Multi-snapshot tool: Does it reports its disk use to Windows?

Discussion in 'General Returnil discussions' started by VanguardLH, Dec 29, 2010.

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  1. VanguardLH

    VanguardLH Registered Member

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    Many months ago, I trialed Comodo's Time Machine (CTM; forum at https://forums.comodo.com/help-ctm-b197.0/). It showed promise but had lots of problems so it was too flaky to waste time using and I wasn't interested in QA'ing their product over a long time (since the dev resources seem to fluctuate a lot to reallocate them to different projects). One of its problems is that it would save the snapshots on the hard disk in the same partition as the operating system but hide its disk usage. The result was that Windows would see lots of free disk space that really wasn't there, and CTM would interfere with Windows using that disk space to preserve the integrity of its snapshots.

    Users requested an option to save the snapshots in a different partition perhaps one setup solely for storing the snapshots. A side effect is that these snapshots, if in a partition on a different hard disk, would survive the disk failing on which resided the OS partition. That is, like with my own image backups, I put them on a different hard disk. If the disk with the OS partition dies, I replace that hard disk and restore an image from the other hard disk where are my backups. I'm down until I replace the OS disk. If the backup disk dies, the OS continues to run and I get a new disk to start saving backups again. Backups are delayed until I get a new disk but the OS keeps running. As I recall, it was NOT an option so the snapshots were getting saved in the same partition as the OS. So if that partition became unusable (disk corruption, hardware failure, malware, whatnot) then the user cannot restore their OS to a prior state. When that partition is gone, so is the OS and all the snapshots on it.

    It seems the Multi-Snapshot saves its images in the same partition as for where is installed Windows. So we're left with the same vulnerability of losing the entire OS if that partition becomes unusable or unavailable. However, my greater concern is stability of Windows when a kernel-mode driver is making disk writes that are hidden from Windows. With CTM, normal system calls through the Windows API would not find the files. As such, disk utilities couldn't see them. That mean the space consumed by the snapshots got corrupted when the user manually ran or scheduled a disk defrag. As I recall, CTM interfered with this which causes errors in the disk apps.

    There were so many problems with CTM that I didn't waste time keeping it on my host (which was my test host since I already read about so many problems that I never trusted it on my production host). CTM still seems way too flaky to even think of using it on my host. Hopefully Multi-Snapshot Tools doesn't head down the same paths and have the same problems regarding instability and corruption.
     
  2. Coldmoon

    Coldmoon Returnil Moderator

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    The technologies are completely different and the snapshot files themselves can be removed for storage, backup, incident investigation, etc as required. This is a beta so some of the final touches to the utility and its eventual integration into the RSS line at a future date are still pending.

    What you see now in the beta is a fully functioning demonstration of the feature itself and how well it performs. It makes use of the same virtualization technology that powers RSS/RVS, but is used to create and maintain pictures of the computer's state at various intervals -> tracking changes at it were...

    The snapshots are saved and take up space that Windows is aware of so no surprises there as you describe with the other approach.

    Mike
     
  3. VanguardLH

    VanguardLH Registered Member

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    Can the snapshots be stored in a partition on storage media other than the OS partition? That is, if I have a 2nd, or more, hard disk and the OS is on the 1st hard disk, can I have the snapshots stored in partitions on the 2nd, an up, hard disks? How about USB-connected hard or flash drives? Or must the snapshots be stored in the same partition as the OS?

    Will this tool, once out of beta, be part of the free product or only available in the paid version? It certainly is a major feature that seems likely to be only a Pro feature. Also seems it may need a lot of technical support when released.

    Thanks.

    By the way, any chance of snagging a copy of its user manual, if there is one, so I can read up on it. Seems very interesting and I'd like to learn more without having to yet sacrifice my host to a beta product.
    UPDATE: I saw it was a .rar download so I got it and extracted the files of which one was the .pdf for user manual. Reading it now.

    Will Multi-Snapshot be made RSS-aware in that it will *not* create snapshots when System Safe mode is on?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  4. VanguardLH

    VanguardLH Registered Member

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    Oops, I might thought of Multi-Snapshot Tool as a similar utility to Comodo Time Machine, RollbackRx, GoBack, etc. After some consideration, and since this seems destined to permit static virtualized states across reboots of the host, I suspect it is just for use with System Safe. That is, it let RSS remember the states of the virtualized host so they can be reinstated (by selection or after a reboot). So it may not be a snapshot tool to restore the real host but rather a snapshot tool to manage the state(s) of the virtualized host, something akin to VirtualBox's snapshots.
     
  5. Coldmoon

    Coldmoon Returnil Moderator

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    No, when you restore, you restore the real system to that specific state as with any other type of snapshot restore.

    Mike
     
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