Urgent Request for Advice: Rollback RX Disaster Recovery

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by steve_in_jersey, Jun 6, 2013.

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  1. steve_in_jersey

    steve_in_jersey Registered Member

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    One of the longtime users on the HorizonDataSystems forum (Rollback RX) directed me to your forum to seek help with a critical issue I'm faced with. I have been using Rollback RX for several years. Last week my hard drive crashed (motherboard on the drive fried). A perfect storm of problems (which I won't bore anyone with) made it impossible for me to recover from backups I thought I had made, and as last resort I shipped my disk out to a highly regarded hard drive data recovery service. The recovery service called me yesterday evening to state that they are confident they could recover the files. But when they read off the date/time stamps for a sampling of files they could recover (Windows 7 operating system), they confirmed my fears - based on advice I received from Horizon forum members - that those files were actually from the original baseline snapshot I had made with Rollback, which was a year ago.

    A Horizon forum member advised me that all was not necessarily lost - that if I could have the recovery service do a full sector-by-sector restoration of each and every physical sector on the drive - i.e. of all allocated and unallocated sectors - and to put this back onto a bare metal drive of identical specifications - that they should be able to recreate an identical version of what I had prior to the crash, including the Rollback RX snapshots stored outside of Windows 7. The recovery service states that they are nearly certain that they can do this for me. That they've already recovered 95% of the physical sectors (the ones that were allocated) with no check sum errors, and they feel they can take off the remaining 5% without issue. But this would be a very expensive operation, and before I authorize them to proceed, I wanted to check first to see if I might still be faced with a risk that I could not boot into Rollback and have it bring me back to the current snapshot. So any advice here would be GREATLY appreciated as the recovery service is waiting for me to give them a go/no-go decision.

    Steve Marano
     
  2. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    Unfortunately there's no 100% guarantee that everything will be perfect. However,with the type of "complete" recovery mentioned you have a good chance of success.

    In future,you should ensure to create backup images,using one of the many utilities available (Macrium Reflect,Paragon B&R,etc);to a source separate from your primary disk.Disk snapshot utilities are useful,but unfortunately you've fallen victim to their fatal flaw,disk failure.

    Good luck !!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  3. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    I am not an expert. Wait for Rollbackrxfrog or PM him.
     
  4. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Hi Steve! Aigle poked me with a PM so I stopped by to see what was going on.

    Having read your dilema I can only offer the following advice. Your HDD recovery service said they have recovered 95% of the "allocated" sectors and feel confident in getting the other 5% when you asked about the whole disk recovery. As you know, the "allocated" sectors (as far as Windoze is concerned) are not the whole disk by a longshot unless it was pretty much full when it blew. You need a better statement from them on their recovery ability as far as the "unallocated" sectors are concerned, the ones that are available but unused by Windoze... that's where the RBrx snaps are located.

    RBrx snapshot data is all in and around (amongst) currently Windoze allocated sectors... RBrx never moved the original blocks on the disk when they became part of a snapshot, it just made them unaccessible as far as Windows was concerned in any snapshot (including CURRENT) that didn't hold that particular file structure.

    Short answer... if your HDD recovery service can copy/map all your disk sectors, Windows allocated and unallocated as well as all of Track 0 (sectors 0-63), to the same LOGICAL block on the new disk, the new disk should be fully bootable with RBrx in tact. That's basically ALL LOGICAL BLOCKs on the original volume mapped to the same LOGICAL BLOCK on the copy volume. If that can't be done, all RBrx snapshot recovery will be questionable at best.

    As far as the RBrx Scavenger is concerned, I have used it in the past with v9.1 configurations and have found it to be a crapshoot as far as success is concerned. The only version that was ever available from HDS was circa 2009 and many things have changed since then... I wouldn't rely on it to dig out snapshots from the original MB repaired HDD or a successful copy.

    I would also ask them since they apparently have the original volume "working" again, maybe they could RAW image (all LOGICAL BLOCKS, used and unused) that volume using a standard imaging tool and provide you also with the image. That way you could use the same tool to recreate the volume on your own. Many RBrx users have used RAW images to save snapshot information for future restoration or builds.

    I'm not sure I can offer any more advice here... the situation is tricky, especially where the cost of all this by the HDD recovery service is in play.
     
  5. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    What is important to you:

    1. Your data

    OR

    2. Your OS, as OS can be created again for nothing, no money should be wasted on this.

    Though, Rollback Rx doesn't protect either the data or OS, when disaster strikes. Rollback Rx is nothing but wastage of money, time and energy.

    Best regards,
     
  6. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Hi Steve,

    it is not guaranteed that it will work, even if they include an raw backup on another drive.
    If you do know what kind of files you want to salvage you can ask them to perform a raw recovery mode based on file signatures (without taking in consideration the file table of the volume). It should cost less and you will have a better chance of recovering everything. The only problem with that method is that the file names cannot be recognised and you'll have to manually look over them to identify them.
    http://www.ontrackdatarecovery.ie/data-recovery-software/ie-filetypes.aspx

    Panagiotis
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  7. steve_in_jersey

    steve_in_jersey Registered Member

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    Thanks, everyone, for the incredibly rapid and thorough answers.
    I think based on above that I will go ahead and authorize the recovery.
    For the record, assuming I get everything back to a working state again, I'm going to approach this in a much smarter fashion: move all data to a separate drive and back that one up with standard data backup / file synchronization tools. And then I'll look into the alternative to Rollback Rx that I understand others here and on Horizon's forum are evaluating: AX64.


    Steve in Jersey
     
  8. steve_in_jersey

    steve_in_jersey Registered Member

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    Actually, I do have one further request.
    The recovery service said it would be less expensive if I could pick up a replacement drive and send it to them. They said ideally it would be identical to the crashed drive, but otherwise should match as closely to specs of the original as possible. The original drive is a Western Digital WD1001FAES (1 Terabyte drive), which appears to be out of production and out of stock at the places I usually turn to. I'm pretty sure I could track one down on the Web, but I'd prefer to go to my local MicroCenter here in north Jersey and pick one up. Could anyone advise on what would be an acceptable replacement? I would think I could simply pick upon another 1TB drive, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
     
  9. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Steve,

    Here you go... -http://www.amazon.com/Wd1001faes-Western-Digital-Sata-6gbps-1tb-7200rpm/dp/B004ZH7Q92-
    Enhanced version: -http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-WD1002FAEX-Internal-Desktop/dp/B0036Q7MV0/ref=pd_cp_pc_0-

    Should you 'strike out' on attempts to get an exact replacement, I would ask that recovery service to recommend (or confirm) a suitable replacement drive.

    Good luck!
    TS
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  10. steve_in_jersey

    steve_in_jersey Registered Member

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    Thanks!
    Just ordered one and am having it drop shipped to the data recovery company.
     
  11. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    OP can you tell us what the recovery service is charging? Always wondered what they charge.
     
  12. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    Yes I'd be interested too.If memory serves me right I believe it is a rather expensive service.
     
  13. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Hi Steve! Any updates on the issue?
     
  14. NormanF

    NormanF Registered Member

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    Moral of this thread:

    Back up ALL critical files - stuff you can't really afford to lose - either to an online account or to external media - like a USB flash drive, CD, hard print copies, etc. Better both for redundancy, you can't have too much back up for that ultimate peace of mind.

    Paying a disk recovery service can get expensive with no assurance every thing gets recovered! Make a habit of backing up your data so that if you do lose your hard drive, your precious data on it will still be safe! :isay:
     
  15. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    I'm surprised the DRC is asking YOU to purchase a disk. They should know more about this stuff than you do. They should be able to do so, what with all their "resources" and stuff for little more than what you could. And to a DRC, identical drives mean the same model number printed on the label on the disk drive, not necessarily the usb housing. And it should be of the same manufacture date.

    I don't use RollBack RX much except for on a few machines my houseguests use when they visit. And even then I'm planning switching over to Sandboxie and VM and similar stuff. So I don't even pretend to know all the details of how it manages sectors. Which *IS* what it does. Unless your DRC can restore RBRX tables and maps, there's going to be a LOT of filecarving needed to restore these files.

    RBRX adds another layer of complexity that degrades a filesystem's ability to provide protection and efficient operation for your data. With proper backups and virtual machines, I'd guess the safety and restorability benefits are really the same. If not better.

    Consider RBRX usage, to restore a system to pre-disaster state. Well, a complete disk image backup + VM will not only do that, it will do it much better. And by virtue of having to keep in the disk images separate and away from the computer you'll have added protection by default. A level of protection RBRX cannot ever provide. And as soon as I'm done writing this I'm going to go and get started on the houseguest machines sooner than later. It was a nice 6-month experiment. But I have to say the old-school disk imaging method is better.



    For those of you wanting to know exactly how much a data recovery operation costs? Let me tell you, a lot!

    A simple undelete or even logical recovery (no failed mechanics or electronics, just file corruption and user stupidity) can cost from $100 to $500.

    When internal parts needs to be acquired and replaced, then the price shoots up from there, especially with damaged and scratched media. Might as well throw in filesystem rebuilding too. $2000.

    Forensic grade work average of $5000

    Pulling out all the stops and spinning the spintable, 10K easy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  16. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    One question to the OP. Backups you thought you made? Sounds like you actually went through the process of imaging or doing something. But they failed? Why?

    It is important that you discover and fully understand why they failed, or why you failed to be able restore from them. Otherwise the same mistake will be made again. Thus negating any future backup effort.

    No backup/restore stories and details are too mundane for most of us here. Perfect storm or not. They are of great value and will help others from making the same mistakes.
     
  17. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    One more thing, then I'm done. Any highly respected DRC should understand RBRX and know how to work with it and around it. They should be good enough that they can pull files from a specific snapshot and time frame.
     
  18. andyman35

    andyman35 Registered Member

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    I hadn't realized that it was quite that expensive :eek:

    Unfortunately most people only discover the benefit of back-ups/imaging after such an event.
     
  19. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Steve in Jersey, I see in your June post that you are aware of AX64 Time Machine, so I think you know what I'm talking about if I highly recommend it. I was a long time RBrx user, and when I uninstalled it back in April to do a defrag, I started reading the AX64 thread and shortly there after downloaded it. After a short learning curve, I didn't re-install RBrx. AX64 is backed up to my external HD, and find that with a few clicks I can restore to a previous snapshot like with RBrx, and after creating a recovery disk I was able to restore my system in a few minutes UNLIKE RBrx. If you are back in business by now, do yourself a favor and check it out if you haven't switched to it already. :thumb:
     
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