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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Macrium Reflect Pro v5.2: How to test a system image safely?

    Greetings, Loungers.

    I'm running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit on a Dell Precision M4700 laptop. It's my one and only computer.

    Although I've been computing (in my way) since Win 95, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very savvy about what goes on under the hood. I'll be asking remedial questions, and hope you'll bear with me.

    Having installed Macrium Reflect Professional v 5.2.6427, I've gotten as far as making a rescue disc. It boots fine, and is able to access my external backup drive.

    I haven't yet backed up my system. I know that after the backup, I'll want to test the image for usability. But a rasping, metallic inner voice tells me that if something goes wrong, I could screw myself six ways from Sunday.

    So I appeal to you for help! How can I test the viability of a system image without potentially jeopardizing the integrity of my existing data? For what it's worth:

    Everything is on my [C:] drive.
    The total hard drive capacity is 297.3 GB
    Used space: 114.4 GB
    Free space: 182.9 GB

    Would appreciate any guidance you could give me, and thanks.

    Brooks

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Brooks,

    Here's what I do.
    1. Always select the Advanced Options and turn on the Verify Image Option.
    2. Instead of restoring the image, as many recommend, I just use the mount option and explore around the image and copy a file or two. If this works it's about 99% sure the entire image is good. IMHO.

    I've never had an Image, using Macrium Pro or Free, fail me. As a matter of fact I had to restore my system drive 4 times back to Win 8.0 before I got Win 8.1 installed "my way w/o a MS Account". HTH

    FYI: I always keep 3-4 generations of images so if one fails I still have backups and I keep one in my fireproof safe and Important data is kept at a friends house.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    VBA Rules!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs


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  5. #3
    Lounger
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    Hello RetiredGeek, and thanks kindly for your input.

    Tick the "Verify Image" option.....got it.

    May I ask what you mean by "mount," since I couldn't find that term in the help files? Are you simply browsing the saved image from the "Restore file and folder" tab of the Reflect main window?

    Or do you actually mount the image in.....I dunno......some sort of virtual sandbox?

    If it's not already obvious, I barely know what I'm talking about! Just curious what you mean by "mount."

    Appreciate your help, and thanks.

    Brooks


  6. #4
    Silver Lounger
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    The terminology might vary a little, but the process of mounting means to open the image, assigning it a drive letter in the process that can be browsed with Windows explorer just as if it were a real drive.

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  8. #5
    Lounger
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    Excellent. Thank you, F.U.N.

    B.

  9. #6
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Image based backups are an excellent start, especially if you haven't done them before, but they are NOT the only forms of backup you should be doing.
    You will also need hard copied backups of all your important data to DVD or external drive.

    *Ensure that you know your BIOS's boot settings first and foremost.
    *Create a proper boot disk. Create a proper boot disk. Create a proper boot disk. Create a proper boot disk.
    *Ensure that your boot disk is fully capable of booting and recognizing an external drive or other internal drives. (which you have done)
    Both Linux and Windows PE Macrium boot disks should be created, some systems don't fully work well with only the Linux. Test test test.
    *That little voice in your head is NEVER going to go away until you've created and restored a few images, especially after a serious crash.
    *Keep your images SIMPLE until you are WELL familiar with how the app works.

    So get in there and get it done. READ all the factsheets and tutorials you can get your hands on.
    Some folks don't read any tutorial and expect everything to go flawlessly, this is simply wrong.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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  11. #7
    Lounger
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    Pale, panting, sweaty.....lord knows I strive to keep up, CLiNT. Technology can be rough on an old man's nervous system, is all I'll say.

    I get Brownie points for regularly burning my data to CDs. Maybe this year I'll "up" my game by burning to DVD. (I had, for a time, used an external USB hard drive for my backups, but last year the drive croaked, taking with it three years of archived data. I'll never really trust an external drive again.)

    I made an inaugural foray into my BIOS just this week, and managed to change the boot order so that my Macrium Reflect CD would boot. Was pround of myself. What else about the BIOS do I need to know? Are there chunks of inscrutable code I should be scribbling down and storing in a safe place?

    My laptop runs Windows 7. I made a Windows 7 boot disc when I first got the computer, and also have a Macrium PE boot disc. Do I need a Linux boot disc as well?

    Believe me when I tell you that keeping this imaging process SIMPLE has become the all-consuming objective of my geriatric life. Preparing myself for this SIMPLE image -- still a dream on the horizon -- has knotted my brain into a thousand macrame plant hangers.

    I'm reading Macrium Reflect tutorials like there was no tomorrow. Most of all, I'm indebted to the guys who hang out on the Macrium forum. With infinite patience and kindness, they've bent over backwards to help me.

    Thanks for your tips, sir. Most appreciated!
    Last edited by BrooksNYC; 2013-10-30 at 18:31.

  12. #8
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Brooks,

    Here's what I do.
    1. Always select the Advanced Options and turn on the Verify Image Option.
    2. Instead of restoring the image, as many recommend, I just use the mount option and explore around the image and copy a file or two. If this works it's about 99% sure the entire image is good. IMHO.

    I've never had an Image, using Macrium Pro or Free, fail me. As a matter of fact I had to restore my system drive 4 times back to Win 8.0 before I got Win 8.1 installed "my way w/o a MS Account". HTH

    FYI: I always keep 3-4 generations of images so if one fails I still have backups and I keep one in my fireproof safe and Important data is kept at a friends house.
    It's a very good idea to test the image by mounting then exploring it. At the very least, you will know that all of your data is in good shape.

    As an added benefit, mounting the image allows you to recover individual items from it, which is the most common reason I presume most people do restores.

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  14. #9
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    BrooksNYC:
    I use Macrium (paid version), and here is how I "mount" an image file.
    Go to the "Restore Tab."
    Next, click on "Open an image or backup file in Windows Explorer."
    Follow the dialogue: pick an image file, and "mount it."
    Look in Windows Explorer, and you'll see your selection "mounted" with a drive letter you pick.
    Now, you can open one of those files if you want to copy/recover something.
    Or, as RG suggested, do the above just to prove to yourself that your image is good.

    I'm probably older than you, and a non-techie, so the words above might not be techie-talk; but they work.

    Best,
    Dick

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  16. #10
    Lounger
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    Thanks very much, gentlemen.

    My #1 reason for wanting to get up to speed on system imaging is so that I can restore the entire O/S in the event of system files gone crazy, difficult virus infections, etc. Of course, if I can recover the occasional lost document, that's lagniappe.

    Dick-Y, there's nothing I appreciate more than instructions written for laymen. Thanks you for your clear and easy "mounting" tutorial.....just what I needed!

    Brooks

  17. #11
    5 Star Lounger
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    Brooks:
    I've received so much help from all the experts here - all of them so willing to share their knowledge - that I am really glad to be of help to a fellow layman.
    Best,
    Dick

  18. #12
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Verifying an image by mounting it within the OS and checking the files are all fine and dandy. But there is
    no better way to verify the integrity of the entire process by restoring an image from the boot disk.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  19. #13
    5 Star Lounger
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    Clint:
    Of course I agree with your comment. However, I was merely trying to help the OP understand what RG had said he does from time to time, by putting my comment in laymen's terms.
    Dick

  20. #14
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    Verifying an image by mounting it within the OS and checking the files are all fine and dandy. But there is
    no better way to verify the integrity of the entire process by restoring an image from the boot disk.
    I thing the odds of a bad image if it can be mounted and browsed are better than 99%. The odds are geater of a media failure some times afterwards which would affect your process as well as ours. I like RG feel very comfortable with that. That is based on going through the complete process one time so the user is sure he/she understands it but I feel no need to do it for future backups.

    If its not good enough for you, so be it. We all make our own decisions.

    Jerry

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  22. #15
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I like RG feel very comfortable with that
    That's all fine and dandy too J, except the OP has never restored an image before, [he's is NOT comfortable with it yet].
    You can mount until the cows come home but the only way to get comfortable and become more experienced with the process in it's entirety is to actually do it.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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