Solved Making a Macrium Image while actively using applications on the same drive.


jimbo45

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I found it to be quite interesting that I can make a full disk Macrium Image at the same time that I'm actively using my C: drive for other work. At completion I get a message that making the image was made successfully.

I'm using the Dell laptop you see in "My Computers" below which has only a single 1TB SSD. My current Windows 11 Pro build is 22621.819. I don't do Insider beta's and I don't use any of the popular software to make Windows 11 work or act like Windows 10.

What is your experience doing this? Is there ever a problem?
Hi there

I believe Macrium uses a "Locking mechanism" and VSS so you can still run applications while using macrium. I'm not sure though if you save any data to disk while making an image whether those changes are saved or not. My gut feel is that while backing up / copying systems or data it's better to not use anything thats likely to change the state of the machine.

Some databases like MySQL / Mariadb can be backed up while there's active queries taking place as any updates are done via "logging" or journalling -- some applications in commercial arenas e.g cloud computing have to run 24/7 and of course things like AZURE etc have to be backed up by the cloud providers.

Taking backups when you don't need to use the machine is IMO the best time to do it.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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ch4w11

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check out this hidden gem called disk2vhd :) simplest way to do a VSS copy while still using your computer. free, faster, way less CPU intensive. When it's done, you can right click mount it or extract it's contents directly from the output file.

 
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jimbo45

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check out this hidden gem called disk2vhd :) simplest way to do a VSS copy while still using your computer. free, faster, way less CPU intensive. When it's done, you can right click mount it or extract it's contents directly from the output file.

Messing around creating a vhd means extra ops etc -- incidentally if the computer is short of disk space as well then this isn't a good idea either as the vhd file will be almost as large as the data its being created from - in addition to the data needed for the original backup image from macrium or whatever. In any case a Macrium "bog standard" image can be mounted and data extracted from it via File explorer if required.

If you also need to create "Virtual Machines" from a physical one -- the disk2vhd method has about 4 zillion and one problems with it -- I used to use that years ago and it always fell foul of something or other -- there's a load of better ways to do it -- creating a Virtual Machine from a physical one (P2V conversion) is one of the easiest things you can do on almost any VM software.

Simply use the VM software wizard (most VM programs have a simple method to create a VM) to specify your disk size add whatever "virtual hardware" you need - the wizard can help there, and just restore your physical OS image into the VM.

The inital boot into the VM when creating it should be a stand alone bootable ISO image or USB device containing the stand alone recovery program and the image. Most VM's also can attach a Windows created partition which contains the OS image as a "physical file" so restoring is really "Seemples".

Cheers
jimbo
 
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OldMainframeGuy

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Maybe it's my mainframe dinosaur background (typically backups are done when applications are quiet) but I schedule my Macrium backups to run overnight when the machine is idle and then shut the computer down. That way I know the exact status of everything when the backup was taken. Old dog versus new trick kind of thing. :-)

Rob
 

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it's a bit fiddly and requires Regedit

We have known about that for years, it is impractical.
 

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hsehestedt

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Hi there

I believe Macrium uses a "Locking mechanism" and VSS so you can still run applications while using macrium. I'm not sure though if you save any data to disk while making an image whether those changes are saved or not. My gut feel is that while backing up / copying systems or data it's better to not use anything thats likely to change the state of the machine.

Some databases like MySQL / Mariadb can be backed up while there's active queries taking place as any updates are done via "logging" or journalling -- some applications in commercial arenas e.g cloud computing have to run 24/7 and of course things like AZURE etc have to be backed up by the cloud providers.

Taking backups when you don't need to use the machine is IMO the best time to do it.

Cheers
jimbo
See my earlier post about this. You can make as many changes as you want while the backup takes place. Those changes will not be reflected in the backup that is currently in progress, but will be reflected in the active filesystem.

Example: My backup includes several large database files. I start a backup. While the backup is in progress, I make major changes to those database files. Result: NONE of the changes made will be reflected in the backup, but will be reflected in the active filesystem.

This all works with pointers. Once you understand the inner workings it's actually really simple.
 

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Bree

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We have known about that for years, it is impractical.
practical enough for my purposes, I have just the one file I need to exclude.
Not really practical for multiple files/folders though, there I'd agree.
 

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    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October. Windows Update offered the 22H2 Feature Update on 20th September 2022.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro.

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 4GB RAM, 128GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro 22H2 Insider Beta as a native boot vhdx.

    My SYSTEM FIVE is a Dell Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Pentium Silver N5030, 4GB RAM, 128GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro.
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    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround. In-place upgrade to 22H2 using ISO and a workaround.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro.

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 4GB RAM, 128GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro 22H2 Insider Beta as a native boot vhdx.

    My SYSTEM FIVE is a Dell Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Pentium Silver N5030, 4GB RAM, 128GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro.

hsehestedt

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You also need to be a little bit careful with exclusion of folders / file via the registry. The initial timeout period within which the exclusions are applied is fairly brief. I cannot recall the timeout off the top of my head. Generally, it's only a problem if you try to exclude many thousands of folders or files, just be aware that there are practical limitations. I suspect that this is likely the reason that many image backup programs don't include in in their GUI.
 

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SIW2

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works fine with wimlib. I use a lot of exclusions. In the example above, hundreds of thousands of files were excluded.

My normal wimscript.ini contains over 140 lines of unneeded detritus to exclude. In the example above I also excluded two entire operating systems which were on the source partition in addition to the os on the root, which is the only thing that was copied ( minus the detritus) .
 
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hsehestedt

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works fine with wimlib. I use a lot of exclusions. In the example above, hundreds of thousands of files were excluded.

My normal wimscript.ini contains dozens of lines of unneeded detritus to exclude. In the example above I also excluded two entire operating systems which were on the source partition in addition to the os on the root, which is the only thing that was copied.
Yeah, it's not typically a problem unless you have a complex directory structure that is slow to traverse. I just thought it worth mentioning so that people can keep it in mind for troubleshooting purposes. It's also possible that Microsoft may have improved this with the past couple of years or so.
 

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    HP Envy 32
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    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
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    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
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SIW2

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I think it depends how the program works. Using my usual 140 line exclusion list, Wimlib will scan for about a minute before starting to create the image

When I added the three extra folders, wimlib took much longer scanning. I didnt time it, but I would guess it was scanning for about 3-4 minutes.
I think it must be listing all the files inside the folders, which is a massive number because two of the extra folders contained operating systems.

From memory, Diskgenius doesn't seem to take as long if a folder with massive number of files is excluded, presumably operating in a different way.

But diskgenius will only do that when making a partition image.

Wimlib can do it either for a volume image or (by using JFX nice program) it can do the same for direct copy to another partition, which skips the intermediate step of making a wim file.
 
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jimbo45

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With Mariadb - if you restore a macrium backup you have to replay the logs between the macrium restore and the current time/date to get the latest state of the DB. It's usually better (where possible) to shut down the DB before taking your backups -- or to exclude the DB from the backup and backup the DB separately via its own standard backup and restore utilities such as DBDump etc.

Obviously things like Banks, airline sites, forex etc have to run 24/7 and have huge databases handling 1000's of queries a second or more - and it gets even more complex if installing new versions, or releases - as even if a roll back is needed - you can't "lose" transactions completed before the roll back.

I'd imagine for those hosting websites - they'd shut down their website while performing backups too.
For typical home computers and small websites taking a backup shouldn't take more than around 30 mins so it seems IMO sensible to do this with nothing else running even if in theory its not necessary.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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ch4w11

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Messing around creating a vhd means extra ops etc -- incidentally if the computer is short of disk space as well then this isn't a good idea either as the vhd file will be almost as large as the data its being created from - in addition to the data needed for the original backup image from macrium or whatever. In any case a Macrium "bog standard" image can be mounted and data extracted from it via File explorer if required.

If you also need to create "Virtual Machines" from a physical one -- the disk2vhd method has about 4 zillion and one problems with it -- I used to use that years ago and it always fell foul of something or other -- there's a load of better ways to do it -- creating a Virtual Machine from a physical one (P2V conversion) is one of the easiest things you can do on almost any VM software.

Simply use the VM software wizard (most VM programs have a simple method to create a VM) to specify your disk size add whatever "virtual hardware" you need - the wizard can help there, and just restore your physical OS image into the VM.

The inital boot into the VM when creating it should be a stand alone bootable ISO image or USB device containing the stand alone recovery program and the image. Most VM's also can attach a Windows created partition which contains the OS image as a "physical file" so restoring is really "Seemples".

Cheers
jimbo
Thanks for the info. Im still a bit confused on how's a macrium output different from vhd file functionaly? Last time I tried to install macrium I remember it introduced a whole ton of other stuff with it and there were a dozen options to configure weres disk2vhd is 3 buttons. Wouldn't the files be equally as large for a backup of the same size?
 

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