I hate that my first post is a complaint.


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Azimuth
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I recently performed a full back up OF a 1TB SD card that I use for storing programs I use periodically. The backup completed successfully according to Macrium Reflect yet when I later attempted to retrieve a needed file from the image, I was greeted with numerous empty folders. How is it possible that some of the folders on my SD card were properly backed up while others were completely empty? Luckily none of the lost GBs of data was vital. Needless to say I no longer have any trust in Macrium Reflect to safeguard my data.

Edit: Replaced "on" with "OF" to make things clearer.

Edited 27 November 2023 11:44 PM by Azimuth
Philip Campbell
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Does this post help at all?

https://forum.macrium.com/48409/Anyone-here-use-MR-8-to-image-SD-cards-for-a-Raspberry-PI-Specifically-Raspbian-for-a-PiHole

There is mention of using the MR Rescue Environment or "offlining (unmounting?} the SD disk in the Disk Management utility . . .
You should wait for an expert, such as @jphughan, to offer a solution since I have no experience with backing up SD cards using MR whatsoever. 🤷‍♂️

Have a great day.

Regards,
Phil

Beeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

jphughan
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As a first step, can you copy/paste the text of the job log into a post here? Make sure not to include your Reflect license key that appears at the bottom of said log.

And just as a sanity check, what happens if you mount the backup, right-click a folder that’s missing some or all of its content, and select Properties? Is the reported size of the folder within the mounted backup actually significantly different from the original source folder? Just trying to establish if the data is in fact missing or if something might be causing it not to be shown properly. Any chance you can restore that backup onto a different SD card just to see what ends up over there?
Edited 15 November 2023 6:59 PM by jphughan
Azimuth
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Philip Campbell - 15 November 2023 6:24 PM
Does this post help at all?

https://forum.macrium.com/48409/Anyone-here-use-MR-8-to-image-SD-cards-for-a-Raspberry-PI-Specifically-Raspbian-for-a-PiHole

There is mention of using the MR Rescue Environment or "offlining (unmounting?} the SD disk in the Disk Management utility . . .
You should wait for an expert, such as @jphughan, to offer a solution since I have no experience with backing up SD cards using MR whatsoever. 🤷‍♂️

Have a great day.

Regards,
Phil

Hi Phil,
Thank you for the reply. Unfortunately at this point there isn't any hope of recovering the lost data as the SD card has been formatted and repartitioned since this occurred. I would have done a manual verification after doing the backup but I've never had any problems with trusting Macrium having done its job properly before, my mistake and one I won't make again. Thanks again.

Azimuth
Azimuth
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jphughan - 15 November 2023 6:57 PM
As a first step, can you copy/paste the text of the job log into a post here? Make sure not to include your Reflect license key that appears at the bottom of said log.

And just as a sanity check, what happens if you mount the backup, right-click a folder that’s missing some or all of its content, and select Properties? Is the reported size of the folder within the mounted backup actually significantly different from the original source folder? Just trying to establish if the data is in fact missing or if something might be causing it not to be shown properly. Any chance you can restore that backup onto a different SD card just to see what ends up over there?

Hi,
As I pointed out to Phil it is pretty much pointless at this point to hope for recovery. When mounting the image and checking the affected folders, they are empty with a size of 0KB reported in File Explorer. Unfortunately I do not have another comparably sized SD card to try your suggestion. Here's the log file text:
Image ID - 8699FD86C8FE4D19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Imaging Summary


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Auto Verify: N
Verify File System: Y
Maximum File Size: Automatic
Compression: Medium
Password: N
Intelligent Copy: Y
Power Saving: N
Email On Success: N
Email On Warning: N
Email On Failure: N
Total Selected: 847.15 GB
Current Time: 10/28/2023 7:32:24 AM


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Destination
Backup Type: Full
File Name: F:\Backups\8699FD86C8FE4D19-00-00.mrimg


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Operation 1 of 1
Hard Disk: 2
Drive Letter: D
Volume: \??\Volume{2434c975-d73d-11ed-bcef-507b9d06cf5c}
File System: exFAT
Label:
Size: 953.49 GB
Free: 106.34 GB
Used: 847.15 GB


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Starting Image - Saturday, October 28, 2023 7:32 AM
Initializing
Write Method: Using Direct Disk I/O
Destination Drive: 4TB Backup Drive (FSmile - Free Space 1.57 TB
Image Guardian: Protected


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Verifying File System


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Saving Partition - <NO NAME> (DSmile
Reading File System Bitmap
Saving Partition


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Saving Index
New File: 745.58 GB 8699FD86C8FE4D19-00-00.mrimg


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Retention Rules
Rules will be applied to all matching backup sets in the destination folder

Full: Retain 12 full backups
Linked incremental and differential backups will also be deleted

Backup Sets: 1 sets found
Nothing to delete

Differential: Retain 4 differential backups
Linked incremental backups will also be deleted

Differential Backups: 0 found
Nothing to delete

Incremental: Retain 10 incremental backups
The oldest incremental may be consolidated

Incremental Backups: 0 found



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I/O Performance: Read 675.5 Mb/s - Write 1.5 Gb/s


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Image Completed Successfully in 02:52:49


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for the reply

Philip Campbell
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@Azimuth

I would like to suggest that you always enable Auto Verify after creating images and before attempting a restore.  It is not bulletproof, but I discovered a failing external backup hard drive because backup images were failing verification after MR reported a successful backup.  When Verify fails, MR will then automatically delete the corrupt or incomplete backup and inform you of the backup failure.  I am not saying that happened in your case., but I always auto-verify all of my created images.

I do have faith in MR.  It has never failed me.  The "official" MR Support is great, and, as you can see by the rapid response of @jphughan, the experts on this Forum are always eager to help MR users.

Personally, I hope that you give MR another chance to prove just how good it is as a backup and restore solution.  In my view, it is the best product in its class.

Have a great day.

Regards,
Phil

Beeping Computer Malware Response Instructor

jphughan
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If at all possible, I would try to grab another suitable SD card from somewhere, even if only temporarily. At a minimum, do not delete that backup. The log shows that 847 GB worth of data was in scope for the job, and even after applying compression, the resulting backup file was 745 GB. That’s actually quite a bit larger than I would have expected for that amount of source data with compression applied, so if there the apparent “gaps” in your data as viewed within a mounted backup represent a substantial quantity of data, then I wonder if the data truly is in that file — even if I can’t immediately account for why it wouldn’t appear as normal when browsing.

Either way, sorry to hear about this. The only cases I’ve seen where data has been missing from image backups has been when the VSS snapshot engine deliberately purged it, but I wouldn’t expect that to apply to the scenario you’re describing here.
Edited 15 November 2023 7:32 PM by jphughan
Seekforever
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Philip Campbell - 15 November 2023 7:31 PM
@Azimuth

I would like to suggest that you always enable Auto Verify after creating images and before attempting a restore.  It is not bulletproof, but I discovered a failing external backup hard drive because backup images were failing verification after MR reported a successful backup.  When Verify fails, MR will then automatically delete the corrupt or incomplete backup and inform you of the backup failure.  I am not saying that happened in your case., but I always auto-verify all of my created images.
... Regards,
Phil

How valuable the Auto Verify after creating the image is one of those varied opinion issues. I always do it because if I'm having trouble with an image, which is rare, the first thing I'll wonder about is "was it good when created". 
It's a good idea to do the Verify before attempting a restore because one of the first things that happens in the restore process is to delete the target partition on the drive. If the image can't be restored then you are left with neither a good image (if that's the only one you have) and a wiped target partition area which often means no Windows. This isn't what happened to the OP, he wasn't restoring the image, he was attempting to extract a file from the image. (In normal situations it can be possible to extract various files from an image even if it won't restore as long as the restore problem doesn't involve the same blocks as the desired file(s).)
I had an external USB drive go bad after the images were written and Auto Verified. I had to go back about 3 old images on that drive before I found one that didn't fail verification. There is a moral to this last sentence: Use more than 1 backup drive and rotate them; do not be needlessly fastidious about cleaning off old images if you don't need the space.
It's a known fact that drives fail for various reasons and IMO, external drives are more at risk than a fixed drive inside the computer because they get carried around, bumped and even dropped. SSD based externals should not be prone to platter damage like I think I had but likely have their own failure quirks.
Edited 15 November 2023 8:52 PM by Seekforever
Azimuth
Azimuth
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I guess actually I'm simply a victim of my own complacency here. I have never used the Auto Verify feature and have never had a failed back up before this when I have run a manual verification with Macrium. I do think this is a serious problem though if MR can state that a backup operation completed successfully only to find out later that this wasn't the case, especially if it involves critical data.

Edited 15 November 2023 9:33 PM by Azimuth
Seekforever
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Speculation (fancy word for outright guess) says that depending on just went wrong the Auto Verify might not have picked it up. When the image is written it gets written out as thousands (for a big image) of small blocks each one with a checksum. The Verify reads the blocks into memory, recreates the checksum and compares it with the ones written in the  blocks. They all must compare perfectly and just 1 bad bit in billions will cause the image to be declared corrupt. The question is whether or not this checking mechanism would have picked up your problem. Without knowing exactly what went wrong and how the internals of he program works it is impossible to say.
Being a bit of a PITA (my wife says I'm good at it), I'd say it appears to me where you were complacent is backing up your SD card which I assume you had not done before and assumed all was well even though it is somewhat of a different animal than the usual storage on PCs. When I get new hardware or a new major version of Reflect I not only Verify but I will actually do a test restore of Windows.
I agree that the successful message instills a false sense of security and it likely just means that Reflect ran through all it's tasks without encountering a problem in its eyes. Live imaging programs can't do a data comparison check because the source is always changing but for a static device like your SD card it would be possible but that's not how ii is designed. If I had trouble again without knowing why, I'd try it with the rescue version and get VSS out of the picture as a first step.
For file backups, I don't image or use Reflect F&F backups since I like my data files to be in their native format, not in a container, but that is strictly a personal choice with its own pros and cons. Regardless, Reflect should work.

Edited 15 November 2023 9:39 PM by Seekforever
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