Macrium Support Forum

Feature Request: Scheduled Backup Pause Time (User Specified Time Interval)

https://forum.macrium.com/Topic44504.aspx

By APA - 17 February 2021 7:28 AM

Greetings,

I would like to see a (user specified) Scheduled Backup Pause Time option for scheduled backups.

The scheduled backup would start at the scheduled time, but then immediately pause for the (used specified) time delay.

This would be very useful to allow a recently started machine to stabilise (i.e.  connect to networks, unlock encrypted drives, etc.).

Thoughts?
Andrew


By Beardy - 17 February 2021 9:58 AM

This sort of delay is trivial to script, however, if scripted you can also perform checks that the network actually is connected, encrypted drive actually is unlocked, etc. with custom error handling if they're not.
By APA - 17 February 2021 11:56 AM

Thanks Beardy,

Point taken on scripts (and yes almost anything is possible if we branch off into a script / program).   
I'm suggesting this type of control (Scheduled Backup Pause Time) as a possible enhancement to the product.   
I think many (most) people start their systems daily and any pending backups will start as soon as the OS is up. The 'drives' that are the subject of the scheduled backup may not be available at this time and will subsequently fail.   

If Reflect (Scheduler Definition) had an optional 'Pause Time', we could all make use of the facility for drives that are probably not going to be available immediately on machine boot.     
Regards,
Andre






 
By jphughan - 17 February 2021 3:08 PM

I’m not sure “most” people have their backup schedule configured such that it regularly misses its schedule window and therefore runs immediately on system startup. I would think that most people schedule their backups to occur when their system is likely to be on, and then try to keep it on at that time since they chose to have backups run at that time. And not everyone will enable the option to run missed backups as soon as possible.

If you actually need this today, I’d be happy to help you have Reflect generate a script to run your definition file and make this trivial addition. If you’re just suggesting it for the benefit of the user base rather than needing it yourself, then fair enough.

But how long does your system take to “stabilize”? My system connects to a network at the lock screen before I even log in, and I’m pretty sure my BitLocker auto-unlocks complete by then as well since those drives are ready by the time my user session starts. If you’re using mapped drives, that’s not a great practice anyway. Use the UNC path to the target network share.
By pokeefe - 17 February 2021 6:03 PM

jphughan - 17 February 2021 3:08 PM
I’m not sure “most” people have their backup schedule configured such that it regularly misses its schedule window and therefore runs immediately on system startup.

I know I'm not "most" people, but I suspect part of my configuration is not uncommon. 
  • My desktop PC is up most of the time.  Daily backups run when scheduled.
  • My wife's laptop is up daily but on no particular schedule.  Daily backups sometimes run on schedule.
  • My laptop is up every few days and often misses its scheduled daily backups.
  • A test PC is brought up a couple times a week.  Scheduled daily backups are usually missed.
I think having an optional delay for missed schedules would be a good option, but might be less straightforward to implement than it appears.

A competitor - Acronis True Image - has that option, but either the option fails intermittently or (more probable) it functions after the computer has been shut down but not when the computer has been asleep.

By APA - 17 February 2021 6:36 PM

Patrick O'Keefe - 17 February 2021 6:03 PM
jphughan - 17 February 2021 3:08 PM
I’m not sure “most” people have their backup schedule configured such that it regularly misses its schedule window and therefore runs immediately on system startup.

I know I'm not "most" people, but I suspect part of my configuration is not uncommon. 
  • My desktop PC is up most of the time.  Daily backups run when scheduled.
  • My wife's laptop is up daily but on no particular schedule.  Daily backups sometimes run on schedule.
  • My laptop is up every few days and often misses its scheduled daily backups.
  • A test PC is brought up a couple times a week.  Scheduled daily backups are usually missed.
I think having an optional delay for missed schedules would be a good option, but might be less straightforward to implement than it appears.

A competitor - Acronis True Image - has that option, but either the option fails intermittently or (more probable) it functions after the computer has been shut down but not when the computer has been asleep.


Hello Patrick
Thanks for the comments. 

Indeed, I have 3 computers (2 desktops and 1 laptop) that are on/off at varying times... I do try to keep the backup strategy the same for all.

Interesting to read the 'other' product has this type of feature, although it is unreliable in your experience.

I'm hoping the Reflect design team can have a closer look at this issue, it seems to be a gap in the product feature set.  Resorting to scripts seems to be overkill for an option that could give us (all):

- A user setting to delay backups (for 'n' minutes).  This could also be tied to a condition (such a a recent start of the PC).
- A user setting to automatically retry a failed backup (for recoverable errors e.g. drive not available) up to "n" times with a retry delay of "nn" minutes.
 Regards, Andrew
By jphughan - 17 February 2021 6:37 PM

^ Those are the use cases that led me to propose the Opportunistic Backups scheduling option here.  But as I said, if anyone in this thread NEEDS this feature right now and would prefer to have it by taking advantage of what can be done today rather than wait for Macrium to (possibly) add it in the future, I'm happy to help get them set up with a script that will achieve this.
By jphughan - 17 February 2021 6:42 PM

And just for awareness, the release notes of Reflect 7.3.5550, which launched on 18 January 2021, include this:

Macrium Task Scheduler
  • When waking the computer from sleep, or booting up when Windows Fast Boot is enabled, missed scheduled backups would start running immediately without giving the user time to log in and view the Postpone Backup pop-up message. This has been resolved.
Is everyone having this issue running at least that release?  And if so, are they using Macrium Task Scheduler rather than Windows Task Scheduler?  If your system can't "stabilize" by the time you've logged in and waited for the scheduled backup countdown to elapse (20 seconds by default), then I would argue you have a system issue.
By APA - 17 February 2021 6:51 PM

jphughan - 17 February 2021 3:08 PM
I’m not sure “most” people have their backup schedule configured such that it regularly misses its schedule window and therefore runs immediately on system startup. I would think that most people schedule their backups to occur when their system is likely to be on, and then try to keep it on at that time since they chose to have backups run at that time. And not everyone will enable the option to run missed backups as soon as possible.If you actually need this today, I’d be happy to help you have Reflect generate a script to run your definition file and make this trivial addition. If you’re just suggesting it for the benefit of the user base rather than needing it yourself, then fair enough.But how long does your system take to “stabilize”? My system connects to a network at the lock screen before I even log in, and I’m pretty sure my BitLocker auto-unlocks complete by then as well since those drives are ready by the time my user session starts. If you’re using mapped drives, that’s not a great practice anyway. Use the UNC path to the target network share.

Agreed, 'most' of the time things are up and work as planned.  Options to delay the onset of a scheduled backup, automatically retry of failed backups are there to recover from error conditions.  Improving Reflects ability to recover and complete backups is the objective.  These kinds of enhancements should be part of the (ever improving) product ... not in 'user' scripts.   There are cases when a user 'script/program' is appropriate (thankfully Reflect supplies powerful tools to enable very user specific requirements).

At this stage, I'd like to avoid scripts, its an unnecessary complication , especially with multiple computers.  Thank you for the offer to assist with script generation, anyway.

There are several reasons why the source/target drive may not be available when the scheduled backup starts.  The PC may be down, the target backup device may be powered off, not connected, the drives may not be unlocked (e.g. Bitlocker), etc.  These are conditions that occur for many people and we should remember that not all our users are IT literate.  Some automated recovery (standard options) would go a long way to help all Reflect users. 

Regards,
Andrew
By jphughan - 17 February 2021 6:55 PM

I agree that automatic retry would be a useful addition -- which is why I wrote up that Opportunistic Backups idea in the thread I linked.  Did you give that a read?  I have also suggested that Reflect be improved to tolerate temporary network connectivity interruptions by pausing and retrying rather than failing the entire job.  But both of those seem like completely separate feature requests from a user-specified delay on the start of a job.
By pokeefe - 17 February 2021 7:15 PM

jphughan - 17 February 2021 6:37 PM
^ Those are the use cases that led me to propose the Opportunistic Backups scheduling option here.

Had I been a Macrium user back when you posted that I definitely would have given it a +1 (or maybe +10)!  That obviously goes way beyond what was proposed in this thread.

Considerations for laptop backups are tricky.  Besides the things you mentioned in you Wishlist posting there are network considerations such as  of cabled vs wireless, private vs public, metered vs unmetered, etc. For some people there might even be time considerations when backup destination is in a different time zone than the laptop.  Macrium could not possibly provide options of every conceivable condition so scripting is probably the only real solution.  But it would be nice if Macrium provided some kind of general framework for the script.  Not everyone wanting such a script would be proficient in PS or VBS.  (I'm certainly not.)  And it would be unfair for you to have to provide help for everybody needing the scripts
By jphughan - 17 February 2021 7:18 PM

Reflect does provide framework for a script.  Right-click any definition file and click "Generate PowerShell script".  You'll get a wizard popup allowing you to incorporate some additional capabilities.  You can use them or not.  But even if you don't choose any of those, you will get a PowerShell script that calls your batch file and handles all of the necessary work to get that done properly.  And you can customize from there.  You don't have to write everything from scratch.
By APA - 17 February 2021 7:30 PM

jphughan - 17 February 2021 6:42 PM
And just for awareness, the release notes of Reflect 7.3.5550, which launched on 18 January 2021, include this:

Macrium Task Scheduler
  • When waking the computer from sleep, or booting up when Windows Fast Boot is enabled, missed scheduled backups would start running immediately without giving the user time to log in and view the Postpone Backup pop-up message. This has been resolved.
Is everyone having this issue running at least that release?  And if so, are they using Macrium Task Scheduler rather than Windows Task Scheduler?  If your system can't "stabilize" by the time you've logged in and waited for the scheduled backup countdown to elapse (20 seconds by default), then I would argue you have a system issue.

I'm currently running the Macrium Scheduler (I swapped over from the Windows Scheduler as soon as it was made available). 
I'm also using "Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed" . 
I don't have any system issues and there is no 'defect' with Reflect... I'm suggesting an area of Reflect that could be improved.  Indeed, other products have similar functions..

Reflect Example:
- Machine OFF
- Backup Scheduled for 9:00am
- 10:00am power on PC
- Reflect runs (missed) scheduled backup - fails because the source drive is currently Bitlocked (user got the password wrong, went for a coffee, etc).
In this example, there is no 'problem' with Reflect, it can't backup a drive that is not available.  Smile 

However!

Wouldn't it be good is Reflect had some options to:
(a) Pause any scheduled backups (a OPTIONAL 'n' minutes) if the PC was recently booted?  
(b) Automatically retry 'failed' backups (an OPTIONAL 'nn' re-run attempts with a delay of 'n' minutes between). 

Those two options may result in a lot of failed backups finally working. The reasons for source/target drives being not available are numerous and some enhancements like (a) and (b) above would be greatly appreciated.
P.S the existing option "Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed"  is excellent and an example of some 'automation' to re-try 'failed' backups automatically (by user OPTION).  
Regards,
Andrew
By APA - 17 February 2021 7:44 PM

jphughan - 17 February 2021 7:18 PM
Reflect does provide framework for a script.  Right-click any definition file and click "Generate PowerShell script".  You'll get a wizard popup allowing you to incorporate some additional capabilities.  You can use them or not.  But even if you don't choose any of those, you will get a PowerShell script that calls your batch file and handles all of the necessary work to get that done properly.  And you can customize from there.  You don't have to write everything from scratch.

Understood.  I'm just thinking this kind of product feature should be an OPTION... like the existing "Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed" .
Reflect should have some 'global' RETRY options (for failed backups) and a  'global' DELAY option (for backups about to run after the machine is booted).
I'm guessing a lot of people could use these kinds of options (as we do with "Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed")... hence the request for new OPTIONS.

Your point regarding scripting is 100% valid for specific user requirements, and its great that Reflect has the interface.  In this case, this is a general request for product enhancement, that I suspect many users will enable (just like   "Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed" ),
Regards, Andrew

By pokeefe - 17 February 2021 7:51 PM

jphughan - 17 February 2021 6:42 PM
And just for awareness, the release notes of Reflect 7.3.5550, which launched on 18 January 2021, include this:

Macrium Task Scheduler
  • When waking the computer from sleep, or booting up when Windows Fast Boot is enabled, missed scheduled backups would start running immediately without giving the user time to log in and view the Postpone Backup pop-up message. This has been resolved.
Is everyone having this issue running at least that release?  And if so, are they using Macrium Task Scheduler rather than Windows Task Scheduler?  If your system can't "stabilize" by the time you've logged in and waited for the scheduled backup countdown to elapse (20 seconds by default), then I would argue you have a system issue.
I haven't dug very deeply, but I couldn't find a way to set that default delay.   Is that just the general count-down for starting a backup?  I seem to have disabled that count-down, but as I recall, that wasn't something that could be set for each individual backup.   Back when I was using another vendor's product I set each scheduled backup with a different delay (5 min, 10 min, 15 min, etc.) so I could control the order that the missed backups would run.  I never got it to run correctly.
By jphughan - 17 February 2021 8:09 PM

@pokeefe The postponement dialog is configured under Edit Defaults > Advanced > Advanced Backup Options.  It's called "Display backup notification delay".  And yes it's an application-wide setting, not something that can be customized.  Despite the name, "Edit Defaults" is a mixture of app-wide settings and defaults for future jobs.

If you want to control the order of execution of missed backups, try staggering their schedules in the first place, even if only by 1 minute or so.  I haven't tested that myself since missed backups just aren't an issue in my case, and if they're missed I'd usually prefer to wait until the next scheduled execution anyway, but that may get the job done.
By pokeefe - 17 February 2021 8:12 PM

jphughan - 17 February 2021 7:18 PM
Reflect does provide framework for a script.  Right-click any definition file and click "Generate PowerShell script".  You'll get a wizard popup allowing you to incorporate some additional capabilities.  You can use them or not.  But even if you don't choose any of those, you will get a PowerShell script that calls your batch file and handles all of the necessary work to get that done properly.  And you can customize from there.  You don't have to write everything from scratch.
I understand that, and I've used the "Generate PowerShell script", but I was (very vaguely) thinking of something more specific to when to run a missed, failed, or interrupted backup.  I was envisioning a tool that might direct the neophyte script writer to a list of PS cmdlets that might useful in such a script.  That idea was far too "blue sky" and off-topic -  not really appropriate for this thread.
By pokeefe - 17 February 2021 8:29 PM

jphughan - 17 February 2021 8:09 PM
@pokeefe ...

If you want to control the order of execution of missed backups, try staggering their schedules in the first place, even if only by 1 minute or so.  I haven't tested that myself since missed backups just aren't an issue in my case, and if they're missed I'd usually prefer to wait until the next scheduled execution anyway, but that may get the job done.
I do have the schedules staggered.  Maybe that does effect the order of the execution of missed backups.  If so, I withdraw my comments.  Smile
I usually don't really care much about the order, anyway.  I just wake up the computers to let the backups run; I don't necessarily even log on.

The one exception to my not caring is the daily backup of a VeraCrypt "container" file where users are locked out of the file for the duration of the backup.  (I'm the only user, and I rarely use the file right after bringing up the computer anyway.  It's not really a big deal, but I do like that backup to run first.

By Beardy - 17 February 2021 8:44 PM

"Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed" is a Task Scheduler checkbox Macrium have been exposing, and have evidently included in their scheduler for feature parity with the Windows one, it's actually the scheduler (Historically Windows, & still Windows here since I've not migrated scheduler) that's determining when that's triggered & it doesn't offer "Run X minutes later than the first opportunity if missed". It's not Reflect itself, now doubtless they could play with their scheduler to add a feature which wouldn't then work if the Windows scheduler is used.

Otherwise you have to determine:
Was the job started by schedule
Is it on time or not ( check schedule versus actual time) checking the triggers for both schedulers for compatibility
Delay or not according to time match/mismatch

I could see that getting messy, messy code logic leads to strange bugs, though even that's probably scriptable.

Or else just incorporate an optional N minute/second wait at the start of every job, which would be easy, and is also trivial to script as things stand.
By dbminter - 17 February 2021 8:46 PM

@pokeefe


I don't believe there's any real sort of rhyme or reason to how scheduled backups get executed when you queue multiple scheduled backups.  Near as I recall, on January 1st, when I have the daily backup, the yearly backup, the January 1st backup, and the yearly F&F backup all queued up within a matter of five minutes apart from each other, they don't get executed necessarily in the order they're scheduled/queued.
By TheNit - 4 October 2021 6:22 PM

I realize that this topic has been dead for awhile but it comes up when I do a google search on my issue so I'm replying.

I schedule backups to run at 3 am (I use the full/incremental template) but unfortunately I haven't figured out how to have the scheduled backup boot (not wake) my system to run the backup (it's supposed to in version 8). I've told Reflect to start up the system (using user System) but it hasn't. It's supposed to in version 8 but it doesn't work. Somewhere I saw something about "Fast Startup" but haven't checked it out yet. Because of this the backup will start immediately when booting my system.

For some reason, the system will just reboot after it is up (and the backup has started) and the backup will not run  after the reboot.. There is nothing in event viewer to suggest a reason. My suspicion is that the external disk is not ready for the backup. My temporary solution (and this is why I am replying) is to make the Macrium Service an "Automatic (Delayed Start)" which means it won't start until after a delay of 2 minutes (I've changed it to 3 minutes but that is probably inconsequential). Do you think that this delayed start of the service would be the same as the requested delayed start of the backup? The requested change seems easier though.
By Drac144 - 4 October 2021 6:35 PM

NOTE: this is the V7 wish list. Version 7 is DONE. You may want to post this in the Version 8 wish list.
By TheNit - 4 October 2021 7:12 PM

Drac144 - 4 October 2021 6:35 PM
NOTE: this is the V7 wish list. Version 7 is DONE. You may want to post this in the Version 8 wish list.


I guess that you didn't read my post where I explained why I replied to the post. I wouldn't know if there is such a request in the V8 wish list. It is not a feature of V8 so it could exist. It really isn't about the wish list and maybe I should have put it somewhere else.

I upgraded to V8 (paid for the privilege) from V6 because it said that it would allow starting the system to run a backup using the Macrium Reflect scheduler rather than the Windows scheduler. I saw nothing to indicate that it would not "boot" the system after a shutdown and the only way I found this out was through the forums. If there is a way I haven't found it and it shouldn't be be made that difficult to find.

My post was strictly to ask if using the "Automatic (Delayed Start)" option in "services.msc" for the Macrium Service would prevent a backup that whose scheduled start time was past due from running immediately at boot time.

Maybe you could suggest the proper sub-forum for this.
By jphughan - 4 October 2021 8:29 PM

I wouldn't expect that change to be a problem, but I also recall users finding that changing the startup mode of the Macrium Service resulted in Reflect at some point changing it back, so you might encounter a settings persistence issue there.  But it's an easy enough test.  You wouldn't even have to use your "real" backup jobs for that purpose if you didn't want to.  Create a trivial File & Folder backup job, schedule it for the fairly near future, change the startup mode, shut down, then power the system back on after the scheduled time was missed.  See if Reflect still runs the missed backup, possibly a bit later on account of the delayed service start.

As for the other item you mentioned, I don't know of a way for Reflect or anything else to boot your system from a full shutdown state in order to perform a scheduled task.  If the system isn't running at all, then it won't know there's a scheduled task that was missed.  I'm not sure what option you're seeing in V8 that suggests that's possible.  In any case, Fast Start in Windows won't affect that.  When that option is enabled, a shutdown causes the kernel to be placed in a hibernation state (i.e. suspend to disk).  This is distinct from regular hibernation where the kernel and user states are suspended to disk, and distinct from "traditional" shutdown where nothing is suspended to disk.  The benefit to Fast Startup is that only suspending the kernel means shutdown is still relatively fast (compared to hibernation, at least), and starting up again later is faster than booting completely cold.  Microsoft figured, probably correctly, that people in general wouldn't mind if their shutdown took a bit longer, but would definitely appreciate their boot time being shorter.  But the strange twist of Fast Startup is that it means a full shutdown is a less "comprehensive" cycling of the system state than a restart, which always restarts the kernel rather than hibernating it.