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Client keeps turning off

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I have an annoying problem with Retrospect Client 6.0.108. Occasionally, without warning, it will turn itself off (when I open the client window, the "Off" radio button is selected). Consequently, I have to consciously check the on/off status of the client occasionally to make sure that it gets backed up. My client configuration is as follows:

 

12" PowerBook G4/867

Airport Extreme

 

A Netgear WGR614 wireless router is at the other end of the wireless link.

 

Has anyone else seen this and, if so, do you have a solution?

 

Thanks.

Alan

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- Does the Client stay on across computer reboots?

 

- Did you move "Retrospect Client.app" from it default install location at /Applications/ ?

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Quote:

- Does the Client stay on across computer reboots?

 


 

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Since I rarely shut down or reboot my PowerBook, I think it has more to do with whether it stays on across sleep/wake cycles (or the associated Airport Extreme link negotiations), but even there, sometimes it survives and sometimes it doesn't.

 

Quote:

Did you move "Retrospect Client.app" from it default install location at /Applications/?

 


 

It has been sitting snugly at the top level of the /Applications folder ever since I accidentally moved it a month or so ago when I was attempting to make an alias to it.

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Hi

 

I would try an uninstall and reinstall of the client. your aliases should still work afterwards.

 

Thanks

Nate

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Well, I uninstalled Retrospect Client, rebooted, and then reinstalled and I'm still having the problem. I still suspect that it has something to do with the amount of time it takes for the wireless link to come up after I wake up the PowerBook. It's very intermittent and I don't recall Retrospect Client ever turning itself off while I'm working. Any other suggestions?

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I have further information about the problem. When the client "turns off", what actually appears to happen is that the pitond daemon that's launched by the client app hangs up. When I "turn on" the client, another copy of the daemon is launched.

 

At one point, I had three copies of the daemon running concurrently and it really messed up network backups (on the client side). I managed to kill all of them in the Terminal and regain network back-up functionality by running the client app again and "turning it on".

 

Does Dantz read these forums so they'll know there's a potential problem?

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Quote:

When the client "turns off", what actually appears to happen is that the pitond daemon that's launched by the client app hangs up. When I "turn on" the client, another copy of the daemon is launched.

 


 

The problem is not that a new process is launched when you manually invoke it, since the Client application is doing what it's supposed to do when you intervene.

 

But the fact that pitond is hanging is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. I've seen pitond running on many, many machines and never seen it crash or hang.

 

That being said, the process includes a logging feature that Dantz tech support can use to help you diagnose what in your system is hanging this reasonably robust unix program. I'd suggest that you contact them and pay for a support incident; trying to troubleshoot this sort of thing online is going to be difficult.

 

You can see pitond's options by entering the shell command:

 

/Applications/Retrospect\ Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond --help

 

So if you were to enter:

 

/Applications/Retrospect\ Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond -log 8 &

 

it would launch pitond with logging enabled at level 8 (I think it goes from 1 to 9)

 

 

 

Dave

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I'm seeing the same problem on two of my machines (a G5 and a 17-inch PowerBook). Both are on gigabit ethernet, so it's not a wireless problem. These machines are put to sleep each night, and when I wake them up, the Client is often set to OFF.

 

Extremely annoying.

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Quote:

I'm seeing the same problem on two of my machines

 


 

 

When you say "same," do you mean that the pitond process on these machies is also hanging?

 

What does the Activity Monitor application show when you wake the machine from sleep?

 

Dave

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No, I mean that when I look at the back up server, it's got the 'source' error message shown for the two computers in question, and when I check the client application on each, it is 'Off'.

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Mike: The next time it happens, either open up a Terminal and type "ps -ax | grep pitond" or use the Activity Monitor utility and see if there's one or more copies of the pitond daemon running with the client set to "off". If that's the case, when you set the client to "on", you should see yet another copy appear. Please report back.

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Quote:

The problem is not that a new process is launched when you manually invoke it, since the Client application is doing what it's supposed to do when you intervene.

 


 

 

 

When everything is working as it should, my observations are that clicking the "On" button in the client app launches the pitond daemon whereas clicking the "Off" button terminates the daemon. Plus, when the client app is launched, it apparently normally detects whether a pitond daemon is active and activates the "On" or "Off" button as appropriate. The mechanism it uses for that detection is obviously not a simple check of whether the pitond process exists.

 

 

 

Anyway, I'll try your suggestions and post back what I find.

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Quote:

When everything is working as it should, my observations are that clicking the "On" button in the client app launches the pitond daemon whereas clicking the "Off" button terminates the daemon.

 


 

This is not how the two programs interact, so either your observational methodology is shaky or it's an important clue. I generally suspect user error before unix process malfunction, but that's just me.

 

When pitond is running (no matter how it was launched), the Retrospect Client application's "On" radio button will be selected, and the Status window will say either "Waiting for first access," "Ready," or "In Use by xyz."

 

Clicking the "Off" radio button will not kill the pitond process. It will change the Status field from "Ready" to "Off."

 

Holding the Command (Apple) key and clicking the "Off" radio button will kill pitond and change the Status field to "Not running."

 

 

>The next time it happens, either open up a Terminal and type "ps -ax | grep pitond" or

>use the Activity Monitor utility and see if there's one or more copies of the pitond daemon

>running with the client set to "off".

 

You said earlier that pitond was hung; what do _you_ see in Terminal when your system is in this state?

 

 

Dave

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Quote:

When pitond is running (no matter how it was launched), the Retrospect Client application's "On" radio button will be selected, and the Status window will say either "Waiting for first access," "Ready," or "In Use by xyz."

 


 

Admittedly, I don't have much understanding of the inner workings of the client app/pitond combination, but I do have considerable experience in Unix software development, so I know what I'm looking at with respect to process status.

 

When things have gotten messed up, I have brought up the client app and the "Off" button has been engaged. A "ps -ax" in the Terminal has shown that a pitond process is running (as well as the client app). Subsequently clicking on the "On" button has caused a second pitond process to show up in the ps list. In addition, if I then quit the client app and try to restart it, the app fails to start up (it just bounces on the Dock until the Dock gives up on it).

 

I currently have pitond running with debug turned on, so it's just a waiting game at this point. I'll post back with pertinent debug info when it happens again.

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>I don't have much understanding of the inner workings of the client app/pitond combination...

 

No inner knowledge is necessary; when installed on a well behaved system, the Retrospect OS X Client application will behave as described in my earlier post.

 

>When things have gotten messed up, I have brought up the client app and the "Off" button

>has been engaged.

 

What does the "Status" window of the Client app display during this time?

 

>A "ps -ax" in the Terminal has shown that a pitond process is running (as well as the client app).

 

- You reported earlier that pitond was hung; on what do you base this? (I lack the unix knowledge of how to use all the keywords and flags of the "ps" tool, so I can't offer suggestions on how to use it to provide more appropriate information, although it most likely can)

- If you launch Activity Monitor, what does it say about pitond?

 

>Subsequently clicking on the "On" button has caused a second pitond process to show up

>in the ps list.

 

- After clicking on the "On" radio button, does that button stay selected?

- What is the text in the "Status" window at this point?

 

Attempting to launch pitond from the command line when it is already running will result in an error to that regard, so the process itself has the appropriate language to prevent multiple instances from launching. Your experience here seems to be evidence that the existing process is hung, but I'm not unix savvy enough to know how these things work. But the Client app is just doing what it's supposed to, making calls to the unix part of the OS.

 

>In addition, if I then quit the client app and try to restart it, the app fails to start

>up (it just bounces on the Dock until the Dock gives up on it).

 

What is the status of things (Radio button and the Status window text) when you observe this?

 

It is very possible that your system is wacked and whatever has happened to it is preventing the Retrospect Client program(s) to work as expected.

 

Care to offer any information on customizations or modifications you've completed and/or attempted? You mention a failed attempt to create an alias of this very program; I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you've made other changes to the stock OS X install too.

 

Depending on the log level you've set, pitond can spawn an _enormous_ amount of data, and posting it here (a community support Forum) is not likely going to help you to get things working again. But if you can find something that looks relevant that'd be great.

 

 

Dave

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Since I started pitond from the command line with debug options about two days ago, I have not had a repeat of the problem. I'll give it a couple more days and then go back to letting the client app start it.

 

As for the displayed status, I didn't pay attention to it when the problem occurred. I have made a mental note to do so when it happens again.

 

>>Subsequently clicking on the "On" button has caused a second pitond process to show up

>>in the ps list.

>

>- After clicking on the "On" radio button, does that button stay selected?

 

Yes, it does.

 

>>In addition, if I then quit the client app and try to restart it, the app fails to start

>>up (it just bounces on the Dock until the Dock gives up on it).

>

>What is the status of things (Radio button and the Status window text) when you observe >this?

 

As I said, the app fails to start up, so the window never appears. As for the status prior to quitting it, I'll try to remember to take a look at it next time.

 

>Care to offer any information on customizations or modifications you've completed

>and/or attempted? You mention a failed attempt to create an alias of this very program;

>I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you've made other changes to the stock

>OS X install too.

 

Other than installing drivers for some of my peripherals, the only thing I've modified is the printing subsystem (CUPS), which should have nothing at all to do with Retrospect. I avoid haxies because I have found in the past that they tend to do more harm than good.

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Here's what I see when it's showing as 'off':

 

183 ?? S 42:01.46 /Applications/Retrospect Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond

2913 ?? Ss 2:14.14 /Applications/Retrospect Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond

3493 ?? Ss 4:06.53 /Applications/Retrospect Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond

5578 std R+ 0:00.02 grep pitond

 

 

Then I turned it on and got this:

 

183 ?? S 42:01.55 /Applications/Retrospect Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond

2913 ?? Ss 2:14.21 /Applications/Retrospect Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond

3493 ?? Ss 4:06.64 /Applications/Retrospect Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond

5585 ?? Ss 0:00.12 /Applications/Retrospect Client.app/Contents/Resources/pitond

5587 std R+ 0:00.00 grep pitond

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Thanks for the confirmation, Mike. The debug run I was doing quit by itself but no errors were spit out. So, I started the client app and turned it on. It ran for about a day before this happened. Note that the client indicates it's off but a pitond daemon is running.

 

When I then turned it on, this happened. Note the two pitond daemons.

 

I'll try it again with debug turned on.

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I realize this is about V6 but I'm trolling for a similar problem with the V5 client. Our backup routine has been fine for over a year and just receintly the client on my Powerbook has decided to turn itself off. I can turn it on and then just wait a minute and watch as it switches itself off. I have reinstalled the client and trashed the Retrospect pref file. Wierd! and I'm not getting backed up. Please help us.

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I'm wondering if the V6 problem (and, possibly, the V5 problem) is a timing thing where some I/O is trying to happen between the time the computer wakes up and when it get its IP address from the DHCP server. An idea comes to mind: I think I'll try assigning a static IP to my PowerBook and see if the problem recurs. Do any of the people having this problem use static IPs?

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Comment on Alan's MacInTouch post:

 

 

 

- looking at the referenced screen shot, the Status field displays "not running" yet pitond has a PID. This is not normal behavior.

 

 

 

- Earlier you wrote "I do have considerable experience in Unix software development, so I know what I'm looking at with respect to process status" yet you haven't provided much information regarding the status of these multiple instances of pitond (I do _not_ always know what I'm looking at with respect to process status, but I assume tools such as "top" can provide more clues then have so far been shown in this thread).

 

 

 

- Your letter to MacInTouch read " So far, no one from Dantz has chimed in"

 

First off, someone from Dantz _did_ chime in; Natew from Japan is listed as a moderator of the board (there are only three), so I'm assuming that he's an employee of some sort.

 

Second, as I wrote above, this Forum is _not_ Dantz tech support. It is advertised as a community support area where users can attempt to help each other. It's unfair for you to refuse to call Dantz directly and then publicly complain about their unresponsiveness.

 

 

 

If this is a defect in the software (as it may likely be) you can request a refund for the support incident you open with them (you may get contacted directly, now that Ric printed your letter, but there was no reason for you to wrestle with this on your own for so many weeks).

 

 

 

Dave

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I too have been having this problem, I have macs running 10.3.4 with the latest Client

I have noticed that there were a lot of unavailble client on network (something close to that) in checking I found the client was turned off. I talked to my users and found they had no idea what I was talking about.

that was good, they were not turning off the client but my question is....What is turning off the cliient.?

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I have to admit that one of the reasons I posted over at MacInTouch was to get this matter out in the open as opposed to restricted to the readers of the Dantz forums. Pat Lee's post gave me the perfect opportunity to relate my experiences.

 

One of the reasons I hesitated to contact Dantz support was because I didn't feel it was right to be charged for an incident for a software bug; thanks for letting me know that I can be reimbursed if it does indeed turn out to be a bug. The other reason is that I always do what I can to solve the problem myself, to the point where the lower-tier support folks usually aren't terribly helpful; getting to the higher-tier folks at many companies can be like pulling teeth. Anyway, if I don't hear from them in the next couple of days in response to my MacInTouch post, I'll be calling them.

 

As for the status of the pitond instances, there wasn't really anything remarkable about them. All of them were shown as sleeping, including the "active" one. The next time it happens, I'll try to make note of the rate of change of the CPU usage of the "inactive" ones vs. the "active" one. I'll also check the status of their communication channels (IP ports, message queues, whatever), assuming I can figure out what they are. So far, I've been able to keep the problem from recurring by leaving the client app running and just hiding the window.

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Hi

 

My apologies for a simple question so late in the game but...

 

When you uninstalled Retrospect client did you use the uninstaller or just delete the client application? After the uninstall were the /Library/Preferences/Retroclient.state file and the /Library/Starupitems/RetroClient folder deleted?

 

Thanks

Nate

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