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About GeneralEclectic

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  1. GeneralEclectic

    "Disaster Recovery"

    Thanks for the clarification, but I think there's a problem in the vague wording of this section of the addendum: Preparing Your Hard Disk Drive for Recovery In some cases, you may need to partition of format the hard disk drive in your computer before you can proceed with the Emergency Recovery process. I read that as requiring the user to partition the disk separately from the "Emergency Recovery Process". At best, the wording is unnecessarily confusing and vague. Moreover, where in this Addendum does it specifically address the Boot Partition? It doesn't. It makes the reader guess about it. How is the Boot Partition created? Is it backed up in the backup set as part of the routine backup procedure? If so, how? Is the Boot Partition correctly aligned for SSD? Who knows? This section needs some work.
  2. GeneralEclectic

    "Disaster Recovery"

    I'm a long time Retrospect user, who, fortunately, has never had the need to rebuild a completely crashed system from a Retrospect backup. I've made "disaster recovery" disks with previous versions (on XP only) but never actually exercised one. Now with Windows 7, Retrospect version 7.7, and the new downloadable disk for disaster recovery, we appear to have a whole new approach to it. Which brings me to my first question: (1) Where is the documentation on this new disaster recovery disk? I've searched everywhere and have found nothing but references to the old type. The second issue users and admins of Windows 7 installations should be concerned about involves the "hidden" 100MB boot partition that Win 7 creates. It appears to me (again, I can find not a single word of documentation on this subject) that Retrospect, the Windows 7-compatible version, that is, pays absolutely no attention to this necessary part of the Win 7 installation. I think this may be a result of the "file backup" orientation of the product, but it seems to me that there should be a way to rebuild a system from an uninitialized disk in order to consider Retrospect a viable backup solution. So question (2) is: How do you rebuild a complete system, including the boot partition properly aligned for SSDs. I also want to point out that Microsoft's new backup utility takes care of everything with its image backup and system repair disk. If you have a system image and that disk, you are completely covered for rebuilding a functional installation on a new uninitialized disk (and you can accomplish the entire operation on a 40GB system partition in about 20-30 minutes, start to desktop). Can the Retrospect folks say the same thing? Edit: I just found the addendum that describes use of the emergency recovery disk. It still doesn't answer my question about the boot partition. It does address the matter of use of a "raw" disk -- it can't use one. I don't think that's an acceptable level of functionality, frankly.
  3. I've tried this in three different hardware platforms, all Intel, with either W2K or XP both with latest SPs. It is possible that Nero V.6 was installed on each of these prior to Retrospect setup. To the best of my knowledge, there are no Nero processes running, and I've never had any kind of packet-writing software installed. I've tried it with and without ASPI. I really can't figure it out. In all these various installations, it has worked as I've described it *every* time. Needless to say, it makes running a backup beyond frustrating. I have yet to complete a Retrospect backup on +RW media, which is why I bought the software and DVD writers in the first place. I've tried everything I can think of to work around this problem. I'm convinced that there's a bug in there that's triggered by the right set of conditions, given that I'm not the only one who's reported the problem. I'd really appreciate some suggestions on how to work around this. If I can find the time, I may pull one of these DVD writers out (right now I have three writers in two different machines. Retrospect, 6.5 or 7, exhibits the same +RW issue in both of them.) and stick it in a test machine that has nothing in it except a virgin XP installation. What kind of +RW media are the people using who have had it work correctly? I've tried maybe a half-dozen brands with the same results.
  4. Would you people please do yourselves and your user base a huge favor? PLEASE, go get yourself a spindle of NEW DVD+RW disks. Infodisk, Prodisc, Optodisc, RicohJPN etc. Try to run a backup to one. You will see that Retrospect will attempt to ERASE the NEW disk, and just sit there --- for an hour if you let it. Now why in blazes is this thing trying to erase a NEW disk? Worse, you can't interrupt it! To escape from this +RW "Erasing" hang, you have to do a hard-kill on the Retrospect process. This problem has persisted for well over a year in version 6.5 and now 7. I've tried this on Plextor 708A, 712A, and a new NEC3520A. These are ALL fully supported in the latest driver set. And I've even tried custom configuring each drive separately. It doesn't help. Give the program a NEW +RW disk, and kiss that backup session goodbye. BTW, Retrospect has no problem custom configuring the +RW disk on any of these drives. Works like a champ. And ordinary +R disks seem to work fine too. I haven't tried -R disks. Once a +RW disk is "used" and Retrospect handles it like it should (quick erase), it verifies every time. Look people, this problem should be a NO BRAINER to re-create since it happens EVERY damn time I try to run a backup to a NEW +RW disk! And don't tell me that you never heard of it before -- there are a handful of previous posts here, including my own, but also from others that describe the same behavior! I've tried to get this to work on two separate machines, both with XPPro and both at SP1a and at SP2 (both of which were new, slipstreamed installations). All hardware is recent, P4 with Intel 865 or 875 chipsets. One GigaByte and one ASUS motherboard. All hardware fully functional otherwise with no known problems. No ASPI installed. Now, once the disk has been used for a backup set, Retrospect sees it, asks about erasing it, and then promptly erases it and goes about its business. But with a NEW disk, forget it. Unless you don't mind having your 20GB backup run for several weeks, that is. I guess you can tell that I'm pretty frustrated with this PERSISTENT and PREVIOUSLY DOCUMENTED problem! If you can't get the program to deal with a NEW +RW disk, then at least come up with some easy way to PRECONDITION the disk so that Retrospect doesn't grind to a halt when it becomes necessary to add a NEW disk to the backup set. Better yet, SENSE the presence of a NEW disk and automatically PRECONDITION IT. Obviously the ERASE function ain't working for you. Think of something else. Seriously people. This has gone on way too long. This needs to be fixed once and for all. And sooner rather than later. The upshot of this persistent problem is that I have yet to make a full backup onto DVDs. I get partway through and Retrospect just craps out on this "Erase" bug. 100% of the time. I'd be happy to test some beta code for you. The email address in my profile works.
  5. Yeah, it would be one thing if they had good support, but to demand $70 to report *their* problems is expecting too much. And then there's a good chance that any fixes won't be a no-charge "upgrade" to what you already have that doesn't work right. I can't say I'm too happy with these guys. Basically I've paid for this product and have yet to experience a smooth, trouble-free backup to either tape or DVD. Anyway, one thing I've discovered that's a show-stopper with Retrospect and DVDs is any version of ASPI loaded. The symptoms I had differed from yours, but there's no good to come of ASPI and Retrospect coexistence.
  6. I've seen this "write protected" error too, with DVD-R media. I have no idea about the underlying cause, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's related to the problem I posted about below regarding inability to write to virgin RW media. It appears to me that Dantz has quite a few unresolved issues with interfacing to DVD writers. Given the apparent lack of interest on their part to address known reproducible issues, I'd recommend not holding my breath while awaiting an answer. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Dantz would do themselves and their customers a HUGE FAVOR by licensing the Nero DVD engine from Ahead Software. Their stuff works correctly with everything. It's obvious that Dantz does not have a firm grasp on the DVD interface, and I have very little confidence in the backups I've made to DVDs with Dantz software. And the absence of official Dantz support in this area does nothing to build confidence.
  7. Two thoughts: first check your IDE cable. Make sure it's completely seated at both ends, and if it's the only drive on the channel, make sure that you're using the end connector. Even better use an 80-wire cable. And also make sure that the drive is running in UDMA-2 mode by looking at the status of the IDE channel in device Manager (assuming you're using Windows). If it's running in PIO or MWDMA, you'll have the buffer 10-100 oscillation. If it's stuck in PIO, you may have to uninstall that channel's IDE controller from device manager and have it reboot and redetect the controller. This drive MUST run in UDMA-2 to work correctly.
  8. Ok, I just tried one last attempt and got identical results with the most recent Retrospect executeable and rdu file. I setup the 708a on another P4 with an 845 chipset and Win2K/SP4. The erase process hangs the same way, and you have to hard-kill retrospect.exe in TaskManager. No doubt about it, Dantz has a bug in the Plextor interface.
  9. Yes, actually there is already a report of what appears to be a nearly identical problem: http://forums.dantz.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=0&Number=41635&page=4&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&vc=1 (I'm not positive that this URL to a forum post will work correctly. The post is by "devildog" on 19 May 04 at 3:28pm) I tried your suggestion. It hangs the program, just like it does when running a backup. I have the small window "Plextor DVD RW, ID 0:0 Status" window just sitting there with the clock hand rotating and saying "Erasing...". The drive status light is solid green. It's been sitting here like this for 10 minutes. I can't close the status window, and I can't close the program. This is just like the behavior I see when this happend during a backup. I had to hard-kill retrospect.exe. No kidding -- this behavior is 100% repeatable. And it's the same with the PX-708a and 712a. I retrieved the disk after rebooting and it has been obviously written-to, pretty much the same appearance as virgin disks acquire when the program hangs the same way during a backup. I also have Nero, but it's not running and there are no sleeping Nero processes. I don't use anything else to write to optical drives. I don't use anything like Direct-to-CD. There are no running/sleeping processes that have optical write capability. BTW, these are Infodisc 4X +RW media.
  10. I am using Retrospect 6.5 for Windows, in an up-to-date WinXP Pro SP1a installation. The DVD drives are installed as Master on IDE channel 0 in UDMA2. The board is a Gigabyte 8KNXP with latest BIOS, 875 chipset, and P4. 1GB memory. To the best of my knowledge, the system has no other problems or incompatibilities; there's no ASPI installed. I'm using the latest firmware in both drives, as well as the latest Dantz device description file. The problem occurs identically when using the rdu internal configuration for the drives, and when using a custom configuration (which, by the way, always runs properly to completion even with a virgin disk). As a test, I set up Retrospect on a completely different (P3 hardware) bench-test system, with WinXP SP2, and the problem persisted. Here's the issue: I can run backups in either of these drives to +R media without difficulty. Backups verify 100%. I can run good backups to +RW media, but ONLY if the media has been previously used. These also verify 100%. However, it's a royal pain to have to "initialize" new media, especially if you're in the middle of doing something and run out of "used" media. I'm using "compatible" media according to Plextor's media list. I've had no trouble at all with about 150 of these disks, so I don't think there's a media issue. I've also used these extensively with Nero without any problem whatsoever. What specifically happens is this: when the drive gets a new piece of this +RW media, it attempts to "erase" it. The drive activity light flashes for a while, then goes green for a moment, then flashes a bit more, and then goes permanently green. The status line in the "backup" window says that the drive is "erasing". But nothing is happening, and you can sit there for hours, and nothing will ever happen. Basically, Retrospect hangs there running one execution for all eternity. You can't even pause, stop, or quit. You have to go to Task Manager and do a hard kill on the Retrospect process. The drive tray remains locked, so you have to reboot to free it. Now if you use "used" media, the erase proceeds normally for a few seconds, and then copying begins. Media initialized with Plextools "quick erase" function usually, but not always, behaves the same way as virgin media. So Dantz people: why can't Retrospect handle virgin +RW media in either the PX-708A or PX-712a drives?
  11. I have both a 708a and a 712a. Both seem to work about the same WRT Retrospect. Which is to say they sort of work, but have some annoying problems. One thing I found that's a killer is ASPI. If you have WinXP with any ASPI layer installed, I doubt that you'll ever get it to work. I share your dissapointment in the difficulty in getting this combination of HW and SW to work. I too bought the 708a and Retrospect thinking it promised to be a bulletproof backup proposition. It's been anything but. I have little confidence in any backups I've made with it so far. It appears to me that the Dantz people have not yet figured out how to manage DVD operation with these drives. My current problem, and I'll probably be putting it in a new thread of its own, is that Retrospect refuses to write to virgin +RW disks. It will work with *used* +RW disks of the same type, just not NEW ones! Go figure. IMO, Dantz would do themselves and their customers a huge favor if they'd license the DVD burn engine from Ahead. Nero works all the time, perfectly, with everything.
  12. I'm using the trial version of Retrospect with a DI30, driver SC2K2.01 and W2K/SP4. So far, so good. It worked right out of the box, and I was making a trial backup within a couple of minutes of installing it. I take that as a very promising sign, having suffered through a lot of really awful software with this drive. I'm especially impressed with Retrospect's efficient use of memory. There's very little swapping going on compared to other software I've tried. However (there's always one of those) I'm concerned about what appears to be the inefficient usage of tape capacity. I'm backing up MP3 files, averaging, say, 6MB each on average, compression disabled. The first two tapes of the set reported that they were full at 13.7GB. These tapes had no problem holding the full 15GB when written by BackUpMyPC (on those occasions when it decided to work). In fact, they'd typically hold a reported 15,040,000,000 Bytes on average. So what's the story with Retrospect and 13.7GB? Even if one assumes that Retrospect is reporting 13.7*1024*1024, that still works out to 14,365,491 which is still a long way from 15G. With backups spanning 7 to 10 tapes, this loss of capacity translates to requiring an extra tape -- and with OnStream going Tango Uniform again, the tapes are not only expensive, but getting hard to find. So can anyone help me out with advice in utilizing the full capacity of the tape? And another question: I never had much luck with the 2.08 driver. What are you using?