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Macrium Reflect question

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cinelli
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Macrium Reflect question

#206434

Postby cinelli » March 8th, 2019, 11:34 am

I have been asking myself how I would recover my Windows 10 computer if the disk became unusable. I am supposing I have a recent Macrium Reflect backup. Within Macrium Reflect it is possible to create a recovery USB stick and you can boot from this. It is also possible to save an ISO file. But my attempts to create a usable USB stick from this ISO file outside Macrium Reflect have all failed. Running in linux Mint, the USB creation program Etcher gives the error “It looks like this is not a bootable image” and although it goes ahead and writes stuff to the stick, it doesn’t work at boot time. Similar attempts via Mintstick and the linux command dd have failed too.

So it seems to me that you can create a recovery USB stick (or CD) only if you have a working Windows system. Can anyone suggest a way of creating a recovery device from the ISO which doesn’t depend on Macrium Reflect working? Or have I have misunderstood the situation? Thanks.

Cinelli

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206444

Postby ReformedCharacter » March 8th, 2019, 11:46 am

Does this help?

https://kb.macrium.com/knowledgebasearticle50210.aspx

I haven't used MR for a while but I used to use a Recovery CD.

RC

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206453

Postby mc2fool » March 8th, 2019, 12:29 pm

cinelli wrote:So it seems to me that you can create a recovery USB stick (or CD) only if you have a working Windows system. Can anyone suggest a way of creating a recovery device from the ISO which doesn’t depend on Macrium Reflect working?

Well, personally I'm wondering why you want to wait until you're in a disaster situation to create the recovery media, and don't want to just create it now, while you have a working system, test it and then stick it in the back of a cupboard for when you need it?

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206461

Postby Breelander » March 8th, 2019, 12:56 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:Does this help?
...
I haven't used MR for a while but I used to use a Recovery CD.


That's a little out of date, the current version is 7.2. While much of the info is still valid, this is the current version of that page.

https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/displ ... scue+media

cinelli wrote:So it seems to me that you can create a recovery USB stick (or CD) only if you have a working Windows system. Can anyone suggest a way of creating a recovery device from the ISO which doesn’t depend on Macrium Reflect working?


Well, the obvious answer is to create a USB now, while you can. You don't have to wait until you need it to make one. Any 7.x recovery usb can restore an image made by the current version of Macrium 7.2 so you don't need the usb to be the latest version.

The less obvious answer is that you can easily make a bootable usb from the ISO. You'll need some sort of working Windows PC for this, but you do not need Macrium installed. The following instructions will work in Windows 8.0 or above. In fact these instructions will also work for making a bootable usb from the Windows install ISO made by the Media Creation Tool and most other bootable ISOs based on the Microsoft boot files. It doesn't work for Linux ISOs.

First prepare the USB. Open a Command Prompt (Admin) ant type DISKPART, at the DIskpart prompt use the following command:

LIST DISK

(note the disk number of your usb and use in in place of # in the next command...

SELECT DISK #

then...

CLEAN
RESCAN
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
SELECT PARTITION 1
FORMAT FS=FAT32 QUICK
ACTIVE
EXIT

You should see something like this...

Code: Select all

DISKPART> LIST DISK
  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online          465 GB      0 B
  Disk 1    Online         3819 MB      0 B

DISKPART> SELECT DISK 1
Disk 1 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> CLEAN
DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.

DISKPART> RESCAN
Please wait while DiskPart scans your configuration...
DiskPart has finished scanning your configuration.

DISKPART> CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.

DISKPART> SELECT PARTITION 1
Partition 1 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART> FORMAT FS=FAT32 QUICK
  100 percent completed
DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.

DISKPART> ACTIVE
DiskPart marked the current partition as active.

DISKPART> EXIT
Leaving DiskPart...

C:\WINDOWS\system32>


Next, mount the ISO as a virtual DVD drive by double-clicking on it in File Explorer. Then copy all the files and folders from the ISO to your prepared USB. You now have a bootable USB recovery drive.

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206467

Postby Breelander » March 8th, 2019, 1:11 pm

cinelli wrote:... Running in linux Mint, the USB creation program Etcher gives the error “It looks like this is not a bootable image” and although it goes ahead and writes stuff to the stick, it doesn’t work at boot time. Similar attempts via Mintstick and the linux command dd have failed too....


Now you know the basics of creating a bootable usb from a Microsoft-based ISO in Windows, you should be able to use the equivalent Linux commands to do the same thing. The files can just be copied from the ISO to the USB, the key thing that makes it bootable is that the USB has an MBR partition table with a Fat32 primary partition that is marked as Active.

cinelli
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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206756

Postby cinelli » March 9th, 2019, 9:10 pm

Many thanks for the detailed information on how to make a bootable rescue USB device. That was exactly the spur I needed and I feel I have learned a lot in the last day or so. I fully take the point about creating a rescue device now rather than waiting for disaster to happen. But I do like to know how to do things.

Previously I hadn’t realised there are two (or more?) kinds of ISO files – what you might call Windows type and linux type. Etcher handles linux types but comes unstuck with Windows types.

Breelander’s use of diskpart worked beautifully and I have been able to do the equivalent in linux, as follows:

Make a FAT32 filesystem on the USB stick and set the boot flag. I did this in gparted but it can probably be done with the mkfs and fdisk commands. Then mount the ISO file by

$ sudo -s
# mount -o loop <Macrium ISO file> /mnt
# cd /mnt
# cp -r * <USB directory>

I found that you can mount linux style ISOs with the archive manager but that this doesn’t work with Windows style.

Thanks again.

Cinelli

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206757

Postby Breelander » March 9th, 2019, 9:19 pm

cinelli wrote:Breelander’s use of diskpart worked beautifully and I have been able to do the equivalent in linux...


Excellent! Glad to have helped.

It's not so much that the ISOs are different types, it's more that the Windows and Linux boot managers load and work quite differently.

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206811

Postby Infrasonic » March 10th, 2019, 11:44 am

As you're floating around on this subject Bree...I set up a Macrium backup schedule on another person's PC yesterday, initial backup was 63GB (intelligent scan, uncompressed) and then I've set it to medium compression for subsequent monthly full backups (weekly differentials). Ran an integrity check afterwards.

No issues using compressed backups for restore?
I seem to remember seeing over on the W10 forums that compressed is fine.
File history is in use on that machine as well to a seperate partition on the same external drive, set it up last year, all hunky dory. Only 20 snapshots in a year.
It's a very low use machine.


TIA

I

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206818

Postby mc2fool » March 10th, 2019, 12:18 pm

Infrasonic wrote:As you're floating around on this subject Bree...I set up a Macrium backup schedule on another person's PC yesterday, initial backup was 63GB (intelligent scan, uncompressed) and then I've set it to medium compression for subsequent monthly full backups (weekly differentials). Ran an integrity check afterwards.

No issues using compressed backups for restore?

I've always done my Macrium backups with the defaults (Intelligent Sector Copy and Medium Compression) and I've restored two backups over the last year and a half or so, both to new disks after the previous disks failed, and had no problems doing so at all.

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206862

Postby Breelander » March 10th, 2019, 5:03 pm

Infrasonic wrote:As you're floating around on this subject Bree...I set up a Macrium backup schedule on another person's PC yesterday, initial backup was 63GB (intelligent scan, uncompressed) and then I've set it to medium compression for subsequent monthly full backups (weekly differentials). Ran an integrity check afterwards.

No issues using compressed backups for restore? I seem to remember seeing over on the W10 forums that compressed is fine.


No, no issues apart from the obvious one of being a little slower to decompress. I have (quite) a number of machines and one drive that holds all their images, so it's impractical to schedule them all. Each has a backup definition file that I run manually, Full once a month and Differential about once a week. To fit them all on the backup drive I use maximum compression (so even slower) and restoring a differential would be slower still (as it has to look at the full and the differential, then work out what has changed). That's where the paid-for Macrium would help, the incrementals and the rapid delta restore are much faster.

NB: if you defrag an HDD after making a Full image, then the next Differential will be larger than you expect. The files that are unchanged but have been moved will count as a 'difference' that need recording in the differential image. I have turned off auto defrag and manually run it before my next Full image.

File history is in use on that machine as well to a separate partition on the same external drive, set it up last year, all hunky dory. Only 20 snapshots in a year.
It's a very low use machine.


The risk of having a permanently connected drive is that ransomware can find it. For Macrium, at least, the paid-for version includes Image Guardian that blocks unauthorised changes to the images.

Did you know that with a little ingenuity you can get File History to save to another partition on the same drive? Or even a folder on the same partition? The trick is that File History insists on using a completely independent drive, either external or a network share. Of course, if the PC shares a folder from its own drive then File History will happily back up to that share.

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Re: Macrium Reflect question

#206874

Postby Infrasonic » March 10th, 2019, 6:41 pm

The risk of having a permanently connected drive is that ransomware can find it. For Macrium, at least, the paid-for version includes Image Guardian that blocks unauthorised changes to the images.


I've got no option there really, the owners are luddite in the extreme, anything that needs changing, plugging in, turning on or off is just not going to get done.
On the plus side they don't have any cloud accounts actively syncing back to the desktop, and downloads are very rare.
I'd prefer it if they were on WD with protected folders on but it looks like Norton is staying as the default for the foreseeable. Still not won that argument yet.

Did you know that with a little ingenuity you can get File History to save to another partition on the same drive? Or even a folder on the same partition? The trick is that File History insists on using a completely independent drive, either external or a network share. Of course, if the PC shares a folder from its own drive then File History will happily back up to that share.


I might experiment on my own PC there. Thanks.


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