Drive Cloner Version 6 Delayed; New Beta Being Rolled Out

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Kurtis Smejkal, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. Kurtis Smejkal

    Kurtis Smejkal Registered Member

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    So as some of you saw on our forum, we are delaying Drive Cloner's Version 6 from being released.

    I can imagine a lot of you grumbling, this was a tough decision for us. When we were told that Version 6 had a release date, we were all a bit shocked. Many of us wondered, was there a build we had not seen yet? Was the feedback from the last beta implemented? The answer isn't shocking I'm sure to many, but it's 'No'.

    When I joined Horizon Data Sys, and later Wilders, I told everyone that my goal was transparency. I didn't want anyone to be in the dark, and this is no different. Version 6 is not where we think it should be. It can be better, and it will be better. We're not ready to announce a new date, but internal expectation is that this won't set back the release date too much, as Sam puts it, our development focus is now 100% on Drive Cloner. There's no freeware to distract us this time ;)

    So we're likely using Jira, as was already being pushed around. For the record, I like Jira, I think it's an excellent way to track feedback.

    Next step is to gauge interest in the next phase of testing. You will receive a free license for Drive Cloner Version 6 upon participating (or another program, alternate arrangements can be made). We're also compiling known issues from the last beta, last thing I want is anyone who beta tested before repeating known issues, it's inefficient use of time on both ends.

    So if you were already attached to our last attempt at a beta that I made a call out for, I will be emailing you further info. For those who weren't, and wish to join in, feel free to send me a conversation on here, or email me.

    I was a part of the team that pushed this release date back, and I told management it was a bad idea. Worst thing that could happen now is we get this opportunity to make Drive Cloner the best product it can be and nothing happens. I'm hoping you guys can take this feedback and direct it in a way that improves this product to the point I know it can be at.

    Cheers,
     
  2. Masterblaster

    Masterblaster Registered Member

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    What a surprise.
    2 days ago it was right on track now it's delayed.
     
  3. Kurtis Smejkal

    Kurtis Smejkal Registered Member

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    It was, until I and a few other employees realized we had to choose between delaying it a few weeks or releasing it a product we know is inferior. Some people will say you're always updating, but I believe if you know that a program has issues, it's irresponsible to release it.

    Also, the release date wasn't really a decision I made, but my opinion did influence it's delay. So hopefully my call was for the best.

    Cheers,
     
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Good move Kurtis. The previous beta just wasn't ready.
     
  5. Kurtis Smejkal

    Kurtis Smejkal Registered Member

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    Thanks, yeah it wasn't. I admire that my colleagues and employer wish to get this product out, but it's a case where it would be more of a pain in the rear if it wasn't up to snuff. Our ticket system and forums would be clogged, and we'd then have to push a 6.1 with fixes. It's not efficient, which was my argument. It took some consideration, and some convincing of management but it's on track now; or at least on track in the way I think will help the product in the long run.
     
  6. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    See my post in the crashed thread. They really need to go back and fix Rollback
     
  7. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Way to go, Kurtis... your not just a guy with a funny name after all :argh: :thumb:
     
  8. Kurtis Smejkal

    Kurtis Smejkal Registered Member

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    Correct! Now I'm a guy with a funny name and some say on future development projects ;)
     
  9. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Kurtis, I'm sure I don't have to point you to the above statement... it basically represents amost a complete lack of QUALITY ASSURANCE in this product's development. If there's anything you can do from within to keep HDS' feet from getting full of lead and holes... you need to pursue it as much as possible.

    I'm not trying to trash the company, but it's actions like the above that allowed releases for some very flawed software in the past. I'm sure if everyone involved can "see" what happened here, maybe it can change the direction and culture somewhat of the company's development efforts. Sure it's fun to get things out the door... but not in the shape that the one DCv6BETA was in. That would have been very embarrassing for the firm.

    Hopefully your 2nd BETA cycle will provide the needed feedback to allow for a solid, if not feature rich, release of the Drive Cloner product. Once that's in place, some serious internal discussion is needed to "fix" the development culture within HDS... it will be better for all in the long term.

    Looking forward to BETA #2...
     
  10. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Besides, what's another year?
     
  11. Alexhousek

    Alexhousek Registered Member

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    Folks, I don't have the history at all with HDS that some/most of you have. So, in some ways, I have no room to talk. However, I am following this thread very closely as I am many other threads. At least Kurtis is communicating with us and apparently being transparent and honest. I believe it shows or demonstrates some degree of integrity. All I can say is that at least he is engaged, unlike another very popular thread/product where the new developers are no where to be found after allowing a beta version to just lapse. Just sayin....
     
  12. Masterblaster

    Masterblaster Registered Member

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    Or two.
     
  13. Masterblaster

    Masterblaster Registered Member

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    I also hope Curtis can change things. But others from HTS have come to the forum asking us to forget the past as things would be changing. Nothing has changed yet. Customer support and quality control continue to be a problem.
     
  14. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    What is the advantages of v6 if people did not use Rollback RX comparing to other imaging apps?
     
  15. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    None that I was able to determine during the BETA1 phase. But I sure detected some disadvantages...

    This product appeared to be just another run in the mill imaging application for basic FULL/DIFFERENTIAL/INCREMENTAL imaging with a tremendous appetite for CPU cycles while it was at it.

    At the moment, when finally made successful, its single most redeeming feature will be to image (most likely in RAW mode) your Current System State, a functional Rollback snapshot system and any snapshots you may have in your inventory... basically a Rollback explosion/system disk failure protection mode. At this point I wouldn't expect any more than a simple FULL backup function when using the special Rollback mode (that's what we found when testing). As a general purpose imager with non-Rollback installations it should function fine (as it has in the past) as a Full/Differential/Incremental imaging system for your disks. There still needs to be some minor (major?) tweaking required to get everything right so I don't know how long the BETA2 phase will be... hopefully they learned something when trying to push the BETA1 phase out the door waaaaaaay too early.
     
  16. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    In your words, I did not see any advantages of it.:p
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Kurtis seems like a good guy, but he won't be able to change anything unless whoever is at the top decrees change. It's really that simple.
     
  18. silver0066

    silver0066 Registered Member

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    Before this company has ANY chance of being successful, it needs to fix their MAIN program, Rbx, not the imaging program that they are trying to sell to recover from the disasters that Rbx creates.

    Kurtis seems like a good person who is really trying to change HDS's horrible reputation, but I am afraid he is being led up the "primrose path" by his management.
     
  19. Kurtis Smejkal

    Kurtis Smejkal Registered Member

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    Well that's just it, we have two camps, one wants this version to be perfect, and the other wants the product out in people's hands. I think both are not realistic, and realistically it's about having a good product that comes out in a reasonable time frame.

    You're right about releasing this, and I don't think it's 'trashing' because I was one of the few that said, this can't be going on. Sometimes the 'Sales' mindset sort of says "Yeah, release this" but there's everyone else that's like, hey guys, bad idea.

    There have been serious discussions already, I'm taking charge of communication between Beta Testers and Developer. Once this is done, I'll be looking at what projects come next. I think we're in a great position, because unlike Management, I communicate with users like you, our 'big' clients as in those with thousands of licenses, and so on. So I'm starting to see who wants what, and will look at what should be prioritized going forward. I'm trying to focus on Drive Cloner Version 6, and afterwards we'll see. I can say, that on a VM, we got RollBack Rx working on Windows 10. Which is not too exciting, but it was a personal victory ;)

    At the most the release will be delayed by a month or two, this is our Developers main focus now, and once he has a singular focus he's great for diving in and doing wonders.

    Thanks, this was my goal when I joined Horizon Data Sys. There was a massive communication problem, and partially I'm here to communicate between all major parties (among other duties).

    We have been discussing improving Support, I can see where there's problems, if you do file a ticket feel free to email me and I'll oversee it personally. This is more of a band aid then a full solution, but it'll do until we find a more permanent solution.

    Froggie is right. I'd say that Drive Cloner is a very basic imaging program. It'll back up and clone your drive; it can back up in full, incremental, and differential. The way we look at it internally is it's more of a companion product to RollBack Rx to give it that ability to back up snapshots. I use it at home and it's a good program for what I use it for.


    Actually I have a lot of authority to basically do what needs to be done. For instance, pushing back Drive Cloner Version 6 wasn't management's idea. They wanted to stick with April 20th. I told them it's not happening.


    What specific disasters are you referring to out of curiosity?

    Cheers all,
     
  20. Masterblaster

    Masterblaster Registered Member

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    Well, I can't speak for silver0066 but....
    There are far too many issues with RRX corrupting a computers MBR making the computer un-bootable.
    That is unacceptable for a program that is designed to protect data.
     
  21. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Well... OverClocker's example for one. He shuts his machine down at night, wakes up in the morning, BOOTs up the machine and *Kablowie*. I would think HDS would really wanna know what caused this... there are more of these types of failures than you know. I've been involved in many over the years... they are painful, lots of data is lost in the process.

    I'm not talking about Windows Updates... this is a fairly recent phenomena and HDS is at least trying to deal with it. The NCP explosion on this forum is another example. This, I believe, is a case of a users not knowing what you CAN'T DO on a Rollback-protected system. There are a ton of CAN'T DOs and little or no documentation (BOLDed in RED) available to those users on what to be aware of. That lack of knowledge causes another handful (or more) of RBrx explosions.

    And even Rollback itself doing things to users they don't even know about... like renaming the user's WinRE.wim file (The Windows REPAIR Environment) to WinRE.dat so that it can't be run. The poor user is following someone's instructions about repairing some oddity in Windows and it won't run. Then he's told to find a Wndows Distribution media and run it from there. He does, he does and then blasts Rollback out of the sky running outside of the protected OS.

    Another on this forum, RickFromPhila, who did nothing more than follow Rollback's instructions to perform an update. That failed, the system reBOOTed and a ChkDsk out side of the protected OS runs and completely destroys his file structure trying to repair a million errors it sees on a Rollback twiddled disk.

    These are not user errors, per say, Rollback causes many of them and lack of documentation causes the rest. I can go on but won't... there's just tons of them (MBR RootKits, etc.). When most of these folks hit the Support Trail, they came back with nothing (mostly Scavenger failures 'cept for a few lucky ones <me and OverClocker for sure>) then Support says... "Sorry, you'll just have to rebuild your system all over again."

    I'm sure you know how daunting a situation like this is... total loss of DATA ('cause they couldn't even image their system successfully without BOOT failures upon restoration). I think these are the kinds of failures HDS needs to concentrate on... and if the inherent design (ReDIRECT on WRite) cannot deal with these types of failures, I would think a major redesign would be in order.

    Even this new Drive Cloner v6 with the new SNAPSHOT mode is really nothing more than an additional BandAid to a system which can cause lots of bleeding, but I'm very willing to help just so at least their IS a BandAid of some sort to protect users against what I describe above and device failure. I really believe HDS needs to go back into a Design Review room and start brainstorming a new method to provide snapshot protection (if they want to be leaders in that industry)... the current method has been in use for so many years that by now they should know of ALL the Achilles Heels that it contains.

    Heck, Panagiotis probably knows every one of them! :ninja:
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  22. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

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    ^ HDS should print this out and stick it on their wall.
     
  23. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I have a question here. If I understand correctly, when Rollback users want to image their system, the collapse everything so all the snapshot are merge into the baseline. Then they uninstall Rollback, take the image, and then reinstall Rollback.

    If I collapse snapshots so I only have the baseline, why can't I image the system at that point with say shadowprotect, and then restore the system with shadowprotect, restoring the mbr, disk signature, track 0 and all the data?
     
  24. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    This process turns the whole system back into a standard unModified Windows system which allows almost any standard imager do its thing.
    ShadowProtect can only see what the user sees... the OFFERED standard Windows system. There's a whole bunch going on under that layer that even Windows can't see. That's why when you image a LIVE RBrx-protected system, you get what Windows sees (the CURRENT SYSTEM STATE) and none of the special code/snap data that's hidden from Windows. And under v10, RBrx gives your imager the convoluted MBR created by RBrx. So... when you restore that image, the restored convoluted MBR tries to get access to the special under Windows coding and database stuff and it ain't there... you wind up with some sort of CANNOT BOOT msg.

    With the system in this state, if you are capable of restoring a Standard Windows MBR from an external source, this will allow you to BOOT the imaged system effectively into the CURRENT SYSTEM STATE at the time of the image ('cause that's what SP got), but the imaged Windows RBrx code pieces (SysTray and some other things) will be neutered 'cause all the underWindows stuff was never restored (it wasn't in the image) and as a result, no snapshot data access is available. If at this point you unINSTALL RBrx, you will be left with a functional CURRENT SYSTEM STATE system.

    In the last major version of RBrx, v9.1, RBrx special disk driver would hand an imager like SP a copy of the pre-RBrx MBR (it has that in its installation folder) when it was trying to be imaged. This at least would allow a restoration to be BOOTed, albeit with a neutered RBrx and no snapshots. Since v10... toast upon reBOOT.

    PS: Track 0 buys you nothing in the current implementation... RBrx no longer uses it (that I can see). It used to hide various MBR images in there but I think they kept getting stepped on by other apps trying to use the EMBR area.

    ...and I'm gonna guess here, since they no longer store preInstall MBRs in Track 0, the method they probably used to give the Windows API call for accessing LBA0 (the MBR) was a simple indexing of the LBA value (to 22 or 23 which is where it used to hide the MBRs) does not work anymore. That's why you're getting the real LBA0 now...
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  25. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Froggie

    Thanks for the detailed answer. This is just to risky for me. Even AX64 V1 is safe compared to this.
     
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