Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by DavidHertzberg

  1. x509,

    Actually you may be smoking more-powerful stuff than you think you are.😄 

    How about having a one-bit flag in the Catalog for a Backup Set that marks a file as "transient" if it has been backed up N times in the last N days/weeks—which it would have been because its file size or contents kept changing while its name and directory stayed the same?  It would be safe (but see the next-to-last paragraph for when it wouldn't be) to keep only the latest backup of such "transient" files—regardless of legal requirements—so long as they aren't in certain directories known to possibly contain business-critical files.  It would probably be safest to have the Windows/Mac variant of Retrospect automatically avoid doing "transient" flagging in such directories.   There would no doubt have to be an additional checkbox for each Backup Set's Grooming Options , with a subsidiary checkbox specifying whether "transient" flagging is to be done on a daily or weekly basis.

    There could then be a Built-In Selector (see page 437 of the Retrospect Windows 16 User's Guide; the Retrospect Mac term is Rule), usable only in a Groom script—as opposed to a Backup or Proactive script, that would be used to Exclude all files marked as "transient" unless they have the date of the latest backup per the Backup Set Catalog.  Such a Groom script could be run after the last of the daily/weekly backups to a Backup Set.

    However, for Backup Sets whose Grooming Options have the additional box for "transient" flagging and which has been Groomed for "transients", a Restore would have to use the Catalog File—rather than a Snapshot—for any files flagged as "transient" regardless of whether a previous Snapshot was chosen to restore an entire source volume.  This would not be good for situations in which the source volume has been backed up and "transient"-Groomed since undetected ransomware encrypted it, or in which the latest versions of some applications files turn out to have been erroneously updated by the user—a situation which has happened to me.  That makes this enhancement sound considerably less attractive.

    Here is why and how to submit a Support Case for an enhancement.

  2. twickland,

    Here's the Knowledge Base article on the -519 error.  "Error 519 means Retrospect had established a network connection with another computer and was communicating through that connection when something caused the connection to be severed." 

    "This error is one of Retrospect’s most challenging errors to troubleshoot because networks involve a large number of variables. Causes of error 519 range from a simple software conflict on an individual workstation to a faulty network component that does not cause trouble during normal (non-backup, less intensive) use. Weak links can exist in the software or hardware level, on the backup computer or the client computer, or in the infrastructure of your network. This document aims to help you narrow down what might at first seem like an unwieldy problem to solve."

    When you say "They are all connected via direct IP", do you mean "clients" defined with Add Source Directly?  I've had to do that to avoid -530 errors that seem to be somewhat related to changes in networking hardware.

    Yes, Retrospect still uses TCP and UDP port 497.  Here's MrPete's post on comprehensive Windows trouble-shooting procedures.

    Here are some very cynical WildA**edGuesses:

    • Your Professional IT Guys (sexist term,  and naughty acronym when 't' is lower-cased, entirely intentional) installed an anti-virus product that interferes with Retrospect Windows Clients, one not yet fixed in this 2013 post. I'd add Windows Defender Firewall to the list of anti-virus products, except that "a newly-added Windows 10 client was able to be backed up once before going incognito"—which sounds like somebody did something to that machine's software after it arrived in the organization with a presumably-latest version of Windows 10 ( ask PIGs: What was arrival version?) .
    • Your Professional IT Guys did something to the networking hardware/software with which your organization's Windows "client" machines are connected.  Your organization's Mac "client" machines are unaffected because Mac users are isolated in one or more "leper colony" departments .đŸ€Ł
    • The Retrospect "Inc." engineers messed up something in the Retrospect Windows 16.5.1 Engine.  They've been doing that in the last two X.5.Y releases, IMHO because management is trying desperately to fully implement major features that were previewed in the corresponding X.0.0 releases.  A known example (which unfortunately probably has nothing to do with your problem) from a recent thread in  this Forum is connected with "Improved NAS support with auto-adding existing NAS share mounts" in 16.5.0.  I happened to mention it in a short phone conversation with the head of North American Sales last week, and he said that is a known problem that will be fixed with a new release "within about a week".  My candidate for the Engine "improvement" that caused your problem is "Networking: Retrospect now honors service priority when choosing a default interface (#7058)"—whatever "service priority " means—in the cumulative Retrospect Windows Release Notes (assuming carryover to Mac Engine).

    P.S.: The head of Retrospect Tech Support replied in my Support Case 3 weeks ago "You can try going to Network in the Retrospect Preferences and click Advanced. Change the network timeout from 300 seconds to 9,000 seconds and see if Retrospect is able to complete the backup".  That Support Case was about my getting -559 errors after precisely two hours when running a Recycle backup of my MacBook Pro.  He had also suggested "Inside your energy saver control panel, you may need to set the screen to never sleep (and use a screen saver) and check 'prevent computer from sleeping automatically when display is off'. Or try a combination of those options. In some cases Uncheck Put hard disk to sleep when possible can also help."  Those latter suggestions are obviously for a Mac "client", but possibly Windows 10 has—as Nigel Smith said of macOS in my thread about the -559 problem—"tied computer-sleep and display-sleep together -- the default is that, when your display sleeps your computer does too."  The combination of suggestions fixed my -559 problem.

  3. kidziti,

    I'm concerned about the speed of large-scale recovery, not "seeding".  Amazon started offering Snowball for "seeding" in October 2015, which was almost 6 months after I formulated my modern Retrospect off-site strategy and 5 months before Retrospect Windows 11—with cloud Backup Sets and a nifty facility for changing paths for a Backup Set between cloud and shipped disk (unfortunately only shown in this Retrospect Mac video Tutorial)—was introduced. 

    Microsoft offers Azure Data Box and Backblaze B2 offers Fireball, but renting these devices or Snowball run US$200-300 minimum.  All 3 of these services include encryption of your data.  As far as affordability is concerned, the reason Retrospect Inc. offered Backblaze B2 as a cloud backup service in Retrospect Windows 12 is because it "is a business-class cloud storage provider with extremely low costs, at $0.005/GB a month."

    Overnight FedExing of a recovery physical device back to your installation would add more to the cost.  That's why "Some applications offer seeding and large-scale recovery via third-party services, which may use a high-speed Internet channel to/from cloud storage rather than a shippable physical device."

  4. Nigel Smith,

    Thank, you've certainly proved my statement that you are "at the top of the pack here in terms of technical expertise on Retrospect".  Two days ago I didn't remember that script hooks exist in Retrospect, even though I wrote the mentions of them in this Wikipedia article.  I've never used them, but I'm wondering whether spawned scripts can kill the application that spawned them—which would satisfy kidziti's desire to have a Retrospect script that can't find its source or destination drive die without leaving disturbing messages in the Log.

    kidziti and Nigel Smith,

    I now understand that ransomware protection for a destination drive can be achieved by simply unmounting it.  I had still been thinking about protection from installation fire or flood, which also requires taking a copy of the source data offsite. In 1995 I disciplined myself to taking a Backup Set's media (originally tape) offsite once a week, but I didn't have fast-enough Internet upload speed until 9 October 2018.  It would still require several days to download a complete copy of my source data from the cloud at the realistic speed available from cloud vendors, whereas retrieving a backup drive from my bank safe deposit box takes at most overnight—except for Sundays when the bank branch is closed.  Besides, I think I've read that ransomware perpetrators have developed methods of encrypting a victim's cloud backup data before he/she realizes it has happened.

    As for "increasing scripting power within Retrospect", the first two paragraphs of this post in another thread are my current speculation on the subject.  I have further speculated that EMC Iomega employees realized that part of the adverse administrator reaction to Retrospect Mac 8 was that—besides being buggy— it changed the UI from what it still is in Retrospect Windows.  IMHO the same developers—now Retrospect "Inc." employees—have the equivalent of a plaque on the wall that says (paraphrasing H. L. Mencken) "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the flexibility of some Retrospect administrators."


  5. kidziti,

    I owe you three apologies for this post above.

    First, I apologize for not having read your OP carefully enough to have realized that you had already solved the problem of alternating-destination Backup scripts.  When I finally reread the OP and realized that you had, I considered deleting the fourth paragraph in my post.  However I had spent a lot of time rewriting that paragraph, and was rather proud of it—muddily-written though it is.  In addition, it may in the future be useful for linking-to to help an administrator not as smart as you.

    Second, I apologize for not having read your OP carefully enough to have realized that you had fairly clearly described the purpose of your third drive.  That said, IMHO what I wrote in my third paragraph is pretty good advice for an administrator who really has to worry about ransomware—which I don't (my LAN is within my one-person apartment and has only 3 computers, so all I have to do is be very careful about clicking on any links in e-mails or Web articles); I instead worry about flood or fire.  Therefore I've never learned enough about Mac Automator to know how to detect or dismount a drive, but I shouldn't have assumed you might not know enough about Windows scripting to do so.  I do a Recycle Backup of all my sources to one of my 3 weekly-rotated destination drives every Saturday morning, and take that drive—by then also containing 6 incremental daily backups—to my bank safe deposit box around noon every Friday.  IMHO you should think about whether it might be better to let the contents of that third drive lag a day behind the contents of either of your source drives, to keep quickly-discovered ransomware-encrypted files off it; if that turns out to be true, Transfer Snapshots would be a good tool.

    Third, I apologize for not having been empathetic enough about your possibly being an administrator who suddenly has to worry, after many years, about ransomware.  That explains why you started half-a-dozen threads in a few days; your thinking was evolving as you did so.  So it wasn't a "strip tease", and I've now eliminated the term—which was meant to give you my impression of your multiple threads—from that post.  That impression made me feel you needed to at least slow down and organize your thoughts before posting, which is why I phrased the first two paragraphs "ï»żin such a personally targeted and public way as the quote above"—which I don't remember having done before on these Forums.

    I'm not "undoubtedly at the top of the pack here in terms of technical expertise on Retrospect", as Nigel Smith and Lennart_T and Scillonian are.  They have more OS -related expertise than I have and have used more Retrospect features; I just answer the easier questions, based on 19-out-of-the-last-24-years experience and the ability to search manuals and Forums and to think like a systems analyst.

  6. 19 hours ago, Nigel Smith said:

    You could just the schedule the script as normal, with a short "media timeout" window, so that if the disk is attached the script runs but if it isn't it waits bit, errors, then carries on with whatever is next.

     If you want to get a bit more nerdy, what you need is a Windows script/utility that regularly polls mounted volumes for the drive and, if it is there, executes the appropriate Retrospect "Run Document"  -- see the "Automated Operations" section of the RS manual for more about these but, basically, when you create a schedule you have the option to save it as a Run Document that can be launched by eg double-clicking in Windows Explorer. Extra credits if you then use a script trigger at the end of the schedule to run another Windows script/utility that unmounts the drive for you...

    ObDisclaimer: Certainly doable on a Mac, and I'd say *probably* doable on Windows, but you'll have to wait for one of the Windows gurus to chime in if you've any scripting questions.


    Nigel Smith,

    What you suggest in your first quoted paragraph is precisely what I suggested in the fifth paragraph in this post above.  In that paragraph I questioned whether a "media timeout" window actually exists in Retrospect Windows;  I guess you're saying it does—even though it's not documented.

    What you suggest in your second quoted paragraph about "a Windows script/utility that regularly polls mounted volumes for the drive and, if it is there, executes the appropriate Retrospect 'Run Document'" may be beyond kidziti's Windows-scripting abilities.  That's why I suggested, in the fourth paragraph of the post linked-to in the first paragraph of this post, using Retrospect Windows' own scripting capability.  The disadvantage of what I suggested is that he'd have to consult the Retrospect Activity Monitor or a marked-up calendar to see which drive he is scheduled to mount for tonight's run, instead of relying on a Windows script to back up to the drive he happens to have mounted.  OTOH  that could be considered an advantage, in that it would force him to follow a routine in taking a drive off-site and bringing it back the next day—which is why I assume he wants to establish these alternating-between-two-Backup-Sets scripted Backups—probably to protect against ransomware as he says in his OP.

    I see now that I misunderstood kidziti's OP.  I presumably didn't need to write the fourth paragraph of the post linked-to in the first paragraph of this post, because he may already have the alternating-between-two-Backup-Sets scripted Backups under control.  Its third paragraph—as revised—is still valid.


  7. kidziti,

    Do you realize that questions on these Retrospect Forums are almost exclusively answered by volunteers?  Do you also realize that you've never said what major version of Retrospect you are trialing, although this post implies that it's Retrospect Windows 16?  Lastly, do you realize that you are entitled to 45 days of free personalized Technical Support when you upgrade?  I suggest you take advantage of it, because what you've been doing in this Forum since 30 October is conducting a multi-thread "concern-of-the-moment disclosure" in which you selectively define and then re-define what you want to accomplish.â˜č  If you want to get other administrators to keep responding to your posts, IMHO what you now need to do is to "organize your concerns" in a thorough back-and-forth conversation with someone in Retrospect Tech Support.🙄

    The main problem with your OP in this thread is that you never define whether your third drive is to be an independent Backup destination every night, or whether the third drive is supposed to have some source-destination relationship with whichever of the other two drives has been a Backup destination that night.  Another problem is that you are apparently talking about source drives that you won't back up with Proactive scripts, but you haven't bothered to say so. 

    If the third drive is intended to be an independent destination, go ahead and back up to it every night—you'll just get a -1204 error if the destination drive isn't mounted (see the fifth paragraph about using the Media Request Timeout box).  If OTOH the third drive is intended to be a cumulative copy of what's been backed up alternately onto the other two drives, there's a simple solution named Transfer Snapshots discussed on pages 213-220 of the Retrospect Windows 16 User's Guide.  You'll need to run two Transfer Snapshots scripts each night—unless you do fancy scheduling per the next paragraph, one of which will fail because its designated source Backup Set wasn't mounted.  It will help your education if I don't tell you which options to use to make sure that that only the new backups are copied from the Backup Set that was mounted that night.  The advantage of this approach, possibly better protection against ransomware, is that it won't access your actual source drives—only whatever Backup Set drive(s) you happen to have mounted.

    As for alternating backups onto the other two drives, I'm afraid my remote ancestors messed things up by popularizing a week with an odd number of days in it.  Retrospect "Inc." and its predecessors never made the effort to put automated alternating-destination scheduling capability into Retrospect  Backup scripts, but you can achieve that by creating two pairs of Backup scripts per "Using the Day of Week Scheduler" on pages 230-231 of the UG.  Each script in a pair will be scheduled to run on either Sun-Tues-Thurs-Sat or Mon-Wed-Fri, repeating every 2 weeks starting on the applicable Sunday or Monday date of two successive calendar-weeks.  Each script in a pair will designate the same destination Backup Set—which will not be the same destination as in the other pair of scripts that start in the same pair of successive calendar-weeks with an earlier applicable start date one day after the earlier applicable start date used for the other pair of scripts.  That means if Backup Set A is the destination in the Sun-Tues-Thurs-Sat script and the Mon-Wed-Fri script in the first pair starting 1 December 2019 and 9 December 2019 respectively, then Backup Set B is the destination in the Mon-Wed-Fri script and the Sun-Tues-Thurs-Sat script in the second pair starting 2 December 2019 and 8 December 2019 respectively.  You may already have solved this, but it'll be useful for others.

    If this is too complicated for you, you can instead create a single pair of scripts scheduled to run every day of the week; each script in the pair will designate a different destination Backup Set.  Each night one of the two scripts will fail with a -1204 error, because you intentionally haven't mounted that Backup Set's drive. Make sure to checkmark the Media Request Timeout box per page 404 of the UG; I'm fairly sure that Preferences option includes a number-of-minutes timeout box (Retrospect Mac includes one, so I suspect its omission is merely a long-standing typo in the Retrospect Windows UG).

    The features needed to do this were all in Retrospect Windows 7.7, so I guess that ransomware is making you rethink what you've been doing for years.

    P.S.: I see now that I misunderstood your OP.  I presumably didn't need to write the fourth paragraph of this post , because you may already have the alternating-between-two-Backup-Sets scripted Backups under control.  The third paragraph—with the revised first and added last sentence—is still valid.

  8. kidziti and everyone else,

    I had a telephone chat with the head of North America Sales for Retrospect "Inc."  this morning (his time), in which I suggested just that.  My suggestion, which he seems to like, is to simply actively market the Web-based Management Console in its no-extra-cost view-only form.  You can get a brief view of the Retrospect 16.1 version of this facility in the first of these four interconnected videos.  You can skip the second video (unless you want to learn how to sign up for the Management Console), and view the third video to see how to integrate the Management Console with a running Engine. 

    The fourth video, which is designed for "Partners" (consulting organizations) shows additional two-way features available with the Add-On—which is US$49 for the Desktop Edition.  The Retrospect 16.5 Add-On version of the Management Console moves the list of "backup servers" to a column on the left-hand side of the Dashboard window.  Its Granular Remote Management also adds Activities and Sources and Backup Sets panels that the administrator can drill down to, as well as Scripts Management displays and the ability—for individual "backup servers"—to create and edit scripts and create destinations. 

    Here's a 43-minute webinar that demonstrates the Retrospect Windows 16.5 version of Granular Remote Management—designed like the Retrospect Mac GUI.  At minute 27 the head of Retrospect Tech Support recommends leaving Retrospect running all the time—using the Management Console.  At minute 29 he says that they're moving towards having Retrospect run as a service with an HTML-based GUI.  Is server column in non-Add-On Web Dashboard too?

    As the first video itself states, the Dashboard in the Management Console is basically an enhanced version of the non-Web-based Dashboard that kidziti and other Retrospect Windows administrators have a love/hate relationship with.  That non-Web-based Dashboard is a poorly-implemented feature of Retrospect Windows.  It was implemented in Retrospect Windows 8 because a Retrospect-Mac-like Console proved to be impossible, but had glaring bugs that weren't supposedly fixed until 4 years later in Retrospect Windows 12.5.  See this 2017 Forums post by me, which quotes the applicable Release Notes but also quotes a reply from Retrospect Tech Support.  Also read the remainder of that thread.


    • Thanks 1

  9. sjmills and everybody else,

    I just had a phone conversation with the North America head of Retrospect Sales.  Retrospect "Inc." is coming out with a new bug-fix release of Retrospect Mac in about a week.  The engineers are aware of sjmills' problem; my interpretation is that whoever was implementing "Improved NAS support with auto-adding existing NAS share mounts" in Retrospect Mac 16.5.0 didn't coordinate with whoever was implementing Catalina support.🙄

    As for the "promised 'detailedï»żÂ document providing directions for doing a Catalina Disaster Recovery operationï»żï»żï»ż'" that amkassir is waiting for, he has no word on that—although I brought it to his attention.

  10. amkassir (and others),

    The "promised 'detail document ...'" is no doubt referring to what Retrospect Tech Support replied to you on or before 11 October 2019.  Give the engineers time; this sounds like a tricky Apple-generated problem, and the last sentence of Tech Support's reply at least gives you a hint of what to do if you have to.  My guess—as an outsider—is that the time of at least some engineers is currently being occupied with figuring out how to convert the Retrospect Mac (because it's more Unix-related) Engine to run on a Drobo.

    P.S.: It's good to know, per your post directly above, that you can back up your Catalina installation with Retrospect 16.5.  amkassir, do you or did you have external drives cabled to your "backup server" machine—as sjmills does?  If so, why does he have problems that you don't?

    P.P.S.: It sounds—per your post directly below—as if the short-term solution, until the "detailed document" is released, is to restore using CCC and then overwrite files with previous versions—if needed—using Retrospect.


  11. All administrators upgrading to macOS 10.15 Catalina,

    This Knowledge Base article and this KB article were added on 5 November 2019.  The first of these appears to be a duplicate of this earlier KB article on macOS 10.14 Mojave, with a different URL and minor wording changes; in fact the second article links to that earlier article instead of the first article.

    As of 6 November 2019, there haven't been any updates to the Retrospect Mac downloads since 16 October 2019,  Therefore, if a fix to the Retrospect Mac Engine is required because of sjmills' problem, it is still in the future.

  12. 2 hours ago, sjmills said:

    The boot volume I'm backing up is on the same machine that Retrospect runs on, so it's not a client. But if I select that boot volume in the Sources, the Options tab is all disabled, then yes, All Volumes is selected.


    My "backup server" is booting macOS 10.12 Sierra, and it's running Retrospect Mac 16.1.  All other bootable  local drives would boot under macOS 10.12 or OS X 10.6.  When I click the Sources entry for one of my local drives, I can click the Options Tab, but everything on that dialog is grayed-out.  That makes sense for the checkboxes above "Volumes", since they have to do with options that apply to machines being backed up with a Retrospect Client application.  Greying-out also used to make sense for the "Volumes" section of the dialog, but with "improvements" in macOS it no longer does.  IMHO the dropdown should now default to Startup Volume if the local volume is bootable, with the boot volume automatically checkmarked.

    So  here's why and how to file a Support Case, in the event you don't already know.  Another example of great beta testing by Retrospect "Inc.".🙄


  13. sjmills,

    Assuming your problem is with a "client" machine, what is your "Volumes" dropdown setting on the Sources -> Options tab for that machine?  When re-Adding my MacBook Pro as a "client", I have the problem that that dropdown defaults to All Volumes—and for a couple of macOS releases that has included some garbage-named mirror volume.  I have to remember to change the dropdown to Startup Volume.  If I had an external  volume cabled to my MBP,  which I did during one re-Add, the default would include that also.

    OTOH this may be due to Retrospect not having been fixed to compensate for a change in macOS.  I submitted a Support Request for the problem described in the paragraph above, and Tech Support just told me to change the dropdown.

  14. kidziti,

    Dashboard is a poorly-implemented feature of Retrospect Windows.  It was implemented in Retrospect Windows 8 because a Retrospect-Mac-like Console proved to be impossible (third paragraph of mbennett's post), but had glaring bugs that weren't supposedly fixed until 4 years later in Retrospect Windows 12.5.  See this 2017 Forums post by me, which quotes the applicable Release Notes but also quotes a reply from Retrospect Tech Support.  Also read the remainder of that thread.

    I suggest installing the _one-way_ Web-based Management Console, which is included for free in Retrospect Windows 16.5, as a substitute for the Dashboard if you're going to have Retrospect always running .  I also renew my suggestion of paying US$49 for the Add-On that enables the _two-way_ Web-based Management Console, especially if Sales tells you it has the capability of starting and stopping the Retrospect Engine on a particular "backup server".  Here's a Product Suggestions—Windows post with some more information and links.

    I have 7GB RAM (7 giga-bytes, not giga-bits; small 'b' = bits not a RAM measure) installed in my Retrospect Mac "backup server" machine.  That's sufficient to run the GUI-less Engine, which is ordinarily always running when the machine is booted, and also the non-Web-based GUI Console—which can be stopped and re-started separately. You may need more RAM than that, both because Windows 10 is Windows 10 (sneer, sneer 😀) and because the Web-based Management Console may use more RAM than the non-Web-based Retrospect Mac Console.  But extra RAM is comparatively cheap these days.

    P.S.: In the meantime, try this suggestion from mbennett.

  15. waves,

    I've got the same problem, both in Retrospect console > Sidebar Media Sets > Tab backups  and when I initiate a Restore -> "Restore selected files and folders" (which I cancel at that point, because it is just an experiment).

    Every Saturday morning I run a Recycle backup of one "client" machine plus two local disk drives and a Favorite Folder on a third local HDD.  Every other day of the week I run a No Media Action backup of the "client".  On one of my 3 weekly-rotated Media Sets (the "Media Set Red" I used last week) all backups are shown on the tab.  On the other 2 weekly-rotated Media Sets (the "Media Set White" I am using this week and the "Media Set Blue" I used two weeks ago), only the latest (Friday) No Media Action backup of the "client" is shown.  "Activities" shows all previous activities for all scripts.

    I'm running Retrospect Mac 16.1.  My "client" is running macOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra).  My "backup server" is running macOS 10.12.6 (Sierra).

    Here's why and how to submit a Support Case for a bug.  Note that for a couple of years now no Retrospect Inc. employee has regularly looked at this, or AFAIK any other, Forum.  So someone has to file a Support Case, and—waves—you're elected.  Basically all you have to do is copy the contents of your OP in this thread into the "Problem Description", plus put your appropriate information into the dialog boxes above that.  Thanks in advance for doing that.😃

    P.S.: What waves wrote two posts below this is what he said, not what I said.  It appears that waves was starting to quote me, and bollixed up the post.😒

  16. NoelC,

    If Retrospect "took a couple of months to begin to fail" on your home machine (you mention an "even bigger, more powerful office machine"), I assume that you don't have any legal constraints on data deletion on your home machine.  You haven't answered my question as to whether VSS-based backup can automatically comply with such constraints, but my added P. S.  implies it can't..  Assuming you don't have any legal constraints, and that after 2 months you developed the "data churn" that Nigel Smith mentioned in this post,  here's another simpler suggestion for the feature you could have requested:

    Add a checkbox under "Media" at the bottom of the Backup Set Options dialog, named something like "Override with Recycle to avoid Member overflow".  Again this type of "grooming" would have to be done at the end of the Matching phase of a Backup, since it would require pre-determining the amount of space that needs to be groomed out.  If—with the checkbox checked—that space is more than the remaining space on the mounted Backup Set disk Member, convert this Normal backup to a Recycle backup—which erases everything that is already stored on the mounted Backup Set disk Member and then replaces it with the full current contents of the Source.   That's rather extreme "grooming", but checking the checkbox means the administrator doesn't care—because not having to pay for an overflow Member overrides the constraints in the Grooming policy indicated above that checkbox in the dialog.

    I assumed that the paragraph immediately above—without the checkbox—was a description of what VSS-based backup does automatically, but the P.S. says otherwise.  Good luck, NoelC, and please don't come back complaining that you had to manually delete your previously-backed-up data from VSS.đŸ€Ł

    P.S.: This Web page, which is really a commercial for AOMEI Backerupper, describes under "The Reasons" why VSS issues an "Insufficient storage available to create either the shadow copy storage file or other shadow copy data" message.  That's the after-two-months problem you've described for your home installation.  Under "The Solutions", the article describes manual steps to take to cope with this message; starting with the second sentence under item 1., it describes a manual process using the command:

    vssadmin delete shadows /for= [/oldest | /all | /shadow= ] [/quiet] 

    You want Retrospect to do the equivalent of automatically choosing the parameter for one or more executions of that command—excluding /shadow= because automating that'd be impossible.  I've described here an involved way it could iteratively choose  /oldest.    I've described in the second paragraph of this very post a way it could instead choose /all.  For either case, VSS obviously doesn't have any information about legal constraints.  Maybe the non-free Professional editions of AOMEI store such information and use it;  I'll let you explore that question starting with this Web page about upgrades.đŸ€Ł

  17. kidziti,

    This Knowledge Base article used to have an explanation of what to do to get around Dashboard problems.  It was updated 16 May 2019, which may indicate an Engine update which got messed up in Retrospect Windows 16.5.  File a Support Case. Disclaimer: I'm a Retrospect Mac administrator.

    One suggestion would be to do what NoelC does, as quoted in this September 2019 post followed by my links to instructions on how to use Windows Task Scheduler, and bypass the Retrospect Windows Scheduler entirely.

    Another suggestion—not exclusive with the one in the preceding paragraph—would be to pay US$49 for the Management Console Add-On, for which you'll have to contact Retrospect Sales directly (it's not yet in the Configurator) and use Granular Remote Management so you can kiss the Dashboard goodbye.  I think there's already a way to open a particular Retrospect Engine from the Remote Console (I don't have major-league-pitcher-quality vision, so I can't read the screen images in the KB article); Werner Walter of Sales has used it; phone (888) 376-1078‬ X814.

  18. x509,

    I only once ran a program on an IBM 1130; it was IBM's Project Control System at an IBM service bureau in suburban Boston.  Your memory about the hardware is correct; the removable disk cartridge was an IBM 2315.   That cartridge mounted in an IBM 2310 disk drive, whose distinctive characteristic—to make it inexpensive—was that it used a slow voice-coil actuator instead of a faster rack-and-pinion one.  I remember standing around (there were several hundred activities in my client's project-scheduling data) and chuckling while the disk drive's access arm did buzzing seeks to the proper track.

    However you are incorrect in remembering Fortran II on the 1130; it had a Fortran IV compiler.  I never programmed for the 1130, but I wrote programs for a year using my service-bureau employer's IBM 7094 Fortran II (+) compiler.  A major problem was that Fortran II did not have logical operators and a logical IF statement—which were added in Fortran IV.  Perhaps the lack of these caused me to make a truly stupid coding error in enhancing my NASA PERT "C" summarization program (for which I independently re-invented depth-first search) used for RCA Burlington's Apollo LM electronics subsystems.  This led to the project manager for the Rendezvous Radar and Transponder losing faith in my program (although I found the error in 4 15-hour days), and doing his bi-weekly project network summarization for two years by hand.  He did that well; LM Eagle rendezvoused with Command Module Columbia on 21 July 1969.

    P.S.: It's been 54 years, and I never preserved a listing of my NASA PERT "C" summarization program because I couldn't follow it any more (see the last sentence in this paragraph).  However here follows what I now recall as a more-precise explanation of the coding error I made: Fortran II, even with the enhanced—denoted by "(+)" above—compiler my employer developed with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, which made the language barely suitable for character-comparison business applications (with an optional 'B' in card column 1 that converted the arithmetic IF on page 34 of this manual

       IF (a) x1,x2,x3 
       Where: a is any arithmetic expression except complex. 
    	      x1,x2,x3 are executable statement numbers.
         The arithmetic IF statement causes control to be transferred to the statement numbered x1,x2,or x3 
       when the value of the arithmetic expression (a) is less-than, equal to, or greater than zero, respectively. 

    into a kludgey logical IF—by making (a) into a Boolean expression with AND and EXCLUSIVE OR operators and making the values of (a) for the 3 statement numbers be zero for x2 and non-zero for x1 and x3—plus adding a DATA statement per page 69 of the manual), but had no capability for nested IFs—which weren't added until Fortran 77.   I had a pair of tests that were—I now recall—conceptually a nested IF, and I bollixed up the statement numbers.  I spent four 15-hour days searching for a compiler Boolean bug (because I'd found one soon after I started using the compiler), before realizing while brushing my teeth on Saturday night that the bug was in my code.  Like most programmers then and now, I was dismal at following control-transfer-via-branching logic.

  19. 21 hours ago, Nigel Smith said:

    ... may I offer another?

    Move *all* your systems onto the "pro-active" script!

    Schedule it to run during your overnight window. Set it to back up sources every 22 hours or so (roughly 24 hrs - time taken to back up all systems) so it only backs up each once. When it kicks off it will start polling the network for client availability, starting with the one least-recently backed up. Each system in turn will be backed up if present, or skipped for a while (I think the default is 30 minutes) then checked for again -- meanwhile the script continues with the other clients.

    ... or if you need to hit a certain time (eg quiescing databases first), but it's great to make sure that "irregular" clients get backed up if available and that those "most in need" get priority.

    AFAIK, with two backup sets listed *and available* the above would alternate between them nightly, but things may have changed in more recent RS versions.

    kidziti and Nigel Smith,

    I considered that alternative , but felt that having separate Proactive and Backup scripts would be simpler—even with having to coordinate the alternation of Backup Sets.

    However, regarding quiescing databases, note that Retrospect Windows 12 added Script Hooks.  These can be used in conjunction with: Lotus Domino, MongoDB, PostgresSQL, MS Exchange, and MS Outlook.  Also note that the Open File Backup Add-On for backing up Windows applications, which is free for the Desktop Edition, "is designed to back up line of business servers while they are up and running" and "is looking for a 'disk inactivity threshold'".

    AFAIK things have not changed in more recent Retrospect versions as far as alternation between Backup Sets is concerned.   However, according to this Knowledge Base article,  what Nigel Smith described as "polling the network for client availability, starting with the one least-recently backed up [my emphasis]" has been replaced in Retrospect Windows 12 with a much more sophisticated "AI" (misnomer; it's decision-tree+linear-regression) algorithm.

  20. NoelC,

    Here is why and how to submit a Support Case for a new feature.  In writing that Support Case for "make reliable backups in such a way as to give the longest possible backup horizon for any given available backup space" , here are some factors you should consider:

    • This type of grooming would have to be done at the end of the Matching phase of a Backup, since it would require pre-determining the amount of space that needs to be groomed out.  Presently Retrospect does grooming during during the Backing Up phase, whenever space has already run out on the Backup Set disk member being used.
    • This type of grooming would have to also comply with the other factors in the Grooming Policy for the Backup Set.  For many installations these are determined by legal requirements—non-existent 40 years ago, which is why Nigel Smith said above "you (and/or any Compliance Officer you may answer to!) can live with."  Does VSS "grooming" now comply with such legal requirements; does DEC (double-merged into HP) "grooming" do so?
    • The factor directly above would mean that the Catalog File would have to contain a list of each backed-up version of each file (which it may already do) plus the size of that version on disk (which it probably now doesn't).  The size would be needed to determine how much space would be saved by grooming out that version, while ensuring  that the Grooming Policy would not be violated by so doing.  An alternative would be to iteratively try a Groom-out of one version of each file, remaining in compliance with the Grooming Policy, while calculating if enough space had now been saved to accommodate the file versions that would be added to the member during the  Backing Up phase; no doubt you can see iteration would be kludgy!  With either approach, the Backing Up phase would have to be skipped entirely if Matching-phase grooming fails; would administrators prefer that?
    • Retrospect "Inc." would surely, because of the development cost considering the above factors, charge for an Add-On license for the feature.  For most installations that would be potential customers for this feature, the cost of the Add-On license would be more than the cost of an additional overflow disk—which for some reason you are dead set against purchasing.

  21. kidziti,

    What is this "16.x"?  In this post you said you had installed " (Windows Desktop version)".  Here's a thread whose OP had what sounds like a similar problem with that release, and was guided to a fix.  Someone else had a problem, and solved it by downgrading to 16.1—but I can't tell you where to download that.

    You seem to be having several problems within the last day or so.   Here's why and how to file a Support Request for a bug.  If you upgraded within 45 days (I think), you are entitled to free personalized help from Retrospect Tech Support.


  22. On 10/31/2019 at 10:44 AM, kidziti said:

    I think David hit the precise answer I was looking for (thank you, DavidHertzberg!) - if there is a way for the software to be "smarter" about the variable that some backup clients such as notebook PCs may or may not follow a schedule of being connected to the network. Time to hit the learning curve again because my two alternate-night-backup external drives are always "mounted" or connected to the computer. Surely there must be a way to add the notebook to the script without ensuring that one of them must be unmounted (if I understand your explanation correctly - which I suspect I do not.) My philosophy on backups is that if any user intervention is required, it will ultimately fail. I may even buy a third drive and remember occasionally to swap it out with one in a safety deposit box, but some day I will forget to do it or be on a trip or put it off for whatever unforeseen reason or lack of backup enthusiasm I may have in the future.


    The "Proactive Backup Script" column in the table at the bottom of page 240 in the Retrospect Windows 16 User's Guide says, in the "Destination Backup Sets" row, "Copies to the most ideal available Backup Set in the destinations list. Automatic media rotation among multiple available Backup Sets."  The only Forums mention of that sentence I can find is this post by me, and I didn't know any more in January 2017 about Proactive than I do now. 

    Since AFAICT from pages 250-252 of the UG you can't specify days of the week or alternate weeks for a Proactive script's schedule, this feature may result in more perfect alternation between destination Backup Sets than your schedule(s) of Backup scripts.  If so, you may have to compensate by disconnecting the Backup Set drive you don't want to use on the next Proactive run on Friday/Saturday nights or Monday mornings—IOW the last night or first morning  you are in the office during a particular workweek.  That's assuming you have multiple schedules for each Backup script, so that the Backup script backs up to Backup Set A on Mondays of some weeks and to Backup Set B on Mondays of other weeks.  In that case,  a better idea would be to put all your "clients"—including the ones that never leave the LAN—on the Proactive script and ditch the nightly Backup script.

    If you buy a third drive for offsite storage, you should use it as a destination for periodic Transfer Backup Sets or Transfer Snapshots scripts—where the source would be the most-recently-used destination Backup Set for your nightly scripts.  See pages 209-220 of the UG.

    P.S.: Backing up to both Backup Sets per your post directly below, you'd have to have two Proactive scripts, each one specifying one of your two Backup Sets.  Read that same column-row entry on page 240 of the UG; each Proactive script would back up a "client" based on that Backup Set's Catalog.  This 2006 thread confirms you can't alternate weeks, but—despite what I said in the second paragraph above—pages 251- 252 of the UG imply you may be able to effectively suppress execution of a Proactive script on a particular day of the week by Customizing with Stop time <= Start time on that particular day.  If you want to use Backup Set A on Monday of week N but use Backup Set B on Monday of Week N+1 (5 or 7 workdays per week instead of 6 workdays)—and the built-in rotation doesn't fit your requirements, you'd then need twin Proactive scripts with "invert-of-twin" Start-Stop for each workday in the week.

  23. The Retrospect article will have to remain in its current feature-less state, because I've been blocked indefinitely from Wikipedia editing.😖  I say "I" because—as I'm sure most of you have guessed—"DovidBenAvraham" is merely my Wikipedia "handle" . I pretended DBA was a separate person to have a fig-leaf of deniability in the face of the possible wrath of the head of Retrospect Technical Support (my 2016-2017 version of the article's "Documentation" section, deleted because comparing different versions of the Retrospect Mac User's Guide is considered Original Research—a Wikipedia no-no, was implicitly critical of Retrospect Inc.).

    Eliminating all first-party references, which I did in this 08:56, 27 October 2019 revision, was not enough for Guy—as I knew it would be.  I tried to get him to accept this 04:41, 29 October 2019 revision, which only mentioned the unique-to-Retrospect (it was patented by Dantz in 1996) Proactive feature, but he reverted that revision—resulting in what you see now, giving as his Edit Summary "Reverted good faith edits by DovidBenAvraham (talk): Promotional edits, primary sourceing [sic], usual problems".  I chose to go down fighting, created an Administrative Noticeboard Incident, and was "blocked indefinitely from editing for disruptive editing".

    Guy denounced in the ANI discussion "claims of novelty sourced to a patent (a canonical primary source)", but the real issue is "promotional edits".  A coterie of Wikipedia administrators is determined to clamp down on articles written to promote particular companies, and is going so far as to eliminate mentions of features of application software products unless these features are "unique"—without giving any indication of how to prove "uniqueness" with a reference.đŸ˜Č  Somehow articles written about really-expensive enterprise client-server backup applications, such as Backup Exec and NetBackup and EMC Networker and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, are exempt under some kind of "grandfather clause".đŸ€ŁÂ  I think there's no hope of prevailing against this coterie, so I won't try to get the block lifted.