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  • RollBack Rx and SSD TRIM

    Hello everyone!

    Over the past several weeks the question regarding RollBack Rx and how it works with SSD TRIM has seen resurgence. While the question was originally asked and answered in 2013 in this thread (when SSD’s were becoming more adopted by the mainstream population), it has come to our attention that more technical answers are sought after to explain how and why RollBack Rx works with TRIM.

    A little history

    Around 2011 SSD’s were starting to become a viable purchasing option for businesses and home users alike, including RollBack Rx owners. TRIM, the SSD equivalent of Windows defragmentation (as it acts as a garbage cleanup function), was also starting to come out the woodwork. At this time, our older version of RollBack Rx was tested on an SSD with TRIM enabled, but it could not be functionally installed and the software had to be patched to work with SSD’s with TRIM enabled. This was done, and is still the case.

    How RollBack Rx works with TRIM

    In November 2013, this explanation was posted in this forum thread regarding Windows defrag and SSD TRIM:

    Question: Does RollBack Rx support SSD TRIM

    Official Answer: Yes, it does. RollBack Rx has to support TRIM due it its architecture.

    2nd Question: How come this is different from what I see when using TRIM check and other utilities?

    Answer: You need to understand that RollBack Rx fundamentally changes the “view” and “perception” of disk usage. On a system without RollBack Rx, the disk sector allocation is “black and white” (used or unused – absolute), there are used sectors and there are unused sectors. What you see is exactly what it is (binary).

    On a system with RollBack Rx installed, the disk sector allocation is much more complex and “colorful” (then black or white only). These are what RollBack Rx calls used sectors and unused sectors. But the used sectors can belong to multiple/various snapshots. A sector can be used by snapshots 25, 26 and 27. The most intriguing part, is when you are in snapshot 20, that sector could appear unused to the system. What you see is not what it actually is. So continuing with the example above, when you run disk diagnostic tools (TRIM) or defragment tools in the snapshot 20, you will not be able to make a correct judgment for that sector (you see it as an unused sector but that is not the case). If it’s not seeing the sector usage correctly, how can it make a correct judgment based on the wrong information? This is why we don’t recommend users to run disk defragmenter tools or rely on SSD TRIM apps after installing RollBack Rx. It is not that these apps will damage RollBack Rx, but because they are not going to provide you with a clear and accurate picture of what is going on.

    With regards to defragmenter we recommend uninstalling RollBack Rx or at least updating the baseline once you have completed defragmenting. With SSD TRIM utilities that work from within Windows you will not get an accurate read on TRIM.

    I hope this information helps clear the air and provide a better understanding of the RollBack Rx technology and its relationship with Defragging and SSD tools.
    This answer has not changed, but we believe additional clarification is needed as extended testing has been done internally and externally.

    The test

    Here’s the test that was run and the findings.
    1. Installed RollBack Rx on a fresh machine.
    2. Took a snapshot of the clean state.
    3. Ran a batch script to fill up drive space.
    4. Checked the sectors to confirm space usage.
    5. Took a snapshot of the system with filled space.
    6. Rolled back to fresh snapshot.
    7. Ran TRIM.
    8. Checked the sectors. Confirmed sectors still in-tact following TRIM, as data space usage is protected by other snapshot.
    9. Deleted snapshot with disk space usage on it.
    10. Defragged inside of RollBack Rx.
    11. Ran TRIM.
    12. Checked the sectors. Confirmed they are still in-tact following TRIM, as data space usage is still protected by RollBack Rx as another recovery failsafe for a time.
    13. Uninstalled RollBack Rx.
    14. Ran TRIM.
    15. Checked sectors. Space was recovered and cleaned.
    The part that requires further explanation is Step 12 as the natural question that follows this is, “If RollBack Rx’s snapshot with the data on it is gone, why is that sector unaffected by TRIM?”

    RollBack Rx is all about layers – creating snapshots that store and protect data on the sector-level of the drive. However, sometimes it’s necessary to uninstall RollBack Rx or reset the Master Boot Record (MBR) in order to have a full recovery following a catastrophic event. Yet, some of you may be familiar with the fact that even after an MBR reset is done and the system is put back to the point when RollBack Rx was first installed, that it is possible to still recover data and pull up snapshots stored on the drive.

    That is due to an additional security layer made by RollBack Rx. Even after the removal of the software, there is a time left available to those sectors RollBack Rx was protecting where it’s possible to access them and restore your data. That time is limited, and without immediate action will soon be written over or, in the case of TRIM, remove the data once it runs*.

    Conclusion

    RollBack Rx still works with TRIM, and vice versa. But, as with all garbage cleanup utilities, it is hard to get an accurate reading of the drive as RollBack Rx will take over and redirect incoming TRIM commands to other sectors to ensure the integrity of the software, and the data, is not compromised until fully available.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. We’d also like to particularly thank our dedicated forum user Froggie for not only his extensive testing, but his time spent with our technicians and his write-ups on the matter.

    *In certain cases, those sectors are still protected from the automated TRIM function for a time, but if manually run by Optimizing the disk, it will reset the sectors.
    Overview: Brief on Defragmenting and Traditional and New SSD Drives To better explain this topic, I will need to go down memory lane and show you a similarly

  • #2
    Sam, thank you very much for that extensive explanation... But I' sorry to say it is still a flawed explanation.

    I will be happy to respond and point out the anomalies but at the moment I'm in Peru at Machu Picchu and have very little time and a lousy tablet for responses.

    I will be happy to respond after I return on July 30th.

    Comment


    • Sam Smith
      Sam Smith commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey Froggie. Sounds nice! Have a great time!

      I look forward to hearing back from you. Perhaps any lingering questions can be answered then. Cheers!

  • #3
    Originally posted by Sam Smith View Post
    This answer has not changed, but we believe additional clarification is needed as extended testing has been done internally and externally.

    The test

    Here’s the test that was run and the findings.
    1. Installed RollBack Rx on a fresh machine.
    2. Took a snapshot of the clean state.
    3. Ran a batch script to fill up drive space.
    4. Checked the sectors to confirm space usage.
    5. Took a snapshot of the system with filled space.
    6. Rolled back to fresh snapshot.
    7. Ran TRIM.
    8. Checked the sectors. Confirmed sectors still in-tact following TRIM, as data space usage is protected by other snapshot.
    9. Deleted snapshot with disk space usage on it.
    10. Defragged inside of RollBack Rx.
    11. Ran TRIM.
    12. Checked the sectors. Confirmed they are still in-tact following TRIM, as data space usage is still protected by RollBack Rx as another recovery failsafe for a time.
    13. Uninstalled RollBack Rx.
    14. Ran TRIM.
    15. Checked sectors. Space was recovered and cleaned.
    The part that requires further explanation is Step 12 as the natural question that follows this is, “If RollBack Rx’s snapshot with the data on it is gone, why is that sector unaffected by TRIM?”
    I left Sam's test above so readers could "read" it very carefully. In his final comment you'll see exactly what has been said for over 4-yrs now... as long as Rollback RX is active on your system protecting an SSD, no snapshot data ever created during its lifetime has ever been or will ever be TRIMmed.

    Originally posted by Sam Smith View Post
    RollBack Rx is all about layers – creating snapshots that store and protect data on the sector-level of the drive. However, sometimes it’s necessary to uninstall RollBack Rx or reset the Master Boot Record (MBR) in order to have a full recovery following a catastrophic event. Yet, some of you may be familiar with the fact that even after an MBR reset is done and the system is put back to the point when RollBack Rx was first installed, that it is possible to still recover data and pull up snapshots stored on the drive.

    That is due to an additional security layer made by RollBack Rx. Even after the removal of the software, there is a time left available to those sectors RollBack Rx was protecting where it’s possible to access them and restore your data. That time is limited, and without immediate action will soon be written over or, in the case of TRIM, remove the data once it runs*.
    The above statement is probably one of the greatest pieces of journalistic SPIN I've ever read To tell us readers that this great reason for never TRIMming data is to allow you to recover your data following the uninstallation of Rollback (either due to system disaster, accidental uninstall to the wrong snapshot or maybe some other MBR-related problem) is probably a good thing if any of those horrible things happen to you... but it is a terrible thing as far as SSD data management is concerned and fully confirms the fact that the OS TRIM command is completely non-functional while Rollback RX is installed. This is the only thing that has been claimed by knowledgeable users since 2011... TRIM does not work on a Rollback-enabled system.

    In conclusion, Sam says...

    Originally posted by Sam Smith View Post
    RollBack Rx still works with TRIM, and vice versa. But, as with all garbage cleanup utilities, it is hard to get an accurate reading of the drive as RollBack Rx will take over and redirect incoming TRIM commands to other sectors to ensure the integrity of the software, and the data, is not compromised until fully available.
    To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what Sam is saying in his conclusion (most likely part of that "spin" thing ). Clearly, based on his own words from his post above, TRIM is NOT WORKING until Rollback is uninstalled, and even then there is a problem as has been mentioned in one of my previous posts.

    Originally posted by Sam Smith View Post
    Thank you for taking the time to read this. We’d also like to particularly thank our dedicated forum user Froggie for not only his extensive testing, but his time spent with our technicians and his write-ups on the matter.
    Sam, you and the rest of HDS are very welcome for my intense interest in this subject, but clearly based on your above post, which I believe represents HDS' current position, you're company is not ready to admit to its users that the SSD TRIM function is non-functional while running under Rollback RX. I cannot fathom the reasons for this (other than maybe embarrassment) and will not try to. I just hope your readers/users clearly understand your statements above and see how Rollback is preventing the proper TRIMming of their protected SSDs.

    Originally posted by Sam Smith View Post
    *In certain cases, those sectors are still protected from the automated TRIM function for a time, but if manually run by Optimizing the disk, it will reset the sectors.
    The statement above means exactly what it says... the "for a time" is defined as the entire period Rollback is installed on your system. To clarify Sam's mention of the "Optimizing" function... no "Optimizing" function attempted with Rollback installed will reset any sectors on your system. And if you uninstall Rollback to your CURRENT SNAPSHOT, that same "Optimizing" function will also be non-functional due to the flawed Rollback driver still being active on your system at that time. A system reBOOT is REQUIRED (which will eliminate that stale driver) before the standard Win8 Optimizing function will once again be functional.

    In my conclusion, I really don't have much more to say. I've worked very closely with HDS SENIOR TECHNICAL SUPPPORT demonstrating "our" 4-yr old claim of non-TRIM compatibility but after almost months of "re-examining" the problem, The HDS (via Sam above) position is still that some sort of good thing is really happening with Rollback and SSD TRIM... clearly, based on Sam's response above, it is not. As readers/users, all you can do is examine responses from both HDS and myself and make your own conclusions.

    Thank all of you for taking time to read these threads concerning Rollback, SSDs and TRIM... I hope it has been enlightening and that you fully understand what has been written about this issue. Since my calling has never been a SpinMeister by design, I will no longer be responding to this Rollback/SSD/TRIM issue in these forums. If anyone has a specific technical question concerning this issue, please feel free to use the Private Messages function of this forum to do so.

    Thanks for listening!
    Last edited by Froggie; 08-03-2015, 08:57 AM.

    Comment


    • #4
      Hey Froggie!

      Glad to see you made it back from vacation safe and sound. I hope it was nice!

      Now, I believe we're going to come to an agreement to end the discussion here. My original write-up was written with the full input of our Senior Technical Support and the lead developer, and that is the technical team's final official response on the matter.

      As always thank you for your time and have yourself a great day!

      Comment


      • #5
        Trim doesn't work ,.... I lost over 60 Gb of space with 1 Snapshot... it's not releasing the space... period.
        After uninstall of Rollback i gained all the space back.
        So when I had Windows 8, every month i had to re-install it, cause my drive would end up with no space...
        and uninstall was the only way to claim my space back.
        Now i don't use rollback... since it won't work with windows 10.... which sux.. waiting 6 months for a compatible version
        Last edited by Sam Smith; 08-06-2015, 08:23 AM. Reason: Edited due to inappropriate language.

        Comment


        • #6
          I am a bit confused, we are told that Rx supports TRIM but then we are told that for TRIM to work Rx has to be uninstalled from the computer. Could you please explain how this is Rx supporting TRIMs function?
          Last edited by billy; 08-05-2015, 10:08 PM.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by mrdutchie View Post
            Trim doesn't work ,.... I lost over 60 Gb of space with 1 Snapshot... it's not releasing the space... period.
            After uninstall of Rollback i gained all the space back.
            So when I had Windows 8, every month i had to re-install it, cause my drive would end up with no space...
            and uninstall was the only way to claim my space back.
            Now i don't use rollback... since it won't work with windows 10.... which sux donkey ***.. waiting 6 months for a compatible version
            MrD, just so you understand, the TRIM function and non-release of allocated space are two separate issues as far as Rollback is concerned, each distinct from one another.

            Usually, space is returned for Windows allocation purposes by Rollback when snapshots (containing unique data that doesn't exist in any additional child snapshots) are deleted and the process is followed up by a Rollback DEFRAG operation. Sometimes this is done automatically depending on your RBrx settings, otherwise it needs to be done manually. The TRIM issue specifically deals with internal SOLID STATE DISK space management and won't be an issue until the SSD runs out of its over-provisioning space and needs to re-use the unTRIMmed areas. At this time there will be a degrading of your devices speed and internal uneven WEAR LEVELING (spreading the WRITE operations around evenly to obtain maximum device life) which is definitely detrimental to the SSD itself.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by billy View Post
              I am a bit confused, we are told that Rx supports TRIM but then we are told that for TRIM to work Rx has to be uninstalled from the computer. Could you please explain how this is Rx supporting TRIMs function?
              Can someone with the technical knowledge in this area clarify this issue for me. One the one hand Sam says TRIM is supported but then says that for TRIM to work Rx must be removed from the PC. This makes no sense to me so I am hoping that Sam, or someone else, can explain this confusion to me.

              Comment


              • Sam Smith
                Sam Smith commented
                Editing a comment
                Hey billy,

                Sorry for the confusion there.

                As mentioned in the original post, TRIM does function with RollBack Rx installed. But, just like Windows defrag, the garbage cleanup command will be redirected to sectors not protected by RollBack Rx as to not destroy any of the data stored in the snapshot protected sectors.

                Cheers!

            • #9
              ...and Billy, just to remind you... if you decided to fill up your disk with test data then delete it *which is what happens with Rollback and successive snapshots), then return to your baseline, delete all snapshots (except the baseline, of course) then Rollback defrag all your deleted snapshots (leaving no reference to any data that has ever been previously created)... all that data WILL NOT be TRIMmed from your SSD until Rollback has been removed from your system, the system reBOOTed.and an Optimization run has been made under Win8 (or do the same under Win7 with the "SSDtool").

              That simple exercise was tested by me many times on a Rollback-protected MBR-based system configuration and every time the data was still being carried by the SSD (unTRIMmed) following the uninstallation of Rollback. I cannot state this any more simply than that.

              Comment


              • #10
                Sam

                As mentioned in the original post, TRIM does function with RollBack Rx installed. But, just like Windows defrag, the garbage cleanup command will be redirected to sectors not protected by RollBack Rx as to not destroy any of the data stored in the snapshot protected sectors..
                But does this not mean that TRIM is not, or rather cannot, work properly when Rx is installed? I think I understand why that would be. If TRIM worked then Rxs snaps would be lost. Thats why, I suspect, that the cleanup command is redirected to sectors not protected by Rx. But unless the drive is partitioned then the entire drive is protected by Rx so TRIM cannot work at all on drives that are being protected by Rx.

                This is why I do not understand the statement that Rx supports TRIM. Unless my understanding of the situation is wrong then I do not see how Rx can support TRIM an]d this is why I am asking for a more complete explanation.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by Froggie View Post
                  ...and Billy, just to remind you... if you decided to fill up your disk with test data then delete it *which is what happens with Rollback and successive snapshots), then return to your baseline, delete all snapshots (except the baseline, of course) then Rollback defrag all your deleted snapshots (leaving no reference to any data that has ever been previously created)... all that data WILL NOT be TRIMmed from your SSD until Rollback has been removed from your system, the system reBOOTed.and an Optimization run has been made under Win8 (or do the same under Win7 with the "SSDtool").

                  That simple exercise was tested by me many times on a Rollback-protected MBR-based system configuration and every time the data was still being carried by the SSD (unTRIMmed) following the uninstallation of Rollback. I cannot state this any more simply than that.
                  Thank you Froggie, this is more or less my understanding and is why I am confused. I am trying to get a better understanding about what the statement "Rx supports TRIM" means. It seems to me that there are are at a minimum limitations to TRIMs ability to function and I am trying to get a clear understanding of what the limitations are. The statement "Rx supports TRIM" seems to imply that TRIM works as it should on Rx protected systems but I cannot see how this is possible given my understanding of the situation.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by billy View Post

                    Thank you Froggie, this is more or less my understanding and is why I am confused. I am trying to get a better understanding about what the statement "Rx supports TRIM" means.
                    To date, after many, many inquiries, no one has received an adequate explanation as to what that statement really means... only "spin," no details.

                    Originally posted by billy View Post
                    It seems to me that there are are at a minimum limitations to TRIMs ability to function and I am trying to get a clear understanding of what the limitations are.
                    There should be limitations, and those limitations should include any snapshot data that remains valid at the original parent snapshot itself or any existing children of that parent snapshot. But once the original PARENT and all its children are no longer referenced (deleted) and proper Rollback defragging is done (this is needed to return that space to Windows for future use), the data involved in those snapshots may be "cleaned up" which is where TRIM comes in. When that space is handed back over to Windows for future use, it should be TRIMmed. Yes, that space is handed back over to Windows and I'm sure Windows is issuing the TRIM command as required. The problem is that the TRIM command is being sent into a BLACK HOLE by the Rollback special driver and never sees the light of day in the SSD itself. As a result, NO DATA IS TRIMmed in the SSD, ever, as long as Rollback is active on the system.

                    Originally posted by billy View Post
                    The statement "Rx supports TRIM" seems to imply that TRIM works as it should on Rx protected systems but I cannot see how this is possible given my understanding of the situation.
                    I wouldn't count on that implication at all. "Supports TRIM" can easily mean it allows the issue of such commands from Windows but in no way means it may allow them to function... that's part of the whole spin thing.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Thank you again Froggie for your explanation, my understanding of the situation has increased. I am hoping that Sam can comment since he has a different perspective on the issue. I am especially interested in what Sam and HDS mean when they say that Rx supports TRIM when it does not appear to, nor can it, as far as I can see.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        I am hopeing that Sam, or someone else, can explain in what sense Rx supports TRIM. At this point it seems to me that it does not.

                        Comment


                        • Sam Smith
                          Sam Smith commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Hello billy,

                          If the original post at the top and follow-up to your other comment is still confusing, I would recommend reading more on the subject here: http://community.horizondatasys.com/...aggers-support

                          These are the official answers from the development and senior technical support teams.

                          Cheers!

                          Sam

                      • #15
                        I guess I must be dense as I still do not see how Rx supports TRIM or, for that matter, a disk defrag. If Rx has to be unistalled in order to do a defrag or for TRIM to be effective, then these functions (and thats what they are) cannot be carried out when Rx is installed. If the functions cannot FUNCTION when Rx is installed then Rx does not support them. So how then can you say that Rx supports these functions. Are you not able to explain this in a clear manner? Sending me to a page that simply goes over the same territory in an even less clear manner is not at all helping me.

                        Comment


                        • Sam Smith
                          Sam Smith commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Hey billy!

                          I can understand why it would still come across as unclear sometimes, because the answer when dealing with garbage cleanup functions with RollBack Rx installed is not so easily portrayed as black and white.

                          Directly quoted from the developers post on TRIM:

                          RollBack Rx is not affected by what’s going on at the disk level, but because of the nature of the TRIM commands, RollBack Rx certainly needs to be aware what the TRIM command will do to the sectors being “protected” in a RollBack Rx Snapshot. Without going into the details of how this is done, RollBack Rx will move the sectors that belong to RollBack Rx snapshots and then allow for the redirect of the TRIM command to where it needs to be executed. This is the proprietary way in which we work with TRIM. Thus, RollBack Rx supports SSD TRIM.
                          In regards to Windows defrag, RollBack Rx will act in a similar manner as mentioned above. It will allow for the defrag to run on the current state you are in, but on the sector-level of the drive RollBack Rx will protect the data captured by all snapshots.

                          In both cases the functions run on the current state you're loaded into, but the data being protected by all snapshots comes first.

                          Cheers!
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