Some help with Macrium Reflect, please

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by jadinolf, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    I have been using Macrium Reflect FREE for years and have found it very reliable but have a question which has puzzled me for a long time.
    I am presently using the the current version 7.1.3317.
    Now the question: When I go to "Backup Definition Files" and delete the oldest backup it also deletes the file on my external drive. I like this feature but it only occurs on one of my 5 computers.
    I've been trying to compare my settings between the computer that does it and the others and can't find the difference. That's why I finally decided to come to you knowledgeable folks for help.Any ideas what I am missing?
    Thanks
     
  2. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    @jadinolf- it sounds like when you say "oldest backup," you are referring to an oldest backup definition file, yes (that's all you can delete from that TAB)? If so, whenever you try and delete a definition file, it usually asks if you also want to delete the definition file itself as well as the definition access on your "Backup Definition" TAB. If you want it gone, just add a CHECK in the CheckBox offered in the DELETE widow offered. When you do t his, the actual XML file source is deleted as well (not just its access in the "definition" TAB.
     
  3. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply but that doesn't do it. I just tried it on two nearby computers and the box is checked already. Deleting the file does not delete it on the external drive.
    I appreciate the post but the puzzle continues.:)
     

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  4. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Judging by the definition file naming in your screenshot, it looks like you're creating a new definition file for each backup you create and might therefore be expecting that deleting the definition file will delete the backup that it created. That latter part won't happen because the former part isn't really how it's meant to work. The expectation is that you define a particular job by stepping through the wizard, e.g. "Capture an image of these partitions, save the file at this location, use this encryption, etc.", and then you'll check the "Save as XML" option at the very end. That creates your definition file that describes that job. Going forward, whenever you want to run that particular job, you would simply right-click the definition file and click Run Now -- or you could create a schedule to run that job on a regular basis. You don't need or really want to create a new definition file for each instance of the same backup job.

    If you are trying to delete actual backups, go to the Restore tab where your actual backups should be listed (if not, click the "Folders to search" link and add the folder that contains the backups of interest), then you can select any backup and select Other Actions > Delete. These are two separate actions because definition files and backups are different things. Sometimes you may want to delete a definition file if you don't need to run a particular backup anymore, but you may still want to keep the backups previously generated by that job. Other times you may want to delete certain backups generated by a job without deleting the entire job itself because you want to keep using it for future backups.

    If you already understood those distinctions and that still doesn't account for the behavior you're seeing, then still looking at your screenshot, notice that when you chose to delete a definition file, Reflect is looking at a definition file stored in your user profile's Documents folder, not on an external hard drive, which would be why it's not taking any action on the file you're looking at in the latter location. Again, the definition file is just a tiny XML file that contains settings for a particular backup job, not the actual backup file, and the two do NOT need to be stored together, in fact they generally shouldn't be (more on that below). If you are in fact intentionally storing definition files on your external hard drive and are wondering why they're not being deleted, then it's possible that the definition file you're looking at on your external drive isn't the same as the file that's "registered" under Reflect's Backup Definition Files tab and that the screenshot is pointing to. In that case, you should make absolutely sure that any scheduled backups are in fact calling the definition file that you think they are, which you can verify by looking at the Scheduled Backups tab in Reflect. I recently helped someone in the Macrium forums who couldn't figure out why their retention policy changes weren't having any effect, and the reason was that their Windows scheduled task was calling Definition File A (which wasn't even shown in Reflect), and he was editing Definition File B, which was shown in Reflect but wasn't actually being used by anything. Needless to say, if the user had been making changes to things like encryption (or encryption passwords), confusion about what the user was configuring vs. what Reflect was actually using could have had very severe consequences.

    In terms of where to store definition files, Reflect defaults to storing them in your Documents folder rather than with your backups, and in general you should stick to that, for a few reasons. First, you don't need your definition files to perform restores, so there's no real reason to store them with the backup files themselves. Second, for people who use disk rotations, storing definition files with the backups (rather than on the PC itself) would require a copy to exist on each disk in the rotation, which would become cumbersome to maintain especially when you wanted to change any settings. And lastly, the Documents folder tends to be more locked down than the average external hard drive folder, and since the definition file can store sensitive information like email addresses and backup encryption passwords (albeit usually in encrypted form), you generally don't WANT your definition file to be stored with your backups. Having them in a less locked down location also technically makes them more vulnerable to malicious alteration by some other user, although that may not be a real risk in your case. Still, in general you should store definition files on your PC, not with your backups.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  5. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    Thank you very much for this excellent post.
    I am extremely busy with other things right now but I want to let you know that I am aware of it and will read it and get back to you.
    Yes, I am aware of the files in the document folder but when I delete the oldest backup which I do prior to backup and go to my files on my external drive, that oldest backup has been removed. A mystery? YES!
    I have Macrium Reflect on 5 computers and this is the only computer that does that.
    I'll be back and many thanks for taking the time to make this post. I really appreciate it.
     
  6. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    You're welcome, feel free to follow up after you've had time to read that. But with respect to your sentence, "Yes, I am aware of the files in the document folder but when I delete the oldest backup which I do prior to backup and go to my files on my external drive, that oldest backup has been removed. A mystery? YES!" -- no, that's not a mystery at all. If you delete the oldest backup, then the oldest backup will be removed from your hard drive.
     
  7. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    Must clarify a few things.
    I am not trying to delete the files in "Documents" (file1)
    I delete the file in Backup definition file.(File3)
    Then the external hard drive (file2)
    I'm sorry- I'm making a mess of this.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  8. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    The files in the Documents folder (file_1.jpg) are the definition files (file_2.jpg). Those are one and the same, so I'm not sure what you mean when you say you "delete the file in Backup definition file" but that you are "not trying to delete the files in Documents". If you choose to delete a definition file from the Backup Definition Files tab and leave that "delete the definition file from the hard drive" checkbox checked, then the file in the Documents folder will also get deleted, whether you're trying to do that or not. If you uncheck that option, then you're just deleting the listing for that file from the Backup Definition Files tab without deleting the file itself. You'd only do that if you just don't want to see that definition file within Reflect anymore but wanted to keep the file for future use, sort of like removing a song from your music library without deleting the music itself.

    The files on your external hard drive (file_3.jpg) will not get deleted no matter what you do in the Backup Definition Files tab. (Note: It looks like your post mixed up file2 and file3. File2 is the Reflect definition files tab view, and File3 is your external hard drive, but you referred to them backwards.)

    And again, you really shouldn't be creating separate definition files each time you run a backup. It's unnecessary and only creates clutter and confusion. Make a definition file once for the backup job you want to run in terms of partitions, destination, etc., then keep that file and perform subsequent iterations of that job by just right-clicking that definition file and selecting "Run Now". I've attached my own set of definition files as a reference. I run each of these jobs on a regular basis, but I only have one definition file per job, not one per instance of every job. Not only will you save time this way by avoiding going through the backup wizard to create the same definition file over and over again (and then deleting them later), but things will probably make more sense if you use Reflect as intended. :)
     

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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  9. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    The whole point of this thread is that when I delete the backup in Reflect on that one computer, the file on my external drive gets deleted. My question is why it only happens on this one computer.
    I have checked for differences between the Reflect options on my computers and could find nothing.
    The only way I can convince a person is to invite him/her over to see it.
    Yes, it is strange.
    For the record, I never touch the files in Documents.
     
  10. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Ok, I think the confusion here might be your terminology. In multiple posts, including your most recent one, you talk about deleting "backups" -- but you're also talking about looking at the Backup Definition Files tab within Reflect. The items listed under the Backup Definition Files tab are not backups; they are definition files, specifically the files in your Documents folder. It is not possible to delete backups from the Backup Definition Files tab. But if you are in fact deleting an actual backup from within Reflect by going to the Restore tab, then the backup file on your external hard drive should get deleted -- that is normal behavior, because that is after all what deleting a backup means.

    At this point I think the only way to get any further traction would be for you to provide either a detailed text-based description or perhaps even a YouTube video that explains exactly what you're doing on your system -- step by step, click by click -- and then explain what actually happens at the end of that sequence and what you expected would happen (or what happens on other PCs). Right now it's too confusing to follow what you're saying.
     
  11. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    Well, my process is to go to Reflect and delete the oldest backup.
    Then, I go to my file manager and delete that file on my external drive.
    Then, I image the disk.
    Been doing it for years.
    Because I am a strange old guy, I run two different backup programs. Yes, I have two different external drives.
    Works for me.:)
     
  12. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    When you say that you go to Reflect and "delete the oldest backup", what exactly are you doing? Again, step by step, click by click. If you were actually deleting a backup from within Reflect, then the backup file on your external hard drive wouldn't still be there in your file manager (unless maybe the file manager view doesn't refresh properly). If the file IS still there on your external hard drive, then obviously whatever you did in Reflect didn't actually "delete the oldest backup".

    It really sounds like you're still confusing backup definition files and actual backups.
     
  13. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    OK, Go to Reflect " Backup Definition Files" and delete the oldest backup
    Then go to my File Manager (Xyplorer) and delete the file on the external Drive.
    Then Back to Reflect and to "Create a Backup"
    Then "Image this Disk"
    Backups take from less than 5 minutes to a little over 7 minutes depending on the computer.
     
  14. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    Remember, deleting the file from Reflect to the external drive only happens on the one computer that prompted this thread in the first place.
    I'm thinking of donating it to the Smithsonian.:D
     
  15. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Ok, you're still not understanding the difference between a backup and a definition file. Once more, if you're looking at the Backup Definition Files tab, you are not deleting "the oldest backup". The only thing you can delete under Backup Definition Files are definition files. In your own file_2 screenshot you posted earlier, look at the names of the files under that tab and the path. Note that all of the names for the items under Backup Definition Files end in XML and all of the file paths point to your Documents folder. Backup files end in MRIMG and are located in your case on your external hard drive. If you're expecting that deleting something from the Backup Definition Files tab will also delete an MRIMG file from your external hard drive, that will never happen because that's not what's supposed to happen. You are simply not in the correct place within Reflect to actually delete backups; you are deleting definition files. If you want to delete something from within Reflect that will cause an MRIMG file on your external hard drive to be deleted, you have to go to the Restore tab, where your actual backups are listed, and from there you can select Other Actions > Delete file.

    And once again, if you simply reused an existing definition file, you could save yourself the effort of having to go to "Create a Backup > Image this disk" and step through the wizard each time you wanted to perform a backup. The entire point of having definition files is so that you can go through that wizard once and then just rerun that saved definition file every time you want a new backup. See attached screenshot.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  16. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    You are absolutely right jphugman. I have never in my life even looked at the restore portion of the program.

    I just went there and see where I can delete the backup.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    It is very much appreciated.
     
  17. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Well consider yourself fortunate if you've never had to restore anything! :)

    Going forward though, do consider just keeping a single definition file if you always want to back up the same data in the same way. Here's an explanation that may help you understand. When you step through the wizard that appears when you o to "Create a Backup > Image this disk", you specify a bunch of preferences -- what partition(s) to back up, where to store the image file, whether to use encryption, compression, email notifications, etc. At the end of that wizard, Reflect gives you two checkboxes. One asks if you want to run the job you just configured immediately, and another asks whether you want to save the preferences you just specified as an XML definition file. The items you see under the Backup Definition Files tab are those XML files that contain a bunch of saved preferences. Think of the XML definition file as a configuration file -- you can even view its contents by opening it in Notepad. Its primary purpose is to allow scheduled backups to occur, because when Reflect is called by a scheduled task, Reflect first basically asks, "Hi there, what do you want me to do?" By having an XML definition file (which the scheduled task specifies as a parameter in the command line), the answer to that question becomes, "Perform a backup according to the preferences that I previously configured and saved in this definition file." Here's the thing: Even if you don't perform scheduled backups, if you regularly back up the same source partition(s) to the same destination folder and use the same settings for compression, encryption, email notification, etc., then you don't need to go through that wizard every single time to tell Reflect all of those preferences over and over again. Instead, just keep one of those definition files around, and whenever you want to run a backup, go to the Backup Definition Files tab, right-click it, and select Run Now. Reflect will immediately create a new backup according to the settings you want. Easier and less error-prone than going through the wizard every single time, right?

    If for some reason you still don't want to do that, then you can at least save yourself some time and cleanup effort by unchecking the "Save as XML" checkbox at the end of the "Create a Backup" wizard. If you never go back and reuse a definition files for a future backup job, then there's absolutely no point to saving your wizard selections as an XML file for future use, so you may as well not generate them in the first place and save yourself the effort of deleting them later after never having used them. Instead, just go through the wizard and leave only the "Run now" checkbox checked. You'll still get your backup.
     
  18. jadinolf

    jadinolf Registered Member

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    Once again, thank you very much for sharing your expertise. :)
     
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