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Instant Recovery / Snapshot Software Review and Guide: Rollback RX

By: Tasos Laurentiadis | Security & Backup in Software | Posted: Apr 28, 2013 11:16 pm
TweakTown Rating: 98%Manufacturer: Horizon DataSys

Program Functionality Analysis


Rollback RX should automatically pre-select the system disk/partition (C:) during installation. Once installation completes, the system must be restarted. RX will then take a snapshot of the system disk/partition before Windows loads. This first snapshot is called a baseline snapshot, the common base on which all future snapshots will be branching out from.


RX also adds a boot sector driver to the system. This driver enables users to press the HOME key upon system start-up, in order to access the RX recovery console, before Windows loads. From this interface users can save a new snapshot, restore an existing one, defragment or delete previously created snapshots, or even uninstall the program.


One of the greatest benefits of this technology is the fact that when you save or restore a snapshot, there is no actual data transfer taking place - as opposed to traditional backup methods, where data is being copied over to a different location when backing up/restoring. The inactive snapshots are still there on the same disk, saved on sectors that Windows and every other software deem as empty space; so there is no data transfer and no waiting time when creating or restoring a snapshot, it all happens in a few seconds. Rollback RX keeps a sector map, which enables it to see what data is common to one or more snapshots. This way there is no data replication among snapshots. Every new snapshot will only include the disk sectors that have been changed since its parent snapshot was taken.


After Windows has loaded, RX utilizes a driver which protects those inactive snapshots from being overwritten by the OS. This driver intercepts all writes addressed to sectors that contain inactive snapshot data and redirects such writes to truly empty sectors. This is seamless; there is no noticeable overhead even on older and less powerful computer systems. Of course the more changes that have taken place since the parent snapshot was taken, the more disk space a new snapshot will occupy. Saving or loading huge snapshots still takes mere seconds though, all thanks to the fact that the data is still there on the same disk.




The above image is a visual representation of the way snapshots work. The specific links between the snapshots in the picture are for indicative purposes only. Users can actually return to any snapshot at any time, add or remove new software or make any other changes to the system, then save the new setup as a new snapshot.

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