Solved Macrium Incremental Backups. Would this be bad practice?


Mooly

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Supposing that I have an incremental backup set and I do a restore to the last of the incremental chain. The restored image is fine and all is good.

Is it bad practice to then continue adding to that incremental chain from the restored image?

May years ago the complaint was that the next incremental could be as large as a full backup due to things being slightly differently positioned on the disk and so it looked like 'everything' had changed to the backup program. For curiosity I ran another incremental on my restored image and find the file size is very small... as if the restore never happened. Is it bad practice though to do this?

And just thinking aloud now... the restore was very quick... is that because of Macriums ability to only overwrite only what was different between the image and what was presently on the disk?

If so maybe it is acceptable to do add to the incremental chain.

The 1.21Gb Incremental is the one restored back to.
The 955.4Mb one is the newly created Incremental from the restored image.

Screenshot 2024-05-04 100928.png
 
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24H2 Dev 26100.268

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No it should work fine as the original full is still backed up and you have all the incrementals.

Note: I do not advise having too many incrementals - one guy here once had something like 365 - but if he wanted to restore, it has to work through all 365 incrementals which is riskier, as only one has to be corrupted for incremental chain to break.

If you want to get rid of all the earlier incrementals, you can consolidate them and create a new synthetic full backup, but tbh it is easier just to create a new full backup and start over.

If you want to automate backups, you need to set up a strategy that suits you e.g. a full backup once every 4 weeks, a differential weekly, and incrementals daily.

Having said that, I hardly use incrementals or differentials these days, just doing a full backup (2 mins on my pc) - the restore is normally really fast due to Rapid Delta Restore.

About the only time, I use incrementals is if I am messing with the registry or I am testing a new piece of software i.e. make a quick incremental, do changes, test them, revert using incremental if not happy, and then delete incremental. I could do same with a full backup, but creating a 1 off incremental is slightly quicker.
 

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Thanks. I've often wondered over that with Macrium.

If you want to automate backups, you need to set up a strategy that suits you e.g. a full backup once every 4 weeks, a differential weekly, and incrementals daily.

Good strategy.

I used to do daily differentials but found I got a bit lazy and hardly ever needed to restore. With running a Dev build as a main OS I need to be much more on the ball and so started with the daily incremental.

I also have to trust the product more. I used to only make any images after a restart and having let things calm down. Have to trust more that imaging a live in use system really does work faultlessly every time and I suppose its good to test all these things.

I have found one quirk with the restored image and that is the scheduled Macrium File and Folder backup fails to run following the restore. Windows File History works as normal and just picks up from where it left off.
 

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Thanks. I've often wondered over that with Macrium.



Good strategy.

I used to do daily differentials but found I got a bit lazy and hardly ever needed to restore. With running a Dev build as a main OS I need to be much more on the ball and so started with the daily incremental.

I also have to trust the product more. I used to only make any images after a restart and having let things calm down. Have to trust more that imaging a live in use system really does work faultlessly every time and I suppose its good to test all these things.

I have found one quirk with the restored image and that is the scheduled Macrium File and Folder backup fails to run following the restore. Windows File History works as normal and just picks up from where it left off.
I have never had an issue with live in use backups - that is what vss does.
I never use file and folder backup as it is just as easy to just copy folder in explorer or one of a zillion backup and/or syncing tools.


Frankly, you should not use Dev as your main OS. I and many here favour installing dev in a virtual hard drive (not virtual machine) and create a native dual boot entry so you can select stable rtm OS or Dev (you can set it to boot to dev if you do not select it in say 3 seconds).
This is a really much safer strategy.

Also backing up vhd is as simple as copying it in file explorer. The only plus of backing up a vhd using an imaging tool, is that it saves space.

Actually, I never backup my vhds as they are easy to recreate by cloning main rtm host OS to a vhd and just rejoin Insider again. In fact, if an update breaks an Insider version, using this cloning host OS approach usually bypasses the whole issue anyway.
 

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    Yep, Laptop has one.
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    16 GB
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    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
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I have never had an issue with live in use backups - that is what vss does.

Its good to hear that. Sometimes I think I make things more difficult than they should be :-)

I never use file and folder backup as it is just as easy to just copy folder in explorer or one of a zillion backup and/or syncing tools.

I used and still do actually Windows File History which 'just works', at least in my experience. I fancied trying Macriums version and straight away discovered its actually a single file that has to be mounted... no great issue but it was unexpected tbh. On the other hand it might be more secure as its not instantly browsable.

Frankly, you should not use Dev as your main OS.

Hmmm. I was curious to get back into the Insider builds and I do have all my important stuff backed up conventionally on four flash drives (multiple rolling copies) while my constantly running File History is on a separate internal drive so I'm pretty well covered... its a bit of an interest anyway if anything should goes pear shaped.

I think the File and Folder backup not running has been solved thanks to the Macrium forum. It turns out the 'default' scheduling is a full backup every Monday and then differentials through to Friday. No Saturday and Sunday in the schedule. So its going to be OK. I'll look at modifying that.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    W11 Pro x64 24H2 Dev
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell 7760 Mobile Precision 17"
    CPU
    Intel i5
    Motherboard
    Unknown
    Memory
    8Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Internal
    Hard Drives
    2 x 256Gb SSD
    PSU
    Dell 240 watt
    Mouse
    Dell Premier Bluetooth
    Internet Speed
    50Mbps
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Default Microsoft Security
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