How Does Raxco Instant Recovery (FD-ISR?) Change Windows 7 Disk Structure

Discussion in 'FirstDefense-ISR Forum' started by steve_in_jersey, Jan 10, 2014.

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  1. steve_in_jersey

    steve_in_jersey Registered Member

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    After a particularly bad experience recovering from a failed hard disk on which I had Rollback RX installed, and after a recent bad experience with AX64 (check out the '99967 error' issue that others have posted about on this forum), I am about to give up on 'snapshot' programs. But before I do so, I wanted to ask about about FD-ISR - or more accurately what appears to be its replacement - Raxco Instant Recovery. Given what's happened in the past, I am VERY gun shy about installing any program that creates a 'non-standard' Windows7 file structure (e.g. alters the boot sector, creates hidden partitions) in a way that would really complicate/hinder disaster recovery. So my question: does FD-ISR / Raxco Instant Recovery work in similar fashion to Rollback - i.e. alters the standard file structure in some way? I'm not an expert on Windows file structures, so please forgive me if I am not using proper terminology here.

    Steve_in_Jersey
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Steve

    It is nothing like Rollback. Rollback just hides sectors on your drive and it tries to keep track of them.

    In Instant Recovery. A snapshot is literally a copy of your system drive. It can be a complete copy or a stripped down copy. When you boot into the snapshot it becomes your c drive, but it is using a completely different set of files. You could almost think of it as dual boot.

    Instant Recovery also has the ability to save the equivalent of a snapshot in what is called an archive. This can is copies of the files stored in the data base. You can't boot into this, but what you can do is boot in a second snapshot and the restore the archive to your c drive. It is effective, although not as fast as Rollback. But very reliable.

    One test I did way back on the original FDISR, was create a XP archive, and then install Vista on the machine. Then by restoring the archive I put it back to XP.

    This is a broad brush, but fire away with questions.

    Oh. First of all IR is very reliable. Secondly, and I know this from personal experience, there just isn't support better than Raxco.

    Just one caution. If you try it don't go to the home section which has Instant Rescue. Go to the Business area which has Instant Recovery.

    Pete
     
  3. steve_in_jersey

    steve_in_jersey Registered Member

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    Thanks, Peter.
    Sounds very impressive.
    But does Instant Recovery store these snapshots in a hidden partition, and does it alter the boot sector? The reason I am so concerned about this is that when my Rollback RX-equipped hard drive crashed - and when there was particularly important data that I had neglected to back up within the previous month - I had to send my crashed hard drive out to one of those data recovery services. The process of recovering this data was made much more complicated by the fact that Rollback Rx was installed. I've since learned my lesson: I store my data on a separate hard drive and make much more regular and duplicate backups of everything. Nevertheless, I am rather gun shy now about installing a program that alters the main system drive in a non-standard way.

    One other question (if you have experience with this one): I am very interested in Casper, a backup/imaging program. Would you know if the Raxco program can co-exist with this program? Or with other imaging programs?
     
  4. hjbyram

    hjbyram Registered Member

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    Not trying to answer for Peter at all, but I had a similar question regarding compatibility with Macrium Reflect. Since I couldn't find an answer on the Raxco website I sent an email to Raxco customer support and received a reply back within 10 minutes. The reply stated that there should be no conflict due to InstantRecovery doing its thing at a different location from Macrium.

    I have only been using InstantRecovery on 1 laptop for 2 days, have my Primary, Secondary and an Archive created. When I boot up, InstantRecovery gives me the choice of which snapshot to boot into, and then Macrium Reflect kicks in with its choice after that. So far I have had no issues with InstantRecovery and Macrium Reflect. But then I haven't done a whole lot yet either.

    Heatherj
     
  5. starfish_001

    starfish_001 Registered Member

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    IR does not use a hidden partition it uses a hidden folder ( works very well). You cannot see or access the folder but everything from www.voidtools.com/‎ can see through the NTFS persmissions from any snapshot. I have pulled files out using this many times.

    For me there is no comparison with Rollback. When a big system error occurs I always had problems with Rollback. FD or IR are much more reliable


    IR or First defense allow you to archive snapshots to another drive so you can boot into any snapshot and then restore and Archive. AX64 also works a bit like this but with snap shots more like Rollback.


    First defense and IR work with most imaging software I have used. Shadow protect (this is my daily), Acronis, Paragon, Windows imaging, drive snapshot all work for me. I would expect it to work with any well written imaging software.
     
  6. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Steve

    Start fresh with this program, like you'd never messed with Rollback.

    Another example of how I stress tested the old FDISR(IR is simply an enhanced version) was this.

    I had and still use just two snapshot. My main c: drive, and a very stripped down secondary. Then I made off disk archives of both the primary(c drive) and secondary snapshots.

    Then I formatted the c drive completely erasing it. Did a new windows install. LIke a brand new computer. Didn't even bother registering it.

    Install FDISR. Then I restored the secondary snapshot from the archive. I booted to the secondary and from there restored the primary. Booted back to the primary and it was like nothing had happened. Not as quick as an image restore, but it worked reliably.

    I've run FDISR and now IR alongside Shadowprotect and never had an issue. The only thing I had to watch was I let SP run automatic incrementals, and I had to take care not to let them run when FDISR was used. There were occasional VSS collisions. Other than that they ran fine together.

    Pete

    PS one other unique feature is you can exclude files. That saved my bacon a while ago, when I had a corrupted disk directory, and my only image turned out to be a year old.
     
  7. steve_in_jersey

    steve_in_jersey Registered Member

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    To Starfish and Peter2150 -

    Thanks so much for the in-depth responses.
    Sounds like FD-ISR/IR use hidden folders, analagous to TrueCrypt's approach
    to creating virtual encrypted volumes. I have no problems with that at all.

    I'm going to try out the combination of Raxco Instant Recovery and Casper
    and see how that goes. If that doesn't work, I'll 'fall back' to IR and Macrium Reflect.

    I will let the group here know how things go, though will probably be awhile so that I can get meaningful amount of real world experience in.
     
  8. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    FD-ISR/IR does not really hide any folder. Treats the entire system partition as a normal directory. When it creates a snapshot it backups everything in a folder named "0" to "9" (and "A" for the frozen snapshot).
    e.g. When you have two snapshots primary/secondary you will have 2 folders "0" and "1". If you are in the primary snapshot the "0" folder will be empty. When you decide to go to the secondary snapshot FD/IR will reboot, and during the boottime, will move everything in your c:\ directory inside the "0" folder, then will move all the contents from the folder "1" back to c:\. Same way when you are using cut/paste in windows to move files from one location to another.

    By the way with FD/IR you do not need casper because the archives unless you use custom exclusions are complete system file based images as caspers.

    Panagiotis
     
  9. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Does anyone know if IR works alongside AX64 while you're testing IR?
     
  10. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    It sorta works, but you may have to define a set of rules that makes it too cumbersum. It proved more trouble then it's worth.

    If you just want to test IR then:

    1. Take a last snapshot, and uninstall AX64
    2. Install and test IR, but run chkdsk before making snapshot in IR
    3. Remove IR by first deleting any snapshots, then uninstall IR
    4. Reinstall AX64 and start a new chain.


    Pete
     
  11. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info. :)
     
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