Automatic Resizing of C drive when cloning to a larger hard drive


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Danskeman
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With version 2004, the default partition order has changed.  The WinRE partition is now placed after the C drive.
This makes expanding C drive to fill all extra space on a larger hard drive more complicated than before.​

​​You cannot simply click maximum in advanced properties anymore as the WinRE partition gets in the way.

Now you have to do it in a clunky way i.e.  (here is how  for default 4 UEFI partitions)

- drag and drop​ 1st three partitions
​- used advanced properties to extend C drive leaving enough space for Win RE partition 
- drag and drop 4th partition.

OK for only 4 partitions, this is not too arduous but if 2 or more partitions to right of C drive, you have to add up size of all partitions which can be difficult to precisely estimate if some are expressed in GB instead of MB.  You normally have to err on side of caution which can lead to a few MB of used space (not a big deal but annoying).

It is easier to use a tool like Minitool Partition Wizard Free ​to do this afterwards as you can do it precisely,

A really great improvement would be to have an option to expand C drive automatically, so that the partitions to right are moved as far right as possible, so all unallocated space is immediately to right of C drive and can then be expanded.  


Note: you can reorder partitions so C drive is last to avoid this but this gets back to current  pre-2004 problem is you will end up with 2 recovery partitions after an upgrade.​​

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Edited 28 July 2020 9:19 AM by Danskeman
jphughan
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The Restored/Cloned Partition Properties dialog allows you to set the units to MB, GB, or TB, and supports at least 2 decimal places.  The partition size figures shown in Reflect also go to 2 decimal places.  So yes I suppose you could end up with a few extra MB at the end, but that's hardly consequential.  And if having an unallocated gap at the end bugs you, then you could just resize the last partition to Max Size to fill any remaining space.

In addition to automatic resizing if there are ONLY the "default" Windows partitions on the disk, which is a Wish List item I've had for a while now, what I'd personally like to see is the ability to resize a partition even when there's already another one to the right.  For example if I have Partition 1, Partition 2, and then a bunch of unallocated space, I should be able to extend Partition 1 and have that simply shift Partition 2 farther down the disk.  The ability to reorder partitions within the Destination would be handy as well, i.e. rather than having to drag and drop them in the desired order, I should be able to drag Partition 2 to the beginning of the disk and have Reflect automatically move Partition 1 over so that I can drop it there if desired.  And if partitions could be "snapped" to each other, that would allow partitions to be reordered and resized fairly easily to eliminate any gaps between partitions that might not be wanted, e.g. dragging the left or right edge of a partition farther left/right in order to increase the overall partition size and make its start or end sector adjacent to another partition.

Danskeman
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jphughan - 28 July 2020 2:00 PM
The Restored/Cloned Partition Properties dialog allows you to set the units to MB, GB, or TB, and supports at least 2 decimal places.  The partition size figures shown in Reflect also go to 2 decimal places.  So yes I suppose you could end up with a few extra MB at the end, but that's hardly consequential.  And if having an unallocated gap at the end bugs you, then you could just resize the last partition to Max Size to fill any remaining space.

In addition to automatic resizing if there are ONLY the "default" Windows partitions on the disk, which is a Wish List item I've had for a while now, what I'd personally like to see is the ability to resize a partition even when there's already another one to the right.  For example if I have Partition 1, Partition 2, and then a bunch of unallocated space, I should be able to extend Partition 1 and have that simply shift Partition 2 farther down the disk.  The ability to reorder partitions within the Destination would be handy as well, i.e. rather than having to drag and drop them in the desired order, I should be able to drag Partition 2 to the beginning of the disk and have Reflect automatically move Partition 1 over so that I can drop it there if desired.  And if partitions could be "snapped" to each other, that would allow partitions to be reordered and resized fairly easily to eliminate any gaps between partitions that might not be wanted, e.g. dragging the left or right edge of a partition farther left/right in order to increase the overall partition size and make its start or end sector adjacent to another partition.

What you are describing is pretty much how Minitool Partition Wizard works.  I agree it would be a nice to have.  

In the end, you can do these things if you have a reasonable knowledge of Reflect and an understanding of partitions but it is clunky.

However, it is not intuitive and it cannot be that difficult to automate expansion of C drive (or reduction to a smaller drive come to that).

I really think some development in partition management i.e. including some key features of partitioning tools would be a strong marketing differentiator  with its key rivals.

In a related point,  I see a lot of people are using AOEMI backupper now because the Free version includes incremental backups. 

I know it is a long held view that this is a premium feature and if in free version, it could harm sales of Home. 

However, I do not think that is a valid view anymore as users are just switching to  AOEMI.

Surely, it must be better to keep users in the Reflect ecosphere and in context of above, improved partitioning tools could be introduced as a premium feature, and I think this would actually enhance Home Sales. 


Edited 29 July 2020 8:29 AM by Danskeman
jphughan
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I don't actually agree that Reflect should invest in becoming a partition management tool.  Enhancing the partition "staging" capabilities in the context of a cloning or imaging operation, which is Reflect's core purpose, makes perfect sense.  But I'm not really interested in having a cloning/imaging application that's also a solid "standalone" partition management tool.  Ironically one of the bits of positive feedback I consistently see mentioned on this forum from people who came to Reflect from Acronis is that they appreciate that Reflect has stayed focus rather than getting bloated.  I would argue that adding full partition management to a cloning/imaging application would constitute bloat.  Would you expect Minitool Partition Wizard to add fairly robust imaging/cloning functionality?

Interesting note about AOMEI Free supporting Incrementals.  Whether to add that to Reflect Free would of course be a business decision, and I don't have the data to assess whether that would be a good step.  However, I do get the sense that home users actually aren't Macrium's bread and butter market.  They have a single edition aimed at home users, and then multiple editions, some with multiple licensing options, aimed at businesses.  Also keep in mind that unlike the business versions that offer subscription support and maintenance options, Home is a one-time purchase, so Macrium doesn't have to worry about attracting existing users AGAIN until the next major release.  So I guess the calculation would work as follows:
  • There will be some new or existing customers where the OTHER paid features and perhaps just the ability to use Reflect rather than AOMEI are sufficiently enticing.  For those people, whether Incrementals become available in the Free version won't affect their decision to upgrade their paid license or become a new paid customer.
  • There will be some customers who a) want Incremental backups, and b) don't see sufficient value in any other paid functionality in V7 or in whatever will come with paid V8, and c) would be just as happy on AOMEI.  I have no idea how large this population is, but consider the options here.  If Macrium continues to reserve Incrementals for paid versions, then existing paid customers might stick to the V7 license they already bought for as long as they can or switch to AOMEI.  Either way, Macrium doesn't get any additional money out of them.  If Macrium adds Incrementals to Reflect Free, then those customers will either stick to paid V7, switch to V8 Free, or switch to AOMEI.  Here again, Macrium doesn't get any additional money out of them.  So for people who only care about Incrementals (and not Image Guardian, RDR, etc.) and consider Reflect and AOMEI interchangeable, Macrium won't get more money out of them no matter what.
  • Adding Incrementals to Reflect Free might attract more NEW customers to Reflect who would otherwise have gone to AOMEI for free Incrementals, and some of THEM might then upgrade to a paid version after starting out on the free version.  There's an opportunity for revenue here.
  • But what about the people who are willing to pay for Reflect to gain Incrementals even if other solutions offer it for free because they do NOT consider Reflect and AOMEI to be interchangeable?  They want Incrementals AND they specifically want to use Reflect.  Adding Incrementals to Reflect Free would END revenue from those customers.
  • So the question is whether the customer base in Point #3 above is larger than the customer base in Point #4.

Danskeman
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Actually minitool partition does do cloning.  So they have integrated both aspects.  So one could argue Reflect is falling behind.

So I believe there is a case for development of its partition management. 

In any case, I only asked for a small change to make life easier.  Your yourself haved asked for a more advanced modification.

Regarding incrementals.  I know many  users of the free version upgraded to Home because they consider it was worth supporting it.  However most people are probably not so altruistic.

One thing is for sure, people are moving to AOMEI for incrementals.  

Reflect's major strength is that it is (imo and most people I know) better than the opposition. However complacency is never a good plan.

Anyway, we may have different  viewpoints but I hope the Wishlist is taken seriously and is not just like the MS Feedback Hub which is nothing more than a statistical analysis tool and rarely achieves any positive outcomes.  










jphughan
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I've certainly asked for things that would require more extensive engineering work.  I have ALSO asked for the simple thing you're talking about here, before you even brought it up, although I admittedly only wrote up the case of restoring to a smaller disk to avoid an actual error that blocked the user from moving forward.  The scenario of moving to larger storage creates an inconvenience afterward, but not a blocking issue.  But I agree that both would be worth addressing.

In terms of "scope creep", everyone draws their lines in different places in terms of what ancillary functionality would be considered useful vs. what would be bloat that they specifically want to avoid and that they would prefer Macrium keep away from in favor of focusing on functionality more central to their product's existing focus.  Some people think Image Guardian was too far outside of Reflect's core mission and that Macrium should have left file protection to dedicated file protection products.  I disagree, for reasons I won't lengthen this post with.  But I would NOT want Macrium to try to build a comprehensive anti-virus engine into Reflect in the name of securing backups either.  I don't see partition management as core to the mission of an imaging/cloning solution EXCEPT in the context of "staging" the desired partition layout when performing a clone or restore, where I agree their current wizard could certainly be improved.  But if I wanted to manage partitions outside of those contexts, I would go looking for a partition management tool.  And given that there are already tools for that purpose that are both excellent and FREE, I question the value proposition here, both to Macrium and their users.  If Macrium tries to build this and falls short of the best free solutions out there, then people can do better by just getting that other free tool.  And outdoing those free solutions that have been around for a while and are quite mature at this point would likely require a substantial engineering commitment from Macrium.  And unless they can VASTLY outdo the existing free tools, then they probably wouldn't be able to charge for this new functionality, otherwise people will say, "Why should I pay to do this in Reflect when Minitool does it for free?"  So what is Macrium's incentive to do this?  Chances are they wouldn't be able to recover their engineering effort expenditures with paid license revenue unless they can revolutionize partition management, which seems unlikely.  And that's before considering that partition management itself is a relatively niche task anyway.  I've worked in various IT roles for over 15 years, including large scale desktop and server support, and believe it or not, I have never ONCE felt the need to use a partition management utility.  I don't do live repartitioning.  If I need to reorder or resize partitions, I'll image them first, destroy them, and then restore them with any reordering/resizing needed.

And regardless of whether Macrium tries to build rudimentary or revolutionary partition management into Reflect, their time spent on this would mean less time spent working on other functionality that would be more central to Reflect's core purpose and more likely to be used by more people -- and that would therefore be more likely to be attractive to Reflect's customer base, including their paying customers.

So yes, while some of my requests would require substantial engineering commitments from Macrium, I would argue that all of them are more aligned with Reflect's core purpose than standalone partition management.

Edited 29 July 2020 6:24 PM by jphughan
Danskeman
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In the end, my original request was to automatically  resize the C drive which was easy with the old partition layout but is now cumbersome with the new partition layout.

I see that is a perfectly reasonable and simple change but would be welcomed by all users.  I often see posts where users cloned a drive and did not select option to maximise C partition. In part, it is just not that obvious but you can quickly show a user what to do.

But with 2004, now you have to say

- drag and drop 1st three partitions 

- extend C drive, leaving enough space for 4th (or more) partitions

- drag remaining partitions.

I would like to just see a visible checkbox that will extend or shrink C drive to fit. I really believe this cannot be difficult as all the elements are there.

I really think Reflect should address the impact of the change due to 2004.

I could also get into a long discussion about the Reflect UI which is really due for an overhaul but that is for another day.


Edited 29 July 2020 6:46 PM by Danskeman
jphughan
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Agreed on all counts.  And I actually proposed a UI overhaul in this thread.  My goal there was to simplify things for new/novice users without introducing a relearning curve for experienced users accustomed to the current UI.  That proposal wasn't something I expected to see within the lifecycle of a given major release, but we'll see what V8 might bring.

Danskeman
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jphughan - 29 July 2020 6:54 PM
Agreed on all counts.  And I actually proposed a UI overhaul in this thread.  My goal there was to simplify things for new/novice users without introducing a relearning curve for experienced users accustomed to the current UI.  That proposal wasn't something I expected to see within the lifecycle of a given major release, but we'll see what V8 might bring.

I read your post about UI and whilst I may have different views, I basically agree with the sentiments, particularly for beginners.

I was interested in seeing a reply ​by Nick saying he had no seen any real complaints but that I attribute that to the fact that beginners would use the free version who cannot join forum.  People who upgrade to Home are generally experienced users and far less likely to complain.

I have seen on other forums the main complaint about Reflect is it does not have a simple menu for beginners.  I have to agree the AOMEI interface is much easier for beginners - check it out and you will see what I mean.

I like you think the overall UI should not be drastically altered, but I think there should be a "simple mode"  menu which would basically do nothing much more than backup/restore all partitions on one physical drive to another physical drive.

My one pet hate is that the you have to go the restore menus to do a differential or incremental back ​​​up (until you learn how to use the xml files which is not intuitive and I only learnt that recently)​.

The basic logic is select a restore file​​ from restire menus and then choose what you want to add to it,

This is back to front and the logic should be "choose what sort of backup you want from backup menus, then select the resto​re image".

Like all things, experienced users have no issues ONCE you know how.

So like you I agree there is scope for improvement but it needs to be done in a considered manner of course, as we all want to keep Reflect's ​championship reputation for reliabilty.

I think Paramount need to keep their eye on contemporary offerings as in the last few years there are some "New Kids on the Block" are defininitely winning over new users, and like everything in life, getting people to switch back to Reflect from a brand they become loyal to is difficult.

One thing I try and do is educate people of the need for image backups, and I am finding it increasingly hard to recommend Reflect as first choice for beginners as (I hate to say it but) ​​ it is not as intuitive for beginners as some of the "New Kids on the Block".  It is easy to say there are tutorials and guides but these days most people want to just "Plug and Play".

Any idea when V8 will come out?​​​​​​​​
Edited 30 July 2020 10:59 AM by Danskeman
jphughan
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On the subject of an Easy Mode, see this Wish List thread I created.  I didn't post an entire UI proposal for that one, but that idea is specifically tailored to allowing beginners to get off the ground easily without having to think about anything.  I agree that Reflect isn't really for beginners.  It's for at least semi-power users.  But I didn't really consider that a problem before.  First, I used to figure that most people creating image backups in the first place were likely semi-power users or better.  And second, an application being geared to semi-power users isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Different applications can be intended and designed for users with different experience levels (iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro, for example), and making an application more beginner-friendly is not always feasible and would not necessarily be seen as an improvement, particularly in the eyes of existing users who might not WANT what for them would be a "dumbed down" UI that might be less efficient to use.  So I figured there was some degree of self-selection involved here, i.e. Reflect is aimed at semi-power users, and those are the people who stick to use it.  And maybe Macrium isn't interested in having more beginners to support.

But experience on this forum has shown me that, for better or for worse, there are quite a few beginners using Reflect, and even that sample size only includes those who have a paid account, created a forum account, and decided to post.  And I think Reflect very likely could be made easier for beginners without becoming more arduous for experienced users to navigate.

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