Separate Backup .mrimg Files Per Partition Volume


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Hello Macrium,

After decades of experience with computers, I deliberately setup separate hard drive partitions volumes for the operating system, data and less frequently changed data.  This makes organizing, troubleshooting and recovery much simpler and faster.  I want to leverage the efficiency of this approach for viBoot as well, but my progress is hampered...

I want the agility to boot my computer virtually from backups, but the single monolithic .mrimg backup file that Macrium creates is way to big to fit on my PC.  So, I want to suggest and advocate for an option to create separate .mrimg backup files per partition.  This way, the typical daily full backup of my C drive (which is much smaller than the other partitions) to an external drive can later be copied and fit onto a drive in my computer and can be easily launched with viBoot.

It's enormously helpful to virtually run my own PC with all the tools, settings and programs already present because more often than not, i'm troubleshooting some issue with my own computer.

Sure, I could have viBoot virtually launch my PC from the external backup drive, but that's horrendously slow.  Better to copy the .mrimg file to fast SSD storage for maximum efficiency and speed. :-)

What do you think?

Thanks!

Edited 28 June 2020 2:23 PM by uit
jphughan
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This is already possible.  You do NOT need to have an image of your entire disk in order to use viBoot.  I have a large Data partition on my disk that I back up separately from my OS partitions, which I do even apart from viBoot considerations because I like having OS backups that are small, fast to create, and contain minimal sensitive data.  And then I have another backup job for just my Data partition.  This also allows me to use separate schedules and retention policies for my OS backups vs. data backups.

However, in order to boot an image through viBoot, you do need an image that has all partitions necessary to boot Windows, and on most PCs this will typically NOT be just the C partition.  Depending on your system, you might need an EFI System partition, MSR partition, System Reserved partition, and/or Windows Recovery partition.  But none of those are very large at all.  If you launch Reflect and in the upper-left corner click "Create an image of the partitions necessary to back up and restore Windows", then the partitions that will be pre-selected in the wizard that appears will be the ones you'll need for viBoot.  And honestly those are the partitions you should have in any backup that you're creating for system restore purposes.  It doesn't make sense to back up those tiny partitions separately from the C partition, or the C partition separately from those other boot-critical partitions.  But if you want to exclude other data partitions that you personally use for other purposes, that's perfectly fine to do.  You'll still be able to use viBoot and you'll still have single backups that contain everything you need to back up or restore Windows.

Here is an example of a backup I have that includes only my OS partitions.  The 700 GB+ blank space at the end of the partition map is a Data partition that I don't include in these backups, but this backup can nonetheless be booted in viBoot:



Edited 28 June 2020 3:03 PM by jphughan
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Thanks for you reply and your vast and informative contributions to this forum!

I fully understand what you've mentioned and it works, but not for me.  I want to keep everything simple and easy with minimal fuss.  I don't want to create a separate backup specifically for viBoot.  Rather, I want to grab any full backup, copy the C drive partition backup file (which would include the related hidden partitions) to my internal drive and launch the backup virtually.

This can be simply accomplished by having an option to separate the .mrimg backup file into smaller pieces.  If one doesn't want to participate in this, that's fine, they don't have to enable the option.

Other backup programs also separate the backup files per partition, which has the added benefit of reducing the risk of corruption and the resultant damage.  So, it's a good thing.

BTW, I don't want to debate my enhancement request.  I want Macrium alone to evaluate it.

jphughan
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Oh ok, so you essentially want an "export" function for existing MRIMG backup files.  That wasn't very clear at all from your first post.  First, you described that you segment your drives into volumes.  Then you said, "I want the agility to boot my computer virtually from backups, but the single monolithic .mrimg backup file that Macrium creates is way to big to fit on my PC."  The confusion was that Reflect doesn't HAVE to create a monolithic backup file.  It can create files that only include individual partitions.

Next, you said, "I want to suggest and advocate for an option to create separate .mrimg backup files per partition."  It's not clear from that sentence that you wanted to be able to do this from existing MRIMG files as opposed to from the original source disk.

And lastly, you said, "This way, the typical daily full backup of my C drive (which is much smaller than the other partitions) to an external drive can later be copied and fit onto a drive in my computer and can be easily launched with viBoot."  This is the part that's especially confusing to me.  If you're ALREADY making backups of just your C partition -- without the other partitions on that disk -- then why are you unable to use those backups for viBoot?  If those backups are literally JUST your C partition, then yes you might need to adjust that existing job to include the other small hidden partitions, but that will have a minimal impact on backup size, so the impact of this change on your existing daily Full backup job will be negligible.  But the end result will be that you'll have backups that are usable for viBoot without having to create separate backups just for that purpose OR having to use full disk backups OR having to wait on some new feature you're requesting.

Edited 28 June 2020 4:27 PM by jphughan
jphughan
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Ok, I think I might have figured out my confusion on the last part.  When you said, "The typical daily backup of my C drive", does that mean, "The typical daily backup of my entire disk, which happens to give me a daily backup of my C drive, as opposed to a daily Full backup of JUST my C drive"?  If so, I understand the desire to be able to export specific partitions out of the large MRIMG files you're currently creating into a new, smaller one.

As to debating the merits of the request itself, I personally think that exercise can add value simply because Macrium's engineering resources are of course finite, and there are lots of feature requests out there, so making a good case for an idea can be worthwhile.  The fact that other users who aren't interested in this could simply ignore it isn't the only material consideration here.  Those people might also want something ELSE that they would prefer Macrium allocate some effort to implementing -- I maintain a long list myself here, so maybe I have a more vested interest in this than others.  And speaking from that perspective of my own interest, I personally don't think there's a great case for this particular enhancement request.  Your current predicament could be resolved either by segmenting your backup jobs just as you already segment your source disk, or by getting faster storage.  The former really isn't difficult at all to set up or manage after you've already partitioned the source disk (as opposed to currently having everything on a huge C partition where you wouldn't even have the option of carving data out of it).  And the latter is also simple, albeit potentially costly.  But I would argue that neither of those options would be anywhere near the level of effort or cost on Macrium's end of building a feature like this just so you can avoid segmenting backups or using faster storage.

Drac144
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I think your unwillingness to debate your wish list item may make it less likely to happen.  As JP suggests, Macrium has limited resources and will likely use them to add features that are useful to many users and/or are simple to add.  By discussing (better word to describe the process than "debating") your proposal and thinking about issues and ideas others present, you are providing input to Macrium.  Other ways to achieve the performance you want, may surface during these discussions and you may find a way to get the result you want without waiting months or years for an official implementation. And, since many wish list items will never be done, getting a workaround is usually the best option - if you really care about the RESULT as opposed to getting the result implemented exactly the way you want it.

Edited 28 June 2020 7:35 PM by Drac144
alQamar
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Hi is it ok to extend this idea?

a file per partition might be a feasible idea and would be an advantage over competitors.
Risks: corruption, lost files, more overhead (more files, metadata)

What I would like to see more likely is going into a similar direction: having the ability to have full backups in one folder and diff / incs in another folder

usecase: I want to place the full backup in a folder that syncs with my cloud provider of my choice. The incs would be too much but I could compensate their loss
current retention
2 fulls
14 incs, synthetic fulls if possible

Acronis does allow to either replicate a backup (works ok with some minor exceptions) to their cloud or having a secondary copy elsewhere. I would like to refrain to have secondary copies for the sake of saving space.
Edited 1 July 2020 11:53 PM by alQamar
jphughan
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The idea here wasn't actually one file per partition.  The idea was to allow exporting a subset of the partitions/disks in an existing MRIMG into a new MRIMG.  Creating a file per partition is already possible if you want to create separate definition files to handle each one.

Splitting the files of a set into different folders isn't really an extension of that idea; it's a completely different idea that might be better placed in another thread.  But just in case you're not aware, if you disable Delta Incremental Indexing, you can create new Incrementals as long as at least one existing Incremental exists at the destination.  So if you want to archive your Full and possibly Diff somewhere else, you can do so.  Of course there's some manual effort involved there since that capability wasn't really implemented with your use case in mind, but it's something that exists today.  I actually LIKE that backup sets are contained in the same folder.  One of my big pet peeves with older backup solutions in the tape days was that restoring a backup might require content from multiple separate devices.  With Reflect, any set in a given folder is self-contained, with no dependencies on content existing elsewhere (except for the case I described if you manually and deliberately create that situation).  It also makes running a disk rotation much simpler.  I could see quite a few complications arising with supporting different portions of a set being in different locations, not the least of which would be users accidentally breaking their sets, but hey this is the Wish List section.

alQamar
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sorry for mixing things up I'll setup a new thread and thanks for your great advice.
GO

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