Can Macrium Reflect restore only a selected portion of a full image of my C drive?


Can Macrium Reflect restore only a selected portion of a full image of...
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Ronald Hirsch
Ronald Hirsch
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I know how to create a temporary drive letter to display the contents of the image file. Is it possible to command MR to restore selected folders only. This can be very handy in many instances.

I am using v7.1.2722.

If  not this would be a  very nice feature to consider in the future
jphughan
jphughan
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It's not currently possible, although it could be.  The main issue is that disk images don't represent data as files and folders; they are called "block-level captures" because they capture data as individual sectors on the drive, with no direct concept of how those sectors come together to form a specific file. That's the job of the operating system when it views the entire partition.  Block capture has significant advantages in terms of performance and efficiency, but it does mean that a typical restore process has to include the entire partition.  File & Folder backups, by comparison, are "file-level backups", so restoring individual files and folders is quite simple there; the downside is that when a file changes, the next Diff/Inc backup has to capture that entire file again, even if you only changed a few KB of a multi-GB file; the disk image would only have to capture the additional few KB.

Theoretically though, Reflect could (I think) build support for performing a File & Folder-style restore from a disk image by simply mounting the disk image in the background and then presenting the regular F&F wizard.  I actually suggested this myself a while ago to benefit my own use case.  I support a Reflect installation on a file server where I want to back up its entire Data partition.  Ordinarily an image backup would be the obvious choice for that scenario, but being a file server, it contains several folders that have custom and sometimes non-inheriting NTFS permissions defined on them, and if you mount an image backup and just copy/paste data back to your system, those permissions would not carry over.  There are command-line tools to copy files while retaining custom permissions, but that seemed too complicated for the "If I get hit by a bus" emergency procedure documentation I was writing for this client where I couldn't assume a technical resource would be available in an emergency.  So instead I've set up File & Folder backups of this entire partition just because the F&F restore wizard allows you to restore custom NTFS permissions simply by checking that checkbox. I would love to see the File & Folder restore wizard support specifying an image backup file as the source and then just prompting the user to select the partition of interest from which to restore specific data, because after that it could operate exactly as it normally does. That (or something similar) would allow me to switch to much more efficient image backups of the entire system.

jphughan
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In addition to the above, I'll add that since you can of course mount image backups as virtual disks, at that point there's nothing stopping you from using any other software tool you want in order to perform an F&F-style restore of selecting the data of interest on the source, specifying the destination, specifying options like maintaining NTFS permissions, timestamp choice for the restored files, whether to overwrite existing files, etc, and then kicking that off.  But of course that involves a separate tool.

Ronald Hirsch
Ronald Hirsch
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jphughan - 9 December 2017 7:40 PM
In addition to the above, I'll add that since you can of course mount image backups as virtual disks, at that point there's nothing stopping you from using any other software tool you want in order to perform an F&F-style restore of selecting the data of interest on the source, specifying the destination, specifying options like maintaining NTFS permissions, timestamp choice for the restored files, whether to overwrite existing files, etc, and then kicking that off.  But of course that involves a separate tool.

Thanks you for you detailed reply. I know I can mount images, as I've done this often. But for some reason, copying blocks of folders just didn't seem to work in the current problem I'm working on. Possibly I didn't copy a sufficient amount of material to restore what I was trying to do. I am now considering restoring a larger amount of material. So, what I'll do now is to restore a complete image of my C drive, onto one of the many spare hard  drives I have, and I can go to my main machine, and rename the high level folder I want to restore. Then copy copy in the same folder (with of course its proper name, and see if that does what I need.

Thanks again
GO

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