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Macrium Reflect has a backup-verify step in its backup process that will help in testing for these kinds of problems.

My question is how does one verify that a Macrium backup is reliable and will work when needed? Details below. I've had an unfortunate experience with the free version of Macrium backup and I'm wondering what I did wrong. Using Macrium, I made a disk image backup of a Windows XP installation on a DVD disc.

To test the backup, I booted my computer with a Bart PE boot disc and clicked Programs, Macrium Restore. I inserted the backup disc in my DVD drive and received a message that Windows was unable to read the backup disc. I took the backup disc to my second computer also running Windows XP, inserted it in the DVD drive, and Windows was able to read and explore the backup disc.

Not knowing what else to do, I made a disc copy of the backup DVD disc using Ashampoo version 6, free edition. I took the copy of the backup disc to my first computer and Macrium and Windows accepted the disc. Macrium started the restore process. When the restore was 62% complete, Macrium posted an error message saying that the backup data was corrupt.

After that, my computer would not boot so I lost my Windows installation. How do I verify that a Macrium backup is reliable; that it will work? Also, why would Windows not be able to read a backup disc made by Macrium on the machine that it backed up, but a second computer running the same version of Windows had no problem reading it?

In this excerpt from Answercast #22, I look at a situation where a backup disc is not proving to be reliable in a backup situation. There are two important steps to take in a case like this.

My backup fails to restore

This was a lengthy question, but I wanted to read the whole thing because there are a couple of very interesting things going on here.

There are two things that I want you to look at:

1) I believe your DVD writer is unreliable.

By that I mean, that the disc that it's creating is not very good. It obviously has problems.

DVD/CD hardware

It's interesting that DVD writers and CD writers, in general, can often be just slightly off. A DVD written by one machine may or may not be able to be read, not only by that one machine, but by another machine as you've seen here.

Fundamentally, the problem is with (I believe) your DVD writer; your DVD player. I would suggest that you get that either cleaned, tested, or repaired.

Verifying a backup

Now, the real question is how can you verify that the backup is reliable?

2) One of the options that Macrium backup includes is the ability to verify the backup immediately after it's created.

What that does is it causes Macrium to go through a process of creating the entire backup. Then, once it's done, it will immediately start reading the backup and comparing it to what it thinks it should have backed up.

If it runs into a problem, it will tell you. The backup will "fail." That's important. That tests for exactly the kind of scenario that you're running here: where the backup media has a problem: that read-verify of the backup is going to fail.

  • I'm going to suggest that you do that in the future.

I'm guessing your backups are going to fail for a while until you get that DVD writer, DVD player, looked at; or as I said, potentially replaced.

Article C5403 - May 30, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
June 2, 2012 10:01 AM

One other thing that might need mentioning(mind you I don't use this particular backup software so I don't know 100% if this is a viable option).

Check the burning speed you are using to burn the back up disk. (if applicable).

I have found, many times the slower the burning speed the less "errors"(or "coasters") occur.

Why this is the case ... I still haven't figured out... even though most drives can read and write at quite high speeds it doesnt seem to make sense .. but for some reason it DOES seem to alleviate quite a few problems.

Just something to consider. :)

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