testing Macrium Reflect image restore completely

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  1. Posts : 22
    Windows 10 Pro 20H2 19042.804
       #1

    testing Macrium Reflect image restore completely


    I am evaluating Macrium Reflect Free Edition Version 7.2 Build 4473 on Windows 10 Home version 1903 build 18362.388, desktop PC. I've been successfully creating full and differential images the last few days and I'd like to try to test an image restore as if my main drive failed unbootable. I have created a Macrium Reflect Rescue USB stick and am able to boot via USB and access the MR images on their external USB HDD. I have an extra internal HDD (with sufficient capacity) I haven't been using, from a previous computer. I can power my desktop PC and see both the main HDD and the extra internal HDD at the same time without any problem.

    So, for my testing, I'd simply pretend the extra internal HDD would be my replacement. I'd like to avoid any common pitfalls or leverage some best practices, as I'm leery I'll attempt this test and I won't be able to boot back to using my main HDD. My initial thought was to power down, disconnect main HDD, connect extra internal HDD, boot via Rescue USB, restore image to extra internal HDD, reboot to "replacement" internal HDD and verify successful login to Windows and some general sanity checking. Then power down, disconnect extra internal HDD, reconnect main HDD, power up and boot back to my previous main HDD, business as usual.

    No worries with boot records getting messed up? Windows 10 Home (digital license linked to Microsoft account) won't complain about the changing HDD hardware? BIOS/UEFI will happily boot whatever internal HDD is connected without changes?

    Thanks, I appreciate any suggestions and comments.
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 44
    Win 10 Pro 64b 21H2 19044.1706
       #2

    I have done this with Macrium a number of times. Both on Win7 64 Pro and Win10 64b Pro.

    When I moved my Win7 from a spinning 1TB disk to an SSD 1TB disk I just inititalized the new SSD from my last saved Macrium image (I keep Macrium saved images both on a separate internal disk AND a separate external file server).

    Microsoft OS won't care about changing the disk hardware type (assuming both are SATA disks, and you are not moving from an old PATA IDE disk to SATA).

    I have also restored my system from a backup image several times when a Windows update went horribly wrong for some unknown reason . Macrium saved my butt!
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 24,461
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #3

    grusmarco said:
    I am evaluating Macrium Reflect Free Edition Version 7.2 Build 4473 on Windows 10 Home version 1903 build 18362.388, desktop PC. I've been successfully creating full and differential images the last few days and I'd like to try to test an image restore as if my main drive failed unbootable....
    Welcome to TenForums grusmarco

    I commend your decision to test a full restore, many are not so thoroughly prepared. Yes, I would disconnect your main HDD and test a restore to your 'replacement' as the only installed drive.

    But first it is worth checking that your second drive plays no part in booting your system. Sometimes systems with two internal drives can end up with some of the necessary boot partitions on their second drive (particularly if they have been through several Feature Updates). Disconnect the second drive and make sure that the system still boots normally. Then when you are sure that the first drive is your complete Windows system, you can remove it and replace it with your second drive.

    No worries with boot records getting messed up? Windows 10 Home (digital license linked to Microsoft account) won't complain about the changing HDD hardware? BIOS/UEFI will happily boot whatever internal HDD is connected without changes?
    Your digital license is linked to the unique hardware ID of the PC, it is this that is checked by the activation servers to allow the continuing activation of your system. Microsoft have stated that the HDD plays no part in this hardware ID, so you are free to change it for something else without loosing activation, or even replace an HDD with an SSD (something I have done when an HDD started to fail on me).

    The only advantage of linking it to your MS account is to aid activation troubleshooting after changing other hardware, such as the motherboard. But the activation troubleshooter is a Pro feature, not included in your Home.

    Your BCD boot records are on the same HDD as your original system, with that safely removed from the PC they will be unaffected by the restore to the other drive. If you have problems booting the restored drive (unlikely) then the Macrium recovery usb has a 'Fix Windows boot problems' tool. This will rewrite the BCD entries, but as this is on your second drive it will have no effect when you return the original HDD.

    When you are done testing, I would wipe the second drive before replacing the original. You can do this with the DISKPART command CLEAN from a command prompt. You can get a command prompt while booted from the Macrium restore media, so you could do this before replacing the original drive.
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 22
    Windows 10 Pro 20H2 19042.804
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Bree said:
    But first it is worth checking that your second drive plays no part in booting your system. Sometimes systems with two internal drives can end up with some of the necessary boot partitions on their second drive (particularly if they have been through several Feature Updates). Disconnect the second drive and make sure that the system still boots normally. Then when you are sure that the first drive is your complete Windows system, you can remove it and replace it with your second drive.
    Thanks for the suggestion, Bree, I'm good to go here. My normal mode of operation is running with the extra internal HDD disconnected. In the past, out of curiosity, I've connected it and verified I can access it.

    Your digital license is linked to the unique hardware ID of the PC, it is this that is checked by the activation servers to allow the continuing activation of your system. Microsoft have stated that the HDD plays no part in this hardware ID, so you are free to change it for something else without loosing activation, or even replace an HDD with an SSD (something I have done when an HDD started to fail on me).
    Good to know. Makes sense it would have this flexibility with hardware that's more likely to change.

    The only advantage of linking it to your MS account is to aid activation troubleshooting after changing other hardware, such as the motherboard. But the activation troubleshooter is a Pro feature, not included in your Home.
    Hmmm, more potential reasons to upgrade to Pro, there are other features tempting me to make the switch.

    Your BCD boot records are on the same HDD as your original system, with that safely removed from the PC they will be unaffected by the restore to the other drive. If you have problems booting the restored drive (unlikely) then the Macrium recovery usb has a 'Fix Windows boot problems' tool. This will rewrite the BCD entries, but as this is on your second drive it will have no effect when you return the original HDD.
    This is comforting and makes sense.

    When you are done testing, I would wipe the second drive before replacing the original. You can do this with the DISKPART command CLEAN from a command prompt. You can get a command prompt while booted from the Macrium restore media, so you could do this before replacing the original drive.
    What's the primary concern? Having two bootable HDD's connected at once, possibly booting to the unintended HDD unknowingly?

    Thanks!
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 24,461
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #5

    grusmarco said:
    Hmmm, more potential reasons to upgrade to Pro, there are other features tempting me to make the switch.
    The biggest temptation for me was Hyper-V virtual machines, and that would offer another way to test your Macrium images. With viBoot included in Macrium Reflect Free you can boot a Macrium image as a virtual machine

    Macrium viBoot - Create Virtual Machine using Macrium Image


    What's the primary concern? Having two bootable HDD's connected at once, possibly booting to the unintended HDD unknowingly?
    I would just like to eliminate any possible confusion as to which system was booting by removing the test restore before returning the original drive.
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 44
    Win 10 Pro 64b 21H2 19044.1706
       #6

    I have two separate bootable disks in a PC. One is Win 10, the other is Linux. They don't know about each other.

    I can set the boot priority order in BIOS to favor booting one disk before the other on a powerup with no user intervention.

    Or during power up I can hit <F12> (on my PC) to go to the BIOS boot manager and boot either disk as I require.

    Once booted, my Win 10 configuration and Linux configuration are set to do nothing with the other software's disk.
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 22
    Windows 10 Pro 20H2 19042.804
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Bree said:
    The biggest temptation for me was Hyper-V virtual machines, and that would offer another way to test your Macrium images. With viBoot included in Macrium Reflect Free you can boot a Macrium image as a virtual machine
    Ugh, yes indeed, virtual machines is one of the features I'd like to get my hands on.

    AK6DN said:
    I have two separate bootable disks in a PC. One is Win 10, the other is Linux. They don't know about each other.

    I can set the boot priority order in BIOS to favor booting one disk before the other on a powerup with no user intervention.

    Or during power up I can hit <F12> (on my PC) to go to the BIOS boot manager and boot either disk as I require.

    Once booted, my Win 10 configuration and Linux configuration are set to do nothing with the other software's disk.
    I have somewhat considered using my extra internal drive for dual boot, but so far I haven't come up with a compelling reason in my daily usage.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 24,461
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #8

    grusmarco said:
    Ugh, yes indeed, virtual machines is one of the features I'd like to get my hands on.

    In Home you could always use VMWare, and Macrium's viBoot may one day be extended to work with it, apparently...

    When creating a new virtual machine Macrium viBoot will now create a Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (.VHDX) file.... It ... allows us to offer additional functionality in the future, such as compatibility with other virtualisation environments including VMWare and VirtualBox.
    New in Macrium Reflect 7.1 - KnowledgeBase v7.2 - Macrium Reflect Knowledgebase


    In the mean time, you could create Macrium rescue media as an ISO, boot a VMWare VM from it and use it to restore a Macrium image to the VM.
      My Computers


  9. Posts : 7,084
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
       #9

    Every time I've had to recover from a Reflect backup it has worked fine. I have high confidence in the software so I just mount the backup image from time to time to check all is OK. viBoot can be used for a more thorough check.
      My Computers


  10. Posts : 24,461
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #10

    Steve C said:
    Every time I've had to recover from a Reflect backup it has worked fine.....

    I routinely do lots of restores, typically three or four a month. See my test machine, System Two in My Computers below.


    But @grusmarco should be commended for going the extra mile and testing it. If nothing else, it is valuable experience should a restore need to be done for real.
      My Computers


 

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