Backup/Restore of a Linux installation with Macrium Reflect V8.1


cereberus

Well-known member
Guru
VIP
Local time
8:01 PM
Posts
5,946
OS
Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
Today, I installed Linux on my laptop as a host OS. There are just two partitions - the EFI and Linux ext4 partition.

1676816744749.pngv

This is only intended as a temporary setup - I will delete it later. Overall, the Linux install takes about 26GB including a Windows 10 (KVM) vm.

I decided to try and use Macrium Reflect to image backup those two partitions.

I was totally surprised when it obviously did an intelligent sector backup just like normal for Windows NTFS partitions.
I seem to remember when you backup ext4 partitions in the past, it had to do a "forensic" backup i.e. the backup included all free space and was a lot longer but it seems my understanding was faulty. Either that (very likely LOL) or they added proper support at some time.

"Linux is often associated with the Extend File System (Ext), since it was created specifically for use with the Linux kernel. The Ext 2,3,4 file systems are supported by Macrium Reflect, meaning that an Intelligent Sector Copy can be performed. Other. less common, Linux file systems (XFS, JFS, BTRFS, etc) are not natively supported by Reflect. You will still be able to perform the clone, however, a Forensic Sector Copy will be performed. This will take more time due all sectors being copied, not just the in use sectors. When performing a backup, the resultant image may not be much larger than when performing an intelligent sector copy, due to long runs of 0s being very effectively compressed. "


Of course, the next step was to delete the two partitions and try a restore - proof of the pudding blah blah blah.

I was seriously impressed that the restore was perfect! I ran the vm and it was perfect as well.

I really did not want to get into complexities of using Linux imaging tools.

You have just got to love Macrium Reflect's versatility.

So I shall save the image backup to an external drive to save me having to go through all the install steps again.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
[My first post here, although I've been on sevenforums quite a while]

Yes, I did that about 12 months ago on a Win 7/Ubu dual boot, with the Ubu partition as an end 30Gb ext4.

Macrium 8 Pro certainly backed this partition up and restored it perfectly when I tried. So I thought "You beaut, here is a simple way for belts and braces". Updating the installed programmes (Firefox, TBird etc) then incrementing the Macrium backup image was routine.

Uhuh ... came the time for Ubu to update itself with the next O/S version. That went ok - just the normal Linux fussiness - and then I rebooted into Win 7 to increment the Macrium backup image. Full Stop - some complete waffle from Macrium about block size change or something and it just sat there and pouted.

So I completely deleted the entire Macrium backup image plus increments and tried for a new full backup image again. Same waffle - Macrium appears to misread the updated Ubu partition (no partition size change whatsover) and point blank refuses to budge.

I then tried Aomei Backupper standard version 6.5.1 (an older version but still does increments as freeware). No problem. Aomei backed the Ubu partition up, added increments as the Linux programmes updated and happily restored everything. Ah, but Macrium did that too, initially. Will Aoemi work when Ubu updates its' O/S ? Dunno yet ...
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP 15s_du1xxx
    CPU
    Intel i5 10210U
    Motherboard
    85F1
    Memory
    16Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel UHD
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
Macrium Reflect supports EXT4. So a backup will intelligently copy the zero space.
I don't expect any issues on your restore there.

All in all, on Ubuntu an the likes using EXT4 you're in luck since you can just use Macrium.

On another scenario:
I've used MR to once restore Fedora 33 with BTRFS filesystem, the hard way: it copyed sector by sector the full size of the partition but it worked flawlessly and the restore was a success.

So given the time and space, MR will handle any filesystem even if you need to copy every byte over.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC
    CPU
    i3 8109U
    Motherboard
    Intel
    Memory
    16GB DDR4 @2400
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
    Sound Card
    Intel / Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    LG-32ML600M
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Intel SSD 250GB + Samsung QVO SSD 1TB
    PSU
    Adapter
    Cooling
    The usual NUC airflow
    Keyboard
    Logitech Orion G610
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Rival 100 Red
    Internet Speed
    Good enough
    Browser
    Chromium, Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
  • Operating System
    CentOS 9 Stream / Alma / Rocky / Fedora
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    TOSHIBA
    CPU
    Intel i7 4800MQ
    Motherboard
    TOSHIBA
    Memory
    32GB DDR3 @1600
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Built-in
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
@Hopachi

Thanks for your comment.

My point though, was that Macrium fell over after Ubu updated its' own O/S version. Till then, Macrium did all the things one had hoped for - full backup, incremental additions, reliable restore for an ext4 partition. After the Ubu update, all that just stopped with some ill-defined comment from Macrium on block size change. Not even an attempt to do a new full backup overcame that.

Aomei Backup has now done all those initial things Macrium once did. Whether it will continue to after the next Ubu O/S update, or fall over as Macrium did, I don't know yet. I'll just wait for the next Ubu update.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP 15s_du1xxx
    CPU
    Intel i5 10210U
    Motherboard
    85F1
    Memory
    16Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel UHD
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
Hi there

@ian50

EXT4 is a rather deprecated older file system - XFS and others are more resilient as they are "logging" type systems and can recover easily enough from damage / data errors, hardware checks etc. I don't think Macrium will handle imaging these systems but it can certainly clone a disk whatever the file system on it -- although in that case it wil take longer as it can't do "smart copying" -- at least the free version won't.

However my view is that if you've gone to the bother of installing Linux anyway why not learn some of its more useful tools, or if having installed it you hate it then there's no point in backing it up - just get rid of it.

Gparted for instance - especially the stand alone model has a GUI that any user of windows would be comfortable with -- any user of the various windows partition managers look almost identical. In addition gparted has an excellent individual partition copying tool, a built in small internet browser and a command line console and is based on the popular debian architecture (similar to ubuntu etc).

I've found DD has rescued me many times when macrium et al have not worked (admittedly I was doing tasks probably well beyond Macrium's remit), and for backing up large volumes of data e.g several TB of music and video the GRSYNC (GUI version of the standard rsync command) is brilliant too -- so if you actually have linux with a GUI as a VM do experiment with some of these things.

In Linux also the whole philosophy is that software is essentially FREE and OPEN source where possible. Withtodays modern and complex hardware some thing by nature will be proprietary but even these are available 99.99% Free. Commercial servers running Linux variants pay for commercial support e.g Red Hat (now owned by IBM) - but the OS is still free. (Those who want to try the "bleeding edge" versions of the Red Hat offerings should try ready made live Fedora distros - you can get these with a selection of various desktop GUI's already installed -- just go to the "Fedora Spins" page.


You can load these on a bootable usb -- absolutely nothing touched on your internal disks / ssd's. Even load the iso up as a VM and boot it. It runs without problems on Vbox, HYPER-V and Vmware.


cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7
@ian50
Good to know that you solved it with Aomei!

To be honest I wouldn't try an incremental backup in MR on a Linux image. One is always free to try.
There are always risks as to any incremental backups. That's just me, to keep it simple, always full image backups if significant changes occured.

I see in your case the OS was upgraded to new version: always check what changes... some serious updates (kernel, GRUB, ...) depending on distro and features introduced, add a risk that the partition parameters change so this can definitely break the incremental backup logic done on a prior release.

Best to do a full image backup on each major upgrade.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC
    CPU
    i3 8109U
    Motherboard
    Intel
    Memory
    16GB DDR4 @2400
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
    Sound Card
    Intel / Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    LG-32ML600M
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Intel SSD 250GB + Samsung QVO SSD 1TB
    PSU
    Adapter
    Cooling
    The usual NUC airflow
    Keyboard
    Logitech Orion G610
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Rival 100 Red
    Internet Speed
    Good enough
    Browser
    Chromium, Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
  • Operating System
    CentOS 9 Stream / Alma / Rocky / Fedora
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    TOSHIBA
    CPU
    Intel i7 4800MQ
    Motherboard
    TOSHIBA
    Memory
    32GB DDR3 @1600
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Built-in
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
Hi folks
backing Up Linux with Macrium can have problems -- If you "Clone" a disk it's OK since a "non smart" copy is done i.e disk copied as physical sectors ncluding areas that are blank --i.e no data.

If you do a system IMAGE then you could get problems as on restore the GUUID's of the partitions won't necessarily be the same as they were on the source system so at boot the grub boot loader when looking to boot partitions via the partition id (UUID) will fail as it won't find them.

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7
Hi folks
backing Up Linux with Macrium can have problems -- If you "Clone" a disk it's OK since a "non smart" copy is done i.e disk copied as physical sectors ncluding areas that are blank --i.e no data.

If you do a system IMAGE then you could get problems as on restore the GUUID's of the partitions won't necessarily be the same as they were on the source system so at boot the grub boot loader when looking to boot partitions via the partition id (UUID) will fail as it won't find them.

Cheers
jimbo
This is not true - cloning uses smart sector copying as well.

I have had no issues backing up Linux partitions (and EFI) and restoring using standard MS backup.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
Back
Top Bottom