Introducing AX64 Time Machine - hybrid imaging/snapshot software

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Isso, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Abdallah

    Abdallah Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I want to ask if it is possible to install an application which cause some problems and when we try to restore old snapshot/image with AXTM v1 the problem still there ?!

    My question because I have problems with boot time since I installed the new version of MBAM 2 and still I have that problem even after I restore with AXTM v1 (hot restore)
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Where I am going is trying to figure out if I can trust the cold restore, and also what to tell Waj and company on how to fix it.



    Hi Jim

    His statement was in reference to a particular problem. I had a corrupt folder I couldn't get rid of, and chkdsk wasn't getting the job done. Additionally the only good image I had at that point was a year old. This was one of those my bads.

    What I was thinking of doing was creating a FDISR archive excluding the bad folder and then restoring it, which would have deleted that folder. He was making the point that FDISR was simply file swapping and I needed to do a restore to fix any damage to the disk structure. He was right, and ultimately what I did was restore that year old image, and then bring it current with the FDISR archive I had created. Worked very well.

    I only bring it up here as I am not sure exactly what he meant by "Disk structure"

    Pete
     
  3. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Hi guys,

    I'd like to clarify the missing pagefile and boot defragmenters issue.

    1. Pagefile and hiberfile: indeed AXTM deletes them, because they are unneeded. But that doesn't affect the consistency of the image. All of the other files remain exactly as there were.
    2. Boot defrags: all boot defragmenters that use Native API (that's 90% of them, including UltimateDefrag) work well with AXTM. However PerfectDisk is using another method - a special driver that writes to the disk at very low level, bypassing the AXTM driver. This is a problem.

    Hope this helps, and sorry for not being able to regularly visit Wilders. Hope I'll be able to do that later when I have more free time.
     
  4. defconnect

    defconnect Registered Member

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    Hello Isso, long time no see,
    Thanks for stepping by and offering your valuable feedback on this important issue.
    Hope you will have the opportunity to drop by more often in future.
    With kind regards, defconnect
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  5. Baldrick

    Baldrick Registered Member

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    Hi Isso

    How are you doing? Good to hear from you, and for the explanation provided. I for one run PD and so cannot beta test at the moment despite the fact that I do not the Boot Defrag function in PD. So I am waiting for the next version when Waj says that there will be a warning that can be overridden, rather than a hard stop if PD is detected as installed. I cannot wait.

    Regards, and respect


    Baldrick
     
  6. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Hi Pete :)

    Thank you for those details. Now I recall about FDISR you mentioned in that post and better understand what you were attempting to do and how. Your SP contact sounds like a good guy, and helpful and I can see now if just a file swap, the problem that chkdsk could not fix would have likely remained if handled in the manner you were thinking about. In regards to disk structure, perhaps it is the sector level where the problem file/folder occurred, that he is referring to. When I hear disk structure I think initially head, cylinder, sector, etc., that is why I mention he may have been thinking sector level where the corruption had occurred.

    Thanks again for the explanation and I hope things are working good for you now. :)

    Jim
     
  7. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Hi Isso! :)

    I hope you are doing well. We all miss you my friend, and my best wishes to you in all you do.

    Thank you for checking in with the Wilders gang. :)

    Jim
     
  8. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi ISSO

    Thanks for the explanation. But why then do other Image programs work fine. I've had no problem with other imaging programs.

    I hate to say this, but this software has to be able to deal with this restore as other imaging programs do. As it stands now I am afraid I consider it an excellent snapshot/rollback program, but not a true imaging program.

    Pete
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  9. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Froggie and Jim

    After what I last wrote on my last post, it occurred to me the cold boot issue wasn't that big a deal IF you had another imaging program. What I did to test is restore a Shadowprotect image I had back from last September. When I restore SP images I always select the options Make partition Active, Restore MBR from Image, Restore Disk Signature, and restore Track 0. Macrium does this automatically. Once restored I used the TM Recovery CD and restored the last image I had. It restored fine as all it was doing was replacing files. Macrium restores also restore partition,mbr and track 0. Same test worked fine with this.

    After each of the restores I took another increment with TM. It took the same time as a full image but the image itself was very small. Worked well.

    Pete
     
  10. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    I
    I am doing the same sine long.

    I had problems on an XP machine where boot CD of v1 was not working. I used to do same. Restore a basic clean image of XP( it used to take few min by Acronis boot CD) and then install AX64 and hot restore the last snapshot. No problems.

    I have same problem on my windows 8 tablet that no way to boot from a CD and touch screen will not work if I boot from a USB or local preboot environment. So what I do. I just basically refresh or reset my tablet from boot menus even if system is unbootable. Install Time Machine and do a warm restore of last snapshot. No issues again.

    It's a bit like FDISR.
     
  11. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Last night I had to put this to the test. I was trialing another imaging program and it hung on the restore. I rebooted and all I could get into is the bios. I fired up my SP RE CD and sure enough my drive was unallocated and unformatted. I restored the latest SP image which was several days old. It didn't have TM in it so I booted to the CD of TM. Restored the system to current and it was slow but worked fine.

    As I was thinking about all this and what ISSO said, it occurred to me AX64 and TM are not true imaging programs in the standard sense. Most imaging programs set up a VSS snapshot, and then make a full image. AX64 and TM don't quite do this as they still have to interact with the TM tracking file. And there in lies the problem with TM. This also leads me to realize I can't use TM as the sole imaging program.

    ON another note, I saw in the Macrium forum something about the Pagefile in the image. Turns out it's a sparse file, which means it's really a place holder and doesn't take up space in the image. Interesting stuff.

    Pete
     
  12. manolito

    manolito Registered Member

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    Not sure if I understand you correctly: You say that all you could get into was the bios, but you could boot from the SP RE CD. Why didn't you skip the SP step and boot directly from the AX64 TM boot CD? It should have done a normal cold restore.

    As I understand it the AX64 image creation process is no different from most current imagers. It also makes a VSS snapshot and does full or incremental images. The tracking file has nothing to do with creating images, it is only used for doing hot (or warm) restores. If you only make cold restores then AX64 is a 'true imaging program in the standard sense'. Maybe Froggie or Isso can clarify this point...


    Cheers
    manolito
     
  13. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Manolito

    All this stems from the fact that Wajumus pointed out that there may be a cold restore problem with AX64 and TM. Isso popped in recently and confirmed. Also Froggie and I confirmed there can be a problem with cold restore. Therefore when confronted with a situation requiring a cold restore, I won't start with AX64 or TM.

    Also go back and read ISSO's post of a few days ago make a statement that suggest the tracking file is involved

    Pete
     
  14. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    In a nutshell... TM v2's COLD restore is currently non-existant, all restores appear to be done using the WARM algorithms. A real COLD restore would indeed return the system to a pre-PerfectDisk non-diddled environment. The other problem is that when PerfectDisk does it's diddling during its pre-BOOT optimization phase, that will most likely also mess up the next INCREMENTAL which will eventually mess up the next needed COLD restore, since that messed up snapshot will be used by the COLD restore algorithm.

    Unless RAXCO works out a solution with AX64 LLC, I don't believe these 2-products will ever co-exist happily. They will work just fine if the BOOT optimization is never used, but how do you keep someone from doing that. You document the anomaly in your product description, or to make it easier for users to understand, you explicitly state that the 2-products cannot be installed together. I have tested PerfectDisk with both AXTM v1 and TM v2 and you can use all its features EXCEPT BOOT optimization

    My suggestion... use a different imaging tool if you feel PD's BOOT optiization is that important to you (I sure don't)... or, use Ultimate Defrag for BOOT optimization if you feel the "about to be corrected" (offering a REAL COLD restore and some bug fixes) TM snapshot/imaging app is more important to you... there are options out there.
     
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I agree. I wouldn't expect Raxco to do much as it would mean changing their whole product. And when you look at the company user list, I suspect not many would be a market for TM right now.

    One workable option I suppose a user could test and use is any time they do an off line defrag with Perfect Disk they would have to start a new TM chain. I have mixed feelings about that.

    Pete
     
  16. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    The user has to make the decision... Perfect Disk or TM, it's really that simple. I wonder how much those markets really cross, my guess... not many.
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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  18. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    So, masters Peter & Froggie, would you consider TM a stable "go to" option as one's primary image backup providing one doesn't use PD or swears off PD boot optimization? (I have Macrium Reflect and would continue using it as a safety net.)
     
  19. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    OK, so I am now officially confused. Lets forget about version 2 for a moment.

    Are you guys saying that version 1 does not really do a full cold restore? That in some way its just a big incremental that takes upwards of an hour to complete whereas an incremental (hot restore) takes under 4 min? If so what is it an incremental of? The baseline and then everything else to the chosen snapshot? And, even if this is so, why is this a problem?

    If we were happy with the system state at the time of the baseline, and we were happy with all changes since that baseline to snapshot X, what is the problem with restoring to the state as of snapshot X via whatever means available,,,,be it hot restore, some form of warm restore, or cold restore (real or otherwise).

    The point is to get the system back to some specific state,,,,why should I care how we get to that state.

    Or, is this only a problem for folks who are using PD and its like?

    Keep in mind the target audience. Noobs,,,,,folks who do no imaging now because its too hard, confusing, time consuming, etc. These folks are not likely to be using boot time defragers or whatever low level apps you guys are talking about. Are these folks OK or is there something insidious lurking in the depths of AX64.
     
  20. MaximumFish

    MaximumFish Registered Member

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    New user here, I was just about to buy Rollback RX when I decided to look for alternatives and stumbled across this, which is actually closer to what I was after! I was also pleased to find the beta when I was getting frustrated at only being able to backup one drive.

    A few questions and comments if I may?

    - I've just completed my first backup from my laptop to a network drive (hosted on an always-on NAS) and noticed that it's reporting a 28.3GB backup for a drive with 48.6GB used. Is this normal? I appreciate that the hiberfile and pagefile aren't backed up but they currently stand at just over 8GB, so there's still a 20GB deficit. The compression can't be that good can it? A cursory browse of the backup image looks good but still...

    - This laptop (a Dell) has no less than 6 partitions in total, with only one, partition #3, being used by Windows. There doesn't seem to be any way to tell whether these have all been backed up or not? They don't show in the image browser and the log file isn't entirely clear. Is there any way to tell?

    And a couple of beta related ones...

    - I changed the destination directory from the default "My Backups" to the old "AXTM" and noticed that when the backup started a "My Backups" folder was created with a log file inside. I deleted the directory immediately and the backup continued without complaint. In hindsight I should've let the backup finish before taking any action but I'm assuming this is just a bug and I haven't deleted an important folder?

    - The hourly schedule as it's currently implemented seems odd. I woke my laptop after a scheduled start time and after a while the next scheduled backup changed to reflect the next on-the-hour. But what happens if a backup is scheduled for, say 12:00 but the PC is turned on at 12:01, used for anywhere up to 58 minutes and then turned off again. It's easy to see this cycle repeating numerous times before a backup manages to run, especially on a pick up and put down device like a laptop. It surely makes more sense to run a missed backup as soon as the PC is started or woken, as this would give it the best opportunity of finishing before the PC is put back to sleep.

    That's all for now! Thanks for this program, it seems to tick the majority of my backup boxes so I'm looking forward to buying the final product. :)
     
  21. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Congratulations MaximumFish, you have dodged a big bullet in the form of RollBack Rx. A search of this forum for Rx, and RollBack Rx will convince you that Rx can be extremely hazardous to your systems health.

    I am sorry I cannot ans your questions re the TM beta as I am not an early adopter so I have not used/tested it (I am using version 1 quite happily at this time) but I am sure others will chime in shortly with the ans you seek.
     
  22. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    OK, Barry... AXTM v1 it is!

    Yes :D

    Actually, for the purists among us, AXTM does not do a complete COLD restore. It does not restore the content of the PageFile and the SwapFile (as Isso stated), but as previously mentioned, this is not required following a system restart since their context are always reinitiated upon restart. Everything else is restored correctly.

    And yes, it is an INCREMENTAL restore starting from the BASELINE and restoring each incremental snapshot up to the selected time point... and no, it's not a problem... if you want a FULL restore, you get it.

    Absolutely nothing...

    If you're not a purist and don't expect the two previously unneeded files to be there in context... AND don't need BOOT time defrag from Perfect Disk, I have found no problems in restoration as far as imaging is concerned.

    These folks are just fine as are all the others who take heed to a WARNING that AXTM v1 (& TM v2) are not compatible with Perfect Disk.

    But I must add that TM v2 in its current BETA state (and hopefully that will change) does not do what we call a FULL COLD restore properly... a restored BASELINE followed by all incrementals up to the selected time point. Whatever algorithm its currently using to do this operation, seems to be effective but I would question its use in relation to the need for a FULL COLD restore ("I think my system's integrity has been compromised and I just don't trust what's there at the moment."). It appears to be fine for use as a WARM restore tool. I haven't tested the HOT restore under TM v2 as of yet, but I assume it's the same as v1.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  23. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Personal opinion... GOOD CALL on the use of Rollback RX.

    MF, Time Machine, as well as almost all other imagers, use a lossless form of data compression when they create their images... and Time Machine's compression isn't quite as good as some others but it is more than adequate when it comes to saving space. And yes, the compression can be that good.

    Accept it as a given as far as the following partitions are concerned...

    EFI System (the BOOT partition when using an active UEFI BOT system)
    SRP (Microsoft SYSTEM RESERVED PARTITION if system is built from a blank unallocated SSD/HDD)
    RECOVERY (usually built by an OEM to allow the user to return to store bought configuration)
    Hidden (sometimes an additional hidden partition is there... don't know what its need would be)
    Diagnostic (not Microsoft REPAIR but some sort of OEM diagnostic partition for checking things)

    Time Machine is gathering all the above and any additional partitions you select during the installation. You cannot see their existence until you do a RESTORE operation, where the option to restore them or not is available to the user under the "Advanced Options" TAB.

    Yes, it is a bug under the current BETA, BUT, you should report it via <info@ax64.com> to be sure it gets on their "list."

    You are correct. This is the current iteration of their AUTOMATIC backup scheduling (the previous one was even more limited) and it still lacks a bit of flexibility at this time. That suggestion should be made along with the BUG report above.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  24. pimjoosten

    pimjoosten Registered Member

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    Thanks again Froggie. I will e-mail this also to AX64 (I already e-mailed the inability to do a warm restore in Vista via mail). Good to know that it did work in the past, so it can be fixed. Having to insert an installation disc every time I want to roll back/forward really is a PITA.
     
  25. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Chamlin

    I am afraid my answer is no. My Standard for an imaging program is it makes a true copy of my system, and can restore it back to the exact condition. Today PD interferes with that function, so okay you don't use it. What could it be tomorrow? I don't know, but I am not chancing it. Macrium and SP are rock solid. I don't know about some of the other people here like. They would have to test.

    Pete
     
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