Do not prevent Suspend/Hibernate


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RefDM
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It should be possible to put the computer into a power-saving state while a backup is running. Reflect is the first backup software that I have seen preventing the system to suspend/hibernate. I actually wonder what might be the reason for this...

What I wonder even more is that it seems to be impossible to sleep/hibernate also when no backup job is running but only the Reflect user interface is started and active.


Drac144
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Next you will want to do a backup when the computer is powered off!.  :-)

The definition of sleep mode is that the hard disk (and other peripherals) are turned off.  So, while some memory only software can run, you cannot do a backup. Hibernate is even worse since the computer is totally powered off and nothing is running.

Having said that, there are options on some systems to wake up a sleeping computer via an external (or internal) trigger.  If you do have that ability you can leave your computer in sleep mode and have it wake up to do a backup.  Reflect WILL allow you to put the computer into sleep or hibernate mode after the backup is finished if you wish. The advanced options/shutdown controls this - see link below.
http://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW/Advanced+Options

RefDM
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Well well... how on earth did yo guess what I was about to suggest next? 8-)

Seriously speaking, I'm currently evaluating some disk imaging software solutions for an organization that has pretty strict requirements. They have used a solution from a competitor of Macrium for years but now wanted a feasibility study about migrating to another brand.

I understand that for many home users it's perfectly okay to use MR's shutdown controls to make the laptop to sleep after the backup has completed. On some businesses however the backup solution must be an "invisible and humble servant" instead of a "master"...

I mean, the current implementation that provides the user with an option to control workstation powersave/shutdown from the backup software's user interface is fine. I actually like it. But for us it cannot be the only option; it is not the job of a backup software to take control from the operating system of how and when the computer can be shut down or put into sleep.

Our current backup solution allows the backups to run transparently in the background without bothering the workstation end user. If he chooses to close the laptop lid at the end of a meeting and puts hist laptop into a bag, then the laptop must be either hibernate/suspend or shut down and not continue to operate maybe even for a long time inside the closed laptop bag - eating battery and generating much heat. A full backup may be hundreds of gigabytes of size, so the backup might continue for a long time...

Because the backups are scheduled to run in the background, the backup process currently either resumes when the laptop resumes from powersave, or aborts and restarts when scheduled to run the next time in case of a shutdown. This is one of the criteria we have for the backup solution.

(FWIW I did a quick test, and it seems that if I prevent ReflectBin.exe from preventing the system entering into a power saving state, I can successfully hibrenate and resume the system, and the backup seems to continue without problems. But if I choose to sleep, then resuming from the sleep fails and the workstation hangs with a black screen. So I'm already at a half way to a solution...)

RefDM
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When I started this thread, Macrium V7 was not out yet. I wonder if V7 might have brought something new into this. I see Macrium Reflect as en exceptionally interesting product, but in some circumstances it's not desirable that an ongoing backup job prevents a laptop (or sometimes even a desktop) from entering into a sleep state.

For example: Consider a laptop with two internal disks: A system disk plus a backup disk. Also, consider a person who works long days with irregular schedules, has a lot of meetings at customer sites, travels a lot, sometimes works in the office and sometimes at home or in a train or a plane, and wants to have fresh backups. Furthermore, he or she needs to use sleep/hibernate instead of shutting the system down to keep the working environment readily available when moving from one customer to another.

When leaving a customer site, he closes the lid of his laptop and quickly slips the laptop into a padded backpack. At this point he does not want the computer to continue performing an ongoing backup operation (along with possible consolidations which can take maybe a half an hour). Just consider the temperature rise inside the padded bag when the computer continues operating, or consider the HDD write operations in a moving backpack. 

The File Explorer in Windows nicely suspends its own copy/paste operation instead of preventing the workstation from sleeping. I also have experience of some Macrium's competitors' products, all of which have no problem in obeying the system sleep state along with every other process in the system: The backup operation continues seamlessly from where it was when the computer resumes operation.

So, I wonder if MR V7 could somehow (anyhow?) tricked to do the same, too...

Any ideas anyone, please?
jphughan
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Capturing an image of one internal disk onto another isn't great protection because all of your data is still on that laptop -- what happens if the laptop is lost/stolen?  But if you're capturing to an external source, then your scenario of tossing a laptop into a bag mid-image is unlikely to be possible to resume anyway. If it's being captured to a USB drive, the user would have to reconnect that before resuming the system, which won't usually happen. If it's being captured to a network location, theoretically that could be resumed if the system were still on the same network when it resumed, but at least currently, Reflect operations to a network location fail if there's any interruption to the connection (rather than pausing and retrying a few times, for which there is a Wish List thread around here somewhere), and since Windows always takes a few moments to reconnect to the network unless the system supports Connected Standby, that probably wouldn't work either.

Additionally, while Sleep would make this scenario far less likely (but technically not impossible), if a system were hibernated during an imaging operation, it would be possible for the drive's contents to be modified before it resumed that OS, e.g. by booting the system into another environment and modifying the disk.  At that point it would seem that resuming the image could result in a corrupt image, so intelligence would have to be built into the imaging application to determine whether this had occurred and dynamically decide whether to continue with the operation on resume -- and even if that could be done perfectly, I suspect there would still be "trust issues".  For example, Macrium initially planned CBT to work across system restarts because they said they had a way to determine whether a disk had been modified outside of Windows since the last session, but several members here balked at that idea, and consequently the KB article for CBT says, "Through discussions with our customers and after careful consideration, we decided to remove the functionality from MRCBT that allowed it to detect whether a volume had been mounted outside the current Windows session."

Whether's it's Reflect's "place" to block sleep/hibernate is a matter of opinion.  I understand your viewpoint for your use case, but I suspect it represents the minority.  If Reflect did NOT block sleep/hibernate, there would be an avalanche of threads here saying, "I can never get a Reflect image to complete unattended because it allows my system to sleep/hibernate before it completes!  I don't want to disable or drastically extend sleep/hibernate timers on my system just to get my occasional Reflect jobs to work, but I deliberately schedule them to run overnight, and I don't want to see that they're still incomplete when I resume my PC the next morning because it was sleeping all night  Why would anybody design an imaging application that didn't keep the system awake to finish its work!?"

If your PCs won't reliably be awake with the backup destination available at any scheduled time and for the required amount of time, it sounds like what you need is an application that backs up opportunistically rather than on a schedule.  Unfortunately, I only know of two applications that work this way and can restore an entire system rather than just files. Apple's Time Machine does this, but it's Mac-only.  Then there's Microsoft's Client Computer Backup component built into Windows Server Essentials, but it requires Windows Server Essentials (and also requires server admin credentials to restore anything).  However, I don't think either of those capture true "images".  They instead seem to capture file-level backups plus metadata that describes the disk layout and probably things like the MBR so that the disk can be recreated in a system restore scenario, whereas Reflect captures a proper image.  That's probably not a distinction that matters to most end users, but it may explain why they're able to operate differently, and I suspect the "quasi-image" model has limitations around the file systems and OSes it can back up and restore that would not exist with Reflect.

Lastly, I know it's not reasonable to expect users to change their behavior in this regard, but that scenario of a system overheating in a bag is one reason I never count on closing the lid to sleep my system.  I worked at a company where we had a few cases of users permanently damaging their laptops that way, so I advise whoever will listen to actually click Sleep in the Start menu to initiate sleep.  I suppose I'm in the habit of doing this because I have my lid close action set to Do Nothing, because the majority of the time I'll have some task running that I specifically want to continue even if I don't need the display to stay on and/or want to protect my keyboard from my rather precocious cat.

Edited 8 October 2017 2:29 PM by jphughan
dyhs
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Closing the lid triggers Sleep state on my notebook (or it doesn't if a backup is running), but I turn the notebook off for good before traveling.
Also, Wake Timers on battery are disabled in Advanced Power Options to prevent the PC from waking up in a backpack.
Edited 9 October 2017 12:22 AM by dyhs
Nick
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@RefDM

The latest release v7.1.2638 contains an unsupported registry entry that you can use to disable the thread execution state change. This will enable suspend/hibernate during backups:

Please create the following value:

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Macrium\Reflect\Settings
Value: SetThreadExecutionState
Type: DWORD
Value: 0

This won't be made available in the GUI and is unsupported. Backup problems may result from sleep/hybrid sleep/hibernate dropping the shadow copy and/or target file handle.  

Hope this helps

Kind Regards

Nick - Macrium Support

Edited 10 October 2017 3:15 PM by Nick
RefDM
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Thank you Nick,

This is great news, indeed!

We have been using another imaging product for about a decade in several laptops and desktops and used sleep/hibernate a LOT, and we have never had a single problem doing that while the backup is active. I wonder if you know or can imagine any rational reason for the shadow copy and/or target file handle to be dropped by Macrium Reflect under the same conditions (environment and use case)?

If you can, can you predict the likely consequences? Does it mean only one failed backup (like what happens if you power off the workstation while backup active), or are some nastier consequences likely to occur (e.g. a corrupted backup file without any error messages?)
Nick
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Hi 

Thanks for getting back. 

The consequences could be that the backup will fail due to the source and/or target being unavailable when resuming, or an indefinite hang. There won't be a situation where the backup will silently complete with errors. 

Kind Regards

Nick - Macrium Support

RefDM
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Thank you for the clarification. I'll do some testing on that. It seems to me that now it's (finally!) time to continue our feasibility study for migrating over to MR. 

I hope that you can bare with me if I'll be asking some more novice questions in the forum within the near future... Smile
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