Instant Recovery / Snapshot Software Review and Guide: Rollback RX (Page 7)

| Apr 28, 2013 at 6:16 pm CDT
Rating: 98%Manufacturer: Horizon DataSys

An issue with SSD's and TRIM

There is one potential issue that should be mentioned. Horizon DataSys claims that the latest versions of RX have been fully compatible tested with SSDs and the TRIM command. The problem is that the developers refuse to release any details on how this is being accomplished.

This has led to some controversy, with some SDD users claiming that Rollback RX actually disables TRIM in order to achieve SSD compatibility. SSD users have been carrying out tests using the

TRIM Check application that we looked at recently, as well as the hex editor method. The purpose of such testing is to determine whether TRIM actually works under RX or not. The results consistently show that TRIM is most certainly non-functioning on RX-protected SSDs.

While writing this review, I contacted the Horizon DataSys developers directly regarding this issue. They assured me that TRIM works fine with RX and refused to discuss it further, citing proprietary concerns as the reason for not disclosing more information on how RX handles TRIM. The fact of the matter is that the actual tests go against what they are saying.

I think that it is very important for the Horizon DataSys developers to finally release an official statement explaining in some meaningful detail on how RX handles TRIM. If TRIM indeed works with RX in some sort of a "roundabout" way that is not detectable with conventional testing, then the developers should come forth with at least some details on how they have achieved this.

Citing proprietary concerns for the lack of publicly available information is not enough, especially when an important feature that is designed to prolong SSD lifespan is at stake. A detailed statement from Horizon DataSys will essentially remove the few remaining doubts that obstruct an otherwise excellent instant recovery utility, and bring peace of mind to the SSD owners who are aware of this issue.

For SSD users with a generous helping of RAM, there is a solution to this TRIM concern. I personally use Shadow Defender alongside Rollback RX. Shadow Defender features a brilliant RAM cache option, which keeps the virtual system always in RAM.

The greatest benefit of Shadow Defender's RAM cache is that when the cache remains in RAM, the whole system is more responsive and there are no write hits to the real disk - until of course the RAM cache is full, or until the users themselves choose to commit data manually to the protected volume.

When the RAM cache is full, Shadow Defender automatically switches to disk buffering mode. I keep a close eye on RAM cache usage (through Shadow Defender's System Status screen), making sure to reboot the system before the cache fills-up completely. This essentially keeps the virtual system always in RAM. Shadow Defender never has the chance to switch into disk buffering mode, and all disks under its protection never get any write hits.

So, if you have a large Shadow Defender RAM cache that is always active, it doesn't really matter whether Rollback RX disables TRIM or not. If you always reboot before the Shadow Defender RAM cache is full, then there will be no actual disk writes/deletions.

The bottom line is this: Assigning a large RAM cache for Shadow Defender can give you long Windows sessions with the virtual system running directly from RAM. This is a very fast, very secure and very responsive setup. The nice extra bonus here is that when used consistently, such an extended RAM cache usage, it can also be very beneficial to overall SSD life expectancy. And with Rollback RX in the mix, such a setup will also save SSDs from a large part of the negative effects caused by RX's apparent lack of TRIM.

A very important note here: If you are still using a hard disk as your system drive then this TRIM issue shouldn't be a worry for you anyway. Hard disks don't support TRIM; this is a potential issue to SSD users only.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:31 pm CDT

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Tasos Laurentiadis was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece, but now lives in London, UK. An avid computer enthusiast with a passion for hardware and software alike, he has been around since the early days of the Commodore 64 and the BBC micro. He later moved on to a 386 PC and never looked back. Tasos loves the buzz of installing and testing new hardware and software, and is a keen gamer. He also loves hard rock, metal, ethnic/folk music, and has been the lead vocalist with numerous rock and metal bands since the mid-eighties.

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