Recover files from C drive after losing files from last two years

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by NCP, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. NCP

    NCP Registered Member

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    I'm not a newbie nor an expert, but somewhere in the middle. Perhaps someone can explain to me what might have happened for my Win7 computer to revert back to the way it was two years ago. I lost all data files since then.

    I have a Dell Inspiron 580, i5, 8GB RAM, running 64-bit Win7 in one HDD. The other HDD is smaller and runs Linux Mint 15. I decided to install Linux 17 from a bootable USB which has several distros on it (made it with YUMI). I shut down, restarted, and with F12 chose to boot into Linux HDD. When I had moved some files in Linux into the C drive of the Windows HDD, I shut down and let the computer naturally boot into Win7, which it normally does by default with the Windows MBR. In the meantime, I had left the bootable usb in by mistake.

    I could not log into windows. My RollbackRX splash screen came up and I chose an earlier snapshot, but still could not load windows. I tried an earlier snapshot but didn't work. I then inserted a Win 7 System Repair Disc and tried to repair boot sector with recovery console but it would not work. I removed that CD and inserted the Win7x64Bit Reinstallation DVD from Dell and got into the Recovery Console. I tried several commands in command prompt, including bootsect /nt60 c: /mbr. It seemed to work but when I rebooted, I got a screen that said Windows failed to start, and told me how to fix the problem. At the bottom, it read: File: \Boot\BCD, Status: 0xc000000f, info: an error occurred while attempting to read the boot configuration data.

    I can't recall what I did next but from the recovery console, I think I tried to repair MBR again. When the computer rebooted, RollbackRX screen did not pop up but it went directly into Windows. But, my computer seems to be set back to a restore point in early April 2013. I lost all files and data after that point.

    RollbackRX v.10.0.0 had just been purchased and installed but I can't open the console. Double-clicking on the exe files does nothing. I'm thinking of just uninstalling and reinstalling it since it appears there's no hope of recovering snapshots. I'm using the computer as little as possible while I try to figure out what data I can recover before it gets overwritten.

    Questions:

    1) Could I possibly find snapshot files to restore by using something like Recuva?
    2) Is it best to try to recover as many files as possible again using Recuva or can someone recommend an alternative? My goal is to salvage what I can before it gets overwritten.
    3) Any idea how this happened?

    Thanks in advance for any insights you can offer. I think I'll backup more often and consider keeping files in a separate partition from the OS.
     
  2. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    I'm not trying to be wise here... but I believe you just MET Rollback RX in its worst possible way.

    I can't offer any solutions at this time. You should contact Horizon Data Systems through their trouble ticket system and ask for their help... and DON'T DO ANYTHING MORE to your system.
     
  3. NCP

    NCP Registered Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply. I don't get the MET Rollback RX thing, but I will submit a ticket and go from there.

    I'm at a loss as to how this happened since I was trying to repair the MBR and not do a system restore.
     
  4. NCP

    NCP Registered Member

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    Any guesses as to why Rollback RX was not able to restore previous snapshots from two different days? Is it because the MBR was messed up at that point?
     
  5. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    NCP, as soon as you performed the above... Windows (along with Rollback and its database) was most likely toast. You absolutely CANNOT change the protected Windows file system from outside of that protected Windows OS. When you moved those files via Linux, Rollback had no idea that it had happened, and the copy most likely destroyed Rollback's protected file system as well as some of the hidden snapshot data.

    I don't know how much data you moved but the amount will definitely determine the damage done to the Rollback file system. HDS will most likely try and get you to use a tool of theirs called the Snapshot Scavenger. In some cases it may be successful in accessing some of that hidden data Rollback takes care of (the snapshots)... in many other cases it does not. Work with HDS as best you can and hope for miracles while the process unfolds.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  6. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    PS- it's way more than an MBR issue at this point... it's a Rollback database issue that's probably been whacked.
     
  7. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    That was probably a bad reference on my part. What it meant is that many Rollback users have gotten caught up in similar types of issues, not just writing data over the protected system but also getting screwed up by Windows updates as well as automatic uninstall/reinstall issues. Rollback is very prone to these types of things and unless your system is well backed up, you're probably gonna have to start from scratch again.

    A lot of us here are former Rollback users... and the operative word here is FORMER, there is a reason and I believe you've just been exposed to it.
     
  8. NCP

    NCP Registered Member

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    Thanks again for the info. I copied a wallpaper folder from Linux into the Windows C directory plus a couple of pdf files into My Documents in Windows. I thought I could read and access files on the Win7 HDD from within the Linux HDD which is a separate hard drive, not a Linux partition on the same HDD as Windows.

    Rollback RX has saved me quite a few times before so I was surprised when it didn't work this time. Hmmmmm...

    On the bright side (if there is one), this was not work-related data but personal data, still important to me but not the end of the world.

    So if I had my data on a separate partition from the Win7 OS, the data could still be salvaged if I had reinstalled Win7 again from scratch, right?

    I guess Rollback RX can only do so much. Time to consider cloning software. I have Image for Windows but I'd like to update. Will check out those threads. Thanks again!
     
  9. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    When you went into the Rollback HOME screen and tried to access a previous snapshot (and failed), that kinda says you may be in deep doo-doo. When you finally repaired the MBR and successfully BOOTed into Windows, at that point you would be in your last BASELINE (1st in the series) Rollback snapshot and Rollback will be completely neutered... this is as expected the way that Rollback works.

    Save as much of your 2013 data as you can, preferably from OUTSIDE of the protected Windows system (don't WRITE, just read from that protected partition), and when all other options reach their climax, I would rebuild that Windows system from scratch and return your recovered data to that system. I would then NOT reinstall Rollback until you understand exactly how it works... all its intricacies, then make your decision. There are other options for managing snapshots on your system... none of them will be as fast as Rollback, but some of them will be much more reliable and also provide for system backup at the same time.
     
  10. Kurtis Smejkal

    Kurtis Smejkal Registered Member

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    Kurtis from Horizon Data Sys here.

    Once the MBR got reset it killed the subconsole. That said, if you submit a support ticket, you'll have to set up an account or log in to a pre-existing one. We have a scavenger tool that will find your files, which we can mount onto a Virtual Drive, that you can then take from and recover your files. I would leave everything as it is for now, and wait for our support staff to contact you! We want to leave things as they are to keep the chances of us recovering snapshots as high as possible.

    Once you submit your ticket, please email me at kurtis@horizondatasys.com and just provide me with your Ticket ID. I'll fast track your ticket through support. I want this to get attention ASAP.

    Cheers
     
  11. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    You can READ all you want... you cannot WRITE into the Rollback protected areas outside of that LIVE Rollback-protected OS.
    When it works, it works very well... But...
    As long as that data is on a non-Rollback protected partition (even on the same HDD), it would be fully accessible.
    For many people it works very well and for a long time (NCP... :rolleyes:?)... but when it fails, it can be devastating as far as resident data is concerned.
    IFW is a fine imager but clearly not a great snapshotting tool... I used it for years while protecting my system (still do, sometimes, when the occasion calls for it). You should look into the new version of Macrium Reflect (v6). It works very differently than typical imagers. When you use it to return to a previous incremental snapshot, it no longer restores the whole system up to that point in time... it now restores only the file structure differences between where you are and where you want to go to... a much faster process, kinda like a real snapshot. I was involved with the BETA testing of the product, and now that it's been released, I have a licensed version. It's probably the closest you'll get to snapshotting via an imaging tool and it works very well. Don't leave it off your short list.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  12. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    As long as the partition table remains intact (on mbr disks).
    Sometimes during the uninstall/reinstall routine of RB-RX, it can delete the other partition table entries and if it happens to an extended partition good luck with recovering the logical partitions.:cautious:

    Panagiotis
     
  13. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Pandlouk will always be there to fill in the gaps :thumb:

    Thanks, Panagiotis!
     
  14. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    :)
     
  15. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

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    Hi NCP,

    First off I can't help but ask, did you really mean RollbackRx v10.0.0? ...that version is two years old!!! ...the current version is 10.3

    Re your questions #1 & #2, I'm sorry to tell you that Recuva (and similar data recovery tools) won't help at all. They can't see RB's snapshots.
    Re your question #3, I believe Froggie's guess is as good as any but regardless of the reason, at this point stop messing with your system (at least until you give HDS support a chance at salvaging your data)! If you continue to do that it will only make things worse ...if that's possible!

    Wishing you the best of luck,
    pv
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  16. NCP

    NCP Registered Member

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    Good to know. Of course I didn't have data on separate partition so I am back to square one. I hope Kurtis from Horizondatasys can help. I am so tempted to try and recover what I can with something like Recuva or Testdisk but not sure how to go about it. If I could do something from the separate Linux drive so I can avoid using the Win7 HDD. I've already lost almost a full day with this issue.

    Thanks to both of you. My kids call me the Greek geek but I don't even come close to Panagiotis!:)
     
  17. NCP

    NCP Registered Member

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    Yup, 10.0.0. It shot my system back to two years ago, probably the first snapshot when I first installed it. What can I say, I'm a busy person and didn't keep up with the updates.

    I'm not looking for snapshots at this point but just a way to recover any documents or music files that I had that may be lurking on the HDD and not overwritten yet. I'm happy to salvage anything at this point.

    Will give HDS a chance as I await their response. I've opened a ticket and emailed Kurtis. Hoping for some good news. Yes, I'm staying off the system, using a spare laptop for now. Thanks for your reply.:)
     
  18. NCP

    NCP Registered Member

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    As expected, Scavenger tool didn't work. I'm still in touch with tech support but I'm now preparing for the tough, time-consuming task of trying to retrieve what I can from the drive.

    Lesson learned. If you use Rollback Rx, ALWAYS supplement with permanent backup of your drive or data using something like Acronis, Macrium, Clonezilla, etc. My head' still spinning about this one.:eek:
     
  19. Kurtis Smejkal

    Kurtis Smejkal Registered Member

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    Drive Cloner Version 6 will be able to make an image file of your drive (including snapshots). If you'd like, email me about it and I can get you in the beta. Everyone in the beta gets a full copy of the program once the beta is done, so free software!

    Cheers,
     
  20. NCP

    NCP Registered Member

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    After several failed Scavenger attempts, recovery attempts with testdisk, photorec, getdataback trial, I am unable to recover anything past April 2013. I have lost everything since then. They are no longer in good enough shape, from what I can tell, to recover from the unallocated space. Four hundred GB of data gone, due to a problem that HDS has known about for several years now but does not warn its users about adequately.

    I cannot begin to express how disappointed I am in RollbackRX and especially myself for not having backed up my data sufficiently. Who knew the very software advertised to bring your computer back in a disaster would actually CAUSE a disaster that you could not recover from.

    Tough lesson to learn. Life goes on...
     
  21. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

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    It certainly is a tough lesson to learn and I truly feel for you, but please enlighten me as to the problem you're referring to ("that HDS has known about for several years...")? That's not to contest the laying of some blame on HDS, but I'd like specifics. :confused:

    In any case, you should recognize that user-fault was at least equally at blame. The major user-fault (as you now know) was complete disregard for backups. Image-backups should be a vital part of everyone's computer use! Another contributing factor (as questioned in my prior post) was running that 2-year old RBrx v10.0.0, the very first iteration of a new major release (which typically is problem-prone)! :eek:

    More often than not we learn the most important lessons in life from the school of hard knocks - I sure have!

    pv
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
  22. ArchiveX

    ArchiveX Registered Member

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    I used Rollback Rx for many times in the 2008-2014 period.

    Keeping multiple copies of my files away from my PCs
    helped me against the Rollback Rx disasters I faced.

    Since the beginning of 2015, I've used Imaging solutions.
     
  23. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    I'll jump in here without trying to flame Kurtis, who can't possibly understand where those of us who have been burned by RB (and HDS) are coming from. Back in the 2010-2012 time frame I was a very satisfied RB user until one morning when attempting to boot my PC I was greeted with a BSOD before RB's sub-console launched! Subsequent boot attempts resulted in the same BSOD.

    I submitted a support ticket with all necessary details (hardware, Windows, and RB configurations) as well as the BSOD message. With my submittal I stated that the last thing I did the day before was to download and install MS' monthly Win7 patches. Finally, I expressed urgency on my ticket. A couple of work-days had past and I didn't get anything more than the earlier acknowledgement that my ticket was received so I went to the forum with my issue. A few members (including pvsurfer) suggested I try the Scavenger tool to save my data which I did but to no avail. Fortunately, I did have a week-old image backup of my system (created after uninstalling RB) and pvsurfer advised me to not wait any longer before restoring that backup. So since I desperately needed my laptop for doing my job I restored that week-old backup (successfully). I worked around the clock for days recreating the past week's lost work (data) and never did install RB again.

    In summary, I loved RB before it broke (which was likely the result of installing the monthly MS updates)! HDS Support didn't respond in a timely fashion to my situation and when they finally got back to me I was told there was no remedy. Special thanks goes to pvsurfer, who taught me on how to backup a RB system (months before this episode) and upon hearing of my episode he encouraged me to restore my system and not wait any longer for HDS support.

    So Kurtis my experience has me believing that a program such as RB which works by 'taking over' Windows file management is prone to problems whenever MS releases kernel-level patches to Windows. If that is correct there has to be better procedures for preventing users from early installation of MS patches until HDS has tested their impact on RB. Finally, HDS has to allocate sufficient technical support for their end-users, which based on my experience is sorely lacking.

    Cruise
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
  24. Kurtis Smejkal

    Kurtis Smejkal Registered Member

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    I'm sorry to hear that, I've heard a few instances of Support not getting back to people promptly. It's not something I want to let sit idly by.

    The Scavenger Tool is great when it works, and it is sadly not a guarantee. I wish it were, but the issue is computer use. If the computer has a lot of programs and processes, it can bury those snapshots to the point where they become lost. What we tell people is when this happens, don't use the computer, and try to reduce on the programs and processes. Obviously your case is not an ideal one, but I have seen the Scavenger Tool work. It's just a case of it usually being too late for some people.

    The biggest issue with the Scavenger Tool (in my eyes at least) is communication. If people knew the right conditions that they could use to salvage as many of their snapshots as they can, the conversation regarding the Scavenger Tool would be completely different. I've used it in a VM setting, and I can tell you, even a few hours of average computer usage is going to hurt those chances.

    I'm really pushing for an article, an FAQ, something that would tell people how to increase the chances of the Scavenger Tool working. However, until that day, I'm here trying to preach to the audience haha.

    In the future, if you submit a ticket, feel free to fire me an email. If I have your Ticket info, I can look into it and make sure Tech Support is in top form. It shouldn't be that way, but I understand that really for you it comes down to a resolution.

    Cheers,

    PS: Don't worry about flaming me, they wouldn't have put me on Wilders if I wasn't flame retardant ;)
     
  25. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Lets say you are correct,,,if there is or was a problem you should not use the PC at all so that scavenger will in fact work. How are users to know this? Is this told to them first thing upon looking at Rx? Upon installation? Ever? The ans is no. I used Rx from version 7 to the time of the release of 10, thats probably 5 years, maybe more, and the first I heard of this was from you.

    In the past HDS has often said in reply to Rx problems that its the users fault,,,,,,here we go again.
     
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