Favorable reviews incorrectly but understandingly ding Reflect 7 Free for not doing incremental...


Favorable reviews incorrectly but understandingly ding Reflect 7 Free...
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RandySea
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The main subject  of this topic is wrong, as can be seen down in the thread. The Free version does not do Incrementals after all. I am not deleting the whole thread because there is still useful info in it.

I have found at least two otherwise favorable reviews that say you can't do incremental backup in the free version. From ZDNet:
You'll need to upgrade, though, if you want to add file/folder backups to the mix, or encrypt your backups, or create space-saving incremental backups.
Actually, as I now realize, ZDNet is correct.

I don't blame the reviewers. When I first started using Reflect, I had the same complaint. I had to come to this forum to be advised that Macrium hides the incremental backup option in a submenu of the Restore table. This makes absolutely zero sense. The fact that they have never changed this makes me wonder why. Does Macrium think they do better with the review criticisms so more people upgrade to a paid version?

Edited 19 June 2021 8:28 PM by RandySea
jphughan
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They're not "hiding" an option there.  The unintuitive placement of an option to create Differential and Incremental backups under a tab called "Restore" was added purely to create a mechanism to create those types of backups in the Rescue Media interface, because the intended mechanism for creating such backups -- and the way that Macrium very clearly shows in their User Guide on the page called "Differential and Incremental disk images" here -- is a definition file, but those are not available under Rescue.  But I won't rehash that conversation since we had it a while back and you remained opposed to using definition files.  Under V8, the Restore tab has been renamed Existing Backups, and the mechanism you prefer to use therefore does not seem quite as unintuitively located.

Still, I just installed V7 Free and created a Full image backup.  I then altered the data on the source partition and attempted to create an Incremental from the Restore menu.  And I got the dialog below.  So the reviewers appear to be correct, not ignorant of a "hidden" option.  But even if that HAD been possible, I suspect it would have been unintended -- and it still wouldn't have allowed Free to be used for scheduled Incremental backups, which are only available when using definition files as intended.


Edited 19 June 2021 7:33 PM by jphughan
Drac144
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I suspect that people with the intelligence and skills to create a program like Reflect, are savvy enough to maximize their income stream.  

I am not sure why they even have a free version.  A 90 day trial version should allow someone to get enough experience with the program to decide if they want to buy it.  And if they do keep a free version, why should they be dinged for not differentiating it from the paid versions?  Many products have different levels of their paid version with more expensive version having more features.  How would that differ from a free version with fewer features?  Reviewers make their living from various models including being paid my manufacturers (or given perks instead of money). Many car reviewers get a free trip to somewhere nice where they get to drive new models before they are released.  I believe a bad review will not get them invited back the next year.

On the other side of the coin, incremental backup is one of the main features of the program (IMHO) and not having it - even in a free version - does not give the product the ability to perform real world backup scenarios.
jphughan
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Drac144 - 19 June 2021 7:21 PM
I suspect that people with the intelligence and skills to create a program like Reflect, are savvy enough to maximize their income stream.  

I am not sure why they even have a free version.  A 90 day trial version should allow someone to get enough experience with the program to decide if they want to buy it.  And if they do keep a free version, why should they be dinged for not differentiating it from the paid versions?  Many products have different levels of their paid version with more expensive version having more features.  How would that differ from a free version with fewer features?  Reviewers make their living from various models including being paid my manufacturers (or given perks instead of money). Many car reviewers get a free trip to somewhere nice where they get to drive new models before they are released.  I believe a bad review will not get them invited back the next year.

On the other side of the coin, incremental backup is one of the main features of the program (IMHO) and not having it - even in a free version - does not give the product the ability to perform real world backup scenarios.

The Free version can be, and for me and others that I know has been, quite useful when you are using it for a purpose other than mission critical data backups, or if you're backing up data that is important but doesn't change often.  In the former scenario, suppose someone had a separate backup solution for their critical personal data, such as cloud backups, but they also wanted a way to back up their whole system to protect against Windows going sideways someday.  Even if they would be confident in their ability to rebuild their system from scratch, they might prefer to avoid the time that would require.  Since their frequently changing personal data is backed up elsewhere and their OS+application environment doesn't change all that often, an occasional Full and maybe an occasional Differential will cover that need -- and Free can do that.  The image and clone capabilities available in Free are also sufficient to migrate from one disk to another, e.g. HDD to larger HDD, HDD to SSD, etc.  And in my parents' case, their data changes infrequently enough, and they have enough capacity on an external hard drive, that they can capture a monthly Full and daily Diffs.  The extra time to create a Diff rather than an Incremental is inconsequential.

Far from questioning the reason for its existence, I'm actually surprised that Macrium offers as much functionality as they do in the Free version.  But of course it's a fine line, and everyone's use cases are different.

I'm also impressed that Reflect Free remains well and truly free, i.e. not supported by third-party ads.

Edited 19 June 2021 7:31 PM by jphughan
RandySea
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jphughan - 19 June 2021 7:15 PM
They're not "hiding" an option there.  The unintuitive placement of an option to create backups under a tab called "Restore" was added purely to create a mechanism to create those types of backups in the Rescue Media interface, because the intended way to create such backups -- a definition file -- was not available under Rescue.  But I won't rehash that conversation since we had it a while back and you remained opposed to using definition files.  Under V8, the Restore tab has been renamed Existing Backups, and the mechanism you prefer to use therefore does not seem quite intuitively placed.

Still, I just installed V7 Free and created a Full image backup.  I then altered the data on the source partition and attempted to create an Incremental from the Restore menu.  And I got the dialog below.  But even if that HAD been possible, I suspect it would have been unintended -- and it still wouldn't have allowed Free to be used for scheduled Incremental backups, which are only available when using definition files as intended.


I have never seen that screen. Since we first discussed this years ago, I have been merrily doing a few incremental backups manually between full backups without any problem on my Win 10 Pro machine and my wife's Win 10 Home machine.

I wouldn't say I am opposed in principle to definition files.  I have just found them too complicated for my system needs:  Four different PCs backup up to a rotating set of USB drives. Since I store two backup drives off site and rotate them irregularly with 2-3 I keep onsite, I never know which will be the next USB drive for a full or incremental backup. Nor can I be sure what drive letter is assigned each time I plug one in. I know there is a way to force drive selection, but again that's more work.

Reflect 7 Free is actually quite good at figuring out what incremental set to create. I just browse whatever USB drive is connected, find the correct folder for the current laptop, and select the last full backup set. This takes maybe 20 seconds. Ok, maybe 30 seconds. In my home environment, once every few weeks is often enough on the two main machines, much less frequently on the two backup machines.

RandySea
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jphughan - 19 June 2021 7:29 PM

Far from questioning the reason for its existence, I'm actually surprised that Macrium offers as much functionality as they do in the Free version.  But of course it's a fine line, and everyone's use cases are different.

I'm also impressed that Reflect Free remains well and truly free, i.e. not supported by third-party ads.
I total agree with you on both your last points about the Free version. Indeed, I have gotten so much good use out of the Free version that I probably will upgrade to the paid version in gratitude, not because I actually need to.


Edited 19 June 2021 7:43 PM by RandySea
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RandySea - 19 June 2021 7:35 PM
I have never seen that screen. Since we first discussed this years ago, I have been merrily doing a few incremental backups manually between full backups without any problem on my Win 10 Pro machine and my wife's Win 10 Home machine.

What exact release of V7 are you running?  Can you perhaps post one of the Incremental job logs from one of these systems?  Go to the Log tab, select a job on the left, right-click the white space in the log area to the right, choose Print, then choose Print to PDF.

Definition files just store the settings you have to specify when you first go through the job wizard, and would have to repeat whenever you wanted a new Full, which you can't create from the Restore tab.  So if you can already make it through the wizard unscathed, all you have to do is check the box to save your settings as an XML file in the dialog box that appears after you click Finish on the wizard. From that point on, just go to the Backup Definition Files tab, right-click the file you saved, and click Run Now > [Desired backup type].  If you ever need to CHANGE your settings, you can just click Edit in that right-click menu, and then you go through the exact same wizard you would see if you were creating a new backup from scratch.  I just don't see the complication.

Edited 19 June 2021 7:57 PM by jphughan
RandySea
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jphughan - 19 June 2021 7:46 PM
RandySea - 19 June 2021 7:35 PM
I have never seen that screen. Since we first discussed this years ago, I have been merrily doing a few incremental backups manually between full backups without any problem on my Win 10 Pro machine and my wife's Win 10 Home machine.

What exact release of V7 are you running?  Can you perhaps post one of the Incremental job logs from one of these systems?  Go to the Log tab, select a job on the left, right-click the white space in the log area to the right, choose Print, then choose Print to PDF.

Definition files just store the settings you have to specify when you first go through the job wizard, and would have to repeat whenever you wanted a new Full, which you can't create from the Restore tab.  So if you can already make it through the wizard unscathed, all you have to do is check the box to save your settings as an XML file in the dialog box that appears after you click Finish on the wizard. From that point on, just go to the Backup Definition Files tab, right-click the file you saved, and click Run Now > [Desired backup type].  If you ever need to CHANGE your settings, you can just click Edit in that right-click menu, and then you go through the exact same wizard you would see if you were creating a new backup from scratch.  I just don't see the complication.

Macrium Reflect Home Edition v7.2.4808.  Log attached.
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jphughan
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That is Home Edition, which is not the same as Free — look at the title bar at the top of the screenshot I posted earlier. Home is a paid version and can run Incrementals. And nice catch removing your license key at the bottom of the log. That wouldn’t have been necessary if you’d actually been using Free, but good that you did it for Home.
Edited 19 June 2021 8:14 PM by jphughan
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Also, 7.2.4808 is over a year old at this point, and a check over the V7 release notes here indicates that there have been some useful bug fixes and even some potentially useful enhancements since then.  Some of the former apply to Rescue Media / restore scenarios, so you might not encounter them during your regular backups, but you could potentially stumble on them in a restore situation, which would be aggravating.  I've helped people here before who went very long periods without updating Reflect because "Everything's working fine", then they tried to perform a restore using their outdated Rescue Media and got stuck on a bug that had been fixed long ago -- and at that point it wasn't necessarily easy for them to build updated Rescue Media.

Edited 19 June 2021 8:22 PM by jphughan
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