Macrium Reflect

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

  1. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    I certainly understand not updating every time, although quickly reading over the release notes since 4063, which was released over a year ago now, there have been multiple bug fixes that could potentially be relevant to you, including some that affect restore/recovery scenarios. After all, the fact that backups are working perfectly does not always mean a restore will. So if you're going to stay behind on releases, I'd recommend at least keeping an eye on the release notes.

    But I just noticed a big red flag in your earlier post. You said you're backing up your C drive and Reflect is getting stuck on "Determining files to copy". I must have automatically substituted "Looking for changes" when I read that originally, because "Determining files to copy" only occurs with F&F backups rather than image backups. But if you're performing F&F backups of your entire C drive, you absolutely do not want to be doing that, so if that IS what you're doing, then you have a much larger problem here. If you expect to use that backup for system recovery purposes, it will not work properly in that context because restoring an F&F backup to certain areas of the C drive will break some file system techniques that Windows applies in various places, such as hard linking. And even if you don't care about full system recovery, an image backup will be significantly faster than an F&F backup when they're backing up the same data set, as would be the case if you're backing up the entire partition. In my tests on a file server's Data partition, an image backup ran 2.5x faster than an F&F backup. Restore performance would likely be similar.

    If you're running an F&F backup AND an image backup because you believe an F&F backup is necessary in order to recover individual files and folders as opposed to restoring the entire system, that is not the case. Image backups can be mounted to allow recovering individual files and folders, so having an F&F backup in addition is just wasting time and space. It's also worth pointing out that if you browse an F&F backup, files larger than 4GB cannot be restored properly that way due to the FAT32 emulation that Reflect uses in order to mount an F&F backup as a virtual disk; you have to use the Restore wizard instead for those files. Image backups do not have this limitation.

    The only case I can think of where it would make sense to perform an F&F backup of an entire partition would be if you had a file server where you had defined a lot of custom NTFS permissions throughout a complex folder hierarchy and you wanted a wizard-based method to restore individual files and folders with those custom permissions. Image backups do not directly allow that; you'd need to browse the backup and use command-line tools to restore data with those permissions. But apart from that very specific use case, if you want the whole partition, then use an image backup.

    And just to avoid potentially making a second mistake, when you set up an image backup job, make sure you don't capture JUST the C partition. On most systems, that isn't enough to get a backup that is usable for system restore purposes. If you're not sure, open Reflect and in the Backup Tasks area in the upper-left, click "Create an image of the partitions necessary to back up and restore Windows". The partitions that Reflect pre-selects in the wizard that will appear should be considered your "minimum viable backup" for system recovery purposes. You can add to that selection, but do not subtract from it.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  2. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    That certainly makes good sense, so later today I will update to the latest release.

    Your suggested procedure is precisely what I have always done - I've never used Reflect to just backup specific files/folders! As I also mentioned the very same backup definition was working perfectly to image my entire C-drive (plus any other 'boot-necessary' partitions). To prove that, I have performed several system restores over the past year and each of them was successful. So there is something else at play that has apparently 'confused' Reflect. As I mentioned above, I will update to the latest version with the hope that will remedy this peculiar problem.
    -----
    PS. A final thought... I have read here of a great many issues related to CBT and I do have CBT enabled. As I seldom run incremental backups more frequently than on a daily basis, perhaps I should disable it as that might be causing the problem! Would disabling CBT adversely impact restoration of any incremental backup made with CBT?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  3. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Disabling CBT will not impact any restoration whatsoever... safe to disable.
     
  4. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Thanks for that feedback. In that case, after updating to the latest release I'll make sure CBT is disabled - as I gather its value is questionable for anyone who doesn't take incrementals more frequently than daily (as I do).
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  5. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    CBT helps when making frequent backups, and thanks to some clarification I received from TheRollBackFrog, it can also help when you're backing up a partition that contains a lot of large files, such as a VM host storing virtual disk files or a DB server with large database files. The reason is that when CBT is NOT being used, Reflect analyzes the file system to determine where the changes are. This is the "Looking for changes" step that you see early in the backup job when CBT is involved. That analysis tells Reflect which files have changed blocks, but not which precise blocks within that file have changed. So during the backup it has to scan the changed files to figure out which blocks are different and back up those blocks -- and on large files, that scan can take quite a while. With CBT, Reflect already knows which exact blocks have been changed, so in addition to the upfront "Looking for changes" step being eliminated, the backup itself can run faster because you don't have to scan the changed files.

    But in my use cases, CBT doesn't make sense. On my personal system, I've got an NVMe SSD backing up to a USB 3.0 HDD, so I've got a lot more read capacity than write capacity, which means the extra overhead of that scanning doesn't create an issue. And I just don't need my backups to complete any faster than the few minutes they normally take. With some other clients I support, they're running mission-critical operations and running backups overnight when the systems aren't in use, so the "no rush" context and CBT's reliability track record together simply don't create a favorable risk/reward proposition for those scenarios.

    In any case, glad to hear you're performing image backups, although I don't understand why you're seeing a "Determines files to copy" step, since that only occurs with F&F backups.
     
  6. Spartan

    Spartan Registered Member

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    I always disable it. Here is what I do which makes me need only 1 backup.

    1) Format and install Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC
    2) Do all my tweaks/settings
    3) Take an image using Macrium Reflect Recovery USB (I don't even install it)
    4) Install all drivers
    5) Install all software
    6) Install Antivirus (NOD32)

    That does it for me. If there were many driver updates/software updates and I feel like a I need a fresh start, I just go back to the first image I created but that saves me the most hassle of tweaking Windows as I do a LOT of tweaks.
     
  7. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Years ago I started keeping a text file listing all of the tweaks I make to Windows just so that I could power through them whenever I performed a clean install rather than having to remember each of them over several days. More recently I chased down the registry settings for those tweaks and created a .REG file that contains the desired values for all 40-something tweaks that I make, so now I can just double-click that to immediately set those things the way I want. But honestly that was more of a fun project for me. I doubt the time I spent researching the registry values for each of those settings will ever actually be recovered in time saved compared to making those tweaks manually, simply because I don't do clean rebuilds very often. And when I do, even before that reg file I can have my system fully configured, including all applications installed, in about 3-4 hours.

    I used to capture those "baseline" images as you do, and maybe if I was using the LTSC builds of Windows I still might, but prior to Windows 10 I don't think ever actually restored one of those baseline images I captured. I did a lot of clean rebuilds in the XP days, but starting with Win7 I just didn't feel the need to do that very much. And nowadays with the normal Windows 10 release track getting feature updates every 6 months, chances are that by the time I ever did restore a baseline image (if ever), I'd need to install a new Win10 version and update virtually all of my drivers and applications -- so at that point it would probably be faster to just start fresh with the latest version of everything in the first place. But I realize that not everyone can rebuild their entire system from scratch in a few hours, and for those people a baseline capture makes a lot of sense.
     
  8. Spartan

    Spartan Registered Member

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    I am using Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC now but my tweaking hasn't changed much from when I was using Windows 10 Pro.

    I start off by using Winaero Tweaker as it has most of my manual reg tweaks then I follow it up with a few of my own tweaks that it's missing:

    ScreenShot00066.png
     
  9. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    WOW! Ok, my tweaks are nowhere near that numerous, and I just put everything I like into a single REG file. Kudos for having that so neatly organized though!
     
  10. Spartan

    Spartan Registered Member

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    Thanks man, let me know if you need them and I'll be happy to share them with you via PM
     
  11. sdmod

    sdmod Shadow Defender Expert

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  12. Peter 123

    Peter 123 Registered Member

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    And some additional information for users who consider to buy the Home Edition:

    You need not worry any longer about this CBT feature (and how to uninstall or disable it) in case that you do not like it. :thumb: I bought just now the Home Edition (version 7.2.4942). And during the installation process will pop up a window from which you can easily exclude this component from installing. (The same applies to the component "Image Guardian"). Anyway, by default the two boxes for these two components were already unchecked:

    CBT.jpg
     
  13. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    I've never used Macrium for files and folders backup so I thought I'll give it a try. It runs OK but I have a question about it.

    I created a schedule that creates full backup once a week and then incremental each day after. So yesterday I created full backup and today first incremental was run when scheduled.
    I have a question about the size of incremental backup file. When looking at log file it shows that approx. 2,5 GB of files were back up (which is correct - I got Outlook files that changed and some other files). Still the size of incremental image is only 5 MB in size. Is that correct? Does files and folders back up create backup of changed sectors only instead of whole files?

    Any information about it would be appreciated.
     
  14. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    CBT has been optional since either Reflect 7.1 or 7.2, both of which were initially released quite a while ago. And at least on Windows 10 64-bit, both of those components are checked by default during installation. I just did a Reflect installation on a Windows 10 64-bit system. But if you're installing over an existing Reflect installation, then the default will be to maintain their current state, so if you previously excluded them and are using the full installer to update, they'll stay unchecked. I'm not sure what happens if you have a Free version installation where those components aren't available and use the full installer to move up to a paid version. I also see you're using Reflect 32-bit, and it's not clear what version of Windows you're running, so that might be a key difference too.
     
  15. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    That's correct. When Reflect determines that a file has changed, it will still scan the file for changed clusters and only back up those changed clusters. I didn't realize this initially, but Macrium confirmed it for me when I asked about what appeared to be implausibly good compression on some F&F backups I had configured for a client (900 GB of source data generating a 150 GB file). I thought file-level backup routines always backed up changed files in their entirety, but evidently not. But the log entry you're referring to still does seem to refer to the total size of the changed files that were at least partially backed up, NOT the pre-compression size of the clusters that were actually captured.
     
  16. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    Thank you for you confirmation. That's some great news. I've performed daily backups using script but this will save me a lot of space. Great news indeed. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  17. Peter 123

    Peter 123 Registered Member

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    That's right. But above there was a discussion about disabling respectively uninstalling the component. So one could think that it is installed automatically. For this reason I mentioned the option - for those users (like myself too ;)) who are not so acquainted with the program.

    This was exactly my situation.

    Windows 10 Home, 32 bit (see signature).

    But anyway it is not so important if the boxes are checked or unchecked by default. The essential thing is that the user can decide if he wants to install the features.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  18. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    CBT in many cases is installed automatically. That's the point. Yours is the first post I've seen indicating showing it unchecked by default, but if you moved up from Free, then that accounts for that. But people performing a brand new installation of a paid release will see it checked by default, so yes they'll need to know to uncheck it (or uninstall it later).

    As for Win10 32-bit, does your system really not have more than 4GB of RAM? I wouldn't have expected Win10 to run very well on that hardware. But even if that's the case, you might still want to consider rebuilding with 64-bit at some point since Microsoft recently announced they'll stop providing Win10 32-bit to OEMs. In fairness, they will continue supporting it with security updates though, so maybe not a huge deal. I believe there are some security features that are only available with 64-bit installations, though, but I honestly can't remember anymore since I haven't used 32-bit Windows for almost 15 years now.
     
  19. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    where do you store your backups? do you have offsite backups?
     
  20. Peter 123

    Peter 123 Registered Member

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    Indeed, just 4 GB of RAM. ;) Before changing from Windows 7 to Windows 10 I also feared there would be massive problems in the performance. But that's not the case. Maybe because I use the computer primarily for the quite basic things only.

    I hope they will do. I try to stay with 32-bit at least for a while in order to avoid the trouble of manually reinstalling all my programs etc. (Something that is inevitable in case of a change from a 32-bit to a 64-bit installation, as a far as I have heard everywhere). And this brings us back to Macrium: The main (in essence the only) reason why I decided to change from its Free Edition to the paid Home Edition is the feature "Bare metal restore to dissimilar hardware with ReDeploy" (https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW7/Re-deploying to new hardware) which is offered only in the Home Edition:

    I think that this feature is in general very useful, for example if some massive hardware defect on your existing computer makes it necessary to get a new one. Executing the bare metal restore (hopefully) would make it possible to transfer easily all your system, your programs, settings etc. to the new computer.

    I am aware that with this procedure it would not be possible to perform a migration from a Windows 32-bit to a 64-bit installation! (Alas. :() I know that the procedure would probably mean a "downgrade" from Windows 64-bit to 32-bit (as a new computer most likely will have the 64-bit version). But I think (at least from my current point of view) that I prefer such a downgrade to the above mentioned trouble of manually reinstalling all my applications etc. (some of which possibly would not even run any longer under Windows 64-bit).
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  21. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

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    @Peter 123, I'm another MR user on a Win7(SP1)x86 PC. Ever since Win7's end-of-support I have considered a Win10 upgrade but felt doing that would bring my PC to a crawl. As your system, my PC also has 4 GB RAM (but just 3.4 GB of that 4 GB is available to Windows!), so I'd be interested in learning what CPU & graphics card are in your upgraded PC?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  22. Peter 123

    Peter 123 Registered Member

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    As you surely know, you should do it for the sake of security. I also waited until January but finally all went right and I didn't realize a significant change in performance. (Youtube is very slow during the last time but obviously this has to do more with the browser as it happens in Firefox and not in Google Chrome.)

    Well, I have a Pentium Dual-Core CPU, T 4500, 2.30 GHz (2 CPUs) and a graphic card NVIDIA GeForce 9100M G. I bought the PC about 10 years ago.
     
  23. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    That's correct, there is no in-place upgrade or downgrade mechanism between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, and ReDeploy will not help you here, because it just focuses on making changes that will allow Windows to boot on new hardware rather than blue screening because it loaded the wrong drivers for that hardware and/or didn't have the right drivers.

    As for downgrading a new PC, I'm not sure how practical that would be. Even if you found a system that only came with 4GB of RAM or were willing to remove memory or leave it installed but unused in order to run 32-bit Windows, you might find that 32-bit drivers aren't even available for all of your hardware. And then as was alluded to above, system components are carving out increasing large memory spaces for their own use, which on a 32-bit system will reduce the amount of system memory you can use. That's how you can end up with a system that says "4 GB installed, 3 GB usable" or something along those lines. As I understand it, which is admittedly only partially, the system only has a single memory address space that is shared across all system components. So if a system component like a GPU has its own physical memory that it wants to use, then it needs to get a block of that shared address space to be able to refer to its physical memory. On a 64-bit system, this isn't an issue because the 64-bit memory address space is huge, but on a 32-bit system you've only got 4GB worth of address space -- so if your GPU has 1GB of memory, then that's 1GB of address space gone that you then cannot use to refer to your physical system memory, and thus you have only 3GB of system memory usable.
     
  24. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    Daily backups I store on secondary disk in my computer. Once a week I manually backup to external HDD (two of them, which I rotate).
     
  25. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    you should have an offsite backup plan. local storage devices are prone to failure.
    i'm telling you, it's the best investment i've ever made.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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