Raxco Instant Recovery - Comparisons

Discussion in 'FirstDefense-ISR Forum' started by Peter2150, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    A lot questions are popping up re the Raxco Instant programs. First a couple of basics

    Raxco IR is an update of the old FDISR. Major enhancements are you can now install directly in Win 7/8 with out the fudges needed for FDISR. Better snapshot isolation. Faster.

    Major differences between Instant Recovery and Instant Rescue.

    Snapshots Recovery 10 Rescue 1
    Archives Recovery yes Rescue no.

    Okay so what is Instant Recovery

    Snapshots are a bootable copy of your system. The snapshot can be a direct copy, or you can modify it.
    By modify you can completely strip it down to bare essentials. You could have just a gaming snapshot. The downside to a lot of snapshots is disk space. They must reside on the C: drive

    You can boot between snapshots from the GUI or, there is a preboot screen that comes in prior to the windows boot manager, and here you can interrupt the boot and choose the snapshot to boot into.

    The preboot is NOT installed in the MBR. There is NO modification to the MBR.

    Archives are off disk copies of a snapshot. They are not bootable, but need to be restored. Also you can't restore the archive of a snapshot while in that snapshot, you must be in another snapshot. You can have as many different archives as you want. Archives can be of the same snapshot but different points in time. The only limitation would be disk space as they are essentially the same size as the snapshot.

    Another powerful feature is the ability to exclude files and or folders. More on the use of this later.

    I am going to break this post here, and in the next post cover comparisons. Then in a third post I will do some of the ways I use it.
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Post II

    Comparison. A Caveat. I admit the bias, but will try to be factual.


    1. Macrium is in my opinion the only 100% imaging program. It has incremental/differential capability and you can move chains of disk for storage. In essence giving it back and forth in time capability. Speed is excellent. My C: drive is 117gb. My machines are mid level gaming machines with 3 internal drives A full base image takes about 18 minutes. Incrementals take on average 2 minutes. Reliability is excellent. Images can be mounted and files and folders can be extracted.

    2. AX64 TMv2. I personally don't consider it an imaging program. If it can't handle Perfect Disk, that flunks it for me. It uses Incrementals for being able to roll back and forth in time. It's forte is extremely fast incrementals, providing the tracking system isn't broken. Then the time reverts to the time of a full image. It uses image file format, and images can be mounted and files extracted.

    3. Rollback Rx is a fast snapshot program. It works by storing new sectors on the disk, hidden from windows, and tracked by a filter driver. Biggest problem is if that filter is broken all snapshots are lost. Also images must be full sector, which can be huge. Problems with Rollback are documented well in this forum.

    4. Raxco Instant Recovery. Uses file based snapshots stored on the c: drive. The snapshots are bootable. They can be changed from the original snapshot. Archives are the off disk copy. They are not bootable. Use of the archives for back and forth in time, as each point in time would take another archive. Archives can not be restored into their snapshot, so you restore archive a into snapshot a you must boot into snapshot b. To create a snapshot or archive on my machine from scratch takes about 40 minutes. To update them only takes about 2. IR is clearly not as efficient on disk space or time, but it just works. You can make unbelievable change then roll them back. Much quicker then restoring an image.

    on to post 3 some of the uses I've made with it.
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Post III

    This is coming
     
  4. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Pete, I have downloaded the IR Guide (manual) in a pdf and am reading it to re-familiarize myself with it after not using FDISR for such a long time. That done, I will download the IR trial which is 15 days, after which I will buy it. FDISR was great. I have a 1.50 tb hard drive with 70GB used space, so snapshots are no problem in relation to size.
     
  5. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    The C: drive space could be a deal breaker for meo_O I have a 160 GB ssd drive with, on a good day (meaning I've deleted all the Windows Restore points or disabled Windows Restore); I only have 23.7 GB open.

    I used to use FD-ISR but can't remember how big the snaps were...
     
  6. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    That well maybe the case. I have a 1tb drive using only 117gb.
     
  7. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    It may be tomorrow until Post 3
     
  8. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Twl, it all boils down to how you intend to use the program. Even if you have lots of space for many snapshots, bear in mind that if you wish to use an imaging program too your images will become very large. Creation of an image also will take much longer if you have many large snapshots.

    @Chamlin - not sure if you mean you only have 23.7 gb free space - that may not be enough. I am also using SSD and have two snapshots on this - one is basically the current active drive and the other a "stripped down" snapshot of the OS without any other programs. I use this purely for booting if my prime snapshot has become corrupted/obsolete or has changes I don't like. Once I have booted with the bare minimum snapshot I can use any of the archives (as Peter explained these are non-bootable snapshots) on external drives to override the prime snapshot to the status I prefer. I am sure Pete will provide more info on that tomorrow - he is the expert on all of this. I like the fact that I can use the program to revert back to an earlier state without immediately wiping out the full drive. So if something goes wrong with an update, I may use Instant Recovery first and still have an image as a fall back option.
     
  9. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Thanks, Beethoven. And yes, only 23.7 GB free on the drive. I'm going to see if I can move some music production plugins to a free drive I have to make this viable to experiment with.
     
  10. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Chamlin, I am on Win 7 / 64 and looking at my explorer properties I have used approx 82 gb. That includes the "stripped down snapshot". The size of the stripped down snapshot/archive is about 13 gb. I recently migrated from a normal hd to a SSD but got this valuable advice from BrianK: " Remember, a 128 GB SSD or HD only shows as 119.2 GiB in your computer. Your used space is currently 76.1 GiB and you should never exceed 90% used space with a SSD even though there is probably about 10% over-provisioning."
    Given that I noticed Win 7 plus office etc is constantly growing, at the end I decided to buy a 256 SSD though at this point I certainly do not need the full size, keeping my data elsewhere.
     
  11. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Yep, one of the catch 22's is to get to a stripped down snapshot you need the space to first copy the full one.
     
  12. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the tip, however my Macrium stores my images on an external HD. You have a good point about snapshots also being included in an image, and the extra time to make an image. I never keep more than 3 snapshots and images though.
     
  13. Alexhousek

    Alexhousek Registered Member

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    I'm sorry Pete, but I'm struggling with why you like this software over AX64?! To me, it has several issues or problems that make it unattractive to me. 1) It saves it's images or snapshots on the c drive; 2) in doing so, it makes imaging with a standard imaging program have significantly larger images; 3) it doesn't appear to be a good solution for going back & forth between snapshots like AX64 (at least the first version); and 4) it doesn't sound like it is a good option/tool for using if you want to test out a software program or a utility; and 5) what happens in the event you are hit with a virus, will your snapshots be corrupted?

    Can you explain where you find RIR useful or in what situations you think it excels?

    Thanks.
     
  14. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Okay here is Post 3

    Uses of IR

    1. The classic approach that Raxco is now selling. One just makes a 2nd complete snapshot. That's it. Then keep it current with copy update. The idea is you work normally and if disaster strikes, you just boot into the other snapshot, and continue working. My sager laptop is set up this way. What I do is say I am going to do windows update. I refresh the other snapshot, and just let windows update run. Then if there is a problem, I boot to the other snapshot, and refresh the main one undoing the update This undoing is much faster then an image restore. Simple and effective.

    2. The way I use it. I only have a secondary snapshot, that after first creating it, I stripped it way down. I also created two archives, of my Primary snapshot, and one of my Seconday snapshot. How do I use these. Normally I keep the two archives update and the same. But say I want to do some major test, uninstall something, and install some new major piece of software. If I don't like it, I boot to the secondary snapshot, and restore from the archive to the primary. That puts the system back like it was. Sometime, if I want to play with the configuration a bit longer, I may save it in one of the archives. That way go back to the original and come back to the new. Each change is much quicker then a full image restore.

    Some of the things I've done.

    1. Tested using it for image replacement. I wiped my drive, then reinstalled windows. Didn't even activate. Then installed FDISR(or IR). Immediately restored my secondary archive, creating a secondary snapshot. Booted to the secondary, and restored the primary. When I booted back to the primary my system was back like I started. True it took a lot longer then an image restore, but it worked.

    2. A real life example of FDISR/IR bailing me out of a bad fix. I did something I shouldn't have done, and didn't realize I had a corruption on the disk, and also it had corrupted a chain of incrementals. The disk corruption was manifested by a folder that even chkdsk could get rid of or fix. I thought of using FDISR/IR to try and fix it, but was, correctly it turned out, told that to fix the disk structure problem, I needed to either install windows fresh, or restore an image. Problem was because of what happened the only image I had was a year old. Arrg.

    So what I ended up doing, was creating a new FDISR/IR archive, and using the exclude function, keep the corrupt folder out of the archive. Then I restored the year old image. It already had FDISR installed, so I first restored the archive of the secondary to get it current. Booted to the secondary, and restored the primary. Voila problem solved, disk good as new.

    That exclude function is unique and can be a gem.


    Pete
     
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Alex hopefully this last post will help. Yes it appears there are downsides. But there is a big trust factor. I used the warm restore, and it never failed me, but I never trusted it enough to not have a macrium incremental backing me up.

    Also it claimed to be an imaging program but still really isn't. That doesn't leave me trusting the whole thing. I think even though released, TMv2 is still in beta. Ask yourself, why did they start selling a program that wasn't ready.

    Finally it comes down to my faith and trust in the vendor. Raxco has proven itself. Go to the Raxco site and look at their list of corporate clients. These are people they have already earned trust from. Without enterprise type clients do you think AX64 will survive?

    To do what I do with my systems, I have to have 100% faith in the vendor. I do with Raxco.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  16. Alexhousek

    Alexhousek Registered Member

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    Thanks Pete. It was somewhat helpful. Though, to be honest, some of it was hard to follow for me. Some of your terms are not familiar to me; like "copy update", "refresh the snapshot", "secondary archive' vs "secondary snapshot". It's not clear to me what those mean since I never used Rollback RX or FDISR. Thanks for the explanation anyway.

    To be honest, I'm still using Macrium as my primary image backup and AX64 for manual updates (like before Windows Updates). I seldom, if ever, utilize AX64's "time machine" function like I originally thought I would. It's more like a crutch or a cane sitting in the corner of the room and I'll use it if I hurt my knee again....
     
  17. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    LOL. It took some time for me to wrap my mind around IR too (then known as FirstDefense). But that was about 12 years ago and FirstDefense/IR remains to this day my favorite recovery program, so flexible.
    Acadia
     
  18. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Alex, one of the bottom line answers to why IR over XA64 TMv2, can be found in the last few posts in the AX64 thread. Reliability. I go back to 2006 with FDISR, and it has never let me down. I have 100% trust in both IR and Raxco. I can't say the same for AX64. I agree with the person who said they are selling an Alpha release.
     
  19. Masterblaster

    Masterblaster Registered Member

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    Is there backup software that works with this?
    I need "Time Machine, Go Back capability" but also need to backup my whole HDD.
     
  20. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    Master, if I am understanding your question correctly, InstantRestore is compatible with imaging programs. The only exception that I know of is the built-in Windows imaging program. It will still work but you must turn off the pre-Boot IR feature while doing the Windows image, then turn it back on when you are done. But you do not have to do anything if imaging with ShadowProtect or Macrium, IR is perfectly compatible with both. As to the other major imaging programs, others will have to chime in.
    Acadia
     
  21. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    You can add Image for Windows to the list. Raxco did tell me if you use Acronis you will have to turn off pre boot.
     
  22. Alexhousek

    Alexhousek Registered Member

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    Pete, I follow that thread closely. To be honest, I've never upgraded to version 2. I still use version 1 on my Win 7 (64 bit) machine. But, as I said earlier, I am not really using AX64 for what I originally hoped it would do (testing new software or using before new windows updates).

    My question to you is can I use both AX64 and RIR at the same time? Also, how quick is RIR in making "snapshots" and how many can I have at the same time?
     
  23. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    Alexhousek, I will attempt to "fill in" before Peter's more informative answers. Yes, you can use both AX64 and IR at the same time but it is rather complicated. The master of FD/IR, pandlouk, once posted a way to do that somewhere in Wilders but you must realize that it is complicated because of the processes you are asking those two rather powerful programs to do. "Going back in time" changes what the other program has saved, etc.

    As for making new Snapshots, that depends upon many factors and that answer is NOT a cop-out, that is the truth. How powerful is your processor, do you have a SSD or mechanical drive, how may gigabytes of c:drive are we talking, etc.

    Good luck,
    Acadia
     
  24. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Alex

    I did a lot of testing with AX64, and RIR. It does work, but most of time it messed up the tracking file, so any time saving was gone. Let me go back an amplify some of the differences.

    In RIR Snapshots are bootable copy of you logical c: drive. The must be on the physical c: drive. Each snapshot will increase the size of an image so to many of them isn't good

    Archives are non bootable copies of a snapshot.

    Both snapshots and archives can be updated by a copy operation. Lets define something. On your disk you have two snapshots, one called Primary and one called Secondary. Then on either an other disk or external drive, you can create an Archive of either or both snapshots. In this example we will just use the Secondary snapshot as a place to boot from, so we strip down so it can just boot windows. This keeps disk space down. So are primary working units are the Primary Snapshot and Primary Archive.

    Okay so now we want to test a piece of software. First we make sure our Primary archive is current, by doing a copy operation to update the archive. Then we install the software to test it. If we like it and want to keep it, we just update the archive, so now the software is in the archive. But if we don't want to keep the software, we boot to the secondary snapshot, restore the Primary Archive to the Primary Snapshot, and then boot back to the Primary Snapshot, and the new software is completely gone.

    This might seem more complicated then AX64, and in a way it is. But with V1, you have two options, hot restore, or recovery CD. So the question is how much do you trust them?

    pete
     
  25. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Hi Pete, Not being a techie, I don't want to be stripping snapshots down at this time. When I used FDISR and I wanted to try a new software, I would copy the primary to the secondary to bring the secondary up to date. Then I would boot to the secondary and install the software and see how it fared. If I was satisfied that the software was OK and I wanted to keep it I would copy the second snapshot to the primary. If not I would boot to the primary and copy it to the secondary erasing the bad software. What do you think?
     
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