Miscellaneous Macrium v6 questions

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by n8chavez, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Posts:
    2,304
    Location:
    Location Unknown
    A previous thread of mine, which I started to talk about alternatives to ax64, began to veer towards the topic of macrium version 6 and it's RDR feature. As this was not the intended topic of the thread, I thought it best to create another one that was focused solely on macrium.

    I admit I am interested in macrium and what it has to offer, specifically in relation to its RDR features, and whether or not that means I no longer have have a"rollback" application on my system. I am using an SSD, so not needing to restore everythign all the time is important to me. Macrium also will allow me to create script files, which allows for automation. However, I will just on the subject. Let me describe what I would wish to accomplish.

    1). I would schedule that a full system image be created weekly, keeping a maximum of four full images.
    2.) I would also schedule incremental images to be created every other day, keeping a maximum of three incremental images (since full system images are created every other week three would be all I would need).

    Does that make sense, or am I missing something? If I needed to restore information from the incremental image, would that be possible using RDR? Using RDR I would be able to only restore sectors that have been altered altered, correct?

    Also, for my purposes, it would be useful to me to be able to have the ability to name backup images in a way that makes more logical sense then current naming conventions allow. Right now, it is recommended that we use {imageid} to name our backups. But, that doesn't make much sense. Is there a way you have created images use the below naming convention?

     
  2. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    Your knowledge of RDR is correct, but your 1, 2 description above is strange. You mention taking FULL images weekly then mention every other day INCREMENTALs since FULLs would be created every other week... something missing there :)

    A good example of capability would be what I use... a FULL every 4-weeks (keeping a MAX of 2), a DIFFERENTIAL weekly and rolling daily INCREMENTALS. The INCREMENTALs are limited to (7) and merge forward in time as a group of (7), that way they cover the most recent 7-days. As each FULL is purged (after the 3rd one is taken), all dependent DIFFERENTIALs on that FULL automatically get deleted. So the DIFFs take care of themselves, the monthly FULLs are always kept at 2, and I have the most recent week of INCs to fall back on. This is what they call a GFS (Grandfather/Father/Son) schema and works very well for me.

    I also run a separate schema primarily for snapshotting (Rollbacking?). That one takes a FULL followed by whatever # of incrementals you wish to manage (in the near future you will be able to specify the time line in hours/days/<whatever>). When that number is reached, the FULL is merged forward in time so I always have a time envelope equal to whatever # of snapshots I wish to deal with. These schemas are all programmable and can be made to do whatever you want. I use this schema exactly like I would use Rollback RX... taking snaps right before major/dangerous/unknown system work so I can easily, using RDR, go back if needed. I affectionately call it TARANTULA MODE 'cause it crawls along a baseline as needed. This one is not an automatic schema... all snapshots are taken manually. Using a desktop shortcut setup for the operation, it can open a window allowing you to select the type of image you wanna take (FULL, DIFF or INC) and also COMMENT that particular snapshot. This is very useful when taking manual snaps to identify where you came from or where you're going with the work (ie, "post <or pre> MicroSloth updates," "Program 'X' Test," etc.)

    Each schema limits itself as far as how much data it takes, keeping my storage requirements for backup very predictable.

    If you're using an SSD for your System partition, recent snap returns ("rollbacks") are very quick, although not as quick as Rollback RX... definitely as speedy as AX64 WARM restore was (when I last used it).

    Sure! Just uncheck that option and use your own FileName (below that option)... REFLECT will add the trailing sub-string that it requires for sequencing purposes.

    Example: instead of using the ImageID and having RELEECT create the necessary sub-strings for management like "9AA7E2B76469C709-00-00"... you can unCHECK that option and in the "Backup" field below enter "Partiution C." When you do that, the imaging FileName name now becomes "Partition C-00-00."

    The reason they reccomend ImageIDs is so you never get more than one backup set using the same name (this becomes difficult for them to manage and a real conflict when searching around for backup sets). As long as you use unique Backup names, there will be no difference in the operation of the application.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  3. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Posts:
    2,304
    Location:
    Location Unknown
    Yeah. I think I got confused between incremental and differential imaging. I have altered my scripts to reflect differential instead.
    :)

    That actually seems like that back up scheme would work well for me also. Just so that I am clear, are you saying that differential and or incremental images automatically get deleted if their respective full image is deleted via script? That obviously is not going to be anything surprising, as the incremental/differential images are no longer needed at that moment. It would just be nice to know what is actually happening with these files.

    Macrium version six as the ability to merge images? That feature was not mentioned anywhere.

    I am using and SSD. What strange thing I noticed is that macrium reflect version 6 actually takes longer to him and drive than my previous imaging program, drive snapshot. Macrium takes six minutes to image my system drive, and results in a file slightly larger, then drive snapshot, which takes four minutes.The restore function on both of these programs uses about the same amount of time as image creation.

    Interesting. I assume the reasoning for the default naming conventions, is so that the filename would be unique and therefore don't override other files. Is that right? If we know that the xx-yy sequence is used to differentiate images; 00-00 for full images, and, say 01-01 for differentials. That being the case, when I checked the option increase the chances of common file names thus overwriting one with the other? Given the fact that these images have the potential to be created on schedule and via script that seems like a likely scenario. I still think it would be better to allow the user to autoname their files something like "%drive% - %date% - %time% -" and then allow for the 00-00 conventions. That would make it easier for the user to know right away when image was created and what drives that image is of.

    One of the things that has bothered me is the fact that macrium eliminates users ability to image USB drives. I've never seen another program do that before. I can't understand what the advantages to disallowing something like that would be. I am a college professor and I learned very early on to keep backups and; every assignment, every submission, every email, every grading spreadsheet, etc. I go between home and the office very frequently, thus I use my USB drive almost on an hourly basis. While it's true users can use macrium copy files from a USB drive to a mrbak file, that process can take about 23 minutes whereas imaging my USB drive typically takes about 3.5 minutes. I wish macrium would reverse course on that decision.
     
  4. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Posts:
    415
    Yes - it either merges the baseline with the first existing incremental, or the first existing incremental with the second (depending on whether you have Synthetic Full ticked or not). It does it immediately before/after each incremental.

    FWIW this means that each incremental effectively takes more time to create. It also leads to more fragmentation on the target drive, and I suspect internal fragmentation of the resultant file following the merge.

    I use a similar GFS to the above with hourly incrementals, but instead of keeping 7 of them I instead keep 2 days' worth. This results in the incrementals never getting merged, and therefore less fragmentation on the backup drive and no possible internal file fragmentation which I think might slow down restores.
     
  5. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    Yep. INCs may be children on the most recent FULL, DIFF or INC, depending on which is the most recent. Based on that, INCs may parent INCs, DIFFs may parent INCs and FULLs may parent INCs and DIFFs. When the parent is deleted (manually or automatically based on RETENTION RULES), all the children of those go bye-bye.
    It supports (2) MERGE modes depending on the INC ONLY Retention Rule setup. If the "Create a synthetic FULL is possible" function is selected, when REFLECT reaches the max # of INCs configured, the entire timeline, FULL and all its INCs start crawling forward in time each time another INC is taken. If that same function is not selected, when the INCs reach their selected count, the FULL remains locked in time on the time line and the INCs merge forward in time.
    Macrium's image compression is not "world ruling" so it does take a bit more time than some other imagers. It's imaging process includes a full FileSystem check (like a mini CheckDsk), its check for FileSystem differences, and a full validation check of the image following its creation... these processes are all part of the imaging timeslot unless the user disables them. I don't know if DS does all that same stuff or not.
    With personal naming, when the different scripts are setup, the user should be using different folders for their results. When you do this, there are no issues. If they forget, sure enough identical names may be created. Since I didn't test what REFLECT will do in this scenarion, I have no idea how it will react. My guess is that since the same name is being used, each separate script will be adding appropriate images to the master name... which is probably not what the user wants. If the scripts have different directives associated with them (one is just the System partition, the other being all the BOOT partitions), REFLECT will surely complain about the whole mess.
    I think that will change. The biggest issue to date with UFDs is the fact that many of the drive models changed their Device Discovery to being a FIXED DISK rather than a REMOVABLE DISK after W8.1 came out with "Windows To Go." With those discovery types, imagers don't really know what they're dealing with. I'm sure it'll all get sorted out along the way.
     
  6. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Posts:
    2,304
    Location:
    Location Unknown
    How exactly can you set macrium up so that places different backup sets in different folders? I would love to do this via script is possible?

    Also, what are your thoughts on AOMEI Backupper Pro? It seems to have a very similar feature set to macrium reflect version 6 , home edition. They both allow for automation, incremental and differential images, Restoring to dissimilar hardware, cloning, PE disc, etc. My reason for asking is, in addition to being a little bit cheaper, I can get it for half the price of macrium home edition, and also allows users to install and use the software on two different systems, whereas macrium only allows for one. I have a laptop which I would like to protected using imaging software as well. Would I be able to use the macrium reflect PE disc on a system on which the software is not installed?

    Is AOMEI Backupper Pro comparable to macrium reflect home edition?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  7. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    Scripts (Powershell & VBS) are based on BACKUP DEFINITIONS. When you start a backup process, the first window that appears is this "Disk Image" window...

    upload_2015-8-21_7-26-5.png

    In the "Destination" section above, you define where you want the backup images from this "definition" placed... that's where you change your image target. As you complete this multi-window process, the last thing thats's asked of you is in the following window...

    upload_2015-8-21_7-30-45.png

    The first CheckBox is obvious (when you're taking the 1st backup in the definition), the second CheckBox is important if you want to save this backup definition and refer to it later in any scripts you may set up. Use the NAME field and the BROWSE button following it to determine where you would like to save your backup definitions. The DEFAULT definition area is on your System partition... not really a good idea if you like to do reversions. If you've made any new definitions or modified existing ones, the next time you revert to a previous time point, all that info is gone. I keep my definitions on a partition that I rarely image (I do replicate those definitions with my FILE backup sopftware, though).

    It's these definitions that you can create PowerShell, VBS or even Desktop Shortcuts from by using the "Backup/Backup Definition Files" TAB, selecting the definition you've created, then using the appropriate tool on the ToolBar to do your thing. Like I mentioned, I have a simple DeskTop shortcut that automatically selects one of my definitions then offers me the ability to do a FULL, DIFF, INC or PROMPT (special offering letting me pick the image type and COMMENT it prior to taking the image... which I find very useful during my "snapshot" operations.
    I tested it once and it was generally fine... others in this group will most likely comment on its ease of use.

    Yes, the Macrium Recovery may be used on any system... as long as it contains the disk drivers necessary to do the job. If you try and use it on some strange RAID configuration or some system whose disk subsystem can't function with MicroSloth generic drivers, it will most likely not work. If the Recovery Media was created on that unique system, REFLECT will do its best to include the necessary proprietary drivers in the created Recovery Media.

    I think AOMEI's feature set is close to Macrium's, and if all you need is good imaging, it should suffice. I chose Macrium due to my large need for quick restores (RDR)... I am an old time Rollback RX user and do a lot of "rollbacking" in my system travels, standard imaging is just not fast enough for my needs (too many reversions... too often :) ).

    One other quick note... there is no more Reflect HOME edition with v6. They have WORKSTATION, SERVER and SERVER+ all have the same feature set ('cept SERVER+ does special things with Database servers and Exchange servers). The major feature sets are the same for all, the SUPPORT model is what's different.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  8. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Posts:
    2,304
    Location:
    Location Unknown
    Oh. So there's no way to accomplish this naming scheme using automation? It needs to be done manually? That's a shame. But, that's not necessarily a dealbreaker for me.


    Yeah.... The short version is that AOMEI is a comparative P.O.S. it might have similar features as macrium reflect, however ease-of-use, polish, and any remnants of intelligence are not to be found.

    AOMEI has the ability to create and restore incremental and differential images. However, it has no RDR-like functions. This means that the entire image is restored every time, not just the changes. There is also no context menu integration on disk drives, nor is there integration into the Windows the application system. Without that users will not know when it is creating an image. I find that knowing that backup images are being created kind of reassuring. However, to its credit, there are two features that AOMEI has that macrium reflect currently lacks. The former can image flash drives and SD cards, whereas the latter cannot. AOMEI was also able to recognize all of my networking hardware, and include all of their drivers into their version of a WinPE restore disc..

    It's not worth it to me to save roughly $30 when the functionality of the alternative is not up to par. I will however notify macrium of the deals offered by the competition and hope they can offer some sort of coupon.

    Okay. I was just wondering if there were any legal constraints because macrium states that a license is valid for only one system. But you're saying, even given that information, that's the Windows PE disc can be used on any system I own. Is that correct?

    Are you sure about that?

    macrium.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  9. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Posts:
    2,304
    Location:
    Location Unknown
    I was able to receive a 20% off coupon from macrium. It's not as cheap as AOMEI, but it's something.

    5BP-X6K-CBK
     
  10. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    I stand corrected on a HOME version. When the product was released in February, no HOME version was available and I have no idea when it became available. The price is the same as the WORKSTATION version.

    20% OFF isn't bad at all for this product.

    We've talked extensively with Support folks in the Macrium Support Forum and there's never been a mention of the PE being illegal to use on other platforms... they've said it will work just fine with the appropriate limitations.. The PE version of the product is very basic and only contains the ability to do FULLs, DIFFs and INCs. It has no definition structure or scheduling capability but does support RDR and TRIM upon restoration... it's a bare bones version of REFLECT's capability. And as mentioned earlier, it won't have anything other than generic MicroSloth driver capability for those "special" systems unless it's created on that system with a licensed version of REFLECT.
     
  11. Carver

    Carver Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Posts:
    1,827
    Location:
    USA
    I recently got the Home Edition and I did the V5 to V6 upgrade and got 50% off, the first thing I did was redo the rescue media USB pe 5.0 w/bitlocker and add the Boot Menu option
     
  12. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Posts:
    2,304
    Location:
    Location Unknown
  13. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
  14. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Posts:
    1,044
    Froggie, just wondering how much space you require on your 2nd HD to store these images? Obviously this depends on the size of the OS being imaged but can you give me a rough idea as to the factor of storage you need to incorporate this schedule?
     
  15. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    Beethoven, it's a 101gB partition with appx. 57gB in use. This schema runs from 2-Fulls, 3-DIFFs & 7-INCs to 2-FULLs, 6-DIFFs and 7-INCs. The INCs are averaging about 850mB/day and the DIFFs are averaging about 3.5gB/week.

    The total space required at this point in the current cycle (2-FULLs, 6-Diffs & 7-INCs) is 97.8gB.

    Hope that helps...
     
  16. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Posts:
    1,044
    Thank you - I am thinking of switching to Macrium on my main rig and that info certainly is helpful.
     
  17. shmu26

    shmu26 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2015
    Posts:
    242
    I have a macrium reflect v6 system image job, it runs on a schedule, it makes incrementals once a day.
    Can I schedule it to run every hour, thus turning it into a "time machine" of sorts?
    And is this a bad idea for some reason?
    For instance, maybe a long chain of incrementals like that is not reliable?
     
  18. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Posts:
    5,078
    For me that would be my biggest concern.
    Also how big are you incrementals? If you don't make system changes all the time then maybe adding new incremental every hour is not necessary. I don't use my computer while I'm on work and I don't see a need to make 10 or more incrementals while noting really happened on my system. For me once a day is more than enough.
     
  19. shmu26

    shmu26 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2015
    Posts:
    242
    I tend to try out different programs, and to change settings on existing programs, so I like to be able to fall back to an untampered state if necessary.
     
  20. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    No, I don't consider it a "bad" idea... but, of course, the more files you have making up a backup chain, statistically there just may be nore of chance for a file failure. Given that, I know of many users that have 2-mo worth of daily incrementals (and 1-FULL every 60-days) in their chain and they run just fine.

    With some work, you can create an AX64-like hourly incremental set. You need to EDIT your existing definition file and add 23 additional DAILY incremental schedules, each at a different time other then the one you already have. You then need to edit your INC retention schedule and set it to the number of DAYs you would like those hourly INCs to stay around. Reflect will automatically MERGE them forward as part of the retention mgmt function (AUTOMATIC Incremental Merge). This will give you your HOURLY INCs and will limit their numbers as well. What you WILL NOT be able to do is MANUAL Merging of any of those INCs... that feature is not available yet in the product.

    An HOURLY scheduling option has been requested of Macrium as well as an auxiliary application to accomplish MANUAL Merging of the backup chain... so fear not, those functions will be coming. In the meantime, the above suggestion should suffice.

    As far as needing HOURLY INCs for what you describe above, I use MANUAL snaps for all that testing without issue. I've created a simple DeskTop ShortCut that I run just before any app/settings change testing... like I used to do with AX64. It's done based on the same definition as you currently use and generates INCs within that chain. If it's too difficult to remember to do that, your above HOURLY setup should work just fine.
     
  21. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Posts:
    415
    Personally, to avoid the restore slow down that comes with long chains, I do a full every week, and a differential every day. Then with the hourly incrementals I set it to keep 2 days' worth - this seems to limit the merging to once per day instead of hourly. I also have it keep 2 fulls in order to avoid being without any incrementals when the week rolls over. Not ideal, but until Macrium offers us more control it's the most workable solution I've found.
     
  22. shmu26

    shmu26 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2015
    Posts:
    242
    @TheRollbackFrog, thanks! and I kinda like that desktop shortcut idea. I never even noticed it existed in macrium reflect, until now.
     
  23. shmu26

    shmu26 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2015
    Posts:
    242
    if you make a differential, so the subsequent increments refer back to the differential, correct?
     
  24. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    That is correct.
     
  25. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Posts:
    3,052
    Location:
    The Pond - USA
    If you use the manual shortcut idea, you should use the PROMPT option rather than the INC option. This will allow you to select the INC during the manual operation as well as comment the snapshot. I've found this very useful when trying to determine what the reason for the snapshot was to begin with :doubt:
     
Loading...