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Windows 7: Macrium Reflect Free - Need Help With Retention and Purge Settings

30 Jul 2019   #1
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Macrium Reflect Free - Need Help With Retention and Purge Settings

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

I downloaded Macrium Reflect Free to use for both Disc Cloning and Disc Image Backups.

I was hoping experienced users of Macrium Reflect could help me to better understand the Retention and Purge Settings so that Macrium doesn't automatically delete any of the MULTIPLE Full Backups I want to keep Permanently.

I bought a used Desktop HP system from an authorized refurbisher with Windows 7 Professional on it.

I used Windows 7's built-in Create A Disc Image software to make a complete hard drive Disc Image onto an external Seagate USB 2TB HDD (as well as a System Repair Disc on DVD) so I would have a backup exactly as the computer was shipped to me.

After I installed Macrium Reflect, I made a second complete hard drive Disc Image backup, again using Windows 7 built-in software........

..........I got my first bad surprise.......

Given I had never used Windows 7 Create A Disc Image before, I didn't realize that the Second Disc Image would replace (overwrite) my First Disc Image backup.

I thought all future Disc Images would simply be ADDITIONS (with a different creation date or similar) to any previously created ones. That way I would have the flexibility to restore the system to whichever previous Disc Image backup I wanted.

I NOW KNOW ........to make sure I give each Disc Image a Different File Name (I just add a dash and the Date after the Windows "default name" of WindowsImageBackup) to avoid doing that again

(In my defense, Windows does NOT make it clear that, by default, your previous Disc Image will be deleted unless you create a new name for the subsequent one)

Next...... I successfully Cloned (EDIT 8/5/2019 to mention the Clone was done with Macrium Reflect Free) my Original Western Digital HDD to a Samsung SSD 860 EVO (then unplugged the WD HDD from the SATA0 connection on the System Board and plugged the SSD into SAT0 to make it the Boot Drive. All worked fine.)



MACRIUM QUESTIONS:

Because of its reputation for reliable, error free back-ups and restores, I want to use Macrium Reflect Free going forward to create future Disc Image Backups, but I want to make sure my "settings" won't allow Macrium to automatically delete older Full Backups that I plan to keep permanently.(for example, Disc Images I saved at different install and system change "stages" relevant to me- just in case I want to go back to a specific "state" of backup for a given situation)

1. What settings should I use so that Macrium Reflect NEVER automatically deletes/purges ANY Previous Disc Image Backups so ALL Disc Image Backups are Retained?

2. Will this work?
Under Define Retention Rules
- Uncheck the box for Full
- Uncheck the box for Differential
- Uncheck the boxes for Incremental (grayed out and unavailable with Free version)

- Uncheck the box for Run the purge before backup
- Uncheck the box for Purge the oldest backup set(s) if less than

3.Will this work?
- (same as #2 above.....except)
- Under Define Retention Rules, set Full to the 999 (maximum)
(your backup HDD would very likely max out space well before 999)

Of course, at some point your external drive will run out of space.
4. Using #2 or #3 above, when your last backup attempt is larger than the remaining available hard drive space, will Macrium simply just give an error message that the backup failed (but still keep ALL previous backups)?

5. Under Destination
If you create a Different Folder Name for each and every backup, will that insure all previous Disc Images will be left alone and not deleted?

6. Clarify the difference between, under Define Retention Rules
- Apply retention rules to all backup sets in the target folder
- Apply retention rules to matching backup sets in the target folder


Macrium understandably puts priority on the latest (most current) Disc Image backups at the expense of oldest/older ones (by purging/deleting them)- which makes total sense for the typical user and most situations, but there are situations when older backups are highly valued.

Reading some of the Macrium forum questions, a lot of people are confused by all the settings and how they work and often are "surprised" (in a BAD way), of what Macrium deletes (based on both the users misunderstanding of what the settings do as well as Macriums "default": behavior).

In reality, there are not that many "stages" of install or system changes I would want to save Disc Image Backups of permanently (but some members here are pretty meticulous about have these distinct "stages" to go back too, especially the flexibility that offers when performing a complete clean install). I'm just trying to make sure any of those I want kept are never deleted automatically Macrium Reflect;

PS: I do have the PDF User Manual, but some things are not clear, at least to me.
.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
04 Aug 2019   #2
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Because I have disabled the Purge function a long time ago, the only advice I have is: disable the Purge function by unchecking any box indicating a time limit for any pile of backups or any size limit for any pile of backups -- you, the enduser will simply decide which backups to keep and which ones to delete. Ensure each one of your external backup HDs is large enough. I like your idea of having numerous full images of your OS & programs and full images of your data partitions - if I understood your post correctly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2019   #3
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote:
I didn't realize that the Second Disc Image would replace (overwrite) my First Disc Image backup.


I thought all future Disc Images would simply be ADDITIONS (with a different creation date or similar) to any previously created ones.

They are additions.


Older blocks are moved into shadow storage. You should be able to restore to the first or second date. But only if you keep the image on the same drive you saved it to. That is because shadow storage is a hidden volume on that drive. If you move the image, then you will only be able to access the latest one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

05 Aug 2019   #4
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

RolandJS

Regarding Macrium Reflect Free:

So are you saying, in my #2 above, it is necessary to only uncheck just the two (2)?
- Uncheck the box for Run the purge before backup
- Uncheck the box for Purge the oldest backup set(s) if less than

.........or .........should I also uncheck the other two Retention Rule items for "Full" and "Differential" (and "Incremental" for those who have paid versions) so that ALL four (or 5 for those who have paid versions) of them are unchecked?


*Note: The free version does not include Incremental, so it is unavailable and dimmed/grayed out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2019   #5
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
They are additions.


Older blocks are moved into shadow storage. You should be able to restore to the first or second date. But only if you keep the image on the same drive you saved it to. That is because shadow storage is a hidden volume on that drive. If you move the image, then you will only be able to access the latest one.
S1W2,

Interesting info.

I might be misunderstanding you, but at this link https://www.raymond.cc/blog/create-windows-7-system-image-for-full-backup-and-restoration/2/, it says in the last paragraph:

Tip: When saving a backup to another hard drive, the System Imaging tool will always try to overwrite any previous backup and can’t by itself perform another one leaving the previous backup in place. There is a simple trick to get around this which is to rename the folder of the current backup from WindowsImageBackup to another name such as WindowsImageBackup_2013_Jan. A renamed folder WILL have to be renamed back though for the System Image tool to recognize it for a restore.


In regards to using Windows 7 Built-in Create A System Image:

1. So how do you find/locate the the older backups if they are "hidden" (for example if you want to restore to one of them)?

2. So, for example, if you had created five (5) backups, are you saying that the first four (4) are indeed individually there (but hidden), and the most current one (the 5th one) is the only one viewable?

If so, how does Windows distinguish the individual System Image Backups (how do you know which one is which- how are they labeled/named)?

3. Why would Windows work this way?


Going forward, as noted in the links, any time I use Windows 7 Built-in Create A System Image function, I simply rename (amend) the "default" name of WindowsImageBackup with the "date" (or whatever makes sense to distinguish it from previous ones) so they are easy to see and find.

Note: In addition to the link referenced above, for anybody that wants and excellent explanation as to how to avoid overwriting your Windows Image Backup, read this article on How To Store Multiple Disc Image Backups On One Drive using Windows System Image Backup, below is a link:
Q&A: Can I put more than one System Image Backup on the same drive?



In regards to using Macrium Reflect Free:

I'm not sure if you are familiar with Macrium Reflect, but if you are, do you have any suggestions as to how to make sure Macrium Reflect NEVER automatically deletes/purges/overwrites ANY Previous Disc Image Backups (i.e., settings)?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2019   #6
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

They show up in the restore gui, or by using wbadmin command prompt. You can't see them in windows explorer.


When you make a windows system image, it automatically allocates a portion of the drive you save the Image to as shadow storage. The numer of image dates depends on the size of storage. As it runs out, older images drop off. You can adjust the size of the storage area. Similar in that respect to the way system restore points are saved.


If you run rstrui.exe in start search, they should show up there as well ( you might need to tick the box that says show older ) - because it can also be accessed by system restore.


Therefore, if you want to move them around, the renaming thing is a way to do it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2019   #7
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

S1W2,

I agree. Clearly the best way is to always rename the folder anytime you do a Windows 7 System Image Backup. It just simplifies things and insures you don't overwrite the previous one. Plus, all the backups are easy to locate and identify without having to jump through hoops. You just have to make sure you have enough disc space on your destination drive to fit the next backup.

As pointed out Raymond.CC Blog • Computers Made Easy blog, if you are going to Restore from any of these backups, you must first rename it again back to the Windows "Default name" of WindowsSystemBackup in order for Windows to recognize it and restore from it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
11 Aug 2019   #8
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GuitarRock View Post
RolandJS
Regarding Macrium Reflect Free:
So are you saying, in my #2 above, it is necessary to only uncheck just the two (2)?
- Uncheck the box for Run the purge before backup
- Uncheck the box for Purge the oldest backup set(s) if less than
.........or .........should I also uncheck the other two Retention Rule items for "Full" and "Differential" (and "Incremental" for those who have paid versions) so that ALL four (or 5 for those who have paid versions) of them are unchecked?
*Note: The free version does not include Incremental, so it is unavailable and dimmed/grayed out.
I believe you are correct! Keep us informed as to how things go :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Macrium Reflect Free - Need Help With Retention and Purge Settings




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