Introducing AX64 Time Machine - hybrid imaging/snapshot software

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

  1. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Strange, it should have been much faster. Looks like (as Panagiotis mentioned) a "dirty bit"-related issue. It means that AX64 thinks that the states of the disk and its backups are inconsistent, thus it restores the entire disk (rather than the changed sectors only). This takes more time.
    Now the question is what makes the program to think so. Unfortunately the current version doesn't save the logs for restore operation. Next update will fix it and I'll be able to look closer into this issue.


    Isso
     
  2. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Panagiotis, let me disagree - the restore time is definitely not ok. In a normal situation (even with a slow external USB drive) the restores are quite fast and definitely shouldn't take hours. Looks like indeed "dirty bit" is set, but I'm yet to figure out the reason. For offline restore - it restores directly the snapshot that was selected.

    Isso
     
  3. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    twl845,

    I can see it's confusing. I would rather just change the process description, so it says "Deleting" instead of "Merging"

    Isso
     
  4. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Rainwalker,

    Easiest is just to forget about "Merge" term. Think of it as a simple snapshot deletion operation. Let's say you have following snapshots:

    1, 2, 3, 4

    And you suspect that you caught a virus at some point in time between 2 and 3. So you go ahead and restore to 2. Then delete snapshots 3 and 4. That's it.

    Isso
     
  5. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info. :)
     
  6. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    OK thanks. :)
     
  7. Rainwalker

    Rainwalker Registered Member

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    OK..Thanks Isso. If you have a moment please explain what is merging then.
     
  8. MarcP

    MarcP Registered Member

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    That would be grouping multiple snapshots into one. Like taking all of yesterday's hourly snapshots to turn into one daily snapshot (one snapshot for yesterday). Or all of last week's daily snapshots to turn into one weekly snapshot (last week's snapshot).
     
  9. Rainwalker

    Rainwalker Registered Member

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    Don't understand. If what you say is true then the total size occupied on my backup media would remain the same or even increase in size. It does not. It reduces in size. So I still wonder what merge actually merges. Merge indicates to me that something is being retained.
     
  10. MarcP

    MarcP Registered Member

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    Doesn't necessarily have to increase the size everytime if the same disk space is being overwritten. I've seen snapshots shrink in size as files get deleted. And don't forget that those are incremental snapshots, not differentials.
     
  11. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Rainwalker,

    As Marc mentioned merging is a process of grouping the snapshots. To better understand it, we need to address the incremental backup. All AX64 backups are incrementals. It means that each backup saves only the differences since the previous backup. Let's say you have 3 files: a, b, c

    - You take a backup (1)
    - you create a new file: x
    - take another backup (2)

    At this point the backup 2 contains only file x. If you try to read the other files from backup 2, it will simply read them from its parent backup 1.

    - now you delete file a
    - take another backup (3)

    Backup 3 contains nothing but a note that file a is deleted. If you try to read any file from it, it will direct you to the parent backup (2). For example if you try to read file x, it will be read from backup 2, and if you try to read the file b, it will be read from backup 1.

    Now let's say you want to delete backup 2. You can't delete the backup file from the disk, because backup 3 is referencing backup 2 as its parent. You also can't just change the parent of backup 3 from 2 to 1, because backup 2 contains new file x, that must be included into backup 3 too.

    The solution is to merge the backup 3 into backup 2. This will produce a new backup that will look like backup 2, but without file a (because it was deleted in backup 3).
    The size of the resulting backup will be equal to 2 (only file x will be there).
    Effectively, merging backup 3 into backup 2 deletes backup 2.
    If you try to merge backup 3 to 1 the size of the resulting backup will be less than 1, because the file a will not be included. Hope this makes sense.

    Isso

    EDIT: AX64 works on the sector level, so it operates on the sectors that belong to files, not the files themselves. I just mentioned the files to make this easier to understand (not sure if it is :) )
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  12. Rainwalker

    Rainwalker Registered Member

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    Beautiful explanation. Thank you Isso for taking the time.
     
  13. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Yes, I had wondered about this too so thanks for the excellent explanation. I had sort of thought it was something like this (elimination of deleted files) but its more much elegant than I had imagined.
     
  14. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

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    Enjoying the AX64 trial - what an excellent piece of software.

    Three very minor things:

    1. Can't wait for more scheduling options (daily would be great). Currently I am running it with the automatic hourly backup. However I also have Windows 7 File Backup set to run once a day on the hour (can't change it to half-past etc.). When both backups attempt to run at the same time, AX64 fails and gives the following error:

    C1000006 code -2147212522

    2. Would be great if you could lower the recovery media memory stick size requirement to 256mb, if it will fit.

    3. Can't help thinking the interface would be better if it used default windows styling. It's odd for the browser interface to have a Windows 8 look while I'm using it on Windows 7.

    Thanks for creating a great product.
     
  15. MerleOne

    MerleOne Registered Member

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    Hi all,

    I have a question. On the PC on which I have installed AX64TM, which runs XP Pro SP3, I have noticed the following issue :

    chkdsk won't run at boot time, so impossible to repair the C: partition.

    I have tried to play with chkntfs to reset parameters, tried all I could think of, but it won't execute.

    Since this happened approximately at the same time as when I installed AX64 TM, I wonder if the 2 are related. I also suspect another software, recently installed on my PC, McAfee Endpoint Encryption that encrypts C: and the data partition D:

    Has someone successfully performed a chkdsk at boot time after AX64TM was installed ? Thanks.
     
  16. William Johnson

    William Johnson Registered Member

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    Isso

    This makes the process easy to understand. You might want to copy & paste this into the manual somewhere.
     
  17. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    I agree the restore time is a bit too long but it can happen if the restore was performed on a laptop with 5400rpm drive, especially if it started to become hot- the bios would drop either the processor frequency or the speed of the drive or both.

    By the way I have a request related on this. Please add a check for the dirty bit (and a warning in case it's there) before executing the online restore. the one time that I encountered it I thought that the restoration was broken and the pc was frozen and was ready to power-off the pc.

    Edit:
    One question that I forgot to ask during the beta; does AX64 performs periodic hash tests of its snapshots? If not please add it in a future version (I'm kind of allergic to incremental snapshots and never really trust them).

    Panagiotis
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  18. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Hi MerleOne :)

    I had noticed this issue in my testing. According to Isso, he is aware of it and at the time stated the following:

    "Regarding the checkdisk problem - it's a known issue (at boot time our driver is holding its file open, and checkdisk needs all programs to close their files at the system boot).
    We are working on eliminating it."
    ---

    In addition, you may also see an event viewer notification stating the following as I did on my machine:

    Source: Windows Error Reporting
    Event ID: 1001

    Fault bucket , type 0
    Event Name: ShellBrowserCancel
    Response: Not available
    Cab Id: 0

    Problem signature:
    P1: {F3364BA0-65B9-11CE-A9BA-00AA004AE837}
    P2: Local
    P3:
    P4:
    P5:
    P6:
    P7:
    P8:
    P9:
    P10:

    Attached files:
    C:\Users\dyis\AppData\Local\Temp\WER186F.tmp.WERInternalMetadata.xml

    These files may be available here:
    C:\Users\dyis\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\ReportQueue\AppHang_{F3364BA0-65B9-1_03f722b1c3a9f7342b324b90c4342939636d4_cab_0c2e186f

    Analysis symbol:
    Rechecking for solution: 0
    Report Id: aa5789c7-61c3-11e2-ae56-00188bc7a4c5
    Report Status: 4
    ---

    No worries, I am sure it will be taken care of. Hope that helps Merle :)

    Enjoy AX64TM :)

    Jim
     
  19. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Hi Isso, I am trying to instal AX64 on a 64 bit Win 7 Pc and when I launch it I get a driver missing message (see attached). I have tried reinstalling the program a number of times but get the same message each time I launch it.

    Any assistance will be appreciated.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Hi bgoodman4 :)

    Not sure if this applies, but maybe it could help or is worth a try?

    Have you tried right clicking the installation file and choose "run as administrator"? Just a thought as I know it is possible to have some issues with some software installations if it is not executed with admin rights.

    Jim
     
  21. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Hi taotoo,

    Thank you for kind words and for your suggestions. For scheduling options - this is in progress. For C1000006 error - this is a VSS error, i.e. looks like VSS doesn't allow to do two simultaneous backups. Sometimes this happens, I'm afraid there's nothing that can be done about it.

    2 - It may fit or may not, depending on the OS version. I'll see if I can calculate the size of the Recovery Media in advance to do more precise check

    3 - we have plans to completely revamp the user interface, but at this moment it's not the priority, sorry. So it will take some time.

    Isso
     
  22. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Hi MerleOne,

    Sorry, this is a known problem and we need to make some substantial modifications to get rid of it. For now, if you are experiencing problems with the file system, just boot from the AX64 Recovery Media, click on "Command line" button and you'll see the command prompt. Run the chkdsk /f X: from there (note that the drive letter of your drive may change, you can use "Open Backups" dialog to see the drive letters).

    Please note that after you run the recovery media, one following backup will take longer with "External volume modification" warning.

    If you don't experience problems with the file system, but just want to run checkdisk to make sure its ok - just run it from the main OS while its running - it will work.

    Isso
     
  23. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Panagiotis,

    Thanks for the information on overheating, I'll check it. For hash tests - no tests are performed as of now, but I've overseen this and added reserved spaces for hashes in each image block. We'll implement it in one of the upcoming versions.

    Isso
     
  24. Isso

    Isso Developer

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    Hi bgoodman,

    This looks to be a compatibility issue, i.e. some program apparently is blocking our driver. Could you please collect the logs, and also create system information (NFO) file using msinfo32, and send both logs and NFO to me (info@ax64.com, or create a support ticket). Thank you

    Isso
     
  25. Chris12923

    Chris12923 Registered Member

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    Ill give a step by step when I get back home. I think I saw where you are working on being able to multiple delete snapshots. Would there be a possibility to delete hourly snapshots after so many days?

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
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