Minimum Backup Size


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Isosceles
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Is there a minimum backup size for File and Folder backup?  I had my incrementals forever backup scheduled 3 times a day, and I notice that even when the computer has been sitting with nothing changed, the incremental backups is still about 200MB?  
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Yes, there is a minimum backup set size, though I don't know what it is precisely.  Plus, it probably varies based on how many files are in the set.  The index would probably vary depending on how many files there are.

jphughan
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I just set up a File & Folder backup job to back up a folder that contained only a single text file that had the line "Hello world" in it.  Using all Reflect default settings, a Full backup of that folder came out 693 KB -- not MB.  So 200 MB per backup is not inherent to Reflect.  Go to your Log tab, and underneath the main job log of every F&F backup job, you should see another log item called "Files backed up" or something.  For any file in that list, at least some portion of it was backed up during that job because Reflect noticed at least some amount of change with it.  Additionally, if you're running Incrementals Forever, it's important to understand that a backup that is having later backups merged into it as a result of consolidation operations inherent to that backup strategy will never shrink, even if the amount of data stored within that file does shrink as a result of source data deletions.  However, newer backups that have never been involved in consolidation operations should be sized according to their actual contents.  Just make sure you are in fact looking at the newest backups.  If you're looking at your backups in Windows Explorer and sorting the files by Date Modified, that date will be updated on an OLDER backup in your set that was involved in a consolidation operation, because the consolidation counts as a modification.  In that case, the Date Modified timetamp will not correspond to the date of the data contained within that file.  That's why I prefer to look at backups within Reflect itself under the Restore tab, because in there you'll see a "Backup Date" attribute that will always indicate the date of the data in the backup.

If that doesn't help account for what you're observing, it might be helpful to post the job log of one of your F&F backups that came out larger than you expected.

Isosceles
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jphughan - 2 May 2021 3:03 AM
I just set up a File & Folder backup job to back up a folder that contained only a single text file that had the line "Hello world" in it.  Using all Reflect default settings, a Full backup of that folder came out 693 KB -- not MB.  So 200 MB per backup is not inherent to Reflect.  Go to your Log tab, and underneath the main job log of every F&F backup job, you should see another log item called "Files backed up" or something.  For any file in that list, at least some portion of it was backed up during that job because Reflect noticed at least some amount of change with it.  Additionally, if you're running Incrementals Forever, it's important to understand that a backup that is having later backups merged into it as a result of consolidation operations inherent to that backup strategy will never shrink, even if the amount of data stored within that file does shrink as a result of source data deletions.  However, newer backups that have never been involved in consolidation operations should be sized according to their actual contents.  Just make sure you are in fact looking at the newest backups.  If you're looking at your backups in Windows Explorer and sorting the files by Date Modified, that date will be updated on an OLDER backup in your set that was involved in a consolidation operation, because the consolidation counts as a modification.  In that case, the Date Modified timetamp will not correspond to the date of the data contained within that file.  That's why I prefer to look at backups within Reflect itself under the Restore tab, because in there you'll see a "Backup Date" attribute that will always indicate the date of the data in the backup.

If that doesn't help account for what you're observing, it might be helpful to post the job log of one of your F&F backups that came out larger than you expected.

It appears to be making a 200MB file out of 22K.
I wonder if it has anything to do with copying from mounted Veracrypt volumes?

Here is the last backup operation:

Destination:
Backup Type: Incremental
File Name: Append to recent backup in directory 'K:\File Backup\'
K:\File Backup\7C6130F76CBD66E0-20-20.mrbak

Starting Backup - Saturday, May 01, 2021 12:46:23
Write Method: Using File System Cache
Destination Drive: External Backup (KSmile - Free Space 7.92 TB
Image Guardian: Protected
Free space threshold: Delete oldest backup sets when free space is less than 200.00 GB

Determining files to copy
Total Number of Files: 2
Total Number of Folders: 0
Total Size: 22 KB
Deleting files from backup
Nothing to delete
Copying files
Saving cluster information
Saving Index
New File: 207 MB 7C6130F76CBD66E0-20-20.mrbak
Verifying '7C6130F76CBD66E0-20-20.mrbak'
Ok. Continuing...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I/O Performance: Read 3.3 Gb/s - Write 4.5 Mb/s


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Backup and Verification Completed Successfully in 00:08:52. See log for full details




jphughan
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That’s very strange. I’m not sure how to account for that log at all. I’m fairly certain that the Total Size line is supposed to represent the total size of all source data within scope of the backup job, not even just the new/changed files that will be included in that specific backup. So I have no idea how 22 KB worth of source data could result in a 200 MB file. If I understand your post correctly though, you’ve got a VeraCrypt container file mounted as a virtual drive, and your Reflect job is backing up files from within that mounted virtual drive, i.e. not the underlying VeraCrypt container file itself? I haven’t tried that myself, and I can’t immediately think of a reason why that would cause an issue like this, but it’s certainly something a bit different, so maybe that’s key. Out of curiosity, how large is the underlying VeraCrypt container file? And in addition, is the log correct for your source data in that you’re only backing up 2 files that total 22 KB?
Edited 2 May 2021 5:42 AM by jphughan
Isosceles
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jphughan - 2 May 2021 5:40 AM
That’s very strange. I’m not sure how to account for that log at all. I’m fairly certain that the Total Size line is supposed to represent the total size of all source data within scope of the backup job, not even just the new/changed files that will be included in that specific backup. So I have no idea how 22 KB worth of source data could result in a 200 MB file. If I understand your post correctly though, you’ve got a VeraCrypt container file mounted as a virtual drive, and your Reflect job is backing up files from within that mounted virtual drive, i.e. not the underlying VeraCrypt container file itself? I haven’t tried that myself, and I can’t immediately think of a reason why that would cause an issue like this, but it’s certainly something a bit different, so maybe that’s key. Out of curiosity, how large is the underlying VeraCrypt container file? And in addition, is the log correct for your source data in that you’re only backing up 2 files that total 22 KB?

No, it's not a Veracrypt file container,  most of the file backup are on mounted whole Veracrypt drives.  The rest is from an unencrypted drive.  
Edited 2 May 2021 3:58 PM by Isosceles
jphughan
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Ok, and is it accurate that there are only two files being backed up that only total 22 KB?  If you don't hear from Macrium on this thread soon, this one might be worth opening a formal support ticket to get investigated.  And if you do that, please do report back as to what the issue is, because I'm now very curious.

Isosceles
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jphughan - 2 May 2021 3:53 PM
Ok, and is it accurate that there are only two files being backed up that only total 22 KB?  If you don't hear from Macrium on this thread soon, this one might be worth opening a formal support ticket to get investigated.  And if you do that, please do report back as to what the issue is, because I'm now very curious.

Yes, the roster of files should be accurate as the computer had been sitting.  I have further similar incidental logs as well. 
Isosceles
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Per Macrium support, Veracrypt is not supported and may be making strange changes that are somehow copied by the File and Backup software.  I guess I will go back and see how Acronis handles it.  
Patrick O'Keefe
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Isosceles - 3 May 2021 4:41 PM
Per Macrium support, Veracrypt is not supported and may be making strange changes that are somehow copied by the File and Backup software. ...

I was a bit surprised by that "is not supported" so I ran some tests.  I used VeraCrypt to encrypt a 16GB USB memory stick, created a folder on it, and copied 2 11KB files (2 Macrium Reflect .xml definition files) to the folder. (I don't know if it matters, but I made this an NTFS drive.)  I also created a subfolder in my Documents folder and copied the same 2 11KB files into it.  I then built 2 MR backup tasks to to backup the 2 new folders.

When I ran the backup of the folder on the VeraCrypt "drive" it reported VSS errors
Creating Volume Snapshot - Please Wait
Failed: Failed - 0x8004230f - IDispatch error #8463 - Retrying without VSS Writers
Failed To Create Volume Snapshot. Failed - 0x8004230f - IDispatch error #8463
ERROR: COM call "m_pVssObject->AddToSnapshotSet((LPWSTR)volume.c_str(), GUID_NULL, &SnapshotID)" failed.
- Returned HRESULT = 0x8004230f
- Error text: VSS_E_UNEXPECTED_PROVIDER_ERROR
ERROR: COM call "m_pVssObject->BackupComplete(&pAsync)" failed.
- Returned HRESULT = 0x80042301
- Error text: VSS_E_BAD_STATE
ERROR: COM call "m_pVssObject->AddToSnapshotSet((LPWSTR)volume.c_str(), GUID_NULL, &SnapshotID)" failed.
- Returned HRESULT = 0x8004230f
- Error text: VSS_E_UNEXPECTED_PROVIDER_ERROR

but the backup ran fine.  The backup file was, indeed, large compared to the source files - 669KB - but when mounted MR correctly showed the folder with 2 11KB files, each containing an .xml backup definition.

When I ran the backup of the new folder in Documents folder Reflect ran fine with no VSS errors.  The resulting backup file was 700KB.  When mounted it, too, contained an accurate backup of a folder.

Based on this test I would assume (and expect) that there is a minimum size of the backup file since Reflect includes some metadata in the backup.  But that minimum size is definitely less than 200MB.  There is something odd there.

I ran two more tests to see if VeraCrypt was somehow messing up Reflect's ability to determine when files had changed.  I took an Incr backup the folder on the VeraCrypt drive when neither of the files had been changed, and another Incr backup when one of the files had been changed.  Reflect correctly determined when a file had been changed and created an incremental backup containing the changed file. (And incidentally, not new backup file was created when there were no changes in the source folder.)

Before we conclude that Macrium Reflect cannot backup files in a VeraCrypt drive, perhaps we could benefit from a more clear description of the environment.  This is really a drive, encrypted using VeraCrypt, containing just 2 files for a total of  22KB?


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