File & Folder Backup - Backup dataset not being created


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Seymour Heiney
Seymour Heiney
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Sorry if this is explained somewhere...I did look through the forums and did RTFM and couldn't specifically find the answer. It may be in forum or manual someplace, if it is, forgive me.

Been using Macrium paid version 6 for personal/home use. I have a laptop with several users and have a daily differential backup plan to back up each user accounts' documents folder to an external HDD set up. Full once a week, then daily differentials. I keep fulls for 4 weeks, current week differentials for 7. I generally keep the machine in sleep mode when not using, and Macrium and Windows Scheduler are set to wake it up. All works great.

Backups work beautifully, only fails when someone disconnects the external and doesn't hook it back up. Anyway, with so much activity on the laptop, there is usually always at least ONE file a day that is added, deleted, or changed, and therefore, when I physically check on backup files on the external, as I tend to do about twice a month (even though I have successful/failure emails sent every day), I am used to seeing 4 full backups and 1 to 7 daily ones, depending on what time of the week I take a peek on the external drive. Here is the thing: over the holidays, we were out of town for an extended period of time and the laptop sat idle for a couple weeks (in sleep mode). Every day just like clockwork I would receive an email stating the backup was successful, albeit no new files detected. However, when I got back from the holidays, and checked the external HDD, I saw only a couple of the full backups that were created (which I expected), but no "current week" differentials. 

So my question, after that long back story, is: in the set up I've described, even though Macrium runs the differential every day, if nothing has changed since the last full backup, is a differential backup dataset even created? Even a zero byte one? I looked back at the logs and emails, and they indicated a new file was going to be created, but at the end of the log for each run it notes zero files, etc. So I'm thinking that even though it says it was going to create the next .mrbak, it really doesn't.

Can someone confirm this behavior is true? No differences, no file created? I'm assuming this has happened to me before and I just didn't notice it, only noticing because of the length of time we were gone. If this is normal behavior, that's fine, just trying to understand it.

Thanks for reading,

Seymour

jphughan
jphughan
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If there's nothing to back up, then Reflect doesn't create a new file.  You can simulate this yourself any time you like.  Just create an F&F definition file that backs up a test folder with a file in it, run a Full, and then manually run a Diff/Inc immediately afterward.  You'll get a job log, but no file, so what you're seeing is completely normal. Smile

Edited 11 January 2018 8:22 PM by jphughan
jphughan
jphughan
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Expanding on the above a bit, if you think about it, this is the desirable behavior.  Not only is it cleaner in that it avoids creating useless files, but by default, Reflect's retention period is based on number of backups rather than time (although you can use the latter).  If "empty shell" backup files were created even when there was nothing to back up, your retention policy would cause meaningful backups to be purged when these shell files were created, which obviously isn't a desirable outcome.  If your retention policy is instead based on time, then I believe even if there's nothing new to back up, the retention policy is still evaluated, so in that case you WOULD lose older backups even though you didn't get any new backups, but that's inherent to the concept of time-based retention anyway.

Edited 11 January 2018 8:25 PM by jphughan
Seymour Heiney
Seymour Heiney
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Thanks for the replies, jphughan. Everything you state makes complete sense. I anticipated as much, and it is good to know Macrium is behaving as expected.

Best wishes for the new year.

Seymour

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