In Disaster Recovery mode GTL worked fine on the XP machine but on the Windows 7 it never seemed to complete. It would seemingly archive everything, then find another 3,000 items. It processed these though not apparently archiving them, then find another 3,000, and so one. And so it never completed.
When I had a look I tried various things but couldn't see what was failing. It did look as if the 3,000 chunks of files were mostly, if not all, in the C:\Windows\Winsxs folder. I changed the backup type to non-DR and that worked fine.
I logged a ticket and went through various diagnostic sessions - difficult as I could only get the laptop occasionally. Eventually a remote access session was set up for Wednesday this week for Genie to investigate. After about 90 minutes the tech.support person was able to find out that GTL was getting an error when it tried to create a folder on the external drive and asked me to CHKDSK it and possibly to reformat it.
I then tried to manually create a folder on the drive and I too got an error. Googling this error I found this link http://help.lockergnome.com/windows2/file-folder-lim... which includes
So, given the number of files and folders in C:\Windows\Winsxs and the length of the folder and file names, FAT-32 would almost certainly have a problem holding this folder which, on the Win 7 PC, has in excess of 15,000 folders and a total of over 60,000 files. This I suggest was probably the root cause of the problem. Winsxs seems to be new in Vista and Windows 7, XP doesn’t have the folder so doesn't get the problem.In reference to help.lockergnome.com/windows2/file-folder-limits--ftopict450749.html:A FAT32 directory can have 65,536 directory entries. Each file and subdirectory takes from two to thirteen entries, depending on the length of its name, so those entries can disappear long before you think you've used them all up. Your total of 22,657 files could very easily use 65,000 entries.
I tried to Convert the drive to NTFS, it failed after 15 minutes or so saying it was dirty. I tried CHKDSK /F which reported no errors. I copied the data from it (3 hours or more) and then tried reformatting it, it failed after several hours with no explanation. After trying a few other things I went into Disk Management from My Computer / Manage. Did Delete Volume, then New Volume (or similar), then Format NTFS. That worked!
Copied the data back on - another 3+ hours. Run up Timeline and this time it successfully completely ran a Disaster Recovery Timeline session. Hooray!
So the original problem was caused by the drive being formated in FAT-32 format, as many portable drives still seem to be, and GTL not fully recognising the situation and aborting or blacklisting or whatever the Winsxs folder.
Thinking further about the inability to NTFS convert or format I suspect the drive had a hidden partition which I understand can cause that sort of problem.
As often the case in hindsight it's obvious what the problem was. Nevertheless I feel it worth passing this on as others may have an analogous problem with very large folders, especially Vista or Windows 7, and FAT-32 drives.