46% of backup users have never completed a test restore

Late last year, we ran a highly successful piece of market research where we surveyed over 7,000 backup and disk recovery software users. The resulting survey we titled:
The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same for Backup!

Divided up by business and home users, the survey looks into views towards cloud backup as well as frequency of backup and if they have suffered data loss, what the cause was.

The top headlines from the research include:

  • 78% of respondents have lost data over the last year, despite 73% having a backup solution in place at the time
  • 70% of home users are not currently using cloud backup with 46% stating trust, security and privacy as the reason why
  • 46% of those surveyed have never undertaken a test restore

Our results do demonstrate the growing global trend for cloud that has been forecasted for a few years but taken longer to mature than most people expected.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve only gone and launched Macrium Reflect 7, which is EVEN faster and allows users to easily test their backups to verify the recoverability of the data. We recommend that users test the recoverability of backups as frequently as possible. Find out more about all the latest features.



Techie Tuesday: Reviewing your backup history


Macrium Reflect maintains an easy to access log of all types of backups and restores where you can review activities, purge the log files and view Windows VSS events.

  1. In the main task bar click Log.

  2. Clicking the Delete old logs icon will take you to the Log file purge settings, where you can select to remove old logs.

  3. Make selection and click OK.
  4. Select the activity you want to review.

  5. If the activity has a VSS log, select to view VSS events, if required by clicking the View window VSS events icon.

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Macrium Reflect 7 will be released on 27th February 2017. Read more here.

Techie Tuesday: Preparing a USB stick for Windows PE


To use a USB stick as a boot device, Windows requires a Master Boot Record (MBR) however some USB sticks are shipped without one and with just a single partition. The USB stick, therefore, needs formatting but the standard Windows format option does not prepare the disk correctly as it does not create a master boot record.  You therefore need to prepare the USB stick using other tools, for example, Windows diskpart.

  1. Start an elevated  command prompt. See Running an elevated command prompt for more information.
  2. Type:
  3. Type:
     list disk

  4. Identify the disk number of your USB stick.Please ensure that you correctly identify your USB stick.
  5. Type:
    select disk <n>

    Where <n> is the number of the disk previously identified as being the USB stick.  Confirm that the current disk selection is correct by typing in detail disk, this will show information relating to the currently selected disk.

    Note: Please be certain you have the disk selection correct before proceeding to the next step.

  6. Type:

    This erases all data on the USB stick.

  7. Type:
    create par primary

    This creates a primary partition on the USB stick using the maximum size available.

  8. Type:

    To make the primary partition active.

  9. Type:
    format FS=ntfs LABEL="Macrium WinPE" QUICK

    This formats the newly created partition on the USB stick for legacy MBR booting.

    If your system has GPT disks and uses the newer UEFI booting standard then please type the line below instead:

    format FS=FAT32 LABEL="Macrium" QUICK

    Note: UEFI booting requires a FAT32 formatted partition and will not recognize NTFS.

  10. Type:

    once the format command has completed to exit diskpart.

  11. Type:

    Again to close the command prompt.

See also: Troubleshooting USB rescue media

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New distribution partnership with Renaissance

renaissance-contingency-services-logoWe’re excited to announce that we’re further expanding our European reach as we have signed a new distribution partnership with Renaissance Contingency Services in Ireland.

Renaissance is a value add distributor specialising in continuity management, data security and compliance and will give Macrium a fantastic opportunity to expand our customer base and continue to grow in the Irish and wider EMEA market.

As you may be aware, we are set to release Macrium Reflect 7 at the end of February, adding exciting new features for image based backup and disaster. We continue to transition business sales into the channel and partnering with Renaissance will be instrumental in continuing this process.

We continue to do extremely well globally and therefore are delighted to add Renaissances to our trusted distributor network as it will allow our to focus and effectively deliver our solution into the Irish market.

Stephen Macpherson, Global Sales Director, states “We are excited to partner with Renaissance Contingency Services as we continue to expand our sales offering and mature our partner network. Our upcoming release of Macrium Reflect 7 will take our disaster recovery software to a new level and our relationship with Renaissance is essential to our growth in the Irish market.”

Techie Tuesday: Using Macrium Reflect from the command line


You can retrieve a prompt for all the command line arguments by simply typing reflect -h from the command line.

Running a Backup

The command line form is as follows:

reflect.exe [-v | -e [-w] [-full | -inc | -diff] [xml filename] ]
Explanations for the switches are as follows:

-h This help text
-e Execute the XML file. If no full / diff / inc qualifier is used, a full backup is performed by default.
-v Validate the XML file and exit
-w If Reflect is busy then wait until available otherwise exit immediately
-full Run a full backup
-diff Run a differential backup
-inc Run an incremental backup
-pass Password. Overrides the password saved in the xml file.

Please note that the XML file name is the fully qualified path.

To validate an XML file

reflect.exe -v "c:\backup.xml"

To execute an XML file

reflect.exe -e "c:\backup.xml"

To execute an XML file with wait if busy

<reflect.exe -e -w "c:\backup.xml"

To execute an XML file and create an incremental image

reflect.exe -e -inc "c:\backup.xml"


Mounting an image

reflect.exe [Path To Image File] -b [-auto -drives [Drives[s]] -pass [PASSWORD]]
Explanations for the switches are as follows:

-b Browse image
-auto Automatically assign drive letters. If not specified then you will be prompted
-drives A comma separated list of drive letters to use. If not specified then the next available letters are used
-pass The password for protected image files

The image file name is the fully qualified path. If “LAST_FILE_CREATED” is specified then the last image created in the current Windows session is mounted.


To mount an image and prompt for a drive letter to use

reflect.exe “D:\901DBF91346B9A81-00-00.mrimg” -b

To mount all partitions in an image using the next available drive letter(s)

reflect.exe “D:\901DBF91346B9A81-00-00.mrimg” -b -auto

To mount all partitions for the last image created

reflect.exe "LAST_FILE_CREATED" -b -auto

To mount all partitions in an image using drive letters j,k,l

reflect.exe "D:\901DBF91346B9A81-00-00.mrimg" -b -auto -drives j,k,l

To mount all partitions in a password protected image using drive letters j,k,l

reflect.exe "D:\901DBF91346B9A81-00-00.mrimg" -b -auto -drives j,k,l -pass "PWD"


Unmounting an image

reflect.exe [Drive Letter] -u

Explanations for the switches are as follows:

-u Unmount image


If a drive letter isn’t specified then all mounted images are unmmounted

To unmount an image from drive letter ‘j’

reflect.exe J -u

To umnount all mounted drives

reflect.exe -u


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Techie Tuesday: Cloning a disk


It is possible to clone an entire hard drive or specific partitions on a hard drive. This is useful if you are upgrading to a larger hard drive. With Macrium Reflect you can boot the target disk on the same system after cloning. Cloning your hard drive creates a bootable new hard drive with the state of your computer at the time you undertook the clone.You can clone to a hard drive installed in your computer or to a hard drive installed in a USB hard-drive Caddy.

Windows cannot boot from a USB connected drive. This is a restriction imposed by Windows. If you clone your system disk to a USB connected external drive then, to boot your clone, the physical disk must be removed from the USB caddy and attached to your Motherboard SATA port.
Deleting and re-configuring existing partitions or configuring new partitions is possible with Macrium Reflect, so you don’t need to do this prior to cloning.
Show important information about MS Dynamic Volumes…

  1. Select the disk you wish to clone in the main application window and Click ‘Clone this disk’..

  2. In the wizard that opens Click Select a disk to clone to…
  3. Select the hard disk you wish to clone to. In this case, there is only one disk available.
  4. If you do not want to modify the order or size of partitions of the clone, click Next. This is the default behavior.Alternatively, drag the partitions you want to clone, the red arrow below shows this.


    In this example, there is 400MB of free space after the copied partition. You can modify the size of each partition to fit the new disk if required.You can delete partitions on the target disk by selecting and clicking ‘Delete existing partitions’..
  5. To modify the partition sizes, click Cloned Partition Properties and adjust the size of the partition by:
    1. Setting the partition size precisely using the Partition Size entry box.
    2. Resize the partition automatically by clicking Maximum size, Minimum size or Original size.

  6. Click OK.
  7. If required, click Advanced Options to change settings for this clone:

    Option_____________ Description
    Intelligent sector copy Copy only file system sectors/clusters that are in use. This reduces the time to create the clone as unused file system clusters are not copied.
    Verify File System Verifying the file system prior to cloning ensures that there are no file system errors transferred to the clone.
    Please note that this may take several minutes to complete
    Rapid Delta Clone Copy only file system differences between the clone source and target. This increases cloning speed dramatically.
    Show more information on RDC…
    Enable SSD TRIM Enable SSD TRIM on the clone target to optimize the disk.

    Show more information on SSD TRIM…

    Forensic Sector Copy Copy every sector from the source to the target disk partition.
    Please note tat this option is only necessary if you want to copy unused file system space and will significantly increase the time to complete the clone.
  8. Click Next.
    The options to Add Schedule, Edit Schedule or Delete Schedule is displayed.

    Click ‘Add Schedule’
    to optionally schedule your clone

    Make any required changes and click Next.
    For more information see Scheduling backups.
  9. Review the settings and click Finish.
  10. Verify the settings in Backup Save Options and if appropriate, click OK.

    Saving a backup definition enables you to run your Clone at any time with a single clickNote: You must save your backup definition if you have created Clone schedules. Your schedules cannot run if this step is missed.If you want to run the Clone at this point, select ‘Run this backup now’ and click OK.
  11. A Warning box appears, if appropriate click Continue.

    The target disk for the clone operation will be overwritten. This is unrecoverable, so please ensure that the target disk contains no valid data.The clone operation now starts.
    Incompatible Disk Selected
    If you receive the error message ‘Incompatible Disk Selected’ when cloning then please see this article for more information: Incompatible Disk Selected

Creating a clone video


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Techie Tuesday: Differential and incremental disk images


The entire contents of the imaged file system are stored in a full image file. This is a reliable way of backing up your PC, however, repeating the process is slow and subsequent images can fill your backup media very quickly.

After you have created an initial full image, you can create differential and incremental images. These are both quicker to execute than full images and create much smaller image files.

Note: With the Free Edition of Macrium Reflect you can only make full and differential images of your disks and partitions.

Differential Images

A differential image stores the changes that have been made to the imaged file system since the last full image. Subsequent differentials can be taken, but only one differential and the full are required in order to fully restore the system.
This is quicker than creating a full image, however the longer the time between the full and the differential, the larger the differential image file is and the longer it takes to create.

Advantages of differential images:

  • Differential images created after the initial full Image are very quick because only file system changes since the full backup are saved.
  • The amount of disk space used by differential images is significantly less than that of full images.
  • Only two image files are required to restore the system.

Disadvantages of differential images:

  • As the time since the last full image was taken increases, the size of the differential grows as does the time it takes to create the differential image.
  • In order to reduce this time, it is necessary to perform a full image occasionally to reduce the size of the subsequent differential images.

Incremental Images

The main difference with incremental images is that they only store file system changes since the last image, either full, differential or incremental. The resultant backup set therefore consists of a full image and a number of incremental images which must all be present in order to restore the system correctly.

Advantage of incremental images:

  • Incremental images have the same advantages as differential images, but since they only store the changes that were made since the last full or incremental. They are always small and very quick to make, especially if done frequently.

Disadvantage of incremental images:

  • All files must be present in the image set. If any intermediate incremental images are missing, it is not possible to restore the system to the latest backup.

Maintaining backup sets

Maintaining backup sets can seem an onerous task, however, Macrium Reflect takes care of all the hard work for you. With Macrium Reflect you can schedule incremental or differential backups automatically. It is as simple as selecting the image you wish to restore and Macrium Reflect automatically selects the required files in the image set as part of the restore process. The same is true for exploring an image. If you choose to explore an incremental image in an explorer window, Macrium Reflect reconstructs all the files that have been backed up to that time.

Macrium Reflect also includes functionality to automatically delete expired image sets. For example, if you take a full image every month and then incremental images every day, you can configure Reflect to keep two full image sets (the equivalent of two months of backups) and delete any older files. As a result, your backup media does not become full of obsolete image files.

Selecting an incremental or differential backup

The process for creating a differential or incremental backup is the same. Both save changes since the full backup if this is the only backup made so far.

  1. Initiate an incremental or differential backup, select Backup Definitions Files. In this instance, there is one saved XML definitions file MyBackup.xml which contains the configuration required to back up the C drive.
  2. Right click MyBackup.xml and select Run Now.
    You are presented with a number of options.
  3. Select Full, Incremental or Differential to automatically execute that particular backup. If unsure which you want to run, click Prompt.
  4. Click Finish.
  5. When the Image is complete close the dialog.

Alternative method using an existing backup

  1. Click the ‘Restore’ tab
  2. Select either Image Restore or File and Folder Restore.
    This presents a list of image or file and folder backup files
  3. Select the file that you want to create an incremental or differential from.
  4. Select Other Actions… link, and choose ‘Differential’ or ‘Incremental’

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