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NoelC

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  1. NoelC

    Grooming Policy Too Simplistic

    Y'know what, forget it. I'm sorry I bothered you helpful guys on the forum. I'm tired of failure eMail after failure eMail from Retrospect in the middle of the night. A paid product ought not to just fail after 2 months. I'm requesting a refund (fat chance since the product took a couple of months to begin to fail, but I'm asking anway) and going back to using Windows VSS-based backup. It does actually work, even on the newest Windows OS; I exercised it quite effectively to do a restore on my even bigger, more powerful office workstation just this past week. -Noel
  2. NoelC

    Grooming Policy Too Simplistic

    Thanks for the info. I will consider creating a feature request, though having paid for the software I feel I really shouldn't have to work too hard for Retrospect to ask them to make it work reasonably. Any reasonable software company should be hungry for new ideas. Regarding what they would charge extra for... I'm imagining they always should be looking for useful new features to add to the next version and which would add value to their next version and bring in more customers and get paid prior customers to purchase an upgrade. There is nothing wrong with continuing to add value to a mature product, except that it may become more and more expensive to do as the implementation technology ages. We can't know whether this feature will be easy or hard to add, but evidence hints that if it can do the grooming to one of several policies now, another policy should not be beyond hope. If policy compliance is an issue, it can be spelled out how the different policies provide such compliance. I can't believe that customers wouldn't want to make more use of their existing hardware and get more reliable protection from the product for a given set of hardware. FWIW, I have still not gotten my setup back to where I have complete successes during my nightly incremental backup. My loss of ability to weather a data loss in this time of futzing around with the settings to try to get it to work means this sophisticated product has fallen on its face in my opinion. I'm not even sure it IS my fault any more, since I had a period of time where it was successfully grooming and completing backups, which transitioned into a string of failures. I can only continue fiddling with settings, reducing the horizon manually rather than the useful work I had planned to be doing. -Noel
  3. NoelC

    Grooming Policy Too Simplistic

    Being able to accomplish complex things is a reason companies like Retrospect can demand the big bucks. How many software packages have you paid more than $100 for? I don't know about you but I want quality and functionality, not ongoing headaches from the professional software I pay for. And how would this be different than choosing a fixed horizon of N backups, or following even the complex grooming policy that's default? I'm a software engineer. I can envision ways to do it. Microsoft (and before them Digital Equipment Corporation) figured out how to do it with their Volume Snapshot Service going back what, 40 years? Complex data management is not a new thing, and computers nowadays have more than enough CPU power and I/O speed, and RAM storage. I suggest that perhaps the one biggest thing people would want in a "set it and forget it" backup is to make reliable backups in such a way as to give the longest possible backup horizon for any given available backup space. Regarding what to back up... 8 TB of backup space is not a small amount for a single workstation that I'd like to be able to restore should even a catastrophic failure occur. And in my case at least, the system has many spare hours to do it. I don't want to have to futz around to find out just how much data I can keep. That's what I'd like the software to do for me. Unfortunately, that's not what Retrospect is delivering. I may have made a mistake in purchasing this software - it's not delivering anywhere near the professional experience I expected based on recommendations. -Noel
  4. As a relatively new user, the way I expected Retrospect to work is to make just enough room for the latest backup as each new incremental backup runs. What I'm getting, now that my 8 TB backup drive has filled, is backup failure after backup failure because the backup disk is simply filled up. It does groom something every time, but apparently my oldest backup wasn't as big as the newest one I need to store. I understand that this is adjustable via the Grooming policy of the Backup Set. I have it set to "Groom to Retrospect defined policy" set to 1 month, and Storage-optimized grooming. Apparently my drive isn't big enough to do that, given the amount of data my system crunches through. Fair enough. I know I can switch to "Groom to remove backups older than N", but... Wouldn't it make more sense if Retrospect would just "Groom the oldest backups off as needed to make just enough room for the new backup"? Is this what you get if you don't check either box? If so, it's not at all obvious. -Noel
  5. Thanks - I really appreciate sage advice from someone else with skills - but I have tuned all the things you have mentioned. Remember, my old system is highly tuned as well, with a bank of 8 SSDs in RAID as well as a pair of top-end (for 2012) x5690 Xeons. Maximum serial disk throughput on my old workstation, as measured by ATTO is 1.7 GB/second, with 4K I/Os clocking in at about 120 MB/second. Max serial throughput on my new workstation is 11 GB/second (!!) with 4K I/Os at about 300 MB/second. Memory is much faster, core speed is incrementally faster (Xeons haven't advanced as much as you might guess). You'd *THINK* it should be able to crunch through work noticeably faster. I have used many tuning tools on many occasions, Process Explorer amongst them and also including Process Hacker, Resource Monitor, Performance Monitor, etc. etc. I have even swapped OSs on the same hardware. Each time what I have had to conclude is what's eating up performance is Windows 10. It does everything measurably less efficiently than a well-tuned older OS. Beyond that general statement I can also tell you now that v1903 does things less efficiently than v1809. There are a few discrete things that my new system does measurably more quickly - like individual benchmarks - but overall it just doesn't come off feeling faster or more responsive to use. Photoshop and Visual Studio, for example, take equally long to cold-start on each system. THAT is almost unbelievable! But is precisely the kind of thing that matters when you're trying to keep your mind on your work, and not get frustrated by the system not keeping up. One of the main problems with Windows 10 is that it's nearly impossible to eliminate and keep eliminated the overhead of the nearly endless things Microsoft wants us using. Sure, you can hack away for months and get Windows 10 down to where it'll be running as few as 90 processes to support an empty desktop - I've done it - yet the next version comes along and they reinstall all the crapware. Last thing in the world I want is Xbox components or Live Tiles in a Start menu I don't use, yet there they are. Last thing in the world I need is all their paranoia "security-ware" and LUA (excuse me, "UAC") in place ostensibly to block Bluekeep this and Meltdown and Spectre that but lo and behold I find it just blocks my work and my performance suffers yet again because of their Marketing FUD engine (don't look now, but security is no longer about protecting people's digital safety; it's about manipulating users into buying new things). I simply do not have enough time to tune Windows 10 for months on end to get it to be as efficient as possible, only to have all the junkware just return at the next in-place upgrade every 6 months. Conclusion: Windows 10 is FAR more bloated than any of its predecessors ever dreamed of being - on purpose, and you can't practically fix it - and this affects usability markedly! I can always learn more, but having been doing operating system work since the years of mainframes and punch cards, I'd like to assure you I'm working at a high level and know what I'm saying here. -Noel
  6. > the OP's Backup Set is named "Backup Set Drives C D and V" No, it is not. It is named "Drives C D and V". Thanks for your responses. Nothing was apparently deleted from my source drives. Short between the headsets. And yes, I had seen that misleading, scary wording in the documentation. -Noel
  7. I really want to believe that maybe I misread my free space or that some old Volume Snapshots I really won't need have been deleted or something. I mean, I didn't actually specifically look at free space yesterday. I just kind of remember some time in the past month thinking my C volume was nearly 3/4 full. Now it's closer to half full. In my 40+ years of experience in computing I've never had free drive space magically reappear. The world doesn't usually work that way. My backup set is named "Drives C D and V" so the wording of "from Backup Set Drives C D and V" may be implying something that's not really true. So far I can't find any specific files that are missing, and I'm pretty knowledgeable about what I have stored. -Noel
  8. I run one script that backs my 2 TB C, D, and V volumes up to an external 8 TB USB drive G every night. Up to now I've been getting comforting messages stating "0 errors, 0 warnings". This morning, alarmingly, I received an eMail message generated by Retrospect that makes me think Retrospect may have deleted files from my disks: Script: Nightly Retrospect System Backup Date: 10/6/2019 3:48 AM Groomed 290.2 GB from Backup Set Drives C D and V. From? There's almost 300GB more free space on my C drive today than yesterday. Does this imply Retrospect has actually deleted my files from the disks I'm backing up? I had about 500 GB free on C, now I have 858 GB free. I have not told it it is allowed to delete any files, nor have I run across any settings that imply that it will do so. I admit to being unfamiliar with Retrospect still. I don't care how "old", or how low Retrospect thinks the free space is getting (500 GB free was not bad), I don't want any of my files automatically deleted! Who would want a backup program to automatically delete the very files they have selected to be backed up? I must be missing a concept here. Where can I find a definition of "grooming"? I found something in the documentation that states... "Grooming will automatically remove data when the destination disk fills up" ...which doesn't say anything about freeing space on the _source_ drive. How can I know exactly what files were deleted? I'll keep digging but so far I haven't found specifics. Thanks in advance for wisdom you can share. -Noel
  9. NoelC

    Dissimilar Hardware Restore

    Thanks for looking that up. I could probably cough up $99 for the add-on. I'll have to figure out how to buy it... Shouldn't that be easy? -Noel
  10. NoelC

    Dissimilar Hardware Restore

    I get it. These are all user to user forums then. I did not use that tool. Nor do I want to pay for ongoing support, and from what I can see Dissimilar Hardware Restore only bundles with ASM? Ah well, live and learn. Double the original sale price for that add-on is steep if you ask me. The ability to restore to [a rebuild of] my existing hardware and recover from accidental deletions is really what I need anyway. Should I get a new system I'll want to set up the OS afresh anyway. Thinking back, I have in the past restored a Windows Backup to dissimilar hardware exactly ONCE. It was convenient under very specific circumstances. In that particular case the machine had just failed and I bought a newer machine of the same lineage (both were Dell Precision models, 2 years apart). So much of the design was similar that the OS figured out how to enable the needed drivers and I was off and running in a few hours. That system ran well for years after. -Noel
  11. I have recently purchased Retrospect Desktop. That opened up my ability to click "Disaster Recovery". However, when I do in the dialog I see something I didn't expect: Looks like an extra cost option to restore to dissimilar hardware. Clicking the [ Purchase... ] button did not yield any useful information. It just shows me an "Upgrade Wizard" page that describes what I already have, a license for " Retrospect Desktop v.16 for Windows". Maybe I blocked a script or something. Frankly, this capability is what I thought I was going to get with " Retrospect Desktop v.16 for Windows". How much is the extra charge for this option? -Noel
  12. Running processes - handy services or whatever - DO take system resources, however incrementally small they may be. They add up. I'm a long-time software engineer. I've consistently built Windows workstations over my career that do more work than the average system - a LOT more. I have a old circa 2013 Dell Precision T5500 workstation right now that I use for engineering work (the one on which I've installed Retrospect, above and on which am typing this) and it is just as responsive and can do software builds just as fast as a brand new (expensive!) 2019 Dell Precision 7820 workstation I have just purchased with MUCH better hardware all around that I have not yet trimmed and tweaked for best performance. Xeon Westmere vs. Xeon Scalable Gold cores, SATA III SSD vs. m.2 NVMe, half the RAM speed vs. double - yet all the bloat and extra "handy" stuff installed in Win 10 on the new system (150+ processes to support an empty desktop!?!, OMG!) soaks up EVERY BIT of that newer, more powerful technology. My old workstation is lean and mean (42 processes to support an empty desktop, without any extraneous software running) - yet it is still general purpose for MY needs and supports my needs every bit as well. Plus it's more reliable. This new, modern approach of installing suites of mostly useless (but handy!) software just in case you might want it is akin to death by 1000 paper cuts. When AI achieves sentience it will hate us for this. Dumbing-down a system, loading it up with "handy" but mostly useless software, and leaving the details to "someone else" is simply NOT the right answer. Only education and engineers keeping their eyes on the prize will take us to a Star Trek future. I do not need a Weather App on my desktop. I do not need a backup system that eschews the system scheduler and runs its own in parallel, taking megabytes and millions of CPU cycles away from the work I need to do. Retrospect developers take note: Had I not been able to train Retrospect to jump through this particular hoop and have zero impact to my system when it is not actually doing a backup, I would not have bought it! -Noel
  13. Got it working. Success was as simple as realizing that Retrospect.exe with a run document (xxxxxx.rrr, as saved during script setup) as a parameter will just do the backup specified by the run document then do what's configured when done (e.g., exit in my case). No scheduling at all needs to be done in Retrospect, Enable Management console is unchecked, Enable Retrospect Launcher service is unchecked, and Instant Scan needs is disabled. Voila, one scheduled job in the Windows Task Scheduler done at a particular time that invokes my nightly backup. There are no ongoing running processes from the intergalactic backup program that I just need to do one very simple backup at the same time each night. While it would have been nice for it to work like this right out of the box (e.g., easy integration with Windows Task Scheduler just by setting the right options in the Restrospect UI), I can live with rolling my own. Might be a case where developers, very close to the product and constantly focused on adding valuable features, have forgotten that it can/should be a basic low-impact backup solution too. The only other downside I've seen so far (and will work on next) is that Retrospect emits my system "Asterisk" (ding in my case) sound - presumably to announce that the backup has succeeded - which has awakened me at about 3:30am twice so far. Next step will be to configure it to not interact with the console at all if possible. I suspect that will just be a small change in the Task Scheduler to "Run whether user is logged on or not", which is what I want anyway because I don't want to have to leave it logged on to get backups done. Still on the trial period but I suspect I'll succeed and Retrospect will get my business. -Noel
  14. Thanks. It occurred to me I didn't provide enough information. My backup is set for once per night at 2am; my look ahead time is minimized to 1 hour, and I have disabled Instant Scan. Basically I want a very simple, once per night, single computer backup to permanently attached local storage. The system runs 24/7. I find these text lines from the post at the first link you posted most interesting, as they are pertinent to my question: > Retrospect is configured to run as the logged-in user (who has all permissions needed for backups), and the Task Scheduler is configured to run its task under that same user account. This enables Retrospect windows to appear normally on that user's desktop. > ) Invoking Retrospect.exe with a "Run Document" argument opens the main window, runs that script and any waiting scripts, and either stays in Retrospect or exits (depending on Startup Preferences). > Exit (or others) (Works only with a "Run Document" argument´╗┐.) The above describe my situation and imply it's possible I simply have not yet found the proper combination of options and command line arguments. I have not tried saving the one and only script I've created as a "Run Document". The only thing I'd rather not have to do is leave the system logged on, though in practice that is almost always the case. My remaining question is whether the setting for "Enable Retrospect Launcher Service" and "Automatically Launch Retrospect" should be left checked but the retrorun service set to "Manual" or "Disabled", or should they just be unchecked. I will proceed presuming the latter. Appreciate your help! -Noel
  15. Hello, New Retrospect user here... Looks like a good product; I like that I could quickly set it up to do exactly the nightly backup I needed, and that it's reporting 0 errors and 0 warnings for incremental backups of multiple terabytes of volumes that complete in good time. However, the need to keep service retrorun running bothers me. I have a philosophy of keeping installs of all software on my computers as lean as possible. By following this philosophy and enforcing a minimal running process count through the use of e.g., Autoruns I have been able to keep Windows installations efficient and performant and have often advanced performance. People often complain that Windows slows down over time. Not my Windows systems! Windows provides a perfectly good Task Scheduler. Can Retrospect be configured to use it, eliminating the need for the retrorun service component to be kept running? I have seen, for example that the command line given to Retrospect.exe contains the term "autostart", and an attempt to start Retrospect.exe from the Task Scheduler at the time of my nightly scheduled backup DID work after a fashion but did not yield the expected process exit after the backup was complete. Thanks for any wisdom you are willing to share on this. -Noel
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