how the backup data is stored and restored when performing a full partition backup, vs a file/format backup

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rajkosto
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Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2023 3:29 pm

how the backup data is stored and restored when performing a full partition backup, vs a file/format backup

Post by rajkosto » Tue Jun 20, 2023 3:31 pm

Please explain the difference in how the backup data is stored and restored when performing a full partition backup, vs a file/format backup.

I am concerned that if I do a full partition backup, the image will be done sector-by-sector (just skipping free space in the volume bitmap), and because of this, the compression efficiency will be lowered because it won`t be doing it file-by-file, in addition, if the partition has a bloated MFT due to creation of many many small files, it will stay that way, and not be cleaned/compacted, and after the restore process, the fragmentation of the original partition will be restored, necessitating a defrag afterwards.

So that would leave me with having to select the other backup type (select all the files/folders on the partition) because I would absolutely always want after a restore the MFT to be the minimal possible size, not bloated, and all the files to be restored in a sequential order, so no fragmentation present in the original disk. But this leads to concerns about how various attributes of files present on the filesystem are handled. How are symlinks/hardlinks/junctions replicated ? After the restore will they still point to the correct location (the symlinks/junctions pointing to the same volume should now point to this new volume instead of the original) ? A Windows install will also have a lot of hardlinks in the WinSxS folder, will these be properly replicated as hardlinks or will the files be separately backed up and then restored, removing the original deduplication ? What about ACLs and alternate data streams necessary for Windows to boot from the new volume once restored, will th
ose be properly preserved and restored ? Additionally, if some files are sparse, or WoF compressed at the time of the backup, will they remain sparse/WoF compressed after the restore ? If not, it might not be possible to restore an almost-full volume to the same sized destination volume, as the files in total will be too large. Ideally the WoF Alternate Data Stream will be stored decompressed and then recompressed by whatever compression was chosen in the backup software, but during restore the files will be re-compressed using the same WoF algorithm that was used in the first place, this would lead to the smallest backup sizes.

These are some of the advanced details I need to know to be secure in the use of this backup and restore software

Alt
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Re: how the backup data is stored and restored when performing a full partition backup, vs a file/format backup

Post by Alt » Mon Jun 26, 2023 11:36 am

If you want to have an exact copy of the disk, you should use a full partition backup. When you restore your data, you'll get the whole file system, with all its +/-. This is recommended for system or complex database backup.
If you create a file-wise backup, you'll have a bunch of files, possibly with some parts of the original file system.
You choose.

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