Where is the cyclic backup feature? (B&R 2010 Free Adv)

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by VanguardLH, Jan 29, 2011.

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  1. VanguardLH

    VanguardLH Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Paragon Backup & Recovery 2010 Free Advanced
    Windows XP Pro SP-3

    I chose Paragon's free offering over Macrium Reflect Free because Paragon supposedly supported differential backups. This would let me save on disk space in the backup location. In the past, I did image backups where:

    Monday @ 5AM: Full image backup
    Tue-Sun @ 5AM: Incremental image backup

    This gave me a full backup each week along with the much smaller incremental backups. Dependence in the chain of backups would involve at most 7 backups: 1 weekly full backup plus 1 to 6 daily incremental backups. Because of the size of the backup location, I usually got just over 3 months worth of backups before the old ones expired and rolled out to make room for new ones.

    I figured with Paragon's free offering that claimed to do differential backups that I could do something similar although quite not as space efficient but, at the same time, more reliable since the backup chain would get reduced to just 1 or 2 backups: 1 weekly full backup plus 1 daily differential backup. I would run the backups as follows:

    Monday @ 5AM: Full image backup
    Tue-Sun @ 5AM: Differential image backup

    I've been reading the manual and playing with the program to get familiar with using it. I see how I can scheduled the full backups. The problem is with scheduling the differential backups. When defining a differential backup task, I am required to select a full backup against which the differential will be based. Well, that's definitely not doable with regard to scheduled backups. After several weeks or months of scheduled backups, I would end up with one really ancient full backup and tons of differential backups. If the single full backup (on which all the differentials were based) got corrupted, deleted, or otherwise unusable, all those differentials would be worthless. Eventually there would be so many changes made to the partition over that time that the differentials could end up larger in size than is the full backup. Despite just requiring 2 backups (full+differential) to do a restore, the excessive time difference between the full backup and the last differential backup would make fragile this backup chain.

    According to the PDF manual, starting on page 86, there is a cyclic backup option. Says it should be under the "Wizards > Backup Utilities > Cyclic
    Backup..." menu. No such selection exists. According to some other posts that I've read (ex., https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=284207), the cyclic backup feature is included in this product. From another post (https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=280808), the "Advanced" version may be misnamed as features available in the prior version included cyclic backups; that is, Advanced became a crippled version of the earlier version. Yes, maybe I could go back to the older version but then I'd be stuck with that old version with no possibility to get updates, plus I would be returning to a product that probably had bug fixes addressed in the later version.

    If cyclic backups were removed from the so-called "Advanced" version then I have no use for it. If I wanted to get stuck doing only full image backups scheduled every day and quickly eat up my backup location's disk space, I probably would've first looked at Macrium Reflect Free.

    Does B&R 2010 Free Advanced have cyclic backups? If so, where do I find it in the menus or wizards? If I go by the comparison table at https://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/comparison.html, cyclic backups are even mentioned yet the user manual for this product says it has the cyclic backup feature.

    Without cyclic backups or a means to emulate them so daily scheduled differential backups are based on the last full scheduled backup, this trial of the free "Advanced" version is over. The manual I read before installing the product says it does cyclic backups. The prior version had cyclic backups. If this got removed then "Advanced" is fraudulent as it is deliberately misleading.

    In addition, I see from the description of cyclic backups in the user manual but missing in the actual product that I can only specify the maximum number of backups. There is no automatic expiration of old backups by date or by free space (to ensure new backups have room to get stored in the backup location). So the user either has to hope that all the specified max number of backups fits in the free space for the backup location or they wait until error messages get puked out by the product due to lack of free space. Yes, this is a free product but not looking good as a backup solution with complete lack of management of backups in the backup location.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  2. VanguardLH

    VanguardLH Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Posts:
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    I found a download of prior free version, Backup & Recovery 10 Free Edition, and installed that (after uninstalling Backup & Recovery 2010 Free Advanced). It had the cyclic backup option. Yet now I wonder if it has much value in that it appears to generate a fragile backup chain.

    When I go through the cyclic wizard to define a backup, I want to use differentials to reduce the time and size for the backups. So I select Differential for the backup type. This means the first backup will be a full backup because there isn't one against which to compare yet for the differentials. After that, the backups will be differentials. Sounds good until you start to think about the backup chain that this creates.

    First differential will end up being a full backup.
    Every differential thereafter will base itself on this ONE backup.

    As week, months, or possibly years elapsed under this cyclic backup scheme, the full backup gets older and older. Eventually the differentials may even exceed the size of the full backup on which they are based. You end up with a backup chain that is only 2 backups in length - the full and 1 differential - but they are far apart in the dates on which they were performed. Also, over time you will have lots of differentials but only one full backup on which to base those differentials. That means if the full backup becomes unusable that all those days, weeks, and years of differential backups also become unusable. If one backup is gone, they're all gone. Not a smart setup.

    When using the cyclic backup wizard, the choices are a basic (full) backup and differential backups (where the 1st one will be a full backup). Is the user supposed to run through the cyclic backup wizard twice? Once to define the basic (full) backup and then again to define the differentials that will be based off the basic backup? Unless going through twice is how you use this wizard, I see no means of emulating the grandfather-father-son backup scheme where I have multiple full backups that extend back in time with differentials based on each of those full backups. That is, in my schedule, I'd like a full backup each week along with daily differentials during that week, and this repeats the next weak but WITHOUT wiping out my prior full+differential backup set.
     
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