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December 4, 2020

When to Rebuild Macrium Rescue Media?

The question that starts off this story turns out to be surprisingly easy to answer (and respond to). The meat of this Q&A gets handled automatically when you do the following on a PC into which you’ve inserted your current version of the Macrium Rescue Media:

+1: Start up Macrium Reflect
+2: Click the “Other Tasks” menu item in the program’s menu bar
+3: Click “Create Rescue Media” (top item) in the resulting pop-up menu

This produces the window shown in the lead-in graphic for this story. Notice that the program automatically finds the Macrium Rescue Media drive if one is inserted. Notice further that the third line of text in the Rescue Media Settings pane at the top of that window reads “A later version of Macrium Reflect is available …” This is your cue that it’s time to rebuild the USB flash (or other) drive that you’ve inserted into the PC. This is supremely easy — as the fourth line of text in the same pane tells you you need only “Click ‘Build’ to update” the rescue media. So that’s what I did.

Working through the update process

It took less than two minutes for the media to get updated, which involves creating an updated WIM file for the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) and rewriting the contents of the Macrium Rescue Media device. Once that process is complete the Rescue Media Settings pane gives the inserted drive an “OK” status as shown here:

Notice the Status line above says “OK.” That’s your cue that the Macrium Rescue Media is up-to-date.

How Often to Check the Macrium Rescue Media (MRM)

Technically, the MRM only needs an update when Macrium says it does. According to this Macrium KB Article reasons for updating the MRM can include (following items are quoted verbatim):

+ A later version of Macrium Reflect is available and needs to be added to the build.
+ A later version of Windows RE is available. A Windows update can cause the installed version of Windows RE to be updated.
+ Any ‘Advanced’ settings that have changed since the rescue media was last built. If you click ‘Show more’ these settings will be highlighted in blue text.
+ A ‘Custom WIM’ file has changed since the last build.
+ The ‘\Boot\Macrium\Drivers’ sub folder contains new or changed driver files.

The lead-in graphic for this story shows that a later version of Macrium Reflect is the cause for the rebuild. Thus, a good answer to “When to rebuild the MRM” is “Whenever a new version of Reflect appears.” That said, I’ve successfully used an old MRM to restore backups made with newer versions of Macrium Reflect. Thus, you don’t need to be OCD about it, but it’s probably a good idea to do this at least once every 3 months or so, just to keep reasonably in synch with current Reflect versions. Looking back to June, 2020, in the Macrium Reflect Patch Details web page, for example, I see 7 releases in the period from June 16 through November 3, 2020 (that’s yesterday, as I write this article).

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

One Response “When to Rebuild Macrium Rescue Media?”

  1. Keith Donald
    November 4, 2020 at 17:08

    Probably wise to do it each time but alternate flash drives so you always have a working version. An update to a new version has been known to break the rescue media, although Paramount always fix any issues PDQ.

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