Quick rollback software?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by valnar, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. valnar

    valnar Registered Member

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    I use Terabyte products for backup (Image for Windows/Linux), but am having a particular problem where if I execute a certain function within an application, it gets corrupted. My only fix has been to do a full restore of my PC each time it happens. It's very time consuming.

    There are about a dozen switches and levers I can test to figure out the problem, but I'd like a quicker way of restoring to a moment in time. Is there a free or cheap rollback software where I can put everything back that changed within a few minutes time? I know this might be a common question here, but I've never used rollback software before.

    It can't be done within a virtualbox or Vmware snapshot. This has to be on my particular live PC.
     
  2. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    If the tests don't need reboots, you could try Shadow Defender.
     
  3. manolito

    manolito Registered Member

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    Hi valnar,

    before you make any decisions I am afraid you will have to do a lot of reading...

    There are several categories of software which meet your needs:

    1. Snapshot software
    1. a Redirect on Write (Rollback RX, free Home version and commercial pro version)
    1. b Copy on Write (Sysrestore free, Farstone RestoreIT commercial)

    2. Image based backup software with fast Delta Restore (Macrium Reflect 6 and FlasBack - formerly AX64)

    3. Image based with snapshot capability (Acronis True Image with Try & Decide feature)


    Rollback is the fastest of the bunch, but it is also the most dangerous. Many people on Wilders hate it, others like me love it. In any case it is not a backup software, you absolutely need to do your regular Terabyte backups. And this is mandatory reading:
    http://community.horizondatasys.com/forum/rollback-rx/2885-rollback-rx™-the-“unofishul”-faq

    The "Copy on Write" tools are less dangerous, but also slower. Main disadvantage is that you cannot freely jump between snapshots. Once you restored an older snapshot then all your later snaps will be gone. No changing your mind later.

    For the Delta Restore imagers Macrium 6 sticks out, it is very reliable. Speed is a lot slower than snapshot tools, but it will give you a real image backup on a separate drive which you can restore in case of a problem with the Delta Restore. FlashBack is similar, but it uses a tracking file which makes it unusable for some users. The company also does not have a lot of man power and resources, so the current stable product still has a couple of issues.

    The Acronis Try & Decide feature is not popular at Wilders, mainly because many people think that Acronis True Image sucks. Personally I also do not like the current versions, but I still use older versions which work very well as long as your system is not UEFI /GPT.


    Alright, this was just a brief list of things you might want to consider.

    Cheers
    manolito
     
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    For the most part I'd agree with Manolito. But a couple of differences. Since you are having some issues, first call is for reliablity. I've fooled with a lot of the products mentioned and where speed is concerned and personally by far I think Macrium 6 paid is the most reliable.

    I also did a brief test comparison of swap over speed, and I found the macrium rdr restore to be almost comparable to a rollback swap.

    Pete
     
  5. Umbra

    Umbra Registered Member

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    if you just test , i guess the machine doesn't contains sensitive or important datas, so no big deals if it is wrecked; so i would use Rollback RX , even if it may malfunctions , you just have to reload a backup you have made before installing RX.
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    valnar,

    Another approach is to not have your data in the OS partition. Then a restore of the OS partition should only take a couple of minutes. Does one really need to restore Rambo 4 each time?
     
  7. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  8. MarcP

    MarcP Registered Member

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    To clarify. Farstone RestoreIT does not support Windows 10 and hasn't been updated in a long time. You don't say what OS you use so it's worth mentioning.
     
  9. valnar

    valnar Registered Member

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    Thanks everyone.

    The app is SageTV, so it installed to C: drive. It's not data that's corrupt per se, but some important file in the app. I can duplicate the issue (of it being corrupt) with 100% certainty. I need to figure out what is wrong.

    I'm okay with a quick & dirty rollback software since after I'm finished with my troubleshooting, I'll restore a full backup anyway. Even a reboot between sessions is fine. So long as a snapshot can indeed be set back a couple minutes to a "good" config. Note that copying/zipping the directory to another location and putting it back doesn't seem to do the trick.

    I am running Windows 7 32-bit.

    Is Rollback RX what I still want?
     
  10. Stode

    Stode Registered Member

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    You should take a full backup of your system first, and then give the free version a shot, to decide whether you like it or not.
    Incase you're using SSD drive, remember that Rollback RX disables TRIM on it..
     
  11. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Also keep in mind that LIV programs "snapshots" like those mentioned by Froggie above, generally will not survive a reboot. That is, you can test whatever you want while within a particular session, but if you have to do a reboot in order to get the program to run, your virtual disk will close during that reboot thereby eliminating the test program from the drive.

    Ya, I know,,,,,clear as mud.

    Rx free should be fine for your purposes as it will survive the reboot but as suggested above be sure to do a full image of your drive before installing Rx as Rx has been known on occasion to trash systems.
     
  12. manolito

    manolito Registered Member

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    The latest version of RestoreIt is from June 2015. It does not support Win 10, but Win 8.1 is fully supported.
    SysRestore is very old indeed (but it is free), and I would certainly not install it on anything newer than Win7. And it does not support UEFI / GPT systems.

    Otherwise I agree with Stode. Rollback Home will probably fill your needs, but you need to take some cautionary measures.


    Cheers
    manolito
     
  13. manolito

    manolito Registered Member

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    Update for Farstone RestoreIt:

    Farstone just published a new version of RestoreIt. It is version 10, and it fully supports Windows 10.
    Just downloaded the trial, will do some tests in the next few days...

    Cheers
    manolito
     
  14. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Just dove in based on Mab's announcement above... I got out very fast :eek:

    Installed it, created (6) small snapshots. Returned to Snap #4 then returned to the Baseline it took.

    Observations...

    1. As anyone who has tried this before, you will find it messing up any other imaging chains you might happen to use following its installation. Reason... it carves off a hidden partition from your freespace which will cause an anomaly with your next imaging operation (original imaged partition is now smaller). You'll need to prepare for this after installation (new chain).

    2. Return to Snap #4 eliminates all snaps after that point on the timeline (#s 5 & 6)... they are no longer available.

    3. Returned from Snap #4 to Baseline and all my Chrome settings were screwed up... Chrome warned me and I had to re-signin and re-synch to even get close to where I was when the test began.

    That was enough for me. I was only restoring my Windows BOOT partition on a very simple 2-partition Legacy-MBR system... methinks that should work.

    The idea is nice, the implementation is a bit lacking. For an app that's been around as long as this one... it should just work by now.
     
  15. blacknight

    blacknight Registered Member

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    Not sure to understand what you want, but do you know ToolWiz ?
     
  16. MarcP

    MarcP Registered Member

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    I observed differently. RIT created a whole bunch of hidden 2GB files at the root of the C: drive. They're called VPARTXXX.RIT (XXX is an incrementing number) and it created 71 of them. Munching away about 150GB of free space right from the start. That would totally mess up my daily backups with Macrium (making the backup way bigger than it needs to).

    I didn't continue beyond this point.
     
  17. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    I should add some detail...

    The first attempt to use it did the partition carving. When I uninstalled the application after the 1st attempt, the hidden partition was gone but it left it in the form of unallocated space.

    I repartitioned the system to get it back the way it was before the 1st installation and did a 2nd installation... this one did not do the partition carving. My guess is it used your hidden files instead.

    It may be making a decision up front whether it can really afford to carve the needed space from the partition or not, then decide on the Virtual snapshot files... I really don't have a clue. But it sure shouldn't mess up my system settings when returning to a baseline reference o_O

    I've watched this app move along its timeline for a long time... I just decided to try it finally, for the heck of it. Reflect brought me back to where I started before RIT's installation.
     
  18. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Barring price considerations, I find Macrium v6 Home or server is fast enough it serves very well as a snapshot/rollback program with out all the hassle.
     
  19. oliverjia

    oliverjia Registered Member

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    Using any sorts of snapshot program, such as Rollback RX is asking for trouble. I can not stand any program creating hidden partition/files on my C drive, as I keep an close eye on how much free space left on my OS drive. I prefer to keep as much free space as possible on it. Therefore, I only do offline cold imaging/restore, no differential/incremental backups, not to mention snapshot program which will eventually break up your file system or your OS.

    I won't use any snapshot program even if they pay me to use it.
     
  20. manolito

    manolito Registered Member

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    ~ Removed Off Topic Remarks ~


    @Froggie

    So far I did not have time to test the new version myself, but some of the things you criticize are inherent to each and every "Copy On Write" snapshot software. After returning to a previous snap it is not possible to keep the later snapshots, only "Redirect On Write" software like Rollback can do this.

    For me at least the previous version 8.1 never carved off space from an existing partition for a new hidden partition. The snapshot files were always created on an existing partition, and it seemed that the partition with the most free space was selected automatically during installation. The user had no way to specify which partition should be used. Only the reserved size could be changed later, but all snapshots would be deleted then.

    In any case going back to the baseline and find your Chrome settings messed up is unacceptable. I will try to reproduce this behavior.

    I will most likely stick with Rollback as my snapshot software. Not being able to change my mind and go back to a later snapshot after restoring an older one is a real showstopper for me.



    Cheers
    manolito
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2016
  21. manolito

    manolito Registered Member

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    Spent an afternoon testing the new version 10 of Farstone RestorIt, this is what I found:

    Test platform:
    ThinkPad T410 notebook, Win7 64-bit. No UEFI, 320 GB HDD MBR mode, 3 partitions (System, Data and Drivers). The Data partition is the largest one.

    Installation:
    No surprises. I picked the "Typical" installation. RestoreIt created 40 GB of reserved space on the "Data" partition consisting of 21 files, each one had a size of 2 GB. It did not create an additional partition. All 3 partitions were included in the protection. The startup recovery console was integrated into the Windows BCD store, no changed MBR.

    Usage:
    Creating new snapshots was reasonably fast, I did not see a major difference compared to Rollback. Restoring an older snapshot was way slower than Rollback, probably on a par with Macrium. Mounting snapshots worked flawlessly. Going back to an earlier snapshot always destroys any later snapshots, but this is due to the "Copy On Write" method, there is no way to avoid this short of using the "Redirect On Write" method like Rollback.

    Restoring earlier snapshots including the baseline always left all my software intact. I could not reproduce any problems with Chrome, all my Chrome settings were the same as before. But then again I do not have an account with Google. Does Chrome store its settings in an unusual way?


    Working together with an image based backup software:
    I made a HOT backup with Acronis. I excluded the RestoreIt reserved space by specifying to exclude all files with the *.RIT filespec. Then I wiped the first few hundred sectors of my HDD to simulate a Bare Metal restore.

    After s successful restore my computer booted into Windows just fine, then RestoreIt came up telling me that there was no reserved space and asking me to specify a location and size for its reserved space. It then rebooted my computer, and everything was at the point it would have been after the initial installation. No complaints...


    My conclusion:
    Within the constraints of the method it uses RestoreIt works just fine (at least on my system). Just like Rollback it is not a backup solution. It is absolutely essential to use a separate image based backup software in parallel.

    For me the fact that after restoring a previous snap all later snaps will be gone is the real showstopper. Add to this the slow restore speed, and all of a sudden Rollback looks pretty nice again... But this is strictly my personal preference. Each to his own...


    Cheers
    manolito
     
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