Keep the 1st full backup


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Andreas
Andreas
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I am a big fan of Macrium Reflect, I think its the only tool currently on market, which really concentrate on making the product round and bugfree to ensure good quality. Please keep this spirit. I prefer backup/restore quality over tons of GUI changes and questionable add-on features that nobody requires (see Acronis).
I like it much that you deliver alway small tested fixes and enhancements. A big HURRAY from my side.

Now the question / feature request.

I am missing the possibility
- to permanently keep the 1st backup when the system has been setup in an optimum way to be able to go back if something starts going wrong
- but also to keep some more backups to make it possible to pick one of the later stable system images

My proposal for this would be the following
1- an option to always keep the 1st disk image
2- an option to configure to keep additionally every xxx days/weeks/months/years
  -- either a full backup
  -- or - to save diskspace - differential backups to this 1st permanently kept disk image
3- an option to limit these additional full or differential backups (see 2) by
  - statically configuring how many of those additional backups to keep in terms of number
  - the total amount of diskspace that these additional backups may take at maximum

Example:
I have a 10 TB backup disk
I would like to use Grandfather / Father / Son backup with lets say mostly default setting
As a full backup takes around 320GB I would configure on top to check / ensure by expiration,
that 400 GB Diskspce needs to be free before the start of a backup.

On top of that by my feature request I would wish to be able to configure
- keep the 1st backup
- make additional differential backups to this 1st backup each month
- keep at max 12 of these additional differential backups, so that I have the initial backup of my system PLUS 12 more months, even if this runs for 3 or 4 years !
- if these additional differential backups take more than 2TB diskspace, then stop creating them

For me such a setting makes much sense because I split my data across multiple SSDs/Disks.
1TB SSD for Windows and Sample Libraries for virtual instruments
512TB SSD for recording projects and Video editing
3TB disk for pure user data (not recording)
10TB internal backup disk
6TB external backup disk via USB3.1 2nd gen controller/external drive

If my system would become messy by I dont know, to much installation and desintallation of programs and tools and testing,
then I could very easily go back to the initial installation or maybe half a year or a year later.

My user data are on differnt disks ....
And I keep also a separate backup of  user profile data, so that I can restore the latest easily on top.

I think this could become a very round solution expanding the retention time of backup to the best and most reliable system states if you think about long term backup of several years ....

In short ... keep the first and best ones ... and keep the latest ones .....


jphughan
jphughan
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Adding these type of retention options to the interface would become very confusing, and I don't know how much desire there would be for any of them.  Keeping the first Full seems fairly arbitrary -- why is the first Full necessarily better than any Full that comes after it?  In terms of limiting the total storage that Reflect's backups are allowed to consume, there are already 2 indirect ways to do that: the retention policy and the disk space threshold purge option.  In the former case, if your backups are taking up more space than you want, then set a more aggressive retention policy and/or manually delete some backups; in the former case, Reflect will delete multiple older backups next time that job runs if necessary to comply with your new settings, so storage consumption increases beyond your intended threshold can be corrected fairly easily.  For the disk space threshold purge option, granted that option looks at total free space on disk rather than space consumed by backups AND it deletes older backup sets when enabled rather than simply halting new ones, but looking at free space rather than space consumed by backups and deleting older backup sets to allow new ones to continue are what most people would prefer to happen anyway.  Still, the recommended practice is to set a retention policy that's feasible for your disk capacity and results in storage consumption that you consider acceptable for Reflect, and then if you use the disk space threshold purge, it should be as a last resort to allow backups to continue at the cost of older backups in case something else has consumed a significant amount of storage on your disk.

In terms of specifying that 12 Differentials should be kept, you can already do that with the current settings, although you can't specify that the Diffs always be created from the first Full.  Diffs always append to the most recent matching Full, and Incs always append to the most recent matching Diff or Full.  But if you WANT to create brand new Diffs against an older Full even if a newer one exists, see below for a way you might be able to force this.

In terms of keeping the first Full permanently and perhaps treating specific other backups in a special way, i.e. outside of your normal retention settings, there are two ways to handle this:
- After you generate a backup that you want to receive special treatment, move it into a subfolder of your destination (or anywhere else), and then Reflect's retention policy won't touch it anymore.
- Right-click your definition file, select "Duplicate", and change the destination of the new copy to a subfolder (or anywhere else).  You may also wish to remove the scheduled executions of this, unless your do have a formal schedule in mind for these "special" backups.  If not, then simply run that secondary definition file manually any time you wish to generate one.  This mechanism would allow you to create Diffs from an older Full even if you have newer backups generated by your "main" definition file, because if the older Full is the newest backup that Reflect can see in that folder, that's what it will work with when creating a new Diff/Inc.

Edited 1 December 2017 2:48 PM by jphughan
Andreas
Andreas
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I assumed that you would say that.

What about stripping the request down to this proposal, which is potentially even better and more flexible to use and easier to implement:
create the possibility to mark some full backups to be kept permanently
and the possibility to edit the comment field to be able to make some notes why you marked it to be kept.

This would enable all people that try out a lot of things on their PC to keep some "golden images" where everyting is in best shape,
shall over time a re-installation be required.

For me this would ease my life, as the requirements for my PC are of contradictionary nature ..
On the one hand I need for studio / recording purposes a highly fine tuned system.
With selected drivers and customized windows settings, where everything is being tested thoroughly.

On the other hand I am IT specialist and are testing and installing a lot of things.
Of course I use Macrium to go back to the state before I did the change, should it turn out, that the change was bad.

But over time situations arise, where you install more and more and after a couple of month you see, hmm not so ideal anymore.
Then it would be nice to be able to go back to one of the "golden images" and then add only tested / required software on top.

User data is for me not affected as they are on a different partition and files from user profile are also mirrored automatically to a different backup disk.


jphughan
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The ability to retrofit comments and mark certain images as exempt from retention policies and disk purges are interesting, but again I don't know if it makes sense to build that formally into the application.  If you know the image you're about to make is going to be a golden image, you could of course specify the comment and custom destination right then and there.  If you don't realize that an image should be considered "golden" until later, then it's true you can't add a comment to that effect, but you'd still be able to move it elsewhere in order to preserve it, and it's not clear to me that simply moving a golden backup to another location would be significantly more work than using a theoretical mechanism within Reflect to mark that image as golden.

Andreas
Andreas
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Was just an idea. If you do not like it then not.

gorillale
gorillale
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II have the same problem. I backed up my PC.
I haven't been able to use the PC for a few months.
After restarting, the backup was executed after 5 minutes and all backups were deleted.
The whole thing is very annoying because two complete father and sons were deleted and I can no longer restore the data because the start of the new backup destroyed them.

A function at least "Keep the 1st backup" as with other backup programs would be really very helpful.
Otherwise I have to make a backup from the backup...


Edited 7 April 2023 8:45 AM by gorillale
Andreas
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This was a use case that I didn't think of when writing my request / ideas.

Well this is really a bummer .. if the PC is not in use for a long time, maybe even unplanned, because somebody became ill and then all is deleted.

But then the question arises, whether it makes sense to keep the 1st full backup (OLDEST) if you have a longer series of backups or the last one.

Maybe it would even make more sense to have either one of these or even both as an selectable options:

A) keep the last N full backups to keep the last N most up to date
B) expire all backups "due to rules", but always keep the last Grandfather, Father, Son intact/complete

I think A) should per default be set to 1 to get one more full backup and B) should be always on to solve your issue, which is a very valid one and nobody though about this.
You turn on your computer after longer time interval and BANG, all of backups are being expired ...


gorillale
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yes exactly, it's a problem if someone isn't present for a long time and the backup wasn't executed...
It can also be a problem when a file is missing after a long time. Therefore, if possible, a backup should always be a very old one.

Of course I could make a backup of the backup and also a backup of the backupbackup...
You can never be sure... if a nuclear bomb explodes, I don't need a backup anymore.

Keep last Backup a "must have" option for me.
( Comfortable from backup app, or copy self manual Sad then.  )
jphughan
jphughan
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If you want to keep a backup permanently, then you can move it to a subfolder of the destination, or really anywhere other than directly within the destination folder Reflect is using.

The retention policy issue described above can be a problem. Both time-based and quantity-based retention policies have their hazards in anomaly cases, such as long periods with no backups (for time-based) and occasional desired ad-hoc backups or even the unexpected Full required based on a change in circumstances (for quantity-based).
Drac144
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I am surprised that no mention was made about keeping important backups on an offline device.  If you do have a golden backup there should be a copy on a removable device or on a cloud storage system or on a device connected to a different computer.  If a backup is important there should definitely be more than one copy of it. 

Possibly including duplicate copies of important backups on separate drives would address all the issues you seem concerned about in your current backup philosophy.  I keep copies of my weekly full backups on a USB drive which is only connected to the computer when I am using it.  I keep monthly backups on cloud storage.  Reflect provides the mechanism to create backups and has features to help automate some common and useful backup philosophies.  If you have a philosophy for saving backups that is different than what the majority of users find beneficial, you may want to review the advantages/disadvantages to YOU of using those that ARE currently built into Reflect.  There are many users that think they have a great backup plan but sometimes those plans have significant defects.  There are reasons that Reflect favors the use of certain backup philosophies.

GO

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