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Is pagefile.sys excluded in image by default?

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Beginner
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Are any files/folders excluded by default in an image with ATH 2011?
what about pagefile.sys

I don't have hibernation on to i won't worry about that huge file

Are there any other files/folders that i can afford to exclude in an image with the intention of creating a smaller 'full' image?

Why does the exclude files not remain as a default setting for subsequent backups and i find that i have to specify the files to exclude each time i image

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#1

pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys are actually not backed up. In the image, however, there is an empty placeholder of the same size as the original file. Excluding them would therefore not change the backup speed and doesn't change the backup size.

The excluded file settings are defined for each separate task. Are they not saved in the default settings? I am not sure. It wouldn't be a surprise they are not. Other settings that should be included (like validation) are not either... Go figure...

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#2

Just ran a test backup with excluding pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys and ran another backup without excluding them. There is no difference in size of backups with or without excluding except for 10MB which I guess must be because of the placeholders.

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#3

Rajan is right. Excluding the pagefile.sys doesn't change the backup size.

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#4

The place holder is not the size of the pagefile or hibernation file, there would be little point in that jsut as there woudl be little point in acutally backing u the files -- much better to just tell windows how much to allocate -- unless of course, windows is set to allocate space for these files on its own (which is the normal setting).

Acronis relies on Windows recreating the files as needed when it starts up. For this it needs to retain a rudimentary amount of info. So excluding or including won't make a difference, since they are essentialy excluded from the get go regardless of the manual setting.

Beginner
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#5

Thanks

That means they are excluded by default

Regular Poster
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#6
Rajan wrote:

Just ran a test backup with excluding pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys and ran another backup without excluding them. There is no difference in size of backups with or without excluding except for 10MB which I guess must be because of the placeholders.

If this assumption is correct, does this mean that any backups I made with pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys entered-into the Exclusions list are No Good?

Before finding-out that these are already handled by ATI (though there's nothing in the docs about this Acronis!) I'd made one or two of these thinking simply that upon Restore and reboot Windows would re-create them.

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#7

Tomf,

I haven't tested that, but you'll be able to tell by mounting an image and see if the hiberfil or pagefile placeholders are shown. You can of course just explore the image as well.

It still shouldn't matter, as Windows holds the information in registry and when restored will just recreate the files. The only possible gotcha would be if like me you don't have your pagefile on your main partition, then it is possible if Windows doesn't see the partition or drive that has the pagefile it will recreate it on the C:\ partition, but that's easily solved and isn't likely to happen to most people.

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#8

I think you''ll find it doesn't make any diff. Yu can make the exact same backup twice and get slightly diff sizes -- win does stuff in background, log files, blah blah. Not significant. If win boots and there is no page files it will make one. It makes a hiber file when it first tries to hibernate.

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#9
Colin B wrote:

Tomf,

I haven't tested that, but you'll be able to tell by mounting an image and see if the hiberfil or pagefile placeholders are shown. You can of course just explore the image as well.

It still shouldn't matter, as Windows holds the information in registry and when restored will just recreate the files. The only possible gotcha would be if like me you don't have your pagefile on your main partition, then it is possible if Windows doesn't see the partition or drive that has the pagefile it will recreate it on the C:\ partition, but that's easily solved and isn't likely to happen to most people.

Ah, sure, and no I have not moved my pagefile.sys from C:

Good idea to mount the tibs: I see that the one where I specifically excluded these files has no placeholders that I can see; no pagefile.sys or hiberfil.sys at all. Then another one where I'd left at Defaults has these as 7Gb and 5Gb respectively, although clearly they don't take-up anywhere near that space so either they're "placeholders" as you say, or ATI has compressed the bloody heck out of them. My money's on "placeholder".

Thanks Colin and I agree w/you Scott it appears nothing to be concerned about. I'm not going to bother to exclude these in the future and just leave Exclusions alone i.e. default/unchecked.

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#10

I think I was wrong.

In the previous comparison of the backups I did not shut down Windows in hibernate mode. I did a rerun by hibernating Windows with a few applications open and this time the size of the backup image increased by approximately 3 GB which could be combined compressed size of pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys

The data in these two files actually grow in size dynamically but when their size is checked in Windows explorer the full allocated size is displayed. It appears Acronis is saving only the used up space in these two files hence the two files appear to be 'placeholders' but in fact they could be the actual files shrunk by Acronis omitting the unused space.

So the assumption that by default Acronis is excluding pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys could be incorrect.

Check these figures:

Usedup disk space in Windows7 installed partition is about 19 GB which includes 3 GB for hiberfil.sys and 6 GB for pagefile.sys.
Size of backup image without hibernating is about 5.5 GB
Size of backup image after hibernating is about 8.6 GB

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#11

Rajan,

The placeholders to have a size and they do take space. But their content is irrelevant. You can double click on your archive, navigate to one of the file and copy it back to windows in a safe place, you will get a big file!
But according to more expert and experience users, there is no relevant or useful content in case of a restore. In fact, there are some cases where the content of pagefile.sys remains "active" after a complete disk restore: I have seen cases where, after a BSOD and disk restore, Windows still detected there was a BSOD prior to the restore in some cases and notified the user that Windows recovered froma serious error after the full restore...

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#12

I made a backup of my C:\ drive on Monday with pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys specifically Excluded, and that image file size is 12,725,215,744 bytes, having left ATIH2010 at default compression of Normal (quite a nice reduction from the 40Gb used space of the C: partition). Subsequent to that, I added three new Restore Points (to the prior two, where one was actually an Undo) and today I made another image, this time leaving Exclusions alone, and the resultant image, which includes pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys shown in the tib as 7GB and 5GB respectively, is a total of 12,918,950,400 bytes, a difference of less than 200,000,000 bytes. Since the total used of the Restore Points is 1.5Gb, it seems to me the increase in size could be attributable to the Restore Points alone.

I can imagine that for this 8Gb RAM computer, the pagefile was/is basically empty, taking-up no space at all, but the hiberfil.sys, which is presently 6,441,791,488 bytes, would likely have been at least that big when I made the 2nd image file a few hours ago and I can't imagine it having been compressed, along with the new Restore Points, to under 200Mb!?

To my way of thinking it makes zero sense to save either of these anyway, given the PC has got to be cold-booted after a restore. So I don't know why even "placeholders" should be kept.

Someone from Acronis oughta straighten us out!

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#13
Pat L wrote:

Rajan,

The placeholders to have a size and they do take space. But their content is irrelevant. You can double click on your archive, navigate to one of the file and copy it back to windows in a safe place, you will get a big file!
But according to more expert and experience users, there is no relevant or useful content in case of a restore. In fact, there are some cases where the content of pagefile.sys remains "active" after a complete disk restore: I have seen cases where, after a BSOD and disk restore, Windows still detected there was a BSOD prior to the restore in some cases and notified the user that Windows recovered froma serious error after the full restore...

Pat, What you are saying is correct. I restored the backup image of Windows which was hibernated to check if it would resume from hibernation. The restoration was successful but Windows did not resume from hibernation...it restarted as it would normally.

One thing seems to be certain though : by default Acronis does not exclude the pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys, ...and the size of the backup image varies depending on the content in these files. Probably Windows decides to ignore the content after a restoration....and in some situations, like the example you have cited, decide not to ignore.

Regular Poster
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#14

It occurs to me that Acronis would want to backup these file by default, just in case the user wants to restore an image backup to a smaller drive, indeed a "too small" drive. If these files were not included, yet the OS settings expect a pagefile of size X and a hiberfil of size Y, there could be a crash/problems if there were no room to recreate them. So they include these by default and probably ATI will make a fuss if one attempts to restore such an image to a too-small partition.

My testing doesn't confirm yours Rajan where you said those took-up 3Gb--my difference suggests virtually nothing at all for these files.

kda
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#15

So where are we on this? Still in a state of dark confusion? Where is Acronis on this? It'd be nice if they would step in and provide some hard factual information for us.

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#16

KDA,

The pagefile, is not included in the image, a placeholder with it's size noted is.

Beginner
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#17

Hello, I am looking for a solution on how to back up a Windows system volume after the system has been hibernated. So that Acronis will preserve the hibernation data and after Acronis restore, the system will return to it's original hibernated state. And finally, the system would resume from hibernation. Obviously, file hiberfil.sys must be included in the back up. How to force the inclusion? Is there command line options for that? What else is needed to achieve the goal? Is sector-by-sector mode necessary? Is it possible back up only system partition (volume) "C:" if the disk have more than one partition? If there is no way to force Acronis to include hiberfil.sys, would the following scenario work? 1) After hibernation has been done, boot from another computer (or drive) attach the hibernated disk and rename the file hiberfil.sys. 2) Back up with Acronis, it will preserve renamed file data. 3) Restore with Acronis (booting from another drive or machine) 4) Rename file back to hiberfil.sys. 5) Boot the Windows to it's hibernated state/

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#18

rybshik,

The only way i can think you might be able to 'grab' the hyberfil.sys would be to make an image via the Rescue CD, but even then I suspect it automatically ignores the hyberfil file.

I suppose what you might be able to do is to run a script that changes the 'type' bit of hyberfil from a hidden system file to not hidden. Whether TIH is hard coded with the hyberfil.sys name or if it just looks for hidden and system files I don't know. Either way other than a sector by sector image I don't see an easy way of including the file.

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#19

Renaming the file may allow it to be included in the backup. However, TI may make booting modifications that "disconnect" it or Windows may even ignore it after the restore. I haven't ever tried it.

Why would you want to image in a hibernated state? Assuming it did work, waking from a restored hibernated state could be problematic if anything on the system has changed.

Sector-by-sector mode should work, but you'll have much larger backups.

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#20
MudCrab wrote:

Renaming the file may allow it to be included in the backup. However, TI may make booting modifications that "disconnect" it or Windows may even ignore it after the restore.

Can I use a Linux shell integrated with Acronis? What commands /script would be to rename the file?

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#21

I don't think you can do that from the TI CD (it only seems to mount NTFS as read-only). I would recommend using a Windows installation CD/DVD, BartPE/WinPE CD, or a Live Linux CD (like Knoppix or Ubuntu).

Using a Windows Command Prompt, try the following:

attrib -h -s c:\hiberfil.sys
ren c:\hiberfil.sys c:\hibernat.sys

After the restore and before attempting to boot the system, rename it back:

ren c:\hibernat.sys c:\hiberfil.sys
attrib +h +s c:\hiberfil.sys

I used C: for the drive in the commands. Make sure to use the drive letter assigned to the partition.

In Linux, I would try browsing to it using the file explorer. You should be able to rename it.

Beginner
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#22

MudCrab,
I renamed hiberfil.sys before backing up and then renamed backed after restore. No luck. Now I am thinking of overwriting a hiberfil.sys with a "right" one. Will Windows 'copy' command wright a new file over old one in the same disk location (if the files have the same size)?