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Backup of Mint Linux is absurdly huge

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Fresh install of Mint Linux on an erased hard drive, with only a few things added, total space used was just under 13 GB. Booted the True Image CD and made a backup using defaults, NOT sector by sector. Seemed to take a very long time and when finished, looked at the destination drive - backup was 235 GB. Linux Mint 32 bit (ext4), on a tested 500 GB drive. Tried omitting the swap partition - made no difference. Why so huge ?

 

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Forum Hero
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I have not used Acronis to backup Linux, but it does not appear to be a supported OS:

https://kb.acronis.com/content/48302

http://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/documentation/ATI2016/#22603.html (Linux is not listed)

http://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/documentation/ATI2016/#9480.html

Legend
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Fred, when I have made images of Linux partitions on my systems in the past they have always defaulted to sector by sector because ATIH didn't seem to recognise the non Windows partition / file system used in Linux, i.e. EXT3 etc.  

Having said the above, on the sales page for ATIH 2016, it states: 

Supported file systems

  • NTFS
  • FAT32
  • Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 *
  • ReiserFS *
  • Linux SWAP *

* The Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, ReiserFS, and Linux SWAP file systems are supported only for disk or partition backup/recovery operations

I will have a go creating a backup image for my Ubuntu system and feedback the results using ATIH 2016 boot media, as I haven't done this in a long time and may have been using ATIH 2013 or earlier when I last did this.

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Hello Fred, I created a new ATIH 2016 standard / linux rescue DVD and booted my Ubuntu system from it.

On the backup screen it showed the size of my drive at 8.4GB used out of 35GB for a 40GB physical drive, and I selected to image the whole drive, including the Swap partition, to my external USB 1TB drive.

The resulting image file shows at 15.3GB in size, almost double the size of the partition as calculated by ATIH 2016 bootable media in the program GUI..!  Disk Usage Analyser in Ubuntu says the actual used size is 8.2GB so there is definitely an issue here with using ATIH to image Linux file systems.

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Frequent Poster
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Hello All,

It is a known issue with backups of Ext4-formatted partitions, however there are no estimations when this might be fixed. I have put +1 for this problem in our issues tracking system.

Thank you for the feedback.

Regards,

Slava

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At one time TI was imaging EXT4 partitions correctly. I am running the latest build of TI2016 on two machines that are (Win10)dual boot linux..the backups are approx 8-10 times larger than TI's estimate(not sector to sector). The last post on this I am aware of was April 2016 and no fix yet. Does anybody know the status of a solution?

I have reinstalled per supports advise..no change. I have fallen back to the previous build..no change.

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Only Acronis can answer for us - have you tried technical support to check with them directly - link below in my post to start chat or use the support option available at the top, right of every forum page. 

If your backups are 10 times bigger than expected, they are most likely defaulting to sector-by-sector, even if you're not picking it.  If it can't read the drive (a dirty/bad sector, or possibly unsupported volume), it will automatically revert to sector by sector to try and get through it.  Keep in mind compression is also used so if the backup are 8-10 times larger than expected but somewhere in teh ball park of up to 30% smaller than the entire size of the drive, it probably is a sector by sector backup.  There's really no way to know the exact result of compression though as part of it can be based off of the files being backed up (most video and photo files are already compressed so will not be reduced in size with compression) and if you have exclusions as well (if you're backing up offline, nothing is excluded unless you choose to add exclusions... but if backing up online from within Windows, things like page file, hibernation files, recycle bin, temp directories/files, system volume (snapshots, restore points), and other files can be excluded in the backup and also make for a difference.. although none should apply when a sector by sector backup is being performed. 

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Dale, I did a further test this afternoon using the ATIH 2017 Linux bootable Rescue Media with my Ubuntu computer which has an EXT4 main partition, this was created successfully though was larger in size than that actually shown in GParted by around 4GB - i.e. Gparted showed just over 12GB of data, the Acronis backup image file was 16GB, however in the Acronis log for this backup there is a clue:

log build=5554;  product=Acronis True Image;  task_name=My Disk Drives Backup;  
uuid=8AEE4980-E9BE-E9FB-87EE-830BA6633A85;  version=20.0
Start= 16/01/2017 13:14:23
event code=0;  module=100;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:14:23
event code=1008;  module=11;  message=Create Backup Archive From: Disk 1 To file: E:\Backup\Dell Ubuntu\MyBackup.tib Compression: Normal  
event code=504;  module=1;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:14:23
event code=46;  message=Forced sector-by-sector mode.;  module=7;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:15:21
event code=22;  message=Block bitmap corrupted;  module=7;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:15:21
event code=0;  module=100;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:15:22
event code=504;  module=1;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:32:41
event code=504;  module=1;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:32:41
event code=0;  module=100;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:32:41
event code=252;  module=100;  date/time=16/01/2017 13:32:41
Start= 16/01/2017 13:14:23
Finish= 16/01/2017 13:32:41
Total Time= 00:18:18

Strangely (or perhaps not), Ubuntu does not find any issues with the file system when booting and running FSCHK etc, so it looks like even ATIH 2017 is still not playing nicely with EXT4 partitions, as indicated by Slava in post #4 above.

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Steve thanks for the info. Sometime prior to Build 6581 on TI2016 the Linux backups were working fine. I've attached two files showing the tib's and the source setup in Acronis. I did fallback to build 6571 hoping that would work..it didn't. I talked to online support twice. The first guy had me re-install and that did not work. The second guy wanted to know how I created the ext4 partitions and advised me TI2016 did not support linux partition backups. I told him he needed to do some home work and keep the ticket open.

So what I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around is, if Acronis knows there is this issue why don't they(Support) fess up and acknowledge the problem and give a potential fix date. To continue to release new builds and even versions with the same problems doesn't sit very good with me.

There are other products out there that accomplish the task, but I don't like using two programs when one should do the job.

Both the PC's I am using are Win 10 with dual boot Linux.

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Legend
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Dale, thank you for the further information and screen images.

I have to confess to being a little puzzled by your original post statement: 'the backups are approx 8-10 times larger than TI's estimate' after looking at the sizes of your linux backup image files and the sizes of your EXT4 partitions?

The acronis.png shows a total used data size of 6.7GB for the selected EXT 4 and Swap partitions.

The capture png shows a full backup image .TIB file size of approximately 3GB, so good compression is being achieved here.  The incremental backup images are only showing an average of 0.5GB for the changes to the Linux partitions since the full was created, then between incrementals, which would suggest that the Linux Mint system is only lightly used and changes may be just down to updates being installed plus any user data?

Slava, from Acronis, has already admitted in post #4 that this is a know issue for EXT4 partitions so it is recognised but is obviously being treated as a low priority issue as this product is primarily addressed at a Windows user base, with a separate product for MAC users, so the provision of support for Linux partitions is not the main core function of the product but included as a bonus function in recognition that there are users like yourself with dual-boot systems.   My own Ubuntu computer system is not dual boot as it is running on a piece of very old Dell iron that otherwise would be sent to be recycled!  Thus I made my backup using the Acronis Rescue Media booted from USB stick.

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Steve sorry I should have clarified..those backups(screen images) were prior to upleveling to Build 6581. Yes everything was working great, however now I'm getting huge sizes(probably forced sector to sector).

I agree with your statement"obviously being treated as a low priority" but if they advertise TI supports ext4..well then it should. I specifically purchased TI because of the linux support as I'm sure other users have also. They certainly have the option of stating its a Windows\Mac only product.

Thanks for the feedback

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Dale, out of interest, try doing a backup using the ATIH 2016 Rescue Media and see if that makes a difference to the backup sizes versus doing the backup from within Windows.

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Steve, using the rescue media TI created the backup in approx 3 minutes and 6 gb in size. The log showed forced sector by sector for all partitions due to Block Bitmap corruption.

I have run FSCHK on all partitions no errors.

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Dale, how does 6GB compare to the size of the backup created in Windows?

Beginner
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Steve, the backups I tried on both of my PC's 15 gbs and growing and estimated to take 20+ minutes before I canceled them.

Legend
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Dale, then I would suggest that you raise your own Support Case for this situation and provide them with the details of the differences in performance for doing the same backup task when using the Rescue Media versus in Windows.

The only real explanation I can suggest is that the Rescue Media is booting a Linux Kernel which has greater compatibility with the EXT4 partitions compared with running from Windows.

If you can save log files for both backups (Linux & Windows) then this would also show the timing, plus you can show the differences in file sizes with some screen shots.

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Steve, OK and thanks again for participating. I will wait a couple of weeks and see if they respond to my open ticket.

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Dale Engel wrote:

Steve sorry I should have clarified..those backups(screen images) were prior to upleveling to Build 6581. Yes everything was working great, however now I'm getting huge sizes(probably forced sector to sector).

I agree with your statement"obviously being treated as a low priority" but if they advertise TI supports ext4..well then it should. I specifically purchased TI because of the linux support as I'm sure other users have also. They certainly have the option of stating its a Windows\Mac only product.

Thanks for the feedback

Not to poo-poo on things here, but the product does say for Windows or Macintosh when you choose which one to purchase.  The supported OSes are right on the customer purchase page:  http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/computer-backup/

Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, & Facebook

The KB articles also clearly state which OS are supported and Linux/Unix are nowhere to be found there either...

https://kb.acronis.com/content/56517

Acronis True Image 2016 supports these operating systems:

  • Windows 10 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 7 SP1 (all editions)
  • Windows XP SP3 (32-bit) with limitations*
  • Windows Home Server 2011
  • OS X El Capitan 10.11
  • OS X Yosemite 10.10
  • OS X Mavericks 10.9

There is also no product documenation for anything other than Windows or OS X:

All Product Documentation

If it did state Linux was supported anywhere, regardless of the parition type, I'd be inclined to agree, but I've never seen one shred of documentation stating support or compatibility for anything other than Windows or OS X and there are no Linux/Unix installers on any product or support pages to download.  

And last, exFAT is not specifically mentioned either, but can be implied by the EXT2, EXT3, EXT 4 annotations. Even then though, there is a an * on those and LinuxSwap, it also says  only disk/partition backups can be completed for those and... "If a file system is not supported or is corrupted, Acronis True Image can copy data using a sector-by-sector approach."

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When True image advertising says they suppor EXT4, that implies there is support for backing up EXT4 partitions.

See http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/computer-backup/

Granted, it doesn

It support Linux but, clearly, it should be able to back up EXT4 from bootable media without resorting the sector-by-sector backup.  Sector-by-sector backup is NOT "support"

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I see excatly the same problem.

I have about 2 GB of data on a 120GB SSD.

I have a picture (not a screen shot) of my screen when using TI 2017.

 

It says

  "Forced sector-by-sector mode"

  "Block bitmap corrupted."

 

I also did:

~$ sudo fsck -f /dev/sdb1

fsck from util-linux 2.27.1

e2fsck 1.42.13 (17-May-2015)

Pass 1: Checking inodes, blocks, and sizes

Pass 2: Checking directory structure

Pass 3: Checking directory connectivity

Pass 4: Checking reference counts

Pass 5: Checking group summary information

ext4_SSD_120GB: 2037/7331840 files (0.4% non-contiguous), 582083/29304576 blocks

 

Dale, any progress on hearing from Acronis on this?

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Dale,

I'm having the same problem you are.  Have you heard anything from Acronis?

 

Ralph

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Ralph, see post #4 in this topic thread from Slava which was the last real update on this EXT4 question.  I would suggest that you should send off a PM to Slava if you want a more upto date statement.

Note: If you use the Linux version of the Acronis bootable Rescue Media to perform the backup then you should not see the error messages as the task is then running in a Linux environment, which is how I have done this for my dedicated Ubuntu desktop system.

Beginner
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Ralph, Acronis is aware of this issue, however it just doesn't seem to be a priority for them to fix it. They continue to release new builds and new versions and carry the problem forward.

The only answers you will get from chat support are 1. Reinstall TI, 2. Your ext4 partition is corrurpt 3. TI doesn't support Linux backups.

You can submitt a Support Ticket and it may raise awareness. I personally would not recommend going thru their Chat Support avenue for this issue as you will be very frustrated and just hear what I  did(mentioned above).

I believe their position is, as long as TI backs up the EXT4 partition sector to sector...what's the problem it works as spelled out in our documentation.

I did shrink my EXT4 partitions down to minimum size as a work around to save time, but I really don't have any good news. 

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I have to agree about any support priority here since Linux is not a supported OS. I don't see them in the wrong either because of that.  Wanting or expecting it to do more doesn't change the behavior of the programs capabilities.  It's spelled out what is and isn't supported and that sector by sector may be used for ext formatted drives if need be.

Have you tried formatting a different disk with a new ext partition and adding a little test data to see if the behavior is on both drives? Perhaps there is something on that particular disk that's causing sector by sector and the disk check is unable to repair it, just mark it. 

if that's not sufficient, why not use a specifically Linux supported backup program like Gnome or Clonezilla, and see if they work for your situation better?

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I am having the same issue as described in this thread with a message="Block bitmap corrupted" error in the log file in ATI 2017 along with a message saying "The backup is corrupted, but you can still try to recover data from it." This was on a dual boot Win10 + Ubuntu computer. Here is my complete post in another thread - https://forum.acronis.com/forum/128982.

I have been an ATI user since 2009. The only reason I purchased the 2017 version was so I could create disk imges using the recovery cd on this dual boot laptop. I did so after reading the information below on: http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/computer-backup/ where it states:

ATI 2017 supported file systems for disk or partition backup/recovery operations:
NTFS
FAT32
Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 *
ReiserFS *
Linux SWAP *
HFS+ **

* The Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, ReiserFS, and Linux SWAP file systems are supported only for disk or partition backup/recovery operations
** Supported only on Mac

Now I learn that this has been a known issue for over a year. I am extremely unhappy to see that ATI continues to make false claims for this product knowing that this issue still exists. Shame on you ATI. How long are we going to have to wait until this product works as advertised?

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Brad, I read your other post and didnt' see until now that you're using the recover media to take the backup.  Where are you seeing the validation error in your post - from Windows?  I suspect Windows can't validate the Linux partitions on the backup.  

Ultimately, if you have another drive to restore the image to and can swap them out, that's going to tell you whether or not your backup is truly good or not. This would alleviate the need to rebuild your system as well since you would not be recovering over the original data and could revert back to it should the recovery not go well. 

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Bobbo_3C0X1 wrote:

Brad, I read your other post and didnt' see until now that you're using the recover media to take the backup.  Where are you seeing the validation error in your post - from Windows?  I suspect Windows can't validate the Linux partitions on the backup.  

Ultimately, if you have another drive to restore the image to and can swap them out, that's going to tell you whether or not your backup is truly good or not. This would alleviate the need to rebuild your system as well since you would not be recovering over the original data and could revert back to it should the recovery not go well. 

Hi Bobbo_3C0X1, The error was displayed after the verify pass completed. It also appeared  in the log file along with "Block bitmap corrupted" module="7". I will try to restore the backup to another drive to see if the backup can be restored at all and will report the results back to this thread.

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My original Windows 10/Ubuntu 16.04 dual boot backup did successfully restore in spite of the log errors reported above. To avoid double posting, the complete details can be seen at https://forum.acronis.com/forum/128982#comment-406840.

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Thanks for the feedback Brad, glad to hear the restore was good.

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I had a similar issue. I have two laptops, which both are dual-boot including Windows 10 and (a) Ubuntu / (b) Debian. While Acronis True Image Home 2012 was perfectly able to produce an image backup of my laptop with Windows 10 and Ubuntu (without sector-by-sector!), this was not the case with my similar other notebook containing Windows 10 and Debian. First I thought this was due to Debian. I therefore replaced Debian with Ubuntu. But still I received the message, that the ext4 partition would contain errors. But according to fsck this was not the case. Fiddling around with this for hours I finally found out that not every ext4 partition is the same: When making an ext4 file system, there are certain options to be defined. It seems that depending on these options Acronis will or will not be able to make an image backup of ext4 without the need for its sector-by-sector procedure. I found that the following command works when making an ext4 file system:

sudo mkfs.ext4 -b 4096 -E lazy_itable_init=0 -I 256 -i 16384 -O filetype,large_file,sparse_super,uninit_bg,^64bit,^metadata_csum /dev/sdb6

Obviously you'll have to replace the "/dev/sdb6" part with the partition name you want to format.

Certain other options may also work but I have only tried the above and had success with it.