Rollback rx

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by gergy, Dec 21, 2005.

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  1. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @Starfish
    That is interesting. And dissappointing.

    Despite all the apparent convenience of RBack, and I do like the concept, the indexing system and "take over" of the MBR definately seems to conflict with almost every other salvage option.

    There may be a new utility coming from HDS (reading between the lines here and on the HDS website) which will allow a full restore with RBack installed and would not lose Rback snapshots.

    In the meantime, I see Peter has developed a strategy combining FDISR, (Terabyte?) and RBack which works for him but which seems a bit cumbersome and time consuming.

    As this thread unfolds there are some interesting scenarios occuring with RBack.

    I will probably use a combination of Rback and Terabyte. The Terabyte apps may have their limitations but they are very user friendly and stable.

    Look forward to hearing more from you.
     
  2. starfish_001

    starfish_001 Registered Member

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    Indeed I tried HDS clone but does not appear able to read my SATA drives so for now looks like I have to buy Dtive Snapshot.

    Interestingly Acronis sent me this
    "Our Development Team has tested the compatibility of Acronis True Image (Acronis True Image 9.1 Workstation, in particular) and RollBack RX and couldn't have reproduced the problem described by you. They have found no conflicts between the above products in the system protected by RollBack RX."

    So I'll have to send them some more data
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    @Longboard

    You are right about the 3 products, and yes you could call it a tad cumbersome. But the beauty of doing it with FDISR, is you can do a non destructive test.

    With Terabyte, and acronis the only way to be 100% sure you could recover from a hard disk crash is to actually do a restore. But should that restore test fail, you've wiped out your disk. I can't afford that risk. With FDISR I can test that I could recover from the hard disk crash and it doesn't wipe me out if it fails(It hasn't). So for me I chose the cumbersome but tested method as backup. Also since I am doing this I just also image without Rollback installed and it avoids the issue.

    Pete
     
  4. mikisu

    mikisu Registered Member

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    It seems that a lot of ambiguity is being created as to whether or not Rollback and True Image can work together.

    In all fairness to both companies,it must be said that they can.

    In a normal situation,I can confirm 100%,that there is absolutely no problem whatsoever,with TI succesfully imaging and restoring-PROVIDING the correct technique is used,as recommended by Acronis!

    This is achieved simply and efficientlly.

    Rollback is also able to function brilliantly,without the need for un-installing.

    I think we can take Acronis word for all of this.

    It seems that apart from unique difficulties,such as Starfish,in some other cases,the approach is unecessarily complicated and troublesome.

    Mike

    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2006
  5. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @ Peter

    You have made a very crucial point; you are able to test your restorable image.

    I was not intending to be disparaging. I admire your thoroughorness and the thought that has gone into your approach. I do not currently have the hardware at home or work to easily test the best way forward. Which is why I have been keeping a close ear on your updates. Thanks.

    I am just abit sad we have not been able to easily integrate RBack into a hardware salvage option.

    @mikisu

    I may have missed that specific link/info could you post same, thanks.

    @Starfish
    Yes, HDS Clone seems a bit under done at this point but may develop into something better.

    Lbd.
     
  6. mikisu

    mikisu Registered Member

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    LongBoard;

    I posted the official solution at least three times-please check out posts 363 and 378 on this thread and post 6 on thread "Norton Go Back and True Image working together ".

    Using this simple method,you can do just about everything with TI,prior to RollBack starting up and complicating things, with no problems at all.



    Of course,TI has a "Validate BackUp Archive" function,which surely is sufficient to test your image.How much more proof is reasonably required?

    I am not sure why you are worried about problems in case of hardware failures.

    I have a normal installation and am as protected as you can get,just using the obvious features,quite simply.

    My theory is not to go looking for problems if they are not there!

    I would be happy to assist if you have any problems,either via posts or using private messages.

    Mike

    .
     
  7. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @mikisu
    OK, thanks, have checked those posts.

    I might not really understand this !!! :blink:
    I may even not be understandable!! o_O

    Are you suggesting Using Acronis ( or say BootitNG not installed, from floppy only) in the pre boot environment will enable a bootable recoverable image to be made even with RBack installed and maintain MBR and RBack snapshots.

    As I understand so far the RBack app changes the MBR.
    Will an image made in the preboot environment then be OK?
    What about a copy made in the same environment?

    The reason I worry about hardware salvage is I previously lost a HD to some defect and had to spend $$ getting the data back.

    I am ( more likely others in this house ) quite capable of rooting my software.
    This box is home and work and play for the tin lids.

    I guess like many people, I effectively have all my stuff on the HD. Some things change rarely. Some things often: constant updates to data bases and files. What I wanted was to be able to keep a bootable image/copy on external hard drive. I have some really core data duplicated at work on a daily basis and kept on USB flash.

    Terabyte is the go there for me for imaging and boot management.
    Rollback looked like a bonus for "quick" recovery.

    My secretary has in the past lost a chunk of work by copying in the wrong direction!! We have up to 6 people who have to have full access for work. No internet by choice at work. No e-mail :D best choice ever.!!

    I loathe reinstalling. I have some data bases tweaked for special needs at work and redoing them takes forever and is fraught with problems.

    I was hoping for an easy solution for both hardware and software.

    To date Peter's plan seems workable and secure but time consuming as noted.

    Have you tested the Acronis solution with RBack installed for a recovery?
    Any body else?

    Regards.

    Clear? lol.
     
  8. mikisu

    mikisu Registered Member

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    LongBoard,

    You are far too modest,anyone who has a secretary is a genius:D

    May I explain the whole simple sequence,AS OFFICIALLY RECOMMENDED BY ACRONIS(see previous posts for source),which will ensure perfect success,except possibly in a small number of individual cases, which may not be normal or average.

    (1) Have a TI bootable Disc,which is inserted whilst everything is running normally,but not acted upon.

    (2)Restart the computer

    TheTI disc will boot up almost immediately,before Rollback or before Windows starts.

    You are then presented with the full TI menu,which enables ANY action to be taken,including imaging or restoring

    Just before posting,I took a perfect Image,at great speed, without touching RollBack.

    (3) When you have finished with the required action with TI,just shut it down by clicking top RH as normal.

    Then Rollback will enable as normal and Windows will load.

    You are back into the Windows environment,as usual.



    (2) The simple explanation for all this is that neither Rollback nor Windows has been activated at the Acronis Boot stage and therefore there is no incompatibility.

    Forget about the MBR and all that complicated stuff,which has no bearing on the issue ,as presented.

    "The Master Boot Record (MBR), or partition sector, is the 512-byte boot sector, i.e. the sector on the logical beginning of a hard disk that contains the sequence of commands necessary for booting the operating system(s) (OSes" Wikipedia.

    As the MBR sequence is not activated until AFTER the Acronis action is finished,there is no conflict.

    The Acronis disc is written in Linux,which acts independently of Windows,enabling the sequence as discussed.

    Rollback DOES NOT have to be uninstalled ,or any special action taken with it,for the above sequence.

    (4)If the Image taken is validated with the TI validator,then it should be 100% for future use and it seems pointless,driving yourself crazy with worrying.

    The old saying is "Dont fix it til its broke",but it seems that in a lot of cases which have been posted it should read" Fix it til its broke"

    (5)Of course,nothing is certain,except death and taxes.

    In case of hardware failure,if the disc containing the Image is destroyed,then you are in trouble,for recovery purposes.

    However,any other hardware failure should not affect that disc or the image.

    Just repair the hardware and restore the image.

    I think your problem is not with Rollback or TI,but how are you going to store the image.

    The most common option is a secondary internal slave drive,used only for archiving,where I keep the TI image.

    I do keep a check on the disc health from time to time.

    The other option is an external drive,not really any more secure,because that could equally break down.

    The other option for the paranoid, could be two two extra disc drives,which together with Rollback would give Fort Knox isafety,I suppose.

    Then again,I think you could just burn the Image to a DVD.

    Once again I feel the AVERAGE USER will have no problems at all,using TI and Rollback

    Mike

    .
    .
     
  9. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Thanks

    I am not ATI user although I appreciate its' value to many.
    AFAIK there is not native support for USB or DVD/CD burning.

    With Bootit I can use all three and I have my bios set up for usb booting if req, although I still have CD, DVD and floppy option.

    This is why I am still h a n g i n g o n .....:)

    Hopefully Terabyte will look at just what Acronis have suggested: the preboot image with RBACK installed.

    Also hopeful someone here will test just that :)

    LBD
     
  10. starfish_001

    starfish_001 Registered Member

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    I don't see how my situation is not normal - one SATA drive 3x partition

    I don't see how using the recovery disk to clone a drive to a identical drive can be considered complicated - I would also suggest that gives the best chance of sucess - it does not work without the reinstall of RB on 2 of my systems.

    On those same systems TI will not image the O/S partition with RB installed.

    Acronis have and continue to be knowledgable and helpful - HDS are almost silent I have had a support call for 6 weeks
     
  11. mikisu

    mikisu Registered Member

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    Starfish;

    The main emphathis here is that it must be admitted, the simple remedy WORKS-as Acronis intended, even though nobody who posted seemed to be using it and then complained of incompatibilities



    Then some wondered why the dreaded hal.dll problem eventuated,but thats a different story.



    You are obviously having difficulties, which I dont doubt,but I would suggest that for the majority of users using RollBack and TI,in typical situations,there are no problems whatsoever-as long as the TI approved techniques are used.

    The situation as I see it ,is that a few posts seem to represent the individual problems out of all proportion, so that the big picture is completely lost-which to me is that both perform brilliantly and are reliable.

    This could easily frighten many away from both, quite wrongly.

    Obviously report problems,but please dont pretend they are typical!

    This is unfair to both Rx and TI.

    It seems that in your case apparently even Acronis cant duplicate the problem,so you could hardly call it typical!

    As regards cloning, surely the majority of users are primarily interested in the Imaging function-!

    Once again,I can only endorse Acronis, when they say there is no incompatabilities between these two.

    Other imaging programs may or may not work with Rx.

    If you are really concerned about the reliability of imaging in such a case,just switch to TI

    PS I wasnt specifically thinking of your case:D

    Are you saying HDS havent answered you-strange,my two email were answered by Lyall Patel within 24 hours.


    Mike

    .
     
  12. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

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    Over the weekend I used TrueImage's Boot CD (Linux environment) to both create and restore a disk-image while Rollback was installed. It perfomed both tasks flawlessly, but upon restore I no longer had Rollback or its snapshots!

    If HDS would only provide the ability to temporarily disable Rollback while preserving its snapshots, there would be no problems creating/restoring disk-images within Windows.

    ~pv
     
  13. Kenjin

    Kenjin Registered Member

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    i spent several hours today in researching how to make a backup of a Rollback protected partition without losing the snapshots. here are my findings + solution.

    first, a few words about how Rollback Rx is supposed to work basically. it should make it easier to understand why the usual imaging procedures do not work. i did not read all 15+ pages in this thread, so please apologize if something has been mentioned before.

    after installation of Rollback, all read and write requests to the protected partitions are redirected to the low level filesystem filter drivers of Rollback. these drivers ensure that modifications of existing files or creation of new files will not result in change of the original filesystem structures and the corresponding file data sectors. instead, they write everything (meta + real data) to unused sectors and record the information which of them are now used in its own maintenance structures. when reading files, the drivers get the data from the correct location according to the current snapshot.
    thus, when viewed not through the Rbx driver (e.g. Windows booted from BartPE CD, Linux, etc.) a protected partition would just look like the baseline snapshot. the sectors which hold the Rollback maintained filesystem structures and the related file data will appear empty. if they are changed, the Rbx snapshots get corrupted.

    consequently, in order to backup Rollback partitions including all snapshots, an imaging software would need to know these extra structures and copy them also. HDS Clone is most likely the only one which knows them. so the solution is to use an imaging software which is able to copy ALL sectors of the partition, not just the 'marked as used' ones. most of these programs have an option to do that but Acronis True Image does not. ATI will copy all sectors only if the filesystem is unknown, however that is not the case in this situation.

    another problem in this scenario is that Rollback relies on a custom master boot record. the imaging software would need to copy that one also in order to allow a successful restore. most imaging programs i know can't copy the MBR. True Image can do that, but only if you backup the whole drive.
    however copying the MBR from within Windows will most probably not work anyway, even if you use special tools like MBRWizard (http://www.geocities.com/mbrwizard/download.html). The reason for this is that the Rollback drivers will present the original MBR, which it backed up (on sector 22 in my case) at the time of installation, to every application reading sector 0. The real custom MBR can be seen only when viewing the drive not through the Rbx drivers.
    it might therefore also be necessary to backup and restore the copy of the original MBR for such cases or in order to maintain the possibility of a proper uninstall of Rollback after it has been successfully restored on a new drive. however for the normal work of Rollback, the original copy was not necessary in my tests.

    so to make it work you need to:
    1. do all imaging/MBR work from outside (e.g. BartPE, Linux) of the protected Windows boot partition
    2. use imaging software which is capable of copying all sectors
    3. use a 3rd party tool like MBRWizard to copy the Rbx MBR

    in my tests i used Drive Snapshot v1.37 and MBRWizard v1.53 from a BartPE booted Windows. using these tools as described above i was able to backup and restore a Rollback protected Windows boot partition to a new fresh drive preserving all Rbx snapshots. every snapshot could be restored and worked ok. subsystem worked too.
    well, i should say actually all tests have been done in a vmware virtual machine. however i see no reason why it should work differently on a real machine.

    CAUTION: when restoring a MBR you will actually overwrite the partition table as it is contained in the last 66 bytes of the MBR! do this only on a fresh drive or if you are 100% certain that you have not changed the partitioning in any way since you made the copy of the MBR.

    hope this can be useful to anyone.
     
  14. starfish_001

    starfish_001 Registered Member

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    Sorry but -I have two entirley separate installs of Rollback one on a Xp Home install another on Pro. One on IDE the other one on SATA both have more than one partition - one is dual boot the other is not - they have different Antivirus and Firewalls etc.


    I agree that TI and Rollback are both great apps but they may or may not be 100% reliable don't assume that they are otherwise you gonna get caught.

    Drive Snapshot has no problems on my build of Xp which is pretty standard on both these systems.



    I never did but I have tested on two the systems.

    Even with problems I like RB and ATI enough to buy 2 licenses. But at the moment cloning is my only backup - not ideal. For me only a clone is successful. Drive Snapshot imaging works every time that I tried it. But I would rather use ATI as I own a number of licenses.


    There is a difference between responding and working with to resolve. In my last exchange with HDS I was told

    "I guess you have to updated your TI to version 9. Our development team told me they found some problems with TI version 8.0"

    So I upgraded to TI Corporate 9.1 but the problem remained.


    Acronis are always excellent. They have sent a tool to look at disk structure and are working on a work around.
     
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I also am encountering an issue with Rollback that is making my uneasy about reliability

    Pete

    PS Will explain in a bit.
     
  16. starfish_001

    starfish_001 Registered Member

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    A new build (3602) of Acronis True Image 9.1 Workstation which has some fixes and better hardware support seems to work with Rollback for me. First time I can Image with RB installed.
     
  17. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

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    Pete, what's happening? ~pv
     
  18. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi PV

    Have a couple of things to take care of, and then I'll start a new FDISR v Rollback thread and explain in detail. Bottom line is I took Rollback off.

    Pete
     
  19. Atomas31

    Atomas31 Registered Member

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    Hi Pete,

    If you just took Rollback off, now I am very curious, whyo_O? (Hope you won't let us high and dry for too long ;-)

    I hope you have communicate with HDS and that you are gonna told us what there answer was :)


    Best regards,
    Atomas31
     
  20. beetlejuice69

    beetlejuice69 Registered Member

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    It`s a funny thing but I was thinking on going back to FDISR myself. Two major screwups is just about enough.
     
  21. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

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    Clearly, a few of us here have experienced one or more serious problems since installing Rollback, and the thing is I don't see HDS all that concerned... :doubt:

    ...at the very least, it would be comforting to know that they are doing the best they can to figure out what's going on!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  22. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    I have used Rollback again & again & again -- MANY times -- because I was beta testing OA-AV+ & Clamwin & a couple of other security applications that are in beta stage. In fact, one of them is in alpha. In all this time, I have had NO problems in rolling back after (sometimes) extensive impacts of unstable software including (sometimes) BSODs.

    Ergo, IMHO Rollback is a most faithful & useful program -- not a cough in a carload -- even though I am doing this on WinME. I am still amazed by the speed of RB, & by the very small space used by the snapshots it makes.
     
  23. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @ Peter,
    That interesting !!.
    You obviously stress the capability of RollBack to the max. :eek:
    I have had no problems to date but only maintain one or two snapshots with regular baseline updates.

    Second thoughts for me arise from giving over almost total control of the system to RollBack. It becomes the defacto pivotal control mechanism.
    There is almost no way to check the validity of the snapshots and possible data loss.

    I have another question: if anybody can assist:
    Until becoming more oriented to full back-ups/images I used ERUNT and Regopt a lot.
    I have just realised that RB may interfere with these excellent apps.
    Any thoughts?

    OT: @Bellgamin I saw your link to Smartbuster: does it do as promised?

    Regards.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2006
  24. mikisu

    mikisu Registered Member

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    Longboard-with all due respect,maybe RB isnt for you,as I think you wouldnt feel secure using it and would unecessarily worry:D

    A few points;



    Snapshot validity can be checked by going to the SnapShot Management -Browse function.-if necessary OPEN against the item on the RH pane.

    This shows whether files have been snapped OK.

    Individual files can be restored,if you really want to doublecheck the integrity.

    Rb doesnt have control ,over your system,because underneath its own system-its all Windows as usual-RB cant change any settings etc.

    RB is designed to be stressed,surely

    I take hourly snaps and restore whenever something goes wrong with new downloads or too aggressive utilities-such as the current RegMech,malware scares etc,etc-110%brilliant.

    Last week I restored I think 8 times in two days

    I think a lot of the problems people are having are due to RB being installed in a messed up system and then poor old RB is being made the scapegoat!!:-*

    A SECURITY SUGGESTION

    Have just realised that anybody can have full access to any info,with Rollback.

    For example,I use Roboform for all my passwords,which gives access to my stockbroker,banks, etcetc.

    Roboform is of course, password secured.

    However any password can be accessed with RB,unless its secured.

    Just go to Snapshot Management ,Browse and Open functions and voila-you are within the bowels of Roboform,with all its secure info. before the intruder

    To secure -go to program settings-advanced -enable system security.

    This however requires a password for starting Windows.

    DEFRAGMENTING

    RB admits its a waste of time running a regular deframenter with RB installed,as whilst this can be done,it has no effect whatsover.

    RB seems to defrag.the snapshots within its own system-but this is NOT a substitute for a proper defrag,with for example a utility such a O+O.

    I have checked this point several times.

    For a start I have defragged all the RB snapshots.

    Then I had to uninstall RB,to allow the regular defragger to work properly.

    I then loaded up the regular defragger,to see the situation visually,which can be seen on a screen on O+O Defrag.

    Had the RB defragging had any effect on the C harddisc,it would of course have shown up as a fairly non-fragmented disc.

    ,However,ON EACH OCCASION,the disc was a fragmented mess,taking 15 minutes at least to correct.

    If you dont believe or agree with this and think,RB defragging is sufficient-just try this out.

    Of course the performance differences by fragging or not arent big enough to be noticed all the time,so a lot of people assume that the RBfragger is doing a good job.

    Mike

    .
     
  25. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Interesting Mike. I found that if I defragged with Perfect Disk, then installed and ran a week with Rollback, and then uninstalled my disk was in better shape then if I ran without Rollback.

    Ironically I trashed things several times, and had no problems. It may well be the problem also was in trying to do a branching fork with snapshots, although HDS said this was okay.

    Was my system messed up. Nope. I had just uninstalled Rollback, cleaned up with the defragger, and everything was fine.

    Just one failure with this type of software is disconcerting. Also HDS was no help, and the one suggestion just wasn't practical for me. When I ran into the FDISR problem, I was the only one that had that issue, but they worked it thru, found the problem and fixed it. HDS telling me no one else has seen this problem, ergo it isn't a problem is as discouraging as the problem itself.
     
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