Horizon DataSys – Rollback Rx Professional Edition review

powerful alternative to System Restore
Photo of Horizon DataSys – Rollback Rx Professional Edition
$59.99 (approx £35)

Considering that the download size of the setup program amounts to around 10MB, Rollback Rx Professional Edition is a tool that exerts a surprising amount of influence over your PC. Its aim is to allow you to recover important files within minutes of a system crash. The first signs it’s taken hold? A pre-OS screen that allows you to jump into the application even before an operating system has been loaded.

That’s a clear benefit, considering that Rollback Rx’s job is effectively to safeguard your computer and its data. It’s best described as a take on Windows XP’s system restore and an advanced alternative to GoBack, albeit more reliable than the former and with more tricks up its sleeve than the latter. It’s also not OS-reliant, which means even if it’s Windows itself that’s in trouble, your chances of recovery are good.

It goes about its business by taking regular snapshots of your hard drive. You can control how often these snapshots are taken and can set them up to be mere seconds apart if you wish. Ordinarily this would raise serious system resource issues, yet Rollback is very sprightly. On our 80GB test system, it took a matter of seconds to take a 61MB snapshot and we barely noticed it was doing it.

Investigating said snapshot took longer, though, as the program took a good two minutes (on a Pentium M 1.73GHz laptop) to make the file available for browsing. When we dug in, we did indeed find a record of our system as promised. We tried restoring files that appeared to have been truncated down to a reported 0kb, and they worked fine.

Rollback can apparently store up to 60,000 snapshots, which can be locked and protected if necessary, and you simply browse to the one you want to restore from before the fit hits the shan, so to speak. It’s a genuinely simple process, and it’s worth automating the taking of snapshots to get the program’s full effects. We’d advise using it in conjunction with full drive backup software, as Rollback is very reliant on your hard drive and if that goes bang, so do all the snapshots.

But if the taking of the snapshots, the installation and effectively the first half of the program’s work was notable by its efficiency, the actual recovery part suffers. For instance, Rollback allows you to search individual snapshots for files, but this isn’t a quick process, and nor is the aforementioned browsing of snapshots to find an elusive file. Once you find what it is you want to recover, it sorts itself out very quickly, but given that this is the area of the program you’re likely to need the most, it was disappointing that it was the least friendly.

But there’s little question that Rollback Rx Professional lives up to its boasts. It can protect your files well and it is preferable to the likes of System Restore. It also benefits by being far more up-to-date in its recovery potential, given the speed it takes its snapshots: if you’ve set the program up to its full potential, perhaps taking snaps every five minutes, your chances of losing vital files forever are greatly diminished. It’s also keenly priced.

There’s certainly enough in here to convince the individual or small business user to give it a try, particularly as a trial version is available. We’d be reluctant to commit a larger enterprise to the software at this stage, though. If it takes a good while to sort through the business of just one machine, we can only guess how long it would take when larger numbers of PCs are involved.

Company: Horizon DataSys

A useful and reassuring security tool, hampered a little by taking its time when you need its services the most.