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Posts posted by gordonwd

  1. Unfortunately, new PCs (from HP at least) don't come with a Windows CD or even "Recovery CDs" anymore. What I have is a "recovery partition" on my hard drive. There is an I386 directory in that partition (which is what I used), as well as one on my system drive.


    I do have an XP CD that I used to upgrade one of my other PCs. Could I use that as the "Windows CD" for purposes of making a Retrospect recovery CD?


    Doug G

  2. I am creating a recovery CD on my new XP Home system for the first time. Retrospect 6.0 created an ISO image file that is 874,438Kb in size, which my CD writer program rejects because it is too big to fit on a CD-R (700Mb max). I'm surprised it would do this -- is there a way around it?


    OTOH, my CD writer is also a DVD writer. Can I burn this to a DVD? Are DVDs bootable like CDs are? I can see that I have some learning to do about CD/DVD writing technology!


    Doug G

  3. I'm running WinXP and the recovery wizard asks for my product key. However, my PC originally came with WinME installed and I later received an upgrade CD for XP. As far as I can tell, there was no new product key that came with the upgrade, especially since the XP registration was done online after it was installed.




    I do have the product key on the PC that went with the original ME installation. Is this what I should use for the Retrospect disaster wizard?

  4. I have a 120Gb USB 2.0 disk for my backup device. With Retro Express, I was using the "File" backup type to store multiple savesets on the disk. However, I found that there was a *major* performance issue when doing an incremental backup to the same set: for a large (18Gb) saveset file it would take about 1.5 hours for Express to apparently extract the catalog data to a temp file on the same disk before it would actually start backing up any new files (which would often take less than a minute).




    Is it OK instead to use this disk for a "disk saveset" backup type? This way the catalog would be kept separately on my C drive and incremental backups should proceed much quicker. The only issue is if I can have multiple disk backup sets on this same external hard drive. Is this possible? Does this sound like a better way to go? Can I still use the disk for other non-backup files storage?

  5. I will be upgrading from Express 5.6 to Pro 6.0.




    1) Should I uninstall Express before installing Pro 6.0?




    2) Will I have to do fresh full backups with Pro 6.0, or can I just add to existing backup sets created by Express 5.6?





  6. I was going to show my wife how to use Retrospect on our XP system today, but when launching it from her login it started going into the Windows Installer! We ended up switching to my login to use it.




    If we both want to use Retrospect from our own XP logins, do I have to sort of install it twice or something? Will we be able to share the scripts and other settings that I have already made?




    Doug Gordon

  7. I was playing around with restoring files and noticed that I only see one snapshot per backup set -- my latest one. I thought that there was a separate snapshot saved for each backup that I do so that I can choose to restore from an earlier "version" of my disk. Is this not correct?




    If I can't get to an earlier snapshot, how would I restore a previously backed up version of a file?





  8. I just noticed that if you select the "All Files Except Cache Files" option, Retro Express will not back up any directory named "x:\TEMP", where "x" is any of your drives! This is nice for C:\TEMP, which usually does not need to be backed up, but I happened to have TEMP directories on some other volumes and they were not being backed up.




    Changing to "All Files" for volumes other than C: took care of this.





  9. My system is a 1.6GHz with 256Mb memory, WinXP. I'm using a USB 2.0 external hard disk as my backup target with a 440Mbps transfer rate. Starting out with Retrospect, I decided to back up all of my local drive partitions to a single saveset on the USB drive (NTFS formatted). This took a couple of hours and created a saveset of 18Gb (gigabytes).




    When I started an "incremental" backup to this same saveset last night, the performance was incredibly slow. After scanning the local drive Retrospect went into the "Preparing for backup" phase that took over an hour before it started to actually back up any files! Looking at the external disk with Explorer, what it seems to have been doing was to create a temporary catalog file (?) with a name of the form "Saveset.rfb.rfc". This file was 60Mb in size and it was probably populating it during this time (at least that's my guess). The external drive was fully busy during this time.




    When it finally got around to backing up the changed files, it again would back up a few and then not show any progress for long periods of time. The activity light on the external disk was on constantly during all of this, so obviously it was doing something. I went away to do some other things and when I returned it had actually completed the backup successfully, but the log showed that it took 2 hours and 25 minutes to back up less than 2000 changed files! It didn't take much longer than that to do the initial full backup of 10's of thousands of files.




    My conclusion is that Retrospect was working as designed, but that its method of operation simply does not scale well for trying to manage multi-gigabytes of files in a single large saveset. Maybe it's not optimized that well for storing to files since they assumed that nobody would back this much up to a file?




    Anyway, what I may do is to do my backups one logical partition at a time, with each partition having its own saveset. This will be slightly less convenient operationally, but since each saveset will be smaller, the performance might be acceptable. I'll have to make sure to try this before my trial period expires, since I don' t think it's acceptable to have the software thrashing on the external drive for hours at a time when doing simple incremental backups.




    Doug Gordon

  10. How important is the verification option? It really adds a lot of time to the backup process. When I was using tapes for backup, I never really trusted them, so verification seemed like a good thing to do. However, I am using Retrospect to back up to an external USB 2.0 hard drive (NTFS formatted). I think that the likelihood of data errors is vanishingly small since a lot of this is actually handled at the disk driver level and in the hardware (checksums, CRCs, etc.).




    Is there any reason to regularly select the verification option when backing up to a saveset on a hard disk like this?





  11. Correct me if I'm wrong. If Meri is actually using CD-R's (not R/W's), then a Recycle would of course not really erase the media since the CD-R's are a write-once medium. If you do a "recycle" with CD-R, you basically just start over with a fresh set of disks (and you can eventually throw away the previous ones). The full backup probably takes several CDs initially, and then you start adding with each incremental backup.




    Since CD-R's can't be reused, it seems like it would be less wasteful to just keep doing incrementals until the catalog gets too big to manage. Does this make sense?





  12. What is a "typical" overall compression ratio when using Retrospect Express? A while back, a lot of products seemed to assume at least 2:1 compression (such a when they sell you a 4Gb tape but rate it as holding 8Gb compressed!). However, many of the larger files on people's hard disks these days are already in a compressed format and can't be shrunk much farther. For example, MP3, JPEG, GIF, MPEG, and ZIP files are already compressed, as well as many of .EXE files that are self-installing products or product updates. My latest backups with Backup Express to tape end up at about 1.5:1 compression.




    Just wondering.




    Doug Gordon

  13. I have two PCs at home, one of which will have Retroflect Express and an external USB drive for storing the backup sets. My PCs are networked, and the 2nd PC has its drives fully shared with the main PC. When using Backup Express, I was able to select any of these networked drives as the source drive and then back it up to the tape drive on the main PC (where the backup s/w is runnning).




    Will I be able to do this with Retroflect Express? That is, can I select a shared drive on a networked PC as the source drive and back it up to a saveset on my local external drive?




    Doug Gordon

  14. I'm a prospective user (don't have the product yet), and have a few general questions. I'm planning on backing up to a USB 2.0 external drive and will probably use the Backup option as opposed to Duplicate (I'm familiar with "backup set" concepts from having use tapes for many years).




    1) Does Retroflect Express provide a way to exclude specific files or directories from the backup? I see no need to backup the junk in the "Temporary Internet Files" folders, not to mention swap files, etc.




    2) Other than the tutorials, is there any documentation that provides some guidelines on how to set up a backup strategy for a typical single home-type PC? That is, how often to do incrementals, maintaining multiple backup sets, how often to recycle, etc.




    3) How does Express handle backing up files that are currently open while the backup is in progress?




    4) Does the current registry get backed up, or just the copy of the registry that is saved on the disk.




    Doug Gordon

  15. After getting to the limit of using tape backups on my home systems, I have decided to go to a different approach using an external hard drive on a USB 2.0 port. Retrospect Express looks like a good way to do the job (I've been using Backup Exec most recently with my tape drive). From what I read, I think that it should work with any external hard drive that is supported on the USB port, and that the drive would not necessarily have to be on the compatibility list since a drive is a drive on Windows XP. Is this correct?




    The specific drive I'm looking at is a Maxtor 3000LE with 120Gb of space. It's available for about $260 online, which seems very cost effective. Will this work as a backup target with Retrospect Express?




    I'm looking forward to getting away from tapes, as disk capacity has now outstripped tape drive capacity and speed as far as a home system is concerned. I like to do complete backups of my drives, but this is no longer practical since it takes many hours to write to the tape, and that's assuming that there are no errors. I'd still like to use a specific backup program though, instead of just manually dragging files onto the external drive.