• Macrium Reflect Boot Media

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    Installed Macrium Reflect.

    What is the best option to setting up boot media?  Just to have something I burned it to a CD.  Noticed it could not add it to the 2TB Hard Drive.  Also saw an option to add it to a USB.

    If I ever need to restore the image what will be on the computer.  Noticed there would not be files and folders?  In order to have a complete backup what do I need to backup from my system?

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    • #2319395

      The way I do it (and, I suspect, the way most people do it) is to create the Macrium rescue media on a CD or flash drive, and create the system image on a separate, external USB disk. So your complete Macrium Reflect setup will have three components:

      1. The system itself (an internal drive containing your OS and programs and likely also your data;
      2. The rescue media (CD/flash drive); and
      3. The backup full system image on an external disk.

      If and when the time comes to restore a system image (usually because of OS software corruption or hardware failure of the drive that contains the OS), you would insert the Macrium rescue disk and connect the external drive containing the system image, then reboot into the Macrium rescue disk.

      Regarding what to include in the backup, the simplest setup is to keep everything–OS, programs, and data–on the same Windows partition, but there are many ways to do it. It depends largely on where you normally keep your data. For example, most of my computers have the OS, software, and data files in the same C: partition of the same hard disk, and so all of that is taken care of when I create a system image. But I have one PC where the data files are on a separate (larger) internal hard disk, and so the Macrium images from that PC contain just the OS and the installed programs.


      • #2319823

        Thanks.  I noticed that the Macrium free edition does not allow a backup of files and folders.  Does that mean they were excluded when I did the image (not clone)?  Not really sure I know what was included in the image or how I could find out.  Just doing this for the first time.

    • #2319403

      What is the best option to setting up boot media?

      Create a USB boot device. Simple, portable, easy to update.

      could not add it to the 2TB Hard Drive

      You need a blank disk with the correct format to create a bootable HDD – you can use a “wrong” HDD if you have the right tools and know what you are doing.

      In order to have a complete backup what do I need to backup

      To recover Windows you need a “system” backup.
      To recover data you need a “data” backup.
      The easiest method if to do a “disk” backup. This will backup everything and you can then recover a whole machine, or individual files by mounting the backup image.

      Once you have a disk backup you should make regular data backups because your files (documents, spreadsheets etc) change more often than Windows – you don’t want to lose the password database you changed 2 days ago because of a disk failure, where Windows can be restored from a month ago.

      Tell us what programs you run and what data you keep locally and we can provide more specifics.

      cheers, Paul

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      • #2319833

        Actually I keep everything on the C drive but the programs I use are Turbo Tax, Quicken and Outlook.

        • #2319852

          You need to find out where the data for those programs is stored. Check where yours are.

          Outlook we know is in “Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook”.
          Turbo Tax default is “Documents\TurboTax”.
          For Quicken it’s “Documents\Quicken”.

          Once you have an image backup you can perform (very) regular data backups of your “user” folder, e.g. C:\Users\ECWS. This will backup “Documents” and Outlook data.

          cheers, Paul

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          • #2320273

            Question regarding verifying copies were made.  I went to the folder reflect in Documents on the computer that I made an image of.  All I saw was a file named “My Backup.xml.”  Is that the file that tells you what was backed up.  Or is there another file to look for where the backup is stored?

            Also – is it a good idea to also Clone the disk in cases it needs to be restored to a different disk (if the hard disk fails).


    • #2319773

      Tell us what programs you run and what data you keep locally and we can provide more specifics.

      Hi Paul,

      Although my preference would be to image the system drive each night to protect against Microsoft’s approach to Windows 10, with imaging softwares I’ve tested that would take several hours each night. So I saw/see that as unnecessary because I could instead willingly wipe my SSD system drive and start over from unforeseen catastrophic failures of Windows 10 or the computer’s hardware.

      In addition to my new tests of Macrium Reflect on a dedicated, local, spinning, external USB 3 drive, I’m also and simultaneously running (a.) File History on a 3rd, dedicated, internal spinning drive, and (b.) two separate cloud data backups to iDrive and Google Drive.

      Since I just now installed a Macrium Reflect trial edition, I have questions about its performance:  If Macrium were to *automatically* image an entire (2 TB SSD) system drive (with ~ 600 GB of data) nightly to my spinning, external USB 3 drive, how long would you estimate that process should take?

      Thank you 🙂


      • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Mr. Austin.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Mr. Austin.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Mr. Austin.
    • #2319828

      If Macrium were to *automatically* image an entire … 600 GB of data … how long would you estimate that process should take?

      Maybe a couple of hours for 600GB to USB.
      You could use an incremental backup to shorten the process to about 10 minutes after the initial full image.

      Macrium (paid) will consolidate the backups into a “synthetic full” to reduce the space usage, allowing you to restore to a particular day between consolidations. This is what I do, along with email notification and external disk verification by copying all files.

      cheers, Paul

      • #2320100

        Thank you Paul. I installed and tested a trail edition of Macrium and ran it last night. Although I’m capable of eventually figuring out its unnecessarily complicated interface, it failed my tests for ease of use, and even being able to tell quickly and easily if it ran a log file and where that file is stored. It’s on to the next backup program for me.

    • #2320011


      Rather than incremental backup images, which require the whole image chain to be error-free in order to restore the latest backup, many prefer differential imaging, which backs up only changes since the last full backup, not since the latest incremental backup. Thus, only the latest partial image and the original full image are needed to restore the complete backup. Of course, an earlier differential image may be selected if damage has happened to the files more recently.


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      • #2320109

        Thanks Zig.

        These days I’m almost uninterested in having to choose among many backup strategies. And I’ve found that the older companies (PC magazine, C|Net, ComputerWorld, InfoWorld) which used to do reliable software and hardware reviews – on which I’d rely – are no longer reliable and/or they’ve changed their focus to enterprise software, where the bigger money sits.

        I’ve used and tested current versions of Macrium and Acronis, and so far I haven’t seen any software publisher on which I want to rely. For the time and trouble it takes to find and use a reliable, nightly, easy to use backup program, temporarily I’m better off using Windows File History combined with my two cloud backups. An unreliable, difficult to use nightly backup program is not worth my time.

        In the old days (~2008) in which I backed up my 25-user, animation art company LAN server to 4mm DAT using software like EMC Retrospect, I was interested in knowing more about the vagaries of backups, and I still remember lots about them. There eventually came the time when that company’s owner (I was an investor and contractor) decided he didn’t want me involved any more in running the company. So, he surreptitiously sat a woefully under-prepared 17 year-old at my server, and asked the kid to break into it and take it over. Their actions broke the server, taking it off-line. That brought the company to its knees in a three-day standstill, with 10 employees twiddling their thumbs. They were at my mercy, and it’s good for them I was kind toward them.

        A different and more experienced computer networks expert, Eddie, sat with me at my console and watched as I completely restored my Windows 2000 server (in around two hours?) from 4mm DAT. He was astounded, and said he’d never seen anyone restore a complex server so quickly.

        • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Mr. Austin.
        • #2320134


          As far as unbiased reviews go, most experienced users of this forum recommend Macrium Reflect, EaseUS Todo Backup or AOMEI Backupper. The first seems to be the most recommended, perhaps because it’s been around the longest and has a very responsive help forum. Paragon has a reputation for a steep learning curve, but is otherwise reliable. Many have become dissatisfied with Acronis over the years, yet others still like it, especially for non-automated backups. I don’t trust it.


          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2320284

            Thanks Zig. After I nuked my failed Macrium trial, I installed Aomei and I’m testing it now. Most of its settings were clear and fast for me.

            • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Mr. Austin.
            • #2320357

              Aomei Backupper Pro Trial Edition installed and being tested.

              Immediate observations:

              1.) Finding Backupper’s *summarized* job logs is an unnecessary truffle hunt and I’m unwilling to search for them. Instead I emailed support.

              2.) While looking in Aomei’s online documentation I noticed they’d written that Backupper needs a Registry hack to backup Outlook. If so, that’s strike three to Aomei even before I throw them my second pitch.

              3. Although I told Backupper to shut the machine down after it’s complete, it did not.

              4. The brand new SanDisk flash drive I bought to use with whatever backup program I’m using, would not eject with Backupper in use. The drive contains Windows recovery files installed by Backupper. Had to reboot the machine to be able to eject the drive.

              5. A plug-in I use in Outlook would not load after reboot. This was an exceptional behavior caused by only one of two things, and they both point to Backupper.

              Aoemi Backupper is not providing encouraging trial results.

              • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Mr. Austin.
            • #2320590

              Today I uninstalled the Aomei Backupper trial because it won’t backup .PST files without a Registry hack. I’m unwilling to perform a Registry hack to make any supposedly Windows-compatible software work. Here is the response I received from Aomei tech support:

              “By default, AOMEI Backupper uses Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), in this way, Outlook OST file is excluded by VSS. To solve this problem:

              Press Win+R, then Run “regedit” to open Registry

              Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToSnapshot

              Delete the key-value OutlookOST

              Restart PC

              For PST file, AOMEI Backupper currently doesn’t support backup. We will improve the problem in later versions.”

              I have also just installed a paid, licensed version of EaseUS Todo Backup 13 and I am testing that. I opted for the paid, licensed version because EaseUS pre-sales tech said only their paid versions will back-up .PST files.

              • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Mr. Austin.
              • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Mr. Austin.
      • #2323044

        I too prefer differential backups instead of incremental backups. I always have one full backup and at least two differential backups on each of my two backup drives. I use two backup drives since I have had a backup drive fail a couple of times over the years.

    • #2320036

      many prefer differential imaging

      The possibility of a bad backup is the same for both types of backup. If you monitor your backups (email notification is easy) you will spot problems early and can fix them before they bite you.

      An unchecked backup can be as bad no backup.

      cheers, Paul

      • #2320137


        I agree with your statement about email notification, which I feel is essential (just saved my bacon yesterday), but still prefer differential backups, as one corrupted backup won’t invalidate the entire chain.


        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2320149

      So much hassle. Make it simple:

      FREE robust backup and restore with exceptional tech support.


      just tested partial full & incremental on win 20H2


      be well, breathe and honor wabi sabi

      • #2320606

        It seems Lazesoft Disk Image & Clone has a trial only, so it’s not free. There is a free Home edition.

        It also appears to require you to boot from CD/USB to backup.

        Can you confirm?

        cheers, Paul

        • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Paul T.
    • #2320727

      Files and folders are included when you image your PC, unless you keep your files on another disk, e.g. D:

      To view the files in the backup, mount the backup files by double clicking on the first file in Explorer.

      cheers, Paul

      Does this mean that Macrium Free Edition does only clone=system image and does not back up individual file or folders?

    • #2322856

      What is the difference between clone and system image?

      Disk image vs Disk Clone

      Disk Imaging: Imaging creates a large compressed file of your drive. You can then restore this file to bring your drive back to life. Because the image file itself is large, they are often saved to external drives or the cloud.

      Disk Cloning: Cloning creates an exact, uncompressed replica of your drive. If a hard drive fails, you can remove it and replace it with the cloned drive. And that brings us full circle: Cloning can get you up and running quickly, but it doesn’t offer as much flexibility as imaging. For this example, taking an image beats cloning.

      With image backup you can add daily/weekly..incremental/deferential updates. Clone is a closed “file”.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Alex5723.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2322874

      Alex, thanks. It looks like System image should be the default option; use cloning only for special circumstances.  Does anyone have experience with restoring Reflect’s system image vs. Windows’ system image?

      • #2323033

        I’ve never had an issue with restoring a Macrium Reflect image and I’ve done it many many times as I like to fiddle with my machines. I’ve never used Windows backup as I found it way too restrictive the first time I used it and never looked back.

        , “File” is a poor choice of words when referring to a Clone. A clone is an exact copy of every bit on a drive to another drive. Clones are ready to run when you plug in the cloned drive. Whereas, an Image does copy every bit of a drive to an image File on a drive. An Image must be RESTORED to a drive to be run.

        HTH 😎

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!


        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

        • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by RetiredGeek.
    • #2322966

      but not back up individual files/folders

      Other free backup apps mentioned at AskWoody will do both image and file/folder backup.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2323037

        IMX Macrium Reflect is both reliable and simple to use, which is why it’s my top choice. But if someone wants to add file/folder backup to the mix, then they’ll either have to buy the full version or look elsewhere.

        Another way to go is to use a different, separate program for file/folder backup. Over the years, many of the external drives I’ve purchased have even arrived from the factory with their own data file backup software preloaded. I typically delete this software to avoid distractions and leave a clean slate for my system images.  🙂


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        • #2323061

          Why not use free Macrium Reflect for System backup and Windows 7 backup for file backup?

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2323172

            Because you have to learn / use 2 things for the same job. You also have to check 2 things for errors, set up 2 lots of notifications, use 2 different disks…
            And a full recovery takes longer.

            cheers, Paul

    • #2323071

      Why not use free Macrium Reflect for System backup and Windows 7 backup for file backup?

      That’s a fully viable strategy. In fact, it’s exactly what I do with my main PC: Macrium Reflect for system images on one external drive, and Windows Backup for file backups on a different external drive.


    • #2323159

      Does anyone know how to stop all the Macrium Services that are running?  All I want it for is to Image or Clone the disk periodically.  Now I have the following running all the time:

      Macrium Service.exe – Macrium Reflect Utility Service

      Reflect Monitor.exe – Macrium Reflect Disk Imaging and Backup

      ReflectUI.exe – Macrium Reflect UI Watcher

      Checked the program and could not see any options to stop these from starting up.


      • #2323161

        Yes, you can go into Services (type “services” in your Start menu search, and click on the result that’s listed simply as “Services”). Then in the Services window that opens up you can find the various Macrium services and set them to either Disabled or Manual. Before disabling them altogether, I would set them to Manual first and then see how that works.

        • #2323174

          Thanks.  Would I have to restart to see if Manual works?  You mentioned to not disable it?  Could that cause a problem?

      • #2323171

        Create a Macrium boot rescue disk, confirm it works and then uninstall Macrium.

        cheers, Paul

        • #2323230

          Paul: You often recommend to confirm a boot disk works. But if one tries that, then how does one return to the default boot from the internal HD?

          • #2323280

            Start your machine from cold and press the BIOS boot option key a lot – often F12, F10 or Del, look it up for your machine.

            You will be offered a once off startup option and can choose the USB (you did plug it in?).

            The next boot will return to normal – whatever that is on your machine.

            cheers, Paul

    • #2323173

      Thanks.  If I have two computers with Windows 7 Pro and one with Windows 10 Pro, do I need three dedicated rescue disks?  How much space do I need for the rescue disk?  Can anything else be stored on it? Can I use a USB or a CD for the rescue disk?

      • #2323188

        You should be able to boot all 3 from one rescue media. Create the media on the W10 machine and test booting the others.

        Recuse media tends to fit on 4GB USB or DVD.
        I prefer USB as it will work on anything, CD or no, and you can create a backup easily, or make a new one with your latest backup software.

        You can store anything you want on the rescue media, but given the cost of 4GB USB sticks, why bother. Stick all the stuff you need on the USB HDD along with your backups.

        cheers, Paul

    • #2323283

      Thanks.  Would I have to restart to see if Manual works?  You mentioned to not disable it?  Could that cause a problem?

      If the Macrium services you don’t want running were set (during the installation of the Macrium software) to start during the bootup process, then you have two choices. If you’re not ready to reboot the PC, you can go back into Services and “Stop” the Macrium services you want. Otherwise, you can set them to Manual and then reboot.

      The concern with disabling a service is that if you’ve disabled a Macrium service, but then you want to create a Macrium system image, you may not be able to because you had disabled a service that Macrium needs in order to make that image, and then you would have to go into Services to re-enable that service. But if you set the service to Manual, then it will start up as needed (instead of running all the time). Try it both ways (disabling/manual) and see which alternative you like better.

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