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    Need General Procedure Overview on Using Macrium Reflect

    My laptop is currently running Win8.1. I have recently downloaded Reflect free so I can do a better job of backing up my machine. I use iDrive for backing up my files but I would like to save computer images from time to time. Especially since I am planning to upgrade to Win10 before the end of July. Late yesterday I ran Reflect and saved a copy of the laptop image in my external 1TB hard drive. In that process I had several questions about which way to proceed. For example, the program seemed to be designed for using a on-going backup plan which I had not planned. Also, it asked me to enter a folder name and I didn't know if it should reflect the current date or if the program would record the date in some other way.

    So, I would love to see an overview of how to make good use of a program like Reflect. Hopefully, there is a overview like that somewhere that someone can direct me to.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    I use Macriuim Reflect, free version, on a regular basis, and it works for me. Here's how I use it.

    First, I have a dedicated external USB drive which holds the backups. This drive is only connected to the PC when actually doing a backup, or if I need to recover something. At all other times it is physically disconnected. My drive is designated as Drive I (for Image), so I will use that from now on.

    The first thing to do is to fire up the program and go to Other Tasks > Edit Defaults. Here you will define how you want the program to run. Most of the settings are intuitive, but under the Backup tab, the best settings are:

    Compression: Medium, with Intelligent sector copy.
    File size: Automatic
    Password: Up to you. I don't use one.
    Auto Verify Image: Turn it on. It verifies that the backup image is a true copy of the disk being backed up.
    Verify File System: Before backup.
    Priority: Up to you. I use Highest, and don't use the PC for anything else while a backup is running.

    In the Advanced tab, Enable file write caching may speed up the backups - or it may not. try it both ways.

    I have two physical fixed drives, and I back them up separately. On starting Reflect, I get a "backup" screen, with tabs for "Create a backup", "Backup Definition Files" and "Scheduled Backups". On the left of the screen there are "Backup Tasks: - "Image selected disks on this computer" and "Create an image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows". I select "Image selected disks", and it shows me all the connected disks, except the one where Windows is installed. I select my second hard drive (Drive E), which is where my data resides. In the Destination section, the folder is just I:\, then I uncheck the box that says "Use the image ID as the file name", and I give the backup file a more meaningful name such as "E Backup June 7 2016". The file suffix of .mrimg is appended automatically. Then, I don't bother with the following "Next" screens. I just click Finish, then under Backup Save Options, "Run this backup now" is checked, but I uncheck the "Save backup..." bit. I don't see the need for that. Then click OK, and it will do the backup and verify. This could take a while, depending on the amount of data to be backed up, and the transfer speed. When it is finished, I go back and do it again for "the partition(s) which are required to backup and restore Windows".

    Following that procedure will give you an image backup of your disk(s), but you also need to know how to restore, if the need arises. You can restore the entire disk, for example if a software installation goes wrong and you want to revert to an earlier time, or you can recover individual files if you need to do that. I will describe restoring the entire disk first.

    Macrium provides two means of restoring an entire disk. If the system is bootable, but you want to restore it, you can boot into a special recovery mode. If you really clobbered something and it is no longer bootable, you can boot from a recovery disk. Both of these require some action to set them up, so do these things before you start backing up.

    To enable booting to recovery mode, go to Other Tasks > Add Recovery Boot Menu Option, and follow the prompts. It will create a new option at boot time; you can either boot into Windows (the default), or into the recovery environment, where you will see your backups and will be able to restore the one you want (this is why meaningful names are a good idea). To create a recovery disk, put a new CD in your optical drive and go to Other Tasks > Create Rescue Media, and again follow the prompts. NOTE - this option will only work if your BIOS (or UEFI) is configured to boot from the optical drive first. Booting from this drive will once again lead to the recovery environment, from where you can select a backup file to restore.

    To recover (or view) individual files, you can define a backup file as a "disk" in Windows Explorer or a similar program. To do this, switch to the Restore tab, then select "Open an image or backup file in Windows Explorer". Select the backup file you want, and assign a drive letter to it. Then you can open Windows Explorer (or similar), and the drive letter you specified will show up as just another disk drive, from where you can copy files or do whatever you want. When finished, "Detach a backup image from Windows Explorer".

    A couple of other points to note: (1) Don't let your backup disk get too full. There is no point in keeping backups which are more than a few weeks old. I do my backups every weekend, and I keep about four or five weeks worth. Before I back up, I delete the oldest backups. (2) It really helps if both your PC, and the receiving backup disk, can use USB 3. With USB 2, one of my backups used to take 35-40 minutes, but with USB3, the same backup takes about eight minutes.

    I hope this is what you wanted to know. I'm happy to answer any further questions. I might add that on more than one occasion I have needed to restore my C drive because something got hosed, and it has worked flawlessly every time. BTW I am running Win7, soon to upgrade to Win10, and if I don't like 10 I expect to easily restore Win7 from backup.

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  4. #3
    3 Star Lounger KIWIpeteW's Avatar
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    I like to uncheck - Purge the oldest backup set(s) if less then 5 GB on the target volume.

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    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    "I like to uncheck - Purge the oldest backup set(s) if less then 5 GB on the target volume."
    "Compression: Medium, with Intelligent sector copy."
    Early on, I disabled the entire purge board; I do my own purging
    Early on, I use High compression, with Intelligent sector copy. To save bytespace on the 1TB ex HDs.
    Bundaberra -- a great job describing the process!!

    I've never scheduled a backup; I've always done on the fly, live, backups
    Now, anyone scheduling backups, great! Just now and then, verify a scheduled backup image actually exists and is restorable [via verify function].
    Last edited by RolandJS; 2016-06-07 at 06:09.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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    I'm a Macrium Reflect person also and this is an excellent thread. I'm happy to know I'm doing most of the recommendations and I'm learning a few new things myself.
    I manually do my backups on a monthly basis and have the external hard drive disconnected in the meantime.

    I've been wondering about the "I like to uncheck - Purge the oldest backup set(s) if less then 5 GB on the target volume."
    --- I uncheck it because I don't expect to get to the "less then 5 GB on the target volume".
    --- I prefer to keep only 1 prior backup: I use to keep 2 and I will go back to that if it's a better idea in your minds. I have tested my backups a couple of times and each time everything was fine.
    --- But what I haven't figured out yet is how to do my own purging .
    --- Advice will be appreciated on that

    As RolandJS mentioned "Bundaberra -- a great job describing the process!! ".

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillWilson View Post
    So, I would love to see an overview of how to make good use of a program like Reflect. Hopefully, there is a overview like that somewhere that someone can direct me to.
    You already have a detailed explanation of a method from Bundaburra, but I'll throw in my two cents, and it applies to almost any decent backup program.

    Reflect, like many backup programs, can do both scheduled and unscheduled backups. It can also do different types of backups (incremental, differential, full). Which of these you choose is entirely up to you and depends on how much data you are backing up, what your backup media is, and your personal needs.

    There have been reams and reams written describing complex backup plans with rotating media and off site storage. At one time, that was the norm because backups took hours to run and media largely consisted of tape drives that were sized in MB rather than GB. This was also a part of most responsible businesses disaster recovery plans. Today, with multi-terabyte external drives that will fit in a pocket and cloud storage, many of the old ideas have been set aside.

    Depending on your needs, you can do a full image once a week or once a month. Just be sure that you image before any significant updates. Spend a few bucks for a small drive (or flash drive) and a good fire-resistant box. Put it someplace well away from your computer and put your most recent image there.

    Also, there are a number of ways to get 2-5gb of cloud storage free. This is enough to backup critical documents - think of it like a safe deposit box. I keep a few compressed and encrypted files in the cloud, just in case. No matter what happens, I can retrieve them.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  11. #7
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Has it even dawned on anyone, that any Backup and Restore program that runs on your C: drive is 100% busted, when that drive squalls, howls and smokes? (also known as CRASHING)
    It would seem, NOT!

    I've set up backup/restore systems for casual users, businesses, Corporations, and even Govt agencies and in every case, my Backup/restore program was on a bootable CD.
    And the location for my backups was a separate hard drive, just to keep it close, and quickly accessible if needed.
    You can't access the "cloud" when your PC has crashed. At that point, you can only boot up from a CD or Flash Drive.
    (after replacing the crashed HD, with a new one)

    I keep my own "Ghost Backups" on both an internal 1TB HD and an external 1TB, USB 3.0, hard drive.
    And, I make a new backup of C: at least once a week. My data files are backed up daily, using a batch file and XCOPY.

    At least twice a year, something gets into my PC and makes a mess of my OS, , , , then it only takes me about 15 minutes to restore my last Ghost backup of my C: drive, to put things right again.

    Good Luck y'all!

    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    Has it even dawned on anyone, that any Backup and Restore program that runs on your C: drive is 100% busted, when that drive squalls, howls and smokes? (also known as CRASHING)
    It would seem, NOT!
    Actually, Bundaburra said that very thing:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bundaburra View Post
    Macrium provides two means of restoring an entire disk. If the system is bootable, but you want to restore it, you can boot into a special recovery mode. If you really clobbered something and it is no longer bootable, you can boot from a recovery disk. Both of these require some action to set them up, so do these things before you start backing up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    Has it even dawned on anyone, that any Backup and Restore program that runs on your C: drive is 100% busted, when that drive squalls, howls and smokes? (also known as CRASHING)
    Uuummm... yes. Good programs (like Reflect) come with software that can create a boot disk or USB with which to restore from an image. Part of any good back strategy is to test this boot device and keep it up to date with any driver changes, if needed.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    gsmith-plm

    An excellant point. We're apparently in agreement on such things.

  17. #11
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    FWIW here's a link to a How-To-Geek article with pictures!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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  19. #12
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    Macrium has features which I don't use, because I find them unnecessary. I don't do scheduled backups, I prefer to run them manually, at a time that suits me. And I have no concept of "backup sets". As I said previously, I write the xxxx.mrimg files to an external drive. Each file is named with the source of the backup, and the date taken. I do weekly full backups, and I keep the last four backups for each drive, but I would rarely, if ever, want to back up from four weeks ago. Before I run a backup, I just manually delete the oldest files on the backup disk. The disk is always less than half full.

    The Restore option to boot into a special recovery mode puts an extra boot option on the startup screen. It's like where you have multiple operating systems, and it asks which one you want to run. Booting into Windows is the default, and you can reduce the amount of time that the Recovery option is displayed, if it annoys you, by running Msconfig > Boot, and reducing the Timeout to a low number like 2 or 3 seconds.

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    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    "...But what I haven't figured out yet is how to do my own purging..." cmptrgy
    What I do is plug in the two usb ext HDs into the computer, use explorer.exe to give me directories. Going through the directories, I can delete any old backup on both drives in moments, after Safely Remove Hardware/Eject Media gives me the all clear - unplug and "reSafe" the two HDs.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    "...Has it even dawned on anyone, that any Backup and Restore program that runs on your C: drive is 100% busted, when that drive squalls, howls and smokes? (also known as CRASHING) It would seem, NOT!..." -- DrWho
    I just awoke from my TV-nap, I'm missing something here. On each of my three computes, weekly or bi-monthly, I make at least two full images of the OS partition, one on each of the two dedicated usb ext HDs [for each pc]. I do these normally when Windows sessions are running about as right as rain. And having two usb ext HDs, I don't expect both to fail at the same time, physically or logically.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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    WOW, I've received a lot of useful info in the last 24 hours! Thanks Bundaberra for your detailed description of how you do it. That will be a big help to me. Thanks also to RG for the link to the How-to article. I had looked there for something like that before I started this thread but I obviously didn't search for the right key words. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. I'll try this out in the next few days.

    Bill

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