Defragging and Rollback Rx

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by bgoodman4, Dec 21, 2011.

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  1. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    There have been many posts indicating that uninstalling Rx and defraging a drive is not necessary. That once Rx is installed all that is necessary is to use the snapshot defrag utility that is part of Rx. This makes no sense to me at all. Snapshots are a record of where data is (or was) on the drive. These locations (the location of the data) are protected by Rx in the event that they will need to be recovered through a rollback. Further more these records are kept on a portion of the drive that is hidden from Windows. I can see how if you have deleted a snap (or multiples of snaps) that a defrag of the snaps would be beneficial from the point of view that it will make it easier for Rx to keep track of where the protected data and the relevant hooks are located but how does this defrag the physical drive? Frankly I do not think it does, or can.

    Through daily use the drive gets fragmented, Rx will record this fragmentation as snaps and the location of the fragmented data will be protected. If the drive is then defraged (not recommended with Rx installed but for the purposes of this discussion we will assume it has been done) RX will take another (probably large) snapshot and protect the locations of the moved data. If this snap is subsequently deleted defragging using Rxs defrag utility will reorganize the snapshot info and will (I believe) free the protected space, but it does not move any data around on the physical drive.

    If this is correct it follows that by simply running the snapshot defragger you are in no way defragging the drive and thus it would be beneficial to periodically uninstal RX and run a 3rd party defrag program.

    If I am wrong about any of this I would appreciate it if someone would explain explain to me why.
     
  2. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

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    While you are certainly correct in that snapshot defrags do not defrag the disk, here are my thoughts on this subject.

    • Imho any benefit of even defragging a non-RB disk is highly questionable. Are there any independent studies with results to the contrary?

    • Some really knowlegeable RB users around here have stated that an RB drive is not affected by disk defragmentation and based on my experience I have to agree with that. Since installing RB v9.1 early this year I have not defragged my disk and I have not noticed any performance degradation.

    Scott
     
  3. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    In reply to your first question----I do not know and I have never looked for any but I believe it does make a difference based on my experience..

    In reply to your 2nd question/statement ---- my experience is quite different. My PC according to my defrag program (Diskeeper) is fairly fragmented each month when I do my PC housekeeping and after doing the housekeeping my PC is faster. Now it is possible that the 3rd party defrag does nothing and that the other housekeeping tasks are whats providing the speed boost, but I doubt this is the case since in my 25 years of running a PC I have found defragging to be an important part of keeping my PC performing properly.

    If your statement about studies showing that defragging does nothing then why are you defragging your snapshots? Presumably whats good for one will be good for the other. Some of those knowledgeable people have stated that if you are using Rxs defrag utility there is no need to defrag the drive as the RX utility is doing the job. It is this that I am questioning as it makes no sense to me since as far as I can determine one has nothing to do with the other.

    MY question here is not about whether defragging a hard drive is good or not its whether defragging with Rxs utility is a replacement for defragging the drive with a dedicated defrag utility. If it is I would like to know how and why.
     
  4. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I had posted my OP over on the Horizon Datasys Rx forum as well and here is a post from Graham (nexstar) from that thread

    for those interested this thread may be found here http://horizondatasys-forum.com/rollback-rx/5698-defragging-rollback-rx.html
     
  5. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

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    Not true. You are 'comparing apples to oranges'. Performing snapshot defrags serves an entirely different purpose and is in fact necessary in order for RB to maintain optimized sector maps.

    Scott
     
  6. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    That is exactly my point. Since they serve entirely different purposes how is it that some folks say if you are using Rx all that is nec to maintain a defragged drive is to run Rxs snapshot defragger? This is what is being said is it not?

    This makes no sense at all to me and so I am asking for someone to explain this statement so that it will make sense. I am not trying to be argumentative, I am just asking for an explanation.
     
  7. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

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    bg,

    I obviously can't speak to what 'some folks say', but I never read nor have I suggested that snapshot-defrags would (in any way) 'maintain a defragged hard drive'. What I am saying is that throughout the past 10 months that I've been an RB v9.1 user I haven't found disk-defragging to be necessary, but ymmv! ;)

    Scott
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  8. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thats fine but you did write

    and it is the statements by these folks that I am questioning. Of course your experience is what you have to go on besides these statements and I have mine. I happen to be a heavy PC user, I spend a good chunk of my day on the PC doing graphics and CAD work. In addition I have a number of substantial spread sheets that I run so perhaps my use tends to fragment the drive more quickly than other folks. I find, from experience, that I get improved performance if I uninstall Rx monthly and do housekeeping which includes among other things defragging. When I first started using Rx back with version 7 I did not do this and I found if I let things go much longer than a month my PC slowed considerably. Based on this experience I never understood the statement that it was unnecessary to defrag a drive that had Rx on it since I find this not to be the case. This experience coupled with recent statements that defragging the drive was unnecessary prompted me to ask about it here and on the Horizon Rx forum. So far, on this forum you are the only one to respond to my question.
     
  9. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    Hi guys,

    If the question is: When running in an RB environment will the hard disk become fragmented? - I believe the correct answer is yes (eventually).

    If the question is: Will disk-fragmentation in an RB environment adversely impact performance? - I believe the only reasonable answer is maybe.

    I think we all agree that RB's snapshot-defrag (optimization) utility does not defrag the hard disk (nor is that its purpose). No one should make a general statement as to whether or not disk-defrags are of benefit when running in an RB (or non-RB) enviroment. That's largely dependant on the user's computer hardware, the number and size of files typically added to the hard disk, and time (so Scott is right-on when he suggested 'ymmv').

    JA
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  10. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thank you Jo Ann, thats the sort of thing I was looking for
     
  11. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    When Scott makes the above statement, I wonder which knowledgeable RB users he has in his mind?

    Best regards,

    KOR!
     
  12. safeguy

    safeguy Registered Member

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    I don't know how you set up Rollback RX but here's a suggestion anyway:

    1) Prior to installation of Rollback RX:

    a) Do a defragmentation
    (either with Windows built-in tool or 3rd-party program).

    Once done, either disable the scheduled defragmentation (especially for system partition) or remove the entire 3rd-party program entirely.

    b) Consider:

    i) setting your browser privacy options to "not remember history" or something similar.

    ii) setting your Start Menu privacy options to not (uncheck):
    "Store and display recently opened programs in the Start Menu"
    "Store and display recently opened programs in the Start Menu and taskbar"

    ii) setting any other privacy options in other application(s) to not remember anything

    c) Separate all of your data files (including your graphics, CAD work files and spread sheets) from the system by placing them on different partition(s):

    i) a single partition (e.g. D:\ drive as a data partition for all data files)

    ii) or separate them into 2 or more partitions based on their nature
    (e.g. D:\ for simple documents, pictures, music, videos ; E:\ for your heavy/big-sized graphics; F:\ for CAD work files, etc.)

    Of course, set it the way you deem fit for your use...I hope you get the idea;)

    d) This may be considered "brutal" but disable automatic updates, especially for Windows Updates.

    2) During installation of Rollback RX:

    a) Use Custom Setup and set it to protect the system partition (usually the C:\ drive) only.

    - By doing all of these, the changes/movement of data files are not 'recorded' (term loosely used) by Rollback RX and therefore, would not be "kept on a portion of the drive that is hidden from Windows". This keeps your snapshot sizes smaller.

    3) Further minimize the amount of changes 'recorded' (term loosely used) by Rollback RX (so as to keep snapshot sizes relatively smaller),

    a) the use of sandboxing and/or light virtualization program

    4) Retain the performance benefits of defragging (despite the debate of their usefulness)

    - by defragmenting ONLY on the non-system partition(s). Be careful NOT to defrag the system partition 'protected' by Rollback RX...

    5) System maintenance:

    When you wish to do system maintenance, rollback to the baseline snapshot or any snapshot that is as near to the defragmented state of the baseline snapshot and which should be free from most 'junk' such as temporary files, cache, etc. This would usually be among the first few snapshots taken right after the baseline (see the Snapshot history > Tree View)

    Update your programs, and do your housekeeping routine (but do NOT defrag). Once done, take a new snapshot and if you want to, you can delete the older snapshot. (or update baseline if you had chosen to rollback to the baseline snapshot earlier on)

    If you wish to, you can always reset to the baseline.
     
  13. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

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    KOR,

    To the best of my recollection, I read comments to that effect by Aaron Here and TheRollbackFrog (both of whom are very experienced RB users). If I'm mistaken, I apologize.

    Scott
     
  14. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thank you for your suggestions safeguy but one of the reasons I got Rx in the first place was to replace Roxio (Symantec) GoBack. I used that program not only for its rollback capability but also to be able to get to earlier versions of a file. GoBack was excellent for this as I could call up any time in the recent past that I wanted to and grab the file from there. GoBack of course had a number of shortcoming not the least of which was that it became a Symantec product and as was expected Symantec total ruined what was a failrly decent piece of software. Rx is much less capable in respect to version recovery being able to only take auto snaps hourly but I have not found this to be an serious issue. I know there are version programs but I have decided that choking my drive with all kinds of copies of files, most of which I will never need, is not a good thing. I am very happy with RX and how it performs for me, I have no issue uninstalling Rx monthly in order to do maintenance so I am not looking for a way to eliminate fragmentation, for me its just not an issue. What was bothering me was statements to the effect that if you had Rx installed and you did regular snapshot defrags the physical drive would remain unfragmented. I could not understand how folks could say this given the nature of snapshots so I began this thread so that the matter could be cleared up and other Rx users would not assume because they had read it somewhere that it was in fact the case.

    Again, thank you for the time you spent making your suggestions above. One of the things I really appreciate about Wilders is the willingness many participants have to share in an in-depth manner and not just dash of a few quick, vague lines. In short your contribution is very much appreciated and will no doubt be of value to others who may read this thread now and in the future.
     
  15. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    If for no other reason, you should occasionally use a normal imaging program so you can restore the MBR (although I realize there are also some specific apps for that) if you have to. What I do monthly is uninstall CTM with its own uninstaller. Defrag with MyDefrag (JK), image with Paragon Pro and then reinstall CTM. I do this on my seven year old XP desktop and a Vista laptop. About two years ago I uninstalled CTM from the Lt using ZSoft which had "recorded" the installation of a previous version. It was probably seven, eight months old and I had uninstalled CTM with its own unst. several times and just wasn't thinking that night. Long story short, I ended up with the BSOD. Fortunately I had a Paragon image which I used to restore the MBR. You should try that routine and you'll have double protection so to speak!
     
  16. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Seems to me you're pretty much recommending the approach that bgoodman4 practices.
     
  17. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I just did my monthly uninstall of Rx and the housekeeping that goes along with it. I took some screen shots of the hard drives fragmentation as shown by Diskeeper and am attaching them here. Normally I do this every 4 weeks but with the holidays I am a tad late. The fragmentation shown by DK is after a 5.5 week period.
     

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  18. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    bg,

    The question in my mind (and perhaps yours) is whether or not RB is the cause of this defragmentation or if it would have occured anyway given your computing environment, changes, updates, etc.?

    Cruise
     
  19. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    No, I do not in any way think Rx is the cause of the fragmentation. Rx does not use or move Windows files, it simply records where the files are stored on the drive by taking what are called snapshots and protects those locations until the snapshot is deleted. Since Rx does not open, close, or in any way move Windows files it cannot IMO cause a drive to become fragmented. The reason I posted the above was because there are some who feel that a drive with Rx on it, that has the Rxs snapshots regularly defragtmented, does not require conventional defragmenting. The post above is to show that this is not the case.
     
  20. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Dear BGoodMan4,

    I am not sure about your above post. Let us take 2 computers, one with Rollback Rx not installed and one with Rollback Rx installed.

    Computer with Rollback Rx Not Installed:

    Install Firefox v9.00 on December 1 and two weeks later install the update v9.01. The old v9.00 files are simply updated with new v9.01 files.

    Computer with Rollback Rx Installed:

    Install Firefox v9.00 on December 1 and then took snapshot A. Two weeks later install the update v9.01 and took snapshot B. Complete files for both the old v9.00 and the new v9.01 are there. Two sets of complete Firefox files are there. More space is taken as both sets of complete file are kept. When snapshot A is deleted then the v9.00 files are deleted.

    Best regards,

    KOR!
     
  21. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Am I correct that snapshots are not a part of Windows, and just a snapshot? If I am, then how could your example above take up space?
     
  22. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    a
    Understood, but as I see it the bottom-line isn't whether or not an RB system will eventually get fragmented (Jo Ann in post #9 said it would and you just demonstrated that to be the case), but whether or not that fragmentation will impact the performance of an RB system... I've read several opinions about that but as no one (to my knowledge) has provided any proof (one way or the other) the answers are always completely subjective. So if uninstalling RB periodically to run a disk-defrag (and other maintenance) makes you feel better about your system, who's to say that's a waste of time? :doubt:

    Cruise
     
  23. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    All the files are there. In snapshot A, you have Firefox v9.00 and in snapshot B you have Firefox v9.01.

    You can think of snapshots as "fences" being put around the data outside the Windows, so the data is protected in those snapshot. Therefore, you can revert back and forth to any snapshots within no time.

    Best regards,

    KOR!
     
  24. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    I see what you're saying and I understand. :)
     
  25. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    It's my understanding that running a defrag on a drive protected by RollbackRX has the unfortunate side effect of increasing the subsequent snapshot size,dependent upon how many files are "moved around" during the defrag.This is why they advise defragmenting before installation.If you have a large amount of free space for snapshots then it shouldn't be an issue.
     
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