Macrium Reflect

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

  1. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    I already explained why I brought up the licensing issue even though the question mentioned Reflect Free, namely because the question ALSO mentioned the possibility of asking in the official Macrium forums, which requires a paid license, which therefore suggested to me that the person asking that question might be using a mixture of paid and free versions of Reflect. In that case, there are indeed licensing questions to consider when evaluating whether Rescue Media created on one PC can/should be used on another PC.

    Your question about whether or not Rescue Media would run on a different PC didn't have an entirely simple answer, because as I said there are reasons that have nothing to do with licensing that might prevent Rescue Media created on one PC from running on another PC. TheRollbackFrog delved into those. But it's ALSO true that even if it DID work, that would not necessarily be compliant with licensing rules. Yes, that last sentence doesn't apply when dealing with Rescue Media created by Reflect Free. But not everybody here is using Reflect Free, and some people might have a mixture of free and paid installations on different PCs they own.

    I'm sorry that the additional information I provided to someone else confused you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  2. paulderdash

    paulderdash Registered Member

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    No matter, relax. :D

    Bottom line is: I have both paid and free licenses. With free I have created rescue media, and restored on same machine many times, no problem. Never checked any 'small print'.
     
  3. Bertazzone

    Bertazzone Registered Member

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    This is exactly what @Bellzemos said, not me. ;)
     
  4. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    so you prefer cold imaging over live imaging?
     
  5. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    oops, sorry for the confusion and thanks for the correction.
    edit: edited the related posts and replaced @Bertazzone 's with @Bellzemos 's. :D
     
  6. Moosehead77

    Moosehead77 Registered Member

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    What is the difference between the two?
     
  7. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    cold imaging is much more reliable and stable due to os not being in use during backup operation.
     
  8. Moosehead77

    Moosehead77 Registered Member

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    Ahhh ok, understood, and Thank You.
     
  9. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    no problem. :thumb:
     
  10. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    What is your basis for that statement? Live backups are performed far more commonly than cold backups, and there aren't exactly mass reports of people having problems restoring live backups while cold backups restore just fine -- so "much more reliable" would seem to be a hard case to make. The VSS technology that enables safe, reliable backups of a running Windows OS as well as some running applications such as SQL and Exchange has existed since Windows XP and has been heavily utilized since then, both for image backups and backups of VSS-aware applications such as those I just mentioned. That includes use on mission-critical systems where data integrity is paramount but the downtime required to perform cold backups on a regular basis would be unacceptable. Those customers would not accept a choice between "much less reliable" live backups and reliable cold backups that required significant downtime -- but they don't have to make that choice. VSS nowadays even has a writer that makes it possible to perform an image backup of a Hyper-V VM host that is actively running VMs, and that host image backup will still have safe, reliable backups of those VMs that were running at the time. The exact technique used to achieve that varies depending on the guest OS(es) running.

    If you're finding that live OS backups are much less stable, then something is wrong with your system.

    One ACTUAL difference between capturing an image within the OS vs. Rescue is the use of VSS. Live images use it, whereas Rescue images don't, because you don't need VSS when the partition you're backing up isn't online. This can make Rescue useful if the system you're trying to back up is having a problem with VSS. But it also affects the content of the backups. Windows VSS snapshots do not always include everything on disk. For example, Windows removes the Windows Search index database from snapshots because it can grow quite large and is automatically recreated whenever it's missing anyway. VSS snapshots also do not include prior System Restore checkpoints. As a result, Reflect image backups captured within Windows will not have that content (at least by default -- not sure if there's a way to configure VSS differently to avoid those specific changes), whereas a backup captured from Rescue would.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  11. Moosehead77

    Moosehead77 Registered Member

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    Thanks for this response. So should I go with OS or Rescue? I use Macrium and Terabyte software, are those OS or rescue products? How about that Raxco Instant Rescue product is it any good for an instant resolve to PC problems? Although having to turn on and off that pre-boot menu takes away from automation which I like.
     
  12. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    I use OS backups whenever possible. The only time I might perform a backup in Rescue would be if I'm trying to back up a system that's in an unbootable state before I wipe it or restore an older working backup. The reason I'd back up an unbootable system would be to make sure I've captured the latest version of any data that I might want to recover later by browsing that backup and extracting the desired files.

    That said, I've seen at least one person on the Macrium forums say they use Rescue for all backups because they want their backups to contain their System Restore checkpoints. I'm not really sure WHY, considering that they have an image backup tool, but I guess that would allow them to restore a month-old Reflect backup and still have checkpoints that would let them go back even farther in time, without needing to keep actual Reflect backups going back that far. And then I've seen others on the Macrium forums who simply don't trust VSS and can't be convinced that live OS backups are safe, even though they're widely used and have been for 18 years now. But I liken that to a belief system rooted more in religion than science. Nothing wrong with having that belief if it works for you, but that doesn't make it a belief supported by facts.

    I'm not familiar with the other products you mentioned, so I can't comment on them.
     
  13. Moosehead77

    Moosehead77 Registered Member

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    Which products do you use in your backups that in your estimate are pretty reliable?
     
  14. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    i don't do incremental or differential backups. only full backups. and cold imaging is the best way to do full backups. it's self-evident. everybody knows that.
    also, i don't like the idea of having imaging sw contained in my backups.
     
  15. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    anything but acronis '20 will do just fine.
     
  16. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    The only image backup tool I use on a regular basis is Reflect because apart from some minor edge cases, it's been completely reliable in my experience. As for those edge cases, none of them were showstoppers, and they led me to submit bug reports that resulted in Macrium issuing updates to fix them. Other than that, I use Allway Sync for file-level syncing, but syncing isn't technically backups. I've also used Windows File History, which is fine for what it's designed to do, and the Client Computer Backup component built into Windows Server Essentials is quite nice as well, especially when you're backing up multiple systems that all have a lot of data in common, as in some business settings. I played with the system image tool built into Windows a while ago and hated it because it has all sorts of restrictions and limitations. Even the free version of Reflect is vastly more powerful, so I saw no purpose in using it myself. But hey, I guess it's already right there built into Windows, so it's got that going for it.
     
  17. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Setting aside that the definition of "best" will vary based on people's priorities -- such as downtime, in this case -- the fact that cold imaging might be the simplest way to capture backups from a technical standpoint (i.e. ignoring any logistical challenges that the required downtime might introduce) emphatically does NOT mean that backups captured that way are "much more reliable" than those captured from within an OS. And telling people that that's the case, with no evidence, is simply irresponsible.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  18. Moosehead77

    Moosehead77 Registered Member

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    Ok, Thank You.
     
  19. Moosehead77

    Moosehead77 Registered Member

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    Thank You.
     
  20. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    there are lots of evidence (articles, blog posts, expert opinions, user experiences, etc) on the net for those need them. as i said before, it's just a rule of thumb backed with lots of evidence, and it's also self-evident for anyone who knows how os's (in general) and windows (in particular) work.
     
  21. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    you're welcome. :thumb:
     
  22. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    I've worked in various Windows IT roles for 15 years, currently working in Windows-based server infrastructure design/engineering, so I believe I have a better than average understanding of "how OSes (in general) and Windows (in particular) work" -- and I stand by what I said. People who perform image backups of Windows systems where downtime to perform every backup would be unacceptable are not resigning themselves to having much less reliable backups. And I suspect if others in this thread were to chime in, you would find that a) the vast majority of them perform backups within Windows, and b) they do not "know" that their backups are much less reliable as a result, nor have they found any evidence to support that claim when they've restored those backups. And your claims certainly aren't self-evident to the server admins who have implemented live OS backups.

    But the "you can find stuff on the net that supports my viewpoint" statement tells me everything I need to know here. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  23. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    @imdb it's also not even clear whether you meant to claim that the process of creating a backup is "much more reliable" in Rescue than within the OS or that the actual backup itself, i.e. its data integrity, is much more reliable if it was captured in Rescue. If you meant the former, then if you're unable to reliably perform a backup from Windows, something is wrong with your system. And if you meant the latter, then that is simply not the case. If it were, then how do you think that so many applications that allow image backups to be captured within the OS have survived for this long? Everybody who decides to use that feature is just putting up with a bunch of risk that their backups are no good? And the software vendors are all getting away with not saying, "By the way, using this feature will result in much less reliable backups" somewhere in their documentation and still aren't losing any customers for failing to advise them of that would-be-crucial information? Does that really sound plausible to you?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  24. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    @jphughan
    those are your assumptions. i didn't say any of those. all i'm saying is i prefer cold imaging over live imaging because:
    1. i don't do incremental or differential backups. i only do full backups and one master backup is all i need. and based on my experience as an owner of numerous computers both at home and office, cold imaging is more reliable, quicker, safer and more stable. and since no (os) files are in use or changed during cold imaging, there's (almost) no room for a failed, stalled or interrupted imaging operation or a corrupted backup file.
    2. having no imaging sw present in my backups gives me the chance and oportunity to use any imaging sw i'd like to use at any given time . my backups don't get "spoiled" with the remnants of any previously installed imaging sw.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  25. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    If that statement of your personal experience and preference was what you had said to begin with, then there wouldn't have been a problem. But you instead made a blanket statement that cold imaging is "much more reliable and stable" than live imaging, without any sort of elaboration, clarification, qualification, etc. -- and then you backed it up with essentially just "everybody knows this" and "the net has this information". No, everybody does not know that, and the net has all sorts of information of highly varied quality.

    Yes, cold imaging does have its advantages. If you can afford the downtime, the fact that it doesn't rely on VSS means it might work even when live images won't. And if you have mission critical applications that have certain data handling characteristics and have NOT been coded to be VSS-aware, then a cold image would guarantee that their data is backed up in a consistent state, whereas a live image created from a VSS snapshot would not be able to guarantee that -- although there are relatively few applications where this would even matter, and if you had such an application where this did matter and it wasn't VSS-aware, I would argue that it was not fit to be used for mission critical purposes.

    But none of that supports the blanket assertion that live imaging is much less reliable, and saying something like that in a thread about an imaging backup tool, filled with people the majority of whom are likely using it to perform live imaging, is apt to cause unfounded consternation.
     
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