Macrium Reflect

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Stigg, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Posts:
    571
    Location:
    US
    I also back up my PC's data to my primary external drive, and like your case, that data set is fairly small and therefore fast, so that's not an issue. The wrinkle in my case is that my primary external drive contains backups of my PC data, but also contains the primary copy of other data that's too large and not important enough to store on my PC, such as my collection of movies and TV shows and a backup of my parents' large music library. But all of that gets backed up when I replicate my primary external drive to my backup external drive, so I basically have 2 copies of my "entertainment" data and 3 copies of my more important PC data (plus an additional cloud backup of my truly irreplaceable data). But the issue is that my 4TB external drive has about 3TB in use, so performing a Full image backup of that entire drive onto my backup drive would take quite a while, much longer than a Rapid Delta Clone or even a file-level sync to copy updated files over. And again, since my primary and backup external drives are the same size (4TB), I doubt I'd be able to store two Full backups of my primary drive on my backup drive anyway.

    I admit I abandoned the Windows image tool quite a while ago. Part of the reason is because Microsoft essentially deprecated it after Windows 7. For Windows 8, it was buried under "Windows 7 File Backup", and in Windows 10 it's only available via command line (EDIT: Win10 1803 has it in the GUI, so either this changed somewhere over Win10's various releases or my memory failed me.) And although it has value just by being mountable, the System Image Restore tool is a joke. Its limitations compared to tools like Reflect are too numerous to list here. But more importantly, my image backups are primarily for convenience rather than necessity. I back up my Data partition using file-level syncing so that my data is available "directly" on my external drive rather than in a container file (maintaining historical versions isn't important for my use case), and if my entire OS environment got hosed, it would just be an inconvenience. I work in IT and have done plenty of clean installs, so I can do them fairly quickly if needed. So although I do use Reflect to capture an image of my OS partitions occasionally, such as prior to a large update to have a quick recovery mechanism if needed, it's not something I depend on for my personal PC and data.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    11,025
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    It's interesting how we approach backup differently but often the same. I'm meticulous about keeping personal data out of my OS partition so the image backup is only 20 GB. And that's after six years. This makes for fast OS restores. My data partition contains 400 GB and it's backed up with Robocopy, which is fast. Backups are mainly to internal drives but also to networked computers and external HDs.

    Of interest, Win10 imaging does have a GUI (the same as Win7 and Win8 ). But it is the worst imaging app of them all.
     
  3. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Posts:
    1,725
    I have stuck with v6 for a long time, but recently upgraded to v7. The application doesn't open as fast as v6, but I can live with that.
    I also had trouble with mrcbt.sys BSODs, but hopefully they are sorted now.

    I can't say that I even had any problems with v6.
     
  4. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Posts:
    571
    Location:
    US
    I stand corrected. Did this come back in some newer release of Windows 10? I distinctly remember planning an original Win10 1507 deployment for a client and discovering that the system image capability was no longer in the GUI or perhaps that the Windows Backup wizard no longer offered the "Include a system image" option in order to perform a system image on a schedule, instead forcing users to create a manual scheduled task that called the command-line tool. But I do see both of those capabilities available on my Win10 1803 installation. How strange.... Anyhow, I'll update my earlier post. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  5. Tinstaafl

    Tinstaafl Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2015
    Posts:
    847
    Location:
    USA
    Yes, the Win 10 imaging tool is listed in Control Panel in "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)", as the menu item "Create a system image".

    I mostly (99%) abandoned it for Macrium long ago. Windows image works as advertised, but simply lacks too much to be used as an everyday solution. Otherwise, for a simple image file that can be mounted in Windows as a VHD, it could come in handy. I also never had any problems using the Windows repair disk to restore a system HDD from image.

    The only reason that I occasionally still make a manual one-off image with Windows image is that the image is in a VHD container file that Windows can mount without 3rd party support [Disk Management > Action > Attach VHD]. My insurance for any potential possibility with difficulty of mounting or restoring a Macrium image file in the future. My backup for a backup. ;)
     
  6. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Posts:
    1,725
    MRCBT Errors. Heaps of them with v7. I should have stayed with the rock solid v6. :(
    Anyone else with MRCBT errors in Event Viewer?

    MRCBT Errors.jpg
     
  7. XIII

    XIII Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Posts:
    983
    While the previous release sped up the cloning on one of my PC's (down to 30 minutes), the latest release is back to 3x as much (1.5 hours).

    Hope it's an outlier...

    Disappointed that Apple gave the iMac only a spec bump, so I might have to stay on the Windows platform a bit longer...
     
  8. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Posts:
    8,817
    Location:
    U.S.A. (South)
    Not very often of mention, and one of the most dependable features in my opinion integrated into Windows 8/8.1 is the CustomRefresh, or otherwise seen as .WIM file that serves as a backup of sorts (needs manually made often to maintain up-to-date), and while not a backup per say, does and has proven effective and dependable in the short run. It's one feature for the life of me eludes logic why Microsoft didn't carry this over to Windows 10 if not for any other reason, to serve as a quick recovery and pull system restore out the lineup completely.

    Of note on CustomRefresh, the .WIM file once created in Windows 8 is easily pulled/moved to tighter restrictive external sources for safety should a user depend on that procedure. Nonetheless the thing has never failed to refresh or recover on my systems with each and every program accounted for and accessible as well as restoring settings. Indeed that surely was the purpose when added to 8 but subsequently dropped from 10.

    It's odd IMO that Windows 10 developers instead of improving or even devising a solid backup plan still make mention of 7 for that feature.:thumbd:

    Macrium Reflect to it's credit, has filled in wonderfully as a solid option to avoid the mishandlings and lack of interest for it's O/S to sport a reliable backup image feature.
     
  9. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Posts:
    571
    Location:
    US
    A few people have reported CBT making noise in Event Viewer at various times, and Macrium has issued fixes for those cases, so I'd report this one. They'll probably ask you to submit a support ticket to gather more information. But in the meantime if you don't feel the need to eliminate the "Looking for changes" step in your Diff and Inc images, you could disable CBT or even completely uninstall that component by running a Change installation on Reflect through Control Panel > Programs and Features. I've made sure not to install it on any of the systems I support because the release notes through V7's lifetime indicate that CBT has caused BSoDs in multiple circumstances over its lifetime, and it was responsible for the infamous image corruption bug that existed for about 3 weeks in production Reflect releases. Even with my client that has an office file server with a 2TB Data partition and a disk rotation strategy that means there's a week between Incrementals to any given disk, the "Looking for changes" step only takes about 30 seconds. Given that the backup itself takes a couple of hours, the upside of eliminating those 30 seconds just doesn't seem worth the risks. But I've heard that people who capture Incrementals very frequently (such as hourly) find it useful.
     
  10. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Posts:
    1,725
    Thanks JP.
    Yes, I have had MRCBT BSODs previously also.

    I was thinking of uninstalling CBT. But you also mentioned disabling it. Where do I find that setting?

    Edit: I just found a setting under Advanced Incrementals. Is that it?
    So, does it only affect incrementals? I only use full and differential.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  11. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Posts:
    571
    Location:
    US
    Despite the naming of the Edit Defaults section where the CBT option appears, it also applies to Differentials. The "Advanced Incrementals" section of the Edit Defaults UI first appeared when the only other option in there (Delta Incremental Indexes) was introduced with Reflect 6.1, and that option DOES only pertain to Incrementals. I guess when Macrium developed CBT, they decided that that section was the most sensible place to put the option, although it might have been nice if they'd changed the name of that section. CBT can also be disabled on a per-partition basis if you select the desired partition under the "Create a backup" tab and click the Actions dropdown that appears underneath. However, I believe (but am admittedly not certain) that even when CBT is disabled in these ways, the driver itself still loads, so it could still potentially trigger BSoDs. So if you don't intend to use it at all, I personally would recommend just removing it. It's easy enough to add back later.

    Also, this thread just popped up on the Macrium forums. I wonder if that user is encountering the same thing as you.
     
  12. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Posts:
    1,725
    It's grayed out on my SSD OS drive on System Reserved and Recovery Partition, and it's disabled on NTFS Primary (C). My 2 other drives are enabled even though I only backup my SSD OS drive. Is that how it should be?

    MR C Drive All.jpg

    Thanks for that. It's not my post, so I will read and follow it.

    CBT has somewhat ruined Macrium Reflect's impeccable rock solid name.
    I really didn't need to upgrade from v6 as it was doing fine and was faultless. But I was getting email offers and they were also telling me that support had ceased, so I finally upgraded. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  13. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Posts:
    571
    Location:
    US
    Maybe CBT automatically excludes "special" partitions like System Reserved and Recovery even though they're both NTFS and therefore (I believe) should both be "eligible" for CBT. But since the contents of those partitions hardly ever changes, CBT wouldn't add any value there anyway. The OS partition is where you'd get the benefit of CBT, if it was working properly. For the other partitions, I believe CBT is enabled by default anywhere it can be used, so that part is normal, although it will never deliver any benefit for a partition that you're not capturing via image backup, so you could certainly disable it on those partitions if you wanted to.

    I certainly agree that CBT has been a problem child for Macrium, but since they've continued to develop it beyond just bug fixes, e.g. adding persistence across reboots with 7.2, I guess it adds value to enough of their customer base to justify the engineering effort. As for V6 vs. V7, apart from the "banner features", it has a lot of other smaller enhancements that I've really come to like, some of which I wrote up in this post. Then 7.1 introduced Image Guardian, which I like -- even though I hope never to need it! But perhaps more than those, 7.2's introduction of the "Completed with warnings" outcome was something I'd lobbied for and was very happy to see implemented, because I and a few other users on the Macrium forum had some situations before it existed where that type of warning would have avoided some less than ideal consequences -- and I've had a one or two cases since it was introduced where I benefited from it.
     
  14. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Posts:
    1,725
    So, the C Drive partition should be enabled? It's disabled at present.
     
  15. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Posts:
    1,725
    I've disabled CBT via the Actions dropdown menu on the enabled partitions on my backup drives as they shouldn't have been enabled anyway, I guess.

    See if the MRCBT errors and BSODs stop.
     
  16. Hadron

    Hadron Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Posts:
    1,725
    It's a shame that v7 doesn't display % complete when you hover over the tray icon like v6 did.
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    20,590
    I wouldn't want to be with out CBT on v6, but v7 still offers me nothing worth the money. Don't need the MIG with Pumpernickel
     
  18. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Posts:
    571
    Location:
    US
    Interesting. Can I ask what your use case is that makes CBT so indispensable? How long does the "Looking for changes" step take for your backups when CBT isn't used?
     
  19. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Posts:
    571
    Location:
    US
    Yes, if you're capturing images of the OS partition, that's where you'd want it enabled. I'm guessing that the reason it's disabled for you right now is related to the bug you found evidence of in your Event Viewer logs.
     
  20. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Posts:
    8,817
    Location:
    U.S.A. (South)
    Quick interject here- @Peter2150 From your own experience is it as adequate or durable enough just to run a fairly fresh Macrium Backup image instead of doing a new install to a freshly wiped HDD? With Windows 8.1 Pro (and I suspect 7 also qualifies) it would seem to be a tremendous time saver than doing a new install with this version since all settings and most apps are already digitally imaged and could be laid (Ready to run) on disk. The time Reflect takes is proven minimum compared to filling in all the programs, settings etc. via a redundant routine IMO).

    Recently was all ready to do a clean install but in all honesty, a Macrium Reflect recent saved image (or even one imaged shortly after a new install with most programs inserted and set) seemed far more time saving and just as reliable as a fresh install without loss of time and effort bringing it up from scratch again.

    Mind you that there is absolutely no error prones or potential foulwares to establish relief from with my saved Macrium images. Thanks
     
  21. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    4,373
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    I surely can't speak for Peter, but I also use the CBT (BETA) with v6. For those of us that take many snapshots per day (some every 15-min to protect server status) and folks like me that take many MANUAL snapshots per day while software testing, etc., CBT has provided for very fast Incrementals and even faster restores when a lot of snapshots are involved. When RDR was offered with the release of v6, I found it to be a boon to those of us who do a lot of restores... it was amazingly fast due to the DELTA restoration environment being offered compared to all other imaging products on the market at that time. With the introduction of CBT, those restores (as well as the INC snapshots themselves) became even faster.

    After moving to a SSD-based OS volume, REFLECT restores started to actually rival those of snapshot products like Rollback RX and EazFix which offered Redirect-on-Write technology rather than the Copy-on-Write that imaging products have traditionally offered. Both of the aforementioned Redirect-on-Write products are inherently dangerous as they work their magic "under" the OS and as a result, recovery from product errors can be very difficult if not impossible. A very fast Copy-on-Write product with fast snapshot imaging like CBT/RDR holds up very well to those fast snapshot products... AND offers a full disaster protection environment which the others could never do.

    So, for me, RDR and CBT offer the best imaging solution for how one of my Systems operates in general. If users are only protecting their Systems at a once or twice a day imaging process, CBT offers very little gain for those operations. And the surprising thing... the BETA CBT project was flawless in its implementation under v6, which is surely something we can't say about its carryover into v7.
     
  22. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    4,373
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    @EASTER - if I'm reading you correct, your asking if a COMPLETE restoration to a <blank> disk space is easier or better than a Windows/Applications CLEAN INSTALL. In my opinion, the answer is absolutely since you'd have to reinstall all that stuff anyway. Although RDR cannot be used in such a situation, it's still a standard restoration operation... if your image is solid in its configuration, it will be solid upon restoration. I never do a Clean Install unless I'm changing OSes (my application library is too large, a lot of work to restore)... OS upgrades can be problematic and I choose not to deal with them due to that fact.

    Many users, when they first do a Clean Install of an OS and then install and configure their application set, they then image that System into a usable baseline for future use, if necessary... I have done that in the past. But image restorations (RDR or not) have been my main vehicle for System configurations and their use has been flawless for me.
     
  23. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    20,590
    Simple answer is time. "looking for changes" takes about 2 minutes for an incremental, where as the CBT incremental is usually aboutt 45 seconds. I take hourly incrementals by schedule, plus additional ones as I may require.
     
  24. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    20,590
    Easter to answer your question, clean windows installs and then software installs would be an absolute nightmare for me. Macrium has been a life saver. For example, I had something mess up my business system. Screwed up the printer, screwed up Quickbooks. Was a mess, even it turns out messed up and IFW image. I never did fgure out what happened. Also I couldn't shut down for more then an over night. Finally I tried restoring some older images. When I tried restoring the old IFW image, it left the system un bootable. Arg!!! Macrium at least put it back to its' current status. Finally I restored a 4 month old Macrium image and everything worked properly. That was great other then 4 month old data. What I did was mount the current image of the system to the restored 4 month old system and did a sync to bring the data current. Worked like a champ. This is one reason I like having my data in the images.

    Hopefully Easter that answers the question. I will do a separate post in a new thread to address using Windows Backup.
     
  25. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Posts:
    8,817
    Location:
    U.S.A. (South)
    And for my part anyway, and ever since yourself and @Peter2150 introduced so much enthusiasm with proven (simple-solid) results at the start over Macrium to begin with, this program has virtually eliminated that hassle of a new install and all that goes with it.

    The reason I bothered to even question it in reply here is because you hear so much (but not as much as before) that a clean install makes a system, any system run faster and such. Well in my experience, and also to my utter surprise as well, a good saved Reflect Image serves the same purpose, perhaps even better, eliminating the need for block building from the ground up which at one time was common practice before quality engineered imaging really came into their own.

    By the way in mention of Rapid Delta Restore you might explain why that feature is not recommended. I only backup whole disk images via the Macrium standard option anyway but am curious on that. Thanks @TheRollbackFrog
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.