Scheduled backups regularly abort (and now non-scheduled, too)


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Clairvaux
Clairvaux
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Hello,

After years of trouble-free automated backups, Macrium has begun to misbehave and throw message errors. This has been going on for months, first with version 5 and now with version 6.

Setup is a single-user PC, with backups being written on 2 alternating 2.5" external disks. They are connected via different interfaces : rack with USB/SATA interface, powered eSATA, USB 2 cable.

First, I thought I had discovered the cause : if the backup disk was not connected at the scheduled backup time, the backup would not start when the disk was inserted later. Backup would have to be started manually, or I would have to wait until the next scheduled backup. Please confirm that this is expected behaviour and has no workaround.

But backups continued to abort, and I thought I had discovered another cause : sometimes, the external disks would not appear in Windows Explorer, so I suspected a hardware or software connection problem. Indeed, when I managed to make the disk appear again in Windows Explorer, I could launch the backup manually and it would be successful.

Then, backups would fail even with the disk connected before schedule time and visible in Windows Explorer ; but manual launch would complete the operation.

Now, I have come to the point where the disk is visible, and not even manual launch will complete the backup : it will fail in a few minutes.

This happens irrespective to the interface used, or at least there is no way to tell if one interface fails more often than the other.

Different error messages have been :

Backup aborted - None of the specified backup locations could be written to.

Backup aborted - Write operation failed - The specified network resource or device is no longer available.

Backup aborted - Write operation failed - The device is not ready.

Backup aborted - Unable to read from disk - Error Code 1 - Incorrect function.

Backup aborted - Unable to read from disk - Error Code 2 - The system cannot find the file specified.

The health of both target disks is displayed as "perfect" by Hard Disk Sentinel.

One of the imaged disks is also "perfect", while the other has had one "weak sector" since a few days ago (but its global health is still deemed "excellent" at "98 %").

I now have two Windows user accounts for myself, one admin, the other non-admin, and always work under non-admin. Previously, I had a single, admin account.

Thank you for your help.
Mike A
Mike A
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Hi,

From your description there seems to be problems with Windows detecting when the external drives are connected. This with read errors suggest that there could be an issue with your Windows disk/setup. Have you checked your source disk?  Have you checked the Windows event logs for items related to your disks?

Thanks,

Mike.
Nick
Nick
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Hi 

Thanks for posting. 

In addition to Mike's comments,  Those Read and Write errors are being reporting by Windows and unfortunately this is outside of the control of Macrium Reflect.  AV software will often inject itself into the I/O stack and "Incorrect function." is a typical error caused by AV.  Also, the error "The system cannot find the file specified" when reading indicates that the Windows Shadow Copy has failed and been deleted. This will usually generate a Windows Event message. You can check Windows events in Reflect:

Please see here: http://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW7/Viewing+Windows+VSS+Events

You should also try a Windows 'Clean Boot' to help isolate the cause. 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows


Kind Regards

Nick - Macrium Support

Clairvaux
Clairvaux
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Thank you, Mike and Nick.

Here is what I did following your indications.

> Tried once more to manually run scheduled backup. Failed again with "Unable to read from disk - Error Code 1 - Incorrect function" message.

> Uninstalled trial version of Ultra Recall (Windows Explorer alternative).

> Succeeded in running manually the scheduled backup. However, the first time I got the "Unable to read from disk - Error Code 1 - Incorrect function" error message was before Ultra Recall installation, so while this program might be causing trouble, it does not seem to be the sole factor.

> Scheduled backup failed again, but along "expected" line : target disk not connected at scheduled time, backup does not start after disk is connected, however manual run of script succeeds.

Could you please tell me if the above is normal behaviour for Macrium ? Or should the backup start nonetheless as soon as the disk is reconnected ?

RE : checking disks

> CHDSK had been applied to source disks on February 16 (with bad sector repair option). Cleaning and repairs had been reported by the program.

> Reapplied CHDSK to source volumes (with bad sector repair option). Volumes not included in the image have not been checked despite being part of the same physical disk. Cleaning and repairs reported by the program.

RE : checking the Windows event logs for items related to disks

> I know how to access the Event Viewer, but finding disk-related events in there is a needle-in-haystack venture to me. Any more specific advice as to what to look for ?

> The Reliability Monitor shows plenty of untoward events lately, but does not help in finding causes.

RE : VSS failures

> Yes, there were plenty reported by Macrium. Please find attached the log since September 2016.

RE : antivirus interference

> According to Macrium advice, I have registered long ago the following exceptions for Reflect executables and files within Avast Antivirus :

Reflect.exe
ReflectService.exe
ImgToVHD.exe
.mrimg
.mrbak

Is it still possible that Avast interferes ? I also have Trusteer Rapport and EMET installed. I know your reservations about antivirus, but we do have to run them. Any list of Macrium-compatible antivirus, or other mitigating advice ?

Many thanks for your help, and best regards.

Clairvaux

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Nick
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Hi

Thanks for getting back. 

Could you please tell me if the above is normal behaviour for Macrium ? Or should the backup start nonetheless as soon as the disk is reconnected ?


The target disk needs to accessible when the backup starts.

CHDSK had been applied to source disks on February 16 (with bad sector repair option). Cleaning and repairs had been reported by the program.


Disks reporting bad sectors should be replaced at the earliest opportunity. Disk can fail quite quickly after the first bad sector group is found and need regular repeated runs of chkdsk /r to clear.

According to Macrium advice, I have registered long ago the following exceptions for Reflect executables and files within Avast Antivirus


Please add 'ReflectBin.exe'. Additionally, the backup files are initially created as '.tmp' files in the backup target directory, so these mustn't be interfered with either. 

Any list of Macrium-compatible antivirus, or other mitigating advice ?


Macrium Reflect is compatible with Windows and apart from MS Windows Defender, I'm afraid there's no such thing as compatible AV software. From the event logs it looks like VSS is being compromised. Please try a Windows clean boot. This  will help identify the cause:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows


Kind Regards

Nick - Macrium Support

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