... it should be faster. UNLESS... your storage elements (disks) are a bit alow or your CPU is not very high end, each may lengthen the verify process.
     
  12. puff-m-d

    puff-m-d Registered Member

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    Hello,

    My system is several years old (before SSD's were mainstream at all), AMD Phenom 9150e 1.81 GHZ 8 GB ram running Windows 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit with two HDD's, both internal SAMSUNG HD642JJ (one for system and data and the other for back-ups and images). Being an older system, I do not really expect speedy imaging and too poor here to afford any upgrades.
     
  13. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I just ran a test:

    67gb drive c:

    Image time 8:46
    Verify time 7:00
    My Mount approach 30 seconds

    Kent I would suggest skip the verify, and take incrementals. Once you have a chain of 10 incrementals start a new one. I would also strongly suggest test restoring.

    Pete

    PS test the images by mounting them and play a video file.
     
  14. puff-m-d

    puff-m-d Registered Member

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    Thanks Pete!

    I did test after doing my full image by deleting both program files folders along with the program data folder. Restore went perfectly...

    Here is my current back-up/image strategy:
    I use TM v2 beta for fast incremental and fast restores. I use the hot restore method as so far I seem to be one of the lucky ones and it has never failed me.
    I will us Macrium for weekly differential back-ups (on Sundays) just in case of a TM failure.

    As to the starting of new chains, here is my current policy:
    After the 2nd Tuesday of each month and all Windows Updates have been installed, I wait until the following Sunday (5 days) to ensure no issues with the updates.
    On Sunday, I do the following:
    Temporarily turn off TM.
    Thorough clean of all user and system temp files, caches, log files, etc. This also includes running Windows System Disk Cleanup utility including cleaning of the Windows Update files/back-ups.
    Disk defrags.
    I then start my new chain with Macrium. Once complete, I start TM and change back-ups to a new folder thus starting a new chain with TM also.
    I am good for the next month.

    I am sure some may see the above obsessive but this procedure allows for Windows Updates and to be sure no issues with them, and gives me a thorough once a month maintenance. I always start the new chains and do maintenance after Windows Updates have been installed and I have verified no issues with them. This helps keep most of my incremental and differential images for the month as small as possible since I start the new chains after most of the big changes to my file system has been done for the next month. Obviously I has a few program installs, uninstalls and updates over the month, but the big changes happen prior to the new changes being started.

    And by the way, I have pretty much decided to run Macrium without verification as my default...
     
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Kent

    I take a slightly different approach, but yours sounds great.

    Pete
     
  16. puff-m-d

    puff-m-d Registered Member

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    Thanks Pete,

    I just wanted to verify my approach was sound and had no issues. I have been using IFW for years (has been flawless in its operation) and still like it a lot as it is one of the best. I never had a corrupt image over many years of use and had long ago quit verifying images with IFW as in my experience I viewed it as unnecessary. I am a geek on many things but back-up and imaging is not one of them. There has always been so much of the Terabyte products capabilities that I have never used (probably never will), and to be honest, do not really need. Nothing against TB and IFW as I just thought I would try out Macrium and see what I thought. I have made the decision to change to it as I really like its layout and how it works.
     
  17. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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  18. puff-m-d

    puff-m-d Registered Member

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    Hello MrBrian,

    Thanks, good read...

    Also interesting to note that Macrium estimates your chances on having a corrupt image with their product as 1 in 1000 or 0.1 %.

    Edit: To correct wrong percentage
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  19. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    You're welcome :).

    P.S. I think you meant 0.1%.
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Good article.

    As discussed in another thread Verify/Validate is a test of your hardware. If Verify/Validate fails it means your imaging app is working properly. It has detected a hardware error that might have led to restore failure. On a mission critical computer an image should be Validated before starting the restore. If Validation fails then don't try a restore.
     
  21. puff-m-d

    puff-m-d Registered Member

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    Hello MrBrian,
    You are right, a very careless math mistake on my part! Edited post for correct percentage...
     
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