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How do I test my backups to DVD?

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.

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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.

Next from Answercast 22- Will a dual core processor run single-threaded programs?

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1 thought on “How do I test my backups to DVD?”

  1. 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. 🙂

    Reply

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