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Windows 7: Macrium Free vs Macrium Pay

22 Sep 2013   #11

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mark Phelps View Post
I upgraded to the Pro version for the "restore to dissimilar hardware" feature -- which, to me, was worth the price difference over Standard.
Yes that feature is worth having.

Paragon has the same kind of thing - it is better imo as it can get any system booting, even if restored by a different imaging program. You can point it at the drive after a restore. As far as I know, the others only work during their own restore process. It also has a handy feature to reset the os drive letter, sometimes other imaging programs don't correct that properly, also useful after copying one os partition to another.

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22 Sep 2013   #12

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
I use free Macrium since years and never felt a need for the pro version. I find incremental or even differential images to be of little value (especially in light of today's cheap HDD space) and make only full images that are much easier to manage and less risky. And the extra time it takes for a full image does not bother me either because I run my images in the background whilst I am doing other work.
I vaguely remember reading that incremental & differential backups may ruin the integrity of the image (or something along those lines). Does this have any truth to it?
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22 Sep 2013   #13

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

No. The base image is not touched. The problem, if any, lies in there being more than one image file involved in any restore which can reduce the integrity. In this respect incremental images are more problematic than differential because there are more files involved. A problem with any one of them makes later elements in the incremental chain useless. A differential has only two files reducing the exposure to corruption.
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22 Sep 2013   #14

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by spencer1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
I use free Macrium since years and never felt a need for the pro version. I find incremental or even differential images to be of little value (especially in light of today's cheap HDD space) and make only full images that are much easier to manage and less risky. And the extra time it takes for a full image does not bother me either because I run my images in the background whilst I am doing other work.
I vaguely remember reading that incremental & differential backups may ruin the integrity of the image (or something along those lines). Does this have any truth to it?
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
No. The base image is not touched. The problem, if any, lies in there being more than one image file involved in any restore which can reduce the integrity. In this respect incremental images are more problematic than differential because there are more files involved. A problem with any one of them makes later elements in the incremental chain useless. A differential has only two files reducing the exposure to corruption.
To expand on kado897's response, an even bigger danger than corruption with multiple files is having a file get lost. With differential images, all one needs is the last full image and the latest differential image of the last full image to ensure a successful restoration. With incremental images, one must have the last full image and every incremental image made after the last full image to be able to do a successful restoration. The more incremental images between the last full image, the higher the likelihood of one getting lost (or corrupted, as kado897 pointed out).

Differential images are of all the changes in data—additions, deletions, modifications—made since the last full image was made. The advantage of differential images is they are faster to make since they only include the data that has changed since the last full image was made and one only needs the last full image and one differential image to restore a drive to the date of that differential image. The disadvantage is each new differential image takes longer to make than previous differential image since all changes in data since the last full image are being included in the differential image.

Incremental images are of all the changes made since the last image was made, be it the last full image or the last incremental image. The advantage of incremental images are each one is faster to make since it only includes the latest data changes and will not keep increasing in size and the time to make them. This can be a huge savings in time and storage space if one has a very large drive being imaged. The disadvantage of incremental images is you have to have every image between the last full image and the incremental image being restored to have a successful restoration. This can become a nightmare if one goes very long between full images.
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22 Sep 2013   #15

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post

To expand on kado897's response, an even bigger danger than corruption with multiple files is having a file get lost. With differential images, all one needs is the last full image and the latest differential image of the last full image to ensure a successful restoration. With incremental images, one must have the last full image and every incremental image made after the last full image to be able to do a successful restoration. The more incremental images between the last full image, the higher the likelihood of one getting lost (or corrupted, as kado897 pointed out).

Differential images are of all the changes in data—additions, deletions, modifications—made since the last full image was made. The advantage of differential images is they are faster to make since they only include the data that has changed since the last full image was made and one only needs the last full image and one differential image to restore a drive to the date of that differential image. The disadvantage is each new differential image takes longer to make than previous differential image since all changes in data since the last full image are being included in the differential image.

Incremental images are of all the changes made since the last image was made, be it the last full image or the last incremental image. The advantage of incremental images are each one is faster to make since it only includes the latest data changes and will not keep increasing in size and the time to make them. This can be a huge savings in time and storage space if one has a very large drive being imaged. The disadvantage of incremental images is you have to have every image between the last full image and the incremental image being restored to have a successful restoration. This can become a nightmare if one goes very long between full images.
After reading your excellent post, it seems to me that doing a full image each time is preferable for me. I have them done once a week while I sleep and delete the older ones every once in a while and keep only the three latest ones. Thanks,
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22 Sep 2013   #16

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit
 
 

I only do full backups. Where I worked, before retirement, on our file servers, we initially did a full backup Monday night and then incrementals, Tuesday through Friday nights. If a server needed to be restored it took a relatively long time and the person (usually a tech) had to be careful that the incremental restores were done correctly in the proper order. After evaluating the procedure, it was changed to a full backup every night. That resulted in (1) a quicker restore and (2) with only one backup there wasn't any chance for a mix up.

In my own case, I have two hard drives that I use for backups, and I alternate the drives when backing up. If a backup hard drive would fail (Murphy's law) I still have the other.
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22 Sep 2013   #17

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by fireberd View Post
I only do full backups. Where I worked, before retirement, on our file servers, we initially did a full backup Monday night and then incrementals, Tuesday through Friday nights. If a server needed to be restored it took a relatively long time and the person (usually a tech) had to be careful that the incremental restores were done correctly in the proper order. After evaluating the procedure, it was changed to a full backup every night. That resulted in (1) a quicker restore and (2) with only one backup there wasn't any chance for a mix up.

In my own case, I have two hard drives that I use for backups, and I alternate the drives when backing up. If a backup hard drive would fail (Murphy's law) I still have the other.
That all is pretty much what I have done. the only significant difference is I have two local HDDs I use for backups but, instead of alternating them, I do a full weekly backup (more often if I have dumped a lot of data on them in a short period of time or the data is critical) on both of them, one right after the other (I clone my data drives to make access the data eaiser and run the backups overnight so I don't care how long it takes; I image the boot drive which gets saved to the main data drive and that gets backed up). 'Tis a bit more hassle but it would be my luck (curse Murphy and his stupid law, anyway) that the more recent drive—the one with the most recent data—would be the one to die. Having two local backups (I also keep a third in a safe deposit box at my credit union which, depending on the amount of data added since the last swap, I swap out no less than once a month) means, if a data drive dies in my computer, I can plug one of the backups into the 3.5" hot swap bay in my computer and use it to access and add data until I can get and install a replacement HDD for the one that died and still have a backup HDD that I'm not using actively, subjecting it to an increased chance of data corruption or loss.
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22 Sep 2013   #18

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

For me, two major features which prompted me to "pay the highly qualified software vendor for its excellent software and ongoing maintenance" are:

(1) support for (including email assistance) and ongoing product maintenance and development, which in all honesty really does need to be paid for and should not be expected to be provided "for free".

(2) "space management", meaning automatic self-maintaining deletion of older backup versions once a user-specified generation limit is reached. This guarantees a self-maintained automatic maximum number of generations, both for image backups as well as for folder/file backups. No manual attention or "pruning" is required as is the case with the FREE version.

Years back, there was a serious problem with the free version (standalone Linux restore of an "image"). Theoretically, Macrium doesn't provide support for the free version. But in light of the significance of the issue I was reporting to them (and the detrimental consequences of that bug on my hard drives) they obviously felt "parental" and provided me with complete advice for resolution, as well as a new updated/fixed version of the RESTORE function within a day... even though this was the FREE version.

I have been a thankful and loyal Macrium STANDARD (non-free) user ever since, installing the paid version on every machine I build out for friends and family. This is a terrific group of software developers of a terrific product (I use the WinPE standalone CD in an emergency as well as the Boot Manager recovery option for the few real world disaster situations I've faced), and they deserve to be paid for their work.
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23 Sep 2013   #19
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
After reading your excellent post, it seems to me that doing a full image each time is preferable for me
I absolutely agree. Full images are the easiest to manage and the safest too.
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23 Sep 2013   #20

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

I do full images weekly and fill in the gap with daily differentials. This means that I have very little data loss in the event I need to restore. It also means that I am more likely to restore than spend hours undoing changes.
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