Macrium Reflect

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

  1. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    It is really odd, by helping somebody else I end up learning quite a few things myself which is the best side of Wilders' forums. Reading about Macrium's recommended protocols to create differential and incremental backups, I can see there is more "visibility or control over the settings", as you say, about what can be done with a full backup file.

    But then when you say "best of luck with the Restore menu method" it sounds as if you were implying that the method might be prone to failure or it is not as reliable as the recommended one. Honestly I have used it ever since my first experience with Macrium, I knew there were other ways, but I thought if it works this way, why bother with other settings. It's been about 4 years, I started with the free edition and now the home edition, and I've never ever had a problem. As always, your excellent explanations are really appreciated, and today for the first time I created an incremental backup using the definition file, it worked perfectly...
     
  2. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    I suppose "best of luck" was a poor choice of words. What I was thinking at the time I wrote that was that I've seen cases where users end up not knowing how to accomplish something that they want to do, or they just get upset because they assume that the application can't do what they want, when the reality is that the application CAN do what they want, but that isn't apparent to the user because the user isn't using the application according to best practices.

    Macrium has said on their forums that they added the option in the Restore menu specifically to allow creating Diff/Inc backups in Rescue because there was no way to use definition files for that purpose in Rescue. But that's the whole point. It's not the way Macrium really meant for that task to be accomplished under normal circumstances. It was the way Macrium added in order to cover a specific scenario, which is why an option to create a backup is confusingly placed in the Restore section. (Incidentally, I wrote a Wish List topic suggesting some UI changes that would maintain that functionality in a more intuitive layout. And my ideas for that thread came about after discussing this Restore menu method with another user on the Macrium forums. I guess we'll see if any of those suggestions get implemented in Reflect V8 whenever it arrives.)

    But for example, somebody who uses the Restore menu method might at some point say, "All I want to do is change a simple setting for future Diff/Inc backups [like maybe tweak the retention policy], but there doesn't seem to be a way to do that. Why can't Reflect accommodate this simple thing??" Well, it CAN -- if you use Reflect the way it's supposed to be used. But not if you use the "edge case" method as your main method. I've seen this happen, in fact it happened with the person who prompted me to write that Wish List thread. And it's why I tend to recommend that people use applications according to best practices upfront, because if their needs ever get more complicated, the fact that they're already using the application the "right" way means that they'll be more likely to discover how to do what they need later.

    But if your needs are simple and you consider the Restore menu method preferable over having a definition file, then fantastic. Just know that you're not using the application the way it was really intended, and therefore if you find yourself encountering what appears to be a limitation, it might be because of how you're using the application rather than because the application can't do what you want.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2020
  3. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Your points about how to use Macrium’s recommended settings make a lot of sense, I’ve just downloaded ‘Macrium Reflect v. 7.2 user guide’, and it’s a staggering 547 pages to read through. Yes, people might selectively choose the topic they are interested in, but by and large it is a bit intimidating for most people who want a basic knowledge on how to backup and restore an image of their system.

    I know some members here stated they avoided Macrium for its learning curve, the average Joe might find it even more daunting in that respect. What I’m trying to say is that Macrium should have a simplified/no frills user guide to allow simple basic tasks to be carried out even by people with little computer skills, although I must admit most people don’t even care to know what restoring a system means, let alone learning how to do it…
     
  4. aldist

    aldist Registered Member

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    https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/

    When you directly select the type of backup to be created, except for Prompt, there is no way to create a comment to the archive. Perhaps adding a simplified transition to create a comment would be a good solution.
     

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  5. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    I think Reflect is fairly intuitive given its level of capability and flexibility. But it’s pretty capable and flexible, and while good UI design can help keep that manageable, that only goes so far. I think Reflect is clearly a power user app, and I wouldn’t want Reflect to be “dumbed down” to the point that it’s no longer useful for power users. There’s a saying that if you make something totally idiot proof, then only an idiot would want to use it.

    I think image backups and restores are still a somewhat niche/power user function relative to the overall PC user base, and that niche will probably decrease going forward as people sync more of their data and preferences through the cloud and rely more on smartphones, tablets, and Chromebooks for their overall computing. So I personally don’t think it’s unreasonable that Reflect has a more power user-oriented design and documentation style.

    That said, I did write up this Wish List thread on the Macrium forums for an “Easy mode” where the goal was to get as close to the one-click setup of Windows File History as possible, while creating much more comprehensive and powerful backups: https://forum.macrium.com/37534/Easy-mode-backups-ala-Windows-File-History
     
  6. jimminy

    jimminy Registered Member

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    If you use the definition file and set a backup schedule, what happens if the destination drive is a USB external which isn't currently plugged in?

    Does if prompt to plug in, or just silently skip the scheduled backup?

    And how does it check to be sure you've plugged in the right drive, in case you have several drives?
     
  7. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    If a scheduled backup fires and the destination isn't available, then the job fails with an error saying the destination wasn't available, and you'll see a failed job log under the Log tab.

    Reflect doesn't check whether you've plugged in the "right" drive, because it doesn't have a way of knowing what the "right" drive is. Some people send backups to a rotation of multiple disks, for example. By default, Reflect identifies the destination by drive letter. In that mode, if a job is executed, then Reflect will send a backup to whatever volume is assigned that drive letter at that time, or it will fail if nothing is available at that drive letter. It is possible to have Reflect identify targets by unique volume ID, which can help find the "right" destination even if Windows happens to have assigned it a different drive letter, but that's a non-default configuration -- and it also means that if you ever reformat or replace your drive, either of which will result in a new volume ID, then simply assigning that reformatted/replaced drive the same drive letter will not be sufficient for Reflect to start using it.
     
  8. aldist

    aldist Registered Member

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    Assign a permanent letter to the external drive or flash drive using USBDLM (Freeware for private use) https://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbdlm_e.html and the letter will not change when the drive is reconnected and when the computer restarts. I've been using this for several years now.
    P.S.
    Or paid USB Safely Remove / Zentimo xStorage Manager
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  9. jima

    jima Registered Member

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    I am having trouble making a back up usb rescue drive. I am using Mac ref version 7.3. I have an existing usb with win pe 10 that works fine. But I cannot get the spares to work. (I tried 3 other jump drives). The two in question are Kingston drives formatted to fat32. I have tried both pe 10 and the winRE options. When I restart the computer the drives show some activity, but eventually it ends up booting into windows after a period of time. No error codes or anything. Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  10. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Are you using Rescue Media Builder to build to these flash drives or setting them up manually by just copying the Rescue Media file set onto them? If the latter, you could try using the diskpart "clean" command to uninitialize the drive and have Reflect set it up from scratch. Otherwise, some systems seem to have trouble booting from certain flash drives, especially older systems and higher capacity flash drives. I've never delved into it since I've always had a flash drive that worked even if the first one I tried didn't, but this thing does seem to come up sometimes.
     
  11. jima

    jima Registered Member

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    Thank you for responding,
    Yes, using Rescue media builder. Computer is gateway with A6 processor, 7 years old. The one that works is a 1gig kingston, The others are both 8 gig, one a kingston and a Wintec.
    I used diskpart to clean and make both the Wintec and the Kingston 8 gig drives active - still no luck?? I hate to go out and buy another jump drive only to have that not work also.
    Can I ask what brand you are using?
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  12. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    I use SanDisk Ultra Flair flash drives, but they're not available in sizes smaller than 16 GB.
     
  13. jima

    jima Registered Member

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    I just tried a sandisk cruzer glide 32 GB and it also didn't work. I have fast boot and secure boot enabled, but I have tried to disable them to no effect. The 1 GB Kingston works, but if something happens to that - I'm toast. (MS windows 10 borked up my dvd drive on one of the updates somewhere along the line. I didn't notice when because I only used it for loading images, and I haven't done so for a while)

    that's three different drives from 3 different companies. I am lost for ideas.
     
  14. jimminy

    jimminy Registered Member

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    This may be a real long shot, but have you tried creating a 1G partition (or even a little smaller) on these larger drives, formatted to fat32? I guess you have to use fat32 for your uefi bios? I use NTFS, but have a legacy bios. You could also create another partition later for storage, if this works.

    If you try this, it might be best to start fresh with diskpart clean command.

    Probably wont make any difference, but something to try until someone can figure out what's going on.

    I would also worry if I only had one magic flash disk that would boot.
     
  15. jima

    jima Registered Member

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    Yes, thanks, I did use disk manager to make a 1GB partition on the 32 GB sandisk, and I formatted it to fat 32.
    But then I get a message that says "the usb disk does not contain a suitable free space for creation of a new partition. Please shrink the existing volume", when I tried to create the rescue media with Macrium
    I then removed the partition and formated the whole 32 GB drive to fat 32. When I ran the media creator in Macrium, it created the media but wouldn't boot.
     
  16. jimminy

    jimminy Registered Member

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    It almost sounds like rescue media builder is trying to create a partition.

    I'm stumped, but have you tried to do a thorough test of those drives with something like H2testw ? It's possible something is not right.
     
  17. jima

    jima Registered Member

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    well I had been using them to store various files. Diskpart and disk manager seemed to recognize them as good. They work all right but they won't boot. There is activity on the drive after restart that goes on for a while and then eventually it goes to normal boot.
     
  18. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Starting with 7.2, Rescue Media Builder can create suitable partitions, even if that means destructively formatting existing partitions -- after warning you, of course. Suitable means a FAT32 partition of at least 1 GB when multi-boot is enabled, otherwise a FAT32 or NTFS partition if multi-boot is disabled. But I don't know why that prompt would have appeared if a 1GB FAT32 partition already existed, unless maybe the Rescue Media build for that particular system is huge. But even with a fair number of drivers, I can't imagine it being THAT large.
     
  19. jimminy

    jimminy Registered Member

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    Seems strange that it asked to : "Please shrink the existing volume".

    Never mind. I guess it's asking to shrink something so more free space is available to create a new partition, so it's not recognizing the partition he already made.

    It couldn't be that huge, if rescue builder was able to make a working drive on his little 1GB drive. I wonder if those drives could be fakes that actually don't have 32 GB. I've heard of them, but never got burned with one. Testing would rule that out ... either H2testw or fakeflashtest.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    jima,

    Do you have CSM enabled in the BIOS? If so you could be booting the UFD in MBR mode instead of UEFI mode. Are you using the Boot Menu to select the UFD? Do you see two entries for the UFD?
     
  21. aldist

    aldist Registered Member

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    jima
    There must be a solution. If everything is so hopeless, create a USB stick in Ventoy (it will create two partitions on the USB stick, a small bootable one and a large one to hold the ISO). Then just copy macrium.iso to the big partition and you're done. This is a multiboot flash drive, you can copy at least 10 different ISOs of different programs to it.
    Or YUMI. Both options work great for me.
     
  22. jima

    jima Registered Member

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    The rescue media pe10 was around 277mb. the drives I have tried are Kingston 8GB, wintec 8GB, and Sanddisk 32GB

    Brian - what is CSM? I have fast boot and secureboot enabled. boot menu is disabled.

    I was wondering if I were to make an image of the drive that works and write it to one of the other drives if that might work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
  23. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    CSM is compatibility support module. It allows you to boot legacy devices. Intel is supposed to be removing CSM from new motherboards as of this year. When CSM is enabled you see two items in the boot menu for each device. A legacy and a UEFI item. In a uefi system it is better to have CSM disabled.

    UFD is USB Flash drive.

    Fastboot is best left disabled. It only saves a fraction of a second and when it is enabled the bios can skip enumerating devices. I can't see one of my NVMe drives if fastboot is enabled.

    Disable CSM and see if your flash drives boot.

    You don't need to have a partition on the flash drive prior to making a Macrium boot disk. A blank drive will work.

    Secure boot is fine with macrium boot disks.
     
  24. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I don't think macrium can do that. It couldn't a few years ago when I tested. Other imaging apps can do that and the second ufd will work.
     
  25. jima

    jima Registered Member

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    Brian I don't have a csm in my bios - AMD A6

    I imaged the drive that works to two other drives and they will not boot?? This doesn't make sense to me at all
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
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