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Rollback RX™ - The “unOfishul” FAQ

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  • Rollback RX™ - The “unOfishul” FAQ

    Edited and compiled by: Froggie (Member, Wilders Security Forums and Horizon DataSys Community) on 06Apr2015 (Updated: 18January2016)

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Horizon DataSys’ RollBack Rx™, a comprehensive Windows System Restore solution, is an extremely competent System protection application when all things are operating normally, but in no way is it to be considered a DATA backup solution. Due to its extremely sophisticated operating system integration, some of its DATA protection mechanisms actually may put your DATA at risk, primarily when using incompatible system management applications or while experiencing certain system failure modes.

    The attached document attempts to accurately discuss the incompatible system management functions as well as system failure scenarios that can put your DATA at extreme risk. The main items discussed lie in the areas of MASTER BOOT RECORD (MBR) management, operating system management of SSDs, external OS access to Rollback’s protected partitions, the Windows Update feature of the Windows operating system and catastrophic storage device failure. Hopefully this paper will assist the user in better understanding the possible vulnerabilities of using RollBack Rx™ within a complete System environment.

    PREFACE: The attached FAQ document below has been collected and created solely by Froggie, an at-large member of the Horizon DataSys Community. Its intent and purpose is to educate users of the Horizon DataSys comprehensive Windows System Restore solution known as RollBack Rx™. RollBack Rx™ is a trademark of Horizon DataSys located in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. All information contained in this FAQ was gathered from current and former knowledgeable users of RollBack Rx™. No significant contributions to this document were solicited from or contributed by any employee of Horizon DataSys.

    I would like to thank all those Forum members who provided input for the creation of this document. I sincerely hope its content will assist any current or future user of RollBack Rx™ in understanding the interactive relationship between the application itself and the Microsoft Windows™ Operating System that it supports.

    If Horizon DataSys feels this document's purpose is anything other than to assist its users in better understanding the RollBack Rx™ operating environment, they may feel free to remove it from their Forums with an appropriate public explanation as to why the action may have been taken.

    In the meantime, as users of this product, please feel free to offer any additional feedback that you feel could strengthen the content of the document and make it even more useful than originally intended... thank you!


    18January2016: Document update includes reference to newly released Rollback RX/Windows 10 Road Map... important in the fact that Rollback RX has become compatible with Windows 10 as of 09October2015. The section on Windows Updates has been changed to reflect the inability of Rollback RX to DEFER or DISABLE Windows updates on Windows 10 HOME systems. These systems are once again vulnerable to certain types of Windows updates.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Froggie; 01-19-2016, 06:04 PM.

  • #2
    Thank YOU Froggie for a very informative and revealing document. Up to now I haven't backed up my Rollback Rx Home system because I didn't consider it really necessary and wouldn't know how to do it even if I wanted to. According to you statement as to doing this (quoted below) it seems that I may be able to backup my system using my copy of Acronis True Image, would you (or anyone else) know if that is doable? If it is, any further directions would be appreciated.

    At the time of this document creation, the only known method for completely protecting a Rollback enabled system (including the CURRENT SYSTEM STATE, RollBack Rx™ and all its snapshots) is to perform what’s known as an External COLD Imaging operation of all the disk blocks (used and unused) located on any Rollback protected partition. This feature may or may not be included with all known disk imaging solutions so due diligence is required prior to selecting such a protection method.
    Aaron

    Comment


    • #3
      Aaron,

      Yes, you can backup you RBrx system with Acronis True Image as long as the version you have isn't older than 2010. I believe that's when Acronis first provided the option for a 'Sector by Sector' backup in their Home edition (Acronis' Workstation edition always had this feature).

      Firstly, in order to perform a cold backup you must have bootable rescue media, CD/DVD or UFD (which you probably already have created). Next, you need to boot your PC with that rescue media (during the initial boot sequence you may have to hit the f12 key or the esc key in order to select the media you want to use as your bootable device). You could also enter the BIOS and change the boot sequence to first attempt to boot you particular type of rescue media. This will result in your system automatically booting up into the rescue media's environment whenever the device is inserted in your PC.

      During the Backup operations you must select 'Sector by Sector', this is very important when Cold Imaging an RBrx system (if you fail to do this you will backup your RBrx baseline snapshot and nothing else)!!! Depending on your version of Acronis 'Sector by Sector' will either appear as a tick box at the bottom of the backup screen or it will be listed under Backup Method/Options. The remainder of the backup operations are what you would normally do, selecting your source drive (C) and your target drive (which would best be a connected external drive).

      Be aware of two aspects of this imaging method. It will take longer to complete than a normal (used-sectors only) backup and it will require more storage space on the target drive (usually 1/2 to 2/3 of the ENTIRE size of your source drive, depending on the compression level selected. Other then those considerations, you should wind up with a perfect backup of your RBrx system, including all snapshots (actually, I've been successfully doing this for quite some time)!

      pv

      -----
      Edit: It's worth noting that other image-backup programs may refer to this backup method by different names, such as 'All Sectors', 'Forensic', 'Maintenance Mode', or 'Raw'.
      Last edited by pvsurfer; 04-23-2015, 09:10 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey pvsurfer, thanks very much for those instructions. I have the Acronis True Image 2013 Home Edition and I see the sector by sector option on my boot CD. I was especially assured by your comment that you have been successfully using this backup method. Thanks to you I'm about to boot my Acronis Rescue CD and backup my C-drive with Rollback Rx (for the first time)) onto my external USB hard drive.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Aaron View Post
          Hey pvsurfer, thanks very much for those instructions. I have the Acronis True Image 2013 Home Edition and I see the sector by sector option on my boot CD. I was especially assured by your comment that you have been successfully using this backup method. Thanks to you I'm about to boot my Acronis Rescue CD and backup my C-drive with Rollback Rx (for the first time)) onto my external USB hard drive.
          You're very welcome Aaron and good luck on the first backup of your RBrx system. Please report back as to how it went - you really won't know (for sure) unless you restore the resulting image file. Doing that for the first time is nerve wracking (to say the least), but it's the only way to gain the confidence that you will be able to restore your system in the event RBrx can't do the job!

          pv

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pvsurfer View Post

            You're very welcome Aaron and good luck on the first backup of your RBrx system. Please report back as to how it went - you really won't know (for sure) unless you restore the resulting image file. Doing that for the first time is nerve wracking (to say the least), but it's the only way to gain the confidence that you will be able to restore your system in the event RBrx can't do the job!

            pv
            The sector by sector backup (after booting with Acronis) completed successfully, but since my system is running smoothly I don't have the courage to restore the backup .

            Comment


            • #7
              Aaron... I now you're scared but having a backup system that's never been tested is like not having one at all. And the last thing you want to find out when your system needs rebuilding for whatever disaster is that you can't do it at all. You really need to know... Do you have a spare disk laying around?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Froggie View Post
                Aaron... I now you're scared but having a backup system that's never been tested is like not having one at all. And the last thing you want to find out when your system needs rebuilding for whatever disaster is that you can't do it at all. You really need to know... Do you have a spare disk laying around?
                That's pretty much what pvsurfer told me in post #5 and I know you guys are right but I'm really afraid to risk a failed restore for whatever reason (btw, my one and only PC is a laptop). Would mounting the Acronis image be sufficient?
                Last edited by Aaron; 04-24-2015, 01:05 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Nope! But if your snapshots are not important at the moment, you can unInstall Rollback at the CURRENT SYSTEM STATE and wind up with a "standard" windows system (your curren't one), then use a FREE imager (I suggest AOMEI Backupper) and create a FULL image (RAW or All sectors not required). Then you can RESTORE your Acronis RAW image and it should wind up where you left off before the RBrx unInstallation. If it fails for some reason (I don't expect it will), you can then use your AOMEI image to restore and you'll have your system back (without snaps, of course) then reInstall Rollback... and you'll now have the knowledge as to whether Acronis can do your bidding or not (and... you'll know how to do it when needed)!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Froggie View Post
                    Nope! But if your snapshots are not important at the moment, you can unInstall Rollback at the CURRENT SYSTEM STATE and wind up with a "standard" windows system (your curren't one), then use a FREE imager (I suggest AOMEI Backupper) and create a FULL image (RAW or All sectors not required). Then you can RESTORE your Acronis RAW image and it should wind up where you left off before the RBrx unInstallation. If it fails for some reason (I don't expect it will), you can then use your AOMEI image to restore and you'll have your system back (without snaps, of course) then reInstall Rollback... and you'll now have the knowledge as to whether Acronis can do your bidding or not (and... you'll know how to do it when needed)!
                    Froggie, I understand (and like) your plan but may I ask why you suggest I use AOMEI Backupper to backup my system after uninstalling Rollback? Do you have any concerns about the integrity of Acronis True Image?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Aaron... not at all, when I wrote the above, I forgot you had it

                      If you're comfortable using that (and have it in hand) to image a standard Windows systen, go for it!!

                      Pls report back on your experiences...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Aaron,

                        First let me say that considering your circumstances Froggie's plan is the most assured way to go forward. I would just like to offer some additional suggestions after you have uninstalled RBrx to the current snapshot. Before you backup your system (with RBrx uninstalled) you may want to consider running chkdsk/f, and following that would be a good time to run a file defrag. Once that has completed successfully you can run your new full backup with Acronis. As Froggie said, sector by sector is not necessary when RBrx is uninstalled (for that matter, neither is a cold backup if Acronis is installed on your system). In any case, I suggest setting Acronis' backup option to enable Validation. After this backup completes and validates successfully you will be ready to restore the sector by sector backup that you made when RBrx was installed.

                        Restoring the Sector by Sector Backup: In Acronis' recovery options you should enable 'Validate backup before recovery'. By doing this, Acronis will check the integrity of your image file before actually performing the restore. A successful validation is a positive sign (a 'green light' to proceed with the recovery). Oth, a failed validation is not a good sign and is almost always a precursor to a failed recovery. Finally, if your version of Acronis gives you the option to restore the MBR, do it...

                        Good luck!

                        pv
                        Last edited by pvsurfer; 04-25-2015, 07:19 AM. Reason: corrected grammar

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Success! The sector by sector restore worked perfectly. My system is back to the state it was in before I uninstalled Rollback Rx and all of my snapshots are there! So (thanks to pvsurfer and Froggie) I now feel confident that this method results in a reliable backup.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To quote Colonel Smith of the A-Team: "I love it when a plan comes together!"

                            Great job, Aaron!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              20June2015: Lead document updated to include reference to newly released Rollback RX/Windows 10 Road Map... important in the fact that Rollback RX will not be compatible with Windows 10 until at least end of January 2016.

                              Comment

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