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capair45
capair45
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My images are stored on a 3.0 USB Western Digital HDD. I have a scheduled nightly FULL image with a retention policy of 7. I’ve been using this image schedule for quite some time without any issues. Each morning I check the log to see if a new image was created and the oldest of the 7 removed.

I recently installed the Windows 10 Feature 2004 upgrade and decided it might be prudent to do a manual image of the disk (with comments) just prior to installation. I worked through the wizard and selected a retention policy of 1 (this was to be a manual image. All others stored on the backup disk were scheduled backups with a retention policy of 7). This single image was to be stored in the same folder as the 7 scheduled images.
I manually ran the image and all seemed to go as expected however, checking the storage disk showed that several of my FULL images had been deleted. I had the recent manual image and 1 scheduled image retained.

Just curious if the manual image wizard retention policy of 1 somehow overrode my scheduled retention policy of 7? Should I have created a different folder on the backup disk to store this single image?

Dave...


Windows 10 Home (2004)
Macrium Reflect 7.2.5107
Windows Defender
Malwarebytes Premium


jphughan
jphughan
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The retention policy applies by default to "all matching backups in the destination folder", not "all backups created by a particular definition file".  In the context of image backups, existing backups are considered a match if they contain the exact same partition set as those selected in the current backup, i.e. no partitions added or omitted, and all partitions still the same size and in the same position on disk.  So yes, if you created a Full backup of the same partitions that you normally back up, then for the purposes of your retention policy, that would be equivalent to a manual Full backup performed from your definition file (which would have been easier anyway -- more on that in a moment).  And as a result, setting the retention policy to 1 Full backup would cause all other backups to be deleted, because you told Reflect to retain only one Full backup, namely the current Full.  And if you also had "Run purge before backup" enabled, Reflect actually would have deleted all of your backups before even STARTING the new Full, which obviously puts you at risk.  If you still had some other backup retained, maybe that backup wasn't a match for some reason.

If you want to create a "special" backup that doesn't affect your retention policy, then it would indeed be better to send it to a different folder.  Otherwise, even if you were to disable the retention policy options on your manual backup so that Reflect wouldn't perform any purges, that manual backup would be counted by the next normal scheduled execution of your backup job and will therefore affect the retention actions taken at that time.  The alternative would be to INCREASE your Full retention policy setting before performing a manual backup.  And if you do that, then in addition to not having to send the backup to another folder, you wouldn't even have to step through the wizard for a manual backup anymore.  After adjusting your retention policy, you could just right-click your normal definition file and select Run Now > Full.

But on the topic of general practices:
  • There really isn't much value in creating a new Full just before an OS upgrade.  An Incremental is just fine, since after all, before you perform an OS upgrade, it's just another typical day for the system.  (UPDATE: Unless you only ever create Full backups anyway, I guess, which on a closer reading of your post seems to be the case.)
  • There CAN be some value in creating a new Full just AFTER an OS upgrade if you want a visual "anchor" of when the upgrade occurred or you just want to avoid an abnormally large Incremental after significant OS changes. The latter can be helpful if you use Synthetic Fulls (although in fairness, the size of a new Full will be greater than even an abnormally large Incremental.)
  • With respect to the retention policy matching settings, when performing image backups of a Windows 10 disk, I recommend that you set the retention policy matching to "all backups in the destination" rather than "all matching backups".  The reason is that Windows 10 feature updates sometimes change your partition map to set up a larger Recovery partition.  If that happens, then the pre-upgrade backups will no longer be a match to the post-upgrade backups, and therefore your retention policy going forward will no longer act on those old backups.  Changing this setting avoids that outcome -- but it is important to ensure that your destination folder contains ONLY backups created by that job, otherwise Job A could end up purging completely unrelated backups created by Job B, for example.  Also be aware that the first backup after a partition map change will have to be a Full, even if your schedule specified an Incremental or Differential.  If you set your Full retention policy in terms of number of backups rather than an amount of time, that unexpected Full can cause your oldest Full (and its child backups) to be purged unexpectedly early.  This does NOT occur if you keep the default "all matching backups" retention policy setting -- but again, that causes the pre-upgrade backups never to be purged at all.

Edited 27 July 2020 5:45 PM by jphughan
capair45
capair45
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jphughan - 27 July 2020 5:41 PM
The retention policy applies by default to "all matching backups in the destination folder", not "all backups created by a particular definition file".  In the context of image backups, existing backups are considered a match if they contain the exact same partition set as those selected in the current backup, i.e. no partitions added or omitted, and all partitions still the same size and in the same position on disk.  So yes, if you created a Full backup of the same partitions that you normally back up, then for the purposes of your retention policy, that would be equivalent to a manual Full backup performed from your definition file (which would have been easier anyway -- more on that in a moment).  And as a result, setting a retention policy to 1 Full backup would cause all other backups to be deleted, because you told Reflect to retain only one Full backup, namely the current Full.  And if you also had "Run purge before backup" enabled, Reflect actually would have deleted all of your backups before even STARTING the new Full, which obviously puts you at risk.

If you want to create a "special" backup that doesn't affect your retention policy, then it would indeed be better to store them in a different folder.  Otherwise, even if you were to disable the retention policy options on your manual backup so that Reflect wouldn't perform any purges, that manual backup would be counted by the next normal scheduled execution of your backup job and will therefore affect the retention actions taken at that time.  The alternative would be to INCREASE your Full setting before performing a manual backup.  And if you do that, then you no longer have to step through the wizard anymore.  After adjusting your retention policy, you can just right-click your definition file and select Run Now > Full.

But on the topic of general practices:
  • There really isn't much value in creating a new Full just before an OS upgrade.  An Incremental is just fine, since after all, before you perform an OS upgrade, it's just another typical day for the system.
  • There CAN be some value in creating a new Full just AFTER an OS upgrade if you want a visual "anchor" of when the upgrade occurred or you just want to avoid an abnormally large Incremental after significant OS changes. The latter can be helpful if you use Synthetic Fulls (although in fairness, the size of a new Full will be greater than even an abnormally large Incremental.)
  • With respect to the retention policy matching settings, when performing image backups of a Windows 10 disk, I recommend that you set the retention policy matching to "all backups in the destination" rather than "all matching backups".  The reason is that Windows 10 feature updates sometimes change your partition map to set up a larger Recovery partition.  If that happens, then the pre-upgrade backups will no longer be a match to the post-upgrade backups, and therefore your retention policy going forward will no longer act on those old backups.  Changing this setting avoids that outcome -- but it is important to ensure that your destination folder contains ONLY backups created by that job, otherwise Job A could end up purging completely unrelated backups created by Job B, for example.  Also be aware that the first backup after a partition map change will have to be a Full, even if your schedule specified an Incremental or Differential.  If you set your Full retention policy in terms of number of backups rather than an amount of time, that unexpected Full can cause your oldest Full (and its child backups) to be purged unexpectedly early.  This does NOT occur if you keep the default "all matching backups" retention policy setting -- but again, that causes the pre-upgrade backups never to be purged at all.

Thank you for a very informative reply.  Fortunately, my image needs are simple so I have a couple to fall back on if needed.  Speed and storage space are not that high on my priority list so I do only Full images.  Thanks again for a great explanation.

Windows 10 Home (2004)
Macrium Reflect 7.2.5107
Windows Defender
Malwarebytes Premium


jphughan
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Happy to help!  One minor amendment to the above: If you want to specify a comment on a manual backup, you can right-click your definition file and select Run Now > Prompt.  That will bring up a dialog asking you choose your backup type (Full/Diff/Inc), but in the corner you'll see a button allowing you to add a comment. Smile

capair45
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jphughan - 27 July 2020 5:50 PM
Happy to help!  One minor amendment to the above: If you want to specify a comment on a manual backup, you can right-click your definition file and select Run Now > Prompt.  That will bring up a dialog asking you choose your backup type (Full/Diff/Inc), but in the corner you'll see a button allowing you to add a comment. Smile

Perfect!  Glad you're here and available for us

Windows 10 Home (2004)
Macrium Reflect 7.2.5107
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