When browsing Macrium Reflect images and backups in Windows Explorer you may notice that the contents of the Image have the current date displayed even though the image has been taken some time ago. This behaviour is caused by Windows Reparse Points.
Reparse points are a feature of the NTFS file system that provides an ability to create a link to directories which function as an alias of that specific directory. They can be otherwise known as 'Junction points'; these folders 'point' to a different folder or a different drive.
To find out more about Windows Reparse/Junction points please follow this link to the official Microsoft website.
Windows Vista/ Windows 7/ Windows 8 and Windows 10 creates system reparse points such as 'C:\Documents and Settings' that actually points to 'C:\Users'.
As you can see the above folders have the same contents even though the paths to them are different.
For a further list of Windows Reparse/Junction points please follow this link to a Microsoft website.
This guide below will show you how reparse points work in your Image backups.
- Navigate to Reflect > Restore > Browse Image
- Notice the Backup Date and click OK.
- The backup will be mounted to a selected letter and you will be presented with the root of the drive.
- Opening the Users folder and navigating to any of the following directories will lead you deeper into the drive Image.
As you can see that the dates of the files when following down the directory tree are all before the date that the image was created.
- Opening the Documents and Settings folder and navigating down the same path brings us to a different set of files with dates that happened after the image was taken.
It may seem like this folder is located in your backup, but it isn't. The Documents and Settings folder as explained above leads out of the backup into your PCs hard disk as it is hard linked with the 'C:\Users' folder.