Does Macrium backup save VSS Shadow Copy data on an image backup - Windows 10


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Richard Kurtz
Richard Kurtz
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I did a Clean Install of Win 10 after doing a Macrium backup, then restore the C: drive.
Next I tried ShadowCopyView to restore an older copy of the registry and there were no Shadow copies available. Prior to the Clean Install and restore or C: there had been two available.

VSSADMIN LIST SHADOWS gets No items found that satisfy the query.

So my question is, is Macrium Reflect supposed to save shadow copy data or because Macrium uses VSS it doesn't save Shadow Copies?

Edited 20 February 2021 7:59 PM by Richard Kurtz
Beardy
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From the KB here it appears that VSS omits VSS storage (which would include shadow copies).

If you have reason to want to carry shadow copies across, you'd need to back up while booted from the rescue media, which backs up without involving VSS.
jphughan
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That's correct, and note that since this relates to an aspect of VSS operation, this is a Windows behavior issue, not a Reflect issue.  VSs snapshots do not include previous VSS snapshots, which means you lose things like System Restore checkpoints. Windows also omits the Windows Search index database from VSS snapshots, since that can grow very large and will be automatically regenerated if it's missing.

Edited 20 February 2021 9:31 PM by jphughan
Patrick O'Keefe
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jphughan - 20 February 2021 9:31 PM
... VSs snapshots do not include previous VSS snapshots, which means you lose things like System Restore checkpoints.

I somehow missed that which, for me, is a very big deal.  I guess I'm one of the few people that still use System Restore points, and they've saved my cookies a number of times.  I have not hesitated to use MR restores - I've done it at least 3 times since I started using MR last August - but I think I'd better be more circumspect in the future. 

Is there any way to get Macrium Reflect to backup (and restore) System Restore Points?  I don't think there is anything else in System Volume Information that I'm interested in, but I do want the System Restore Points.

jphughan
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^ If there is a way to get VSS snapshots to include System Restore points either just for Reflect or in general, I don't know of it.  I've only had one good experience with System Restore, and it was in a situation involving my work laptop where I didn't have image backups and System Restore was the only option before a full reimage.  It was the only time I used it and had it actually work, and I haven't used it since.  I personally would always choose a Reflect restore over a System Restore, but that admittedly may have a lot to do with the fact that I keep my personal data on a separate partition from my OS, and therefore a Reflect restore in my case does not involve rolling back all of my personal data.  The fact that System Restore offers that capability without any partitioning can admittedly be an attractive option -- when it works.

But out of curiosity, how often would you need to restore a Reflect backup and THEN run System Restore from that restored backup?  It seems to me that if that need were expected to be reasonably likely, it would make more sense to simply retain more Reflect backups.

System Restore points to me were much more valuable under Windows 7 when they included easy access to the Previous Versions feature.  That was dropped in Windows 8 in favor of File History, which requires an external hard drive or network share.  That's a much better backup solution, but I really liked Previous Versions because it gave you a quick and easy way to maintain earlier versions of your files on your own local disk.  So even though it wasn't a substitute for a proper backup, it was an easy way to recover from an accidental deletion or something, even if you were on the go and away from your File History target.  And Previous Versions is still in the newest releases of Windows Server (called Shadow Copies there), and client systems when browsing a share hosted by a Windows server where that feature is enabled can still see the Previous Versions tab.  But Microsoft in their infinite wisdom simply decided to remove it from the client versions for their own data.

Edited 20 February 2021 10:33 PM by jphughan
Beardy
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@pokeefe Run the backups from the rescue media, that's about the only way to capture them, just about every Windows based backup will use VSS & not backing up shadow copies is just what happens using VSS (live) backups. Only way round it is to backup offline, booted to an alternate Mini-OS like Rescue does.

If that's too painful because you can't use the system while backing up, I'd suggest running incremental backups more frequently, & reaching for restore rather than system-restore points. I've found that a more reliable fix anyway myself, to the extent I mostly turn system restore off once I have a decent backup schedule set.
Patrick O'Keefe
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jphughan - 20 February 2021 10:28 PM
...
But out of curiosity, how often would you need to restore a Reflect backup and THEN run System Restore from that restored backup?  It seems to me that if that need were expected to be reasonably likely, it would make more sense to simply retain more Reflect backups.
...
I must admit that I was reacting to the loss of a security blanket rather than a real need.  I use a program that used to occasionally wipe out some of it's registry data, and a System Restore was much faster than the backup/restore software I used at that time.  Using a restore point - even if several weeks old - was a quick solution unless I had install new software.  I probably would use a Macrium Reflect recovery now.

Richard Kurtz
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Beardy - 20 February 2021 8:51 PM
From the KB here it appears that VSS omits VSS storage (which would include shadow copies).

If you have reason to want to carry shadow copies across, you'd need to back up while booted from the rescue media, which backs up without involving VSS.

I was booted from WinPE when I ran Macrium. If I had run from the booted rescue media I would have been  okay. A bummer now but a good lesson learned.

Thanks to all of you for the excellent responses and information. I'm sad but better educated now.

GO

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