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Windows 7: Macrium Reflect or Windows Backup?

03 Nov 2017   #31
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by teckneeculler View Post
Almost three months later and I still haven't set up a backup system .

But Macrium 7 Free is gonna happen any day now.

A coupla questions for the Macrium pundits:

1) Can the Free version insert a Macrium Recovery option into the Windows boot menu? The paid versions do this. It enables you to boot the ailing PC direct to Macrium without a Rescue disk.
2) Is the free version able to create a Rescue disc?
3) Anyone know if it's able to do an incremental backup of an Outlook .pst file?
1. I don't know. Macrium Reflect's web page doesn't even list the feature with the paid versions. someone with v6 of the free version will have to chime in. You can also download and installFreeFileSync, click on Other Tasks at the upper left of the window. If Macrium Reflect has the Recovery Boot Menu option, it will be there (you also create the rescue media from that menu). However, even if it doesn't, the rescue media will do the same job.

2. You can either create the Rescue Media on a disc or a USB stick.

3. No. The free version can do differential imaging but you don't image a file only; you image the entire disc or partition. I do not recommend differential or incremental imaging; full images are safer.


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03 Nov 2017   #32
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
I do not recommend differential or incremental imaging; full images are safer.
If you do lots of backups, then you will quickly run out of room to store them unless you do incrementals and fulls.

At my last job, we did an incremental backup every night; on Friday nights, we did a level 7 incremental backup; and on the first weekend of the month, we did a full backup. This was only for the hundreds of Windows and Linux servers that we backed up each night. Exchange and SQL backups were full backups every night.

At home, however, all I ever do is full backups. I do a full backup of each computer about once every month or two.
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03 Nov 2017   #33
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Dude, use both Windows backup and Macrium Reflect on your chosen external media -- before anything bad unexpectedly happens.
With restorable images available, if/when the bad times roll, rather than virtually pulling your hair out, you can utter "not cool, man, not cool" all the while doing the restore. BTW, I'm 66 years old, I remember those "cool, man, cool" days.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Nov 2017   #34
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
If you do lots of backups, then you will quickly run out of room to store them unless you do incrementals and fulls.

At my last job, we did an incremental backup every night; on Friday nights, we did a level 7 incremental backup; and on the first weekend of the month, we did a full backup. This was only for the hundreds of Windows and Linux servers that we backed up each night. Exchange and SQL backups were full backups every night.

At home, however, all I ever do is full backups. I do a full backup of each computer about once every month or two.
Comparing business backups to personal computer backups is much like comparing oranges to kumquats.

If you are imaging the entire computer, full or otherwise, then yes, you will quickly run out of room for the images. However, there are disadvantages to imaging the entire computer. First, there is the issue of running out of room for storing the images since the images will be enormous. Second, any data created since the last viable image will be lost in a restore. With incrementals, you must have the last full image plus all of the incrementals made since the last full backup. If one incremental should fail, you will lose all new or changed data since the incremental before the one that failed. Keeping track of which full and incremental images need to be kept together can become problematic.

It is better to keep data segregated from System files (OS and programs) and use imaging only for the System files. A typical setup would be to have the OS and programs only on the C: drive or partition and the data only on a separate drive and partition. Only the C: drive would get imaged.

The only time I image my C: drive is before making any changes (and sometimes afterwards; either can be done) to the OS or programs, such as installing updates, new programs, changing settings, etc. I keep only the last six weeks of images at a time, after which I only keep only the first image of each previous month.

Data, on the other hand, is best backed up using a folder/file syncing program such as SyncToy or FreeFileSync. When set to Mirror (not the same as RAID 1, btw), these programs will compare the data drive or partition with the backup drive or partition (drives and partitions are treated the same as folders) and any data that has been added or changed on the data drive since the previous backup will be copied over to the backup drive or partition. Any data deleted from the from the backup drive or partition since the last backup will be deleted from the backup drive or partition. This results in a backup that is essentially an exact copy of the original drive or partition and takes up only the same amount of room as the original. Since only recently add, changed, and deleted files are involved in an update, the amount of time required to update a backup is dramatically reduced. This also has the advantage of being able to use the backup as is for a direct replacement of the original (in which case, it is advisable to have a duplicate backup already handy).

The better folder/file syncing programs have a feature called versioning which will send files deleted from the backup drive or partition to another drive, partition, or folder that you designate for the purpose. This protects you from losing data due to deletions caused by corruption of an original file or due to user error. This does require some added space but nowhere nearly as much as would be required by imaging.
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03 Nov 2017   #35
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RolandJS View Post
Dude, use both Windows backup and Macrium Reflect on your chosen external media -- before anything bad unexpectedly happens.
With restorable images available, if/when the bad times roll, rather than virtually pulling your hair out, you can utter "not cool, man, not cool" all the while doing the restore. BTW, I'm 66 years old, I remember those "cool, man, cool" days.
Windows backup tends to be more troublesome than most third party imaging solutions. I've never had a verified Macrium Reflect image fail to restore. if one ever does, all I would need to do is go back to the previous full image. I rename my images prior to making them to reflect (pun not intended) when the image was made and why so I can tell what needs restoring, if necessary. Macrium Reflect can be set to automagically verify an image after completing making an image. It doubles the amount of time to complete an image but, since it's a set an forget procedure, who cares?

One can further ensure the reliability of Macrium Reflect by having more than one rescue media. I use d the paid version of v6 which has the ability to restore from a boot partition on the computer but, being the paranoid old broad I am, I also have two rescue media (USB sticks) for each computer I have in service). This way, if the drive in the computer is totally lunched (I'm older than you so there's another moldy oldie to remember), I can use a USB stick for restoration (and have done so) and, since I have two on hand, I don't have to worry nearly as much about one failing (three layers of redundancy is more than enough for even an old broad as paranoid as I am...and I probably invented paranoia)
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03 Nov 2017   #36
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

"...I probably invented paranoia..." I resemble that! -- Roland Dangerfield

And, I do hope the OP will consider MR6 or 7 in the long run; it's worked very well for a great many.
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03 Nov 2017   #37
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

I'm only recommending the free version of Macrium Reflect now because Paramount Software UK, the makers of Macrium Reflect uses an crap outfit called Cleverbridge to handle their payments. Recently, an update to IE11 caused a few websites that were poorly designed to quit working properly on IE11 (properly designed websites and/or ones whose designers were on the ball and fixed problems quickly didn't have the problem). I went through hell on another software package I purchased through (not so)Cleverbridge and finally had to resort to installing and using Firefox to complete the transaction and download the program. Even the error messages that were thrown up were completely irrelevant to the problem, indicating piddle poor error trapping (sadly, quite common on most websites). When I contacted (not so)Cleverbridge about the problem, they blew me off by saying IE is buggy and recommended using only Chrome ( ) or Firefox. Besides being poor customer service, a response like that, in addition to their inability to properly program a website for IE, makes me wonder how secure they are.

When I contacted Paramount about they pretty much also blew me off, saying they haven't had a problem with (not so)Cleverbridge in the past and felt they were still reliable. I responded to Paramount that, as long as they continue to use a flaky company like (not so)Cleverbridge, I would no longer purchase their products nor would I ever recommend the paid ones again.

Macrium Reflect Free is safe since it doesn't involve using (not so)Cleverbridge.
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03 Nov 2017   #38
teckneeculler

Win7Ultimate
 
 

Folks, I'm very grateful for your in-depth comments about Macrium. Especially - I have to say - Lady Jeannie. Well done!

To elaborate on my original post, I have several projects on the go, so there'll be several versions of Macrium involved. One job is for a local automotive business, whose IT work I do. Their PC recently died, (catastrophic HDD failure) and in the process of setting up their new machine, I started looking into the possibility of some sort of backup system for their 2010 Outlook app.

Hence my question about incremental backups of a PST file. Also, I'd rather give them free software when possible - I try to minimize their overheads where I can.

Accordingly, I have now - and pre-crash, had - Cobian 11 backing up their automotive business software. So that program was easily recoverable because they'd been doing daily backups of its database onto USB flash drives.

Outlook was also fairly simple because I managed to recover their PST file before the disk damage on the 1TB Seagate HDD spread to almost every sector.

(I've never seen anything quite this bad. I can only figure that the read\write heads must be dragging on the disk surface. I should open it and take a look. It's certainly no good now for anything but a paperweight)

But the crash got me thinking about some form of backup - separate to Cobian (eggs\basket analogy) - of their PST. But if Macrium won't backup a single folder, then it won't be suitable. There's a Microsoft Outlook backup add-on that might be useful, as well as the free version of 'Safe PST Backup', which also looks useful.

Regarding the Macrium Recovery option being add-able to the Windows Boot menu, I've just had a look at a W7 machine running Macrium Server 7.0.2187 and the option is definitely there, under the 'Other Tasks' menu.

My other interest in Macrium Reflect - as a system restorative - is basically for my daughter.

Personally, I've tried many different backup systems over the years and now find it preferable to keep copies of all my useful files, data and software on a dozen or so dock-able SATA hard drives, and just reinstall Windows every now and then. I mean, imaging a system does nothing to clean it of accumulated junk, debris, rootkits and 'file-rot', plus I always find a rebuild quite interesting. Plus, it's a chance to dump unused or redundant software.
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 Macrium Reflect or Windows Backup?




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