Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

This is really behaving like a confusion between the terms "RAM" and "disk space." It's rare for lack of RAM to cause backup failures.

When I backup using Reflex, it slowly eats all of the available RAM. I have 8 GB and I backup 30 GB, I have to allow Reflex most of the 6 plus GB free to perform. Backing up my music collection is 120 GB and Reflex stops when resources, RAM, run out. I must be missing a simple setting. Help and advice would most certainly be appreciated.

In this excerpt from Answercast #66, I look at a case where an initiated backup is failing and it's unclear if memory or disk space is the cause.

Backup programs

First, I have to very clear on exactly what backup program you're using. I'm not aware of a program called "Reflex." That's what you've written here and that's not a program that I'm aware of.

If you are using Macrium Reflect, "REFLECT," then I will say that what you're experiencing is nothing like I've ever seen. I've never run into a problem where the amount of RAM affects your ability to backup in any way, shape or form.

I've had backups running in the background while I've been doing things on the machine and barely, barely noticed any impact. So I'm really not sure exactly what could be going on here.

RAM vs. disk space

The only concern I have is: I realize that you're using term RAM - and I'm assuming you understand the difference between "RAM" and "disk space."

This is really, really behaving like a confusion between the two terms. RAM of course, is the memory in your computer, and as you point out, you have 8 GB of RAM.

That should be completely unrelated to backing up!

Available backup disk space

Backing up goes to your disk and it's the amount of available disk space on the destination drive (in other words, on the drive to which you are backing up) that will actually control, or potentially limit, whether or not you're able to back something up.

If you've got 120 Gigs of backup and there's only 20 Gigs free on that backup drive - then it's not going to fit.

That really sounds like what's happening here except that's not of course what you're saying, that's not what you're describing.

Cause of backup failure?

So, I'm actually very confused as to exactly what's going on here.

  • I'm confused as to which backup program you're using.

  • I would actually have you triple check the setting that you're using when you backup, to make sure you are backing up to the location you think you are - and that location has enough space to actually hold the backup's projected size.

That's the only thing that I can think of that kind-of sort-of fits with the description you've given me; with the exception of course, that this nothing to do with the amount of available "RAM" in your system.

Article C5980 - October 31, 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.

Not what you needed?

3 Comments
Stephen Roberts
November 1, 2012 10:44 AM

It was Reflect and I appreciate your answer.
1. I have checked and I was backing up to the right disc and it has 1GB free. Not the problem.
2. I have run Process Explorer while backing up, in a separate window, and have watched the RAM used rise as the backup runs. The backup has then closed for lack of resources when the available RAM runs out.
Hence I thought there was a a RAM related problem.
I will raise this with Reflect.
Thanks again for your help.
Stephen Roberts

duane
November 2, 2012 12:33 PM

Is it possible the backup is going to a "ram disk" that was set up for a different purpose?

John
November 6, 2012 10:05 AM

@Stephen
You said that your music files took up 120G. You also commented that your destination disk has only 1G free. Could this be why Reflect is forced to try to use your RAM instead?

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