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DavidHertzberg

The "secret" thing you must do _before installing_ Retrospect

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I have 3 Macs at home: a 2011 MacBook Pro running OS X 10.10, a 2000(?) G4 Digital Audio tower that for now must run OS X 10.3, and a 2010 Mac Pro (that I inherited from a dead friend) running OS X 10.10 on the normal boot drive. The Mac Pro is my Retrospect 12 server; the other 2 Macs are clients on an Ethernet LAN.

 

Every Saturday I run a Recycle MediaSet backup of all 6 hard drives (the G4 also has 2 OS 9.1 drives), which takes 7.5 hours. It would make life much simpler if I could get Retrospect to backup the 2 client machines first, which would free up the MacBook Pro after 3 hours and the G4 tower after another 1.5 hours. But Retrospect wouldn't do that; it backed up the MacBook Pro first, then both drives on the Mac Pro (for another 3 hours), and finally the G4 tower drives.

 

I know I could get the desired result by separating the Saturday backup into 2 scripts: one--scheduled first--to backup only the client machines, and another--scheduled after that--to backup only the server machine. But that would be inelegant, so I phoned Retrospect Inc. tech support (I was still within my first 30 days) to ask how to change the order in which Sources back up within a script. The regular tech support guy (whom I will refer to here as A.) said that was "an algorithm that the developers know", but that he didn't know. I thought that was both ridiculous and intriguing, so I started thinking about this "secret unchangeable algorithm".

 

I decided that, if I were programming Retrospect and didn't want to be bothered with making the order of Sources movable in the Console, I would use the alphanumeric sort sequence of each Source's Computer Name--as defined in its Sharing preferences. This explained the machine order I was getting on my Saturday backup script; I had given my machines the Computer Names "David's MacBook Pro", "David's Mac Pro", and "David's Old G4". So I changed the Computer Name on my G4 tower to "Mimi's Old G4" (Mimi being the nickname of my ex-wife, who gave me the tower after she decided to get a PowerBook), and the Computer Name on my Mac Pro to "Ronny's Mac Pro" (Ronny being the name of the dead friend from whom I inherited it). I then stopped and started their Retrospect Clients and Removed and re-Added both clients in the Retrospect Console. The names in the Machine column in the Source and Script Source reports in the Console changed accordingly, but the Saturday script still backed up my machines in the same undesirable order--as shown by running an incremental No Media Action copy of my Saturday script.

 

I realized that the problem was with the two Mac Pro drives; their hidden Machine Names must not have changed because--as drives locally mounted on the server--Retrospect would not permit me to Remove and Add them. So I tried a bold experiment; I shut down the Mac Pro, physically pulled my friend's old "Macintosh HD" (which is not the current-boot-drive "Macintosh HD New"), and rebooted the Mac Pro. Retrospect then permitted me to Remove my friend's old "Macintosh HD" as a Source, because it was no longer locally mounted. Finally I shut down the Mac Pro again, put my friend's old "Macintosh HD" back into the machine, and rebooted it. My friend's old "Macintosh HD" showed up again in the Source report, and I clicked the Script Source checkbox to add it back to my Saturday script. That drive now backs up after "David's MacBook Pro" and "Mimi's Old G4", but "Macintosh HD New" still backs up between "David's MacBook Pro" and "Mimi's Old G4" because its hidden Machine Name is still "David's Mac Pro" instead of "Ronny's Mac Pro"--and I can't change that in Retrospect because I can't run it with the boot/Retrospect drive pulled.

 

The moral of this story is that before installing Retrospect on the server(s) you should decide on what order you want your machines to be backed up by all scripts, and immediately change the Computer Name in the Sharing preferences for every machine--including the Retrospect server(s)--so that the Computer Names sort in the desired order of machine backup. Only after you have done this should you install Retrospect on the server(s).

 

P.S.: It goes without saying that this "secret" should be documented in the User Manual ASAP. I'm also going to file a Product Suggestion that, in the Console Sources report, it at least be made possible to "pre-Remove" a locally-mounted-to-server drive so that it can then be truly Removed for the duration of that Console execution. The Removed local drive would of course show up in Sources again when Retrospect Console is next started--just the way my Removed old "Macintosh HD" showed up when I booted the Mac Pro after putting that drive back into the machine, but it would show up with the current Machine Name and be backed up--once it was re-checkmarked in the appropriate scripts--in the alphanumeric sequence of that current Machine Name.

 

P.P.S.: In case it's not clear, the bug is that--because the locally-mounted-to-Server drive that contains the running executable for Retrospect 12 Server cannot be Removed as a Source--that drive can only be backed up in a within-script sequence dictated by the Server's original Computer Name at the time Retrospect 12 was installed on it. The consequence of the bug is that the locally-mounted-to-Server drive that contains the running executable for Retrospect 12 Server must be backed up in a separate script running before or after a script that also backs up other computers, unless you are happy with the within-script backup sequence that the Server's original Computer Name at the time Retrospect 12 Server was installed on it imposes.

 

P.P.P.S: To improve readability, changed before-and-after-phrase underscores to making word/phrase italic.

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....

 

I know I could get the desired result by separating the Saturday backup into 2 scripts: one--scheduled first--to backup only the client machines, and another--scheduled after that--to backup only the server machine. But that would be inelegant,....

 

...

 

I realized that the problem was with the two Mac Pro drives; their hidden Machine Names must not have changed because--as drives locally mounted on the server--Retrospect would not permit me to Remove and Add them. So I tried a bold experiment; I shut down the Mac Pro, physically pulled my friend's old "Macintosh HD" (which is not the current-boot-drive "Macintosh HD New"), and rebooted the Mac Pro. Retrospect then permitted me to Remove my friend's old "Macintosh HD" as a Source, because it was no longer locally mounted. Finally I shut down the Mac Pro again, put my friend's old "Macintosh HD" back into the machine, and rebooted it. My friend's old "Macintosh HD" showed up again in the Source report, and I clicked the Script Source checkbox to add it back to my Saturday script. That drive now backs up after "David's MacBook Pro" and "Mimi's Old G4", but "Macintosh HD New" still backs up between "David's MacBook Pro" and "Mimi's Old G4" because its hidden Machine Name is still "David's Mac Pro" instead of "Ronny's Mac Pro"--and I can't change that in Retrospect because I can't run it with the boot/Retrospect drive pulled.

 

....

 

....

 

P.P.S.: In case it's not clear, the bug is that--because the locally-mounted-to-Server drive that contains the running executable for Retrospect 12 Server cannot be Removed as a Source--that drive can only be backed up in a within-script sequence dictated by the Server's original Computer Name at the time Retrospect 12 was installed on it. The consequence of the bug is that the locally-mounted-to-Server drive that contains the running executable for Retrospect 12 Server must be backed up in a separate script running before or after a script that also backs up other computers, unless you are happy with the within-script backup sequence that the Server's original Computer Name at the time Retrospect 12 Server was installed on it imposes.

I have now done the "inelegant" thing. I have duplicated my "Sat. Backup" Recycle MediaSet script twice; once as "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew" (Recycle MediaSet), and once as "Sat. Backup OnlyMacHDNew" (No Media Action). "Sat. Backup OnlyMacHDNew" is scheduled to start five minutes after "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew", so Retrospect 12 running from boot drive "Macintosh HD New" now runs the first script to backup all my drives except "Macintosh HD New"--with clients being backed up before the old "Macintosh HD"--before running the second script to backup only "Macintosh HD New".

 

However it has now occurred to me that there may be a sneaky one-shot way of elegantly getting around the bug as described in the first sentence of the quoted P.P.S.. I can boot my Mac Pro from the old "Macintosh HD", running OS X 10.6.8. I could even install Retrospect 12 on it (although I'd rather not), since I have the .dmg file still sitting in Downloads on "Macintosh HD New". Is there any way, booted from the old "Macintosh HD", that I could manipulate some file in Macintosh HD New->Library->Applications Support->Retrospect to temporarily Remove "Macintosh HD New" as a Source from Retrospect 12? That way, the next time I booted from "Macintosh HD New" and started Retrospect 12 there, "Macintosh HD New" would be re-established as a locally-mounted Source with its hidden Machine Name as "Ronny's Mac Pro"--which would make it sort in the desired order in executing my original all-encompassing "Sat. Backup" Recycle Media script.

 

Configs.xml, I'm looking at you--but you're locked. Lennart? Robin?

 

BTW, what I have proposed as a Product Suggestion is a non-sneaky one-shot way of elegantly doing exactly the same thing.

 

P.S: To improve readability, changed before-and-after-phrase underscores to making word/phrase italic.

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I have now done the "inelegant" thing. I have duplicated my "Sat. Backup" Recycle MediaSet script twice; once as "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew" (Recycle MediaSet), and once as "Sat. Backup OnlyMacHDNew" (No Media Action). "Sat. Backup OnlyMacHDNew" is scheduled to start five minutes after "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew", so Retrospect 12 running from boot drive "Macintosh HD New" now runs the first script to backup all my drives except "Macintosh HD New"--with clients being backed up before the old "Macintosh HD"--before running the second script to backup only "Macintosh HD New".

 

....

Here's a couple of Console Backups panel bugs, that I noticed this afternoon, associated with the script "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew" (Recycle MediaSet) as discussed in the quoted post.

 

First, the Total GBs for last Saturday double-counts the 105.7GB backup of the last-backedup drive in that script, which is the locally-mounted old "Macintosh HD". (There is no double-counting for the single locally-mounted "Macintosh HD New" drive in the second-run script "Sat. Backup OnlyMacHDNew" (No Media Action).)

 

Second, the bar graph for last Saturday--which is subdivided by drive in the reverse sequence of their backup (I guess that's reasonable, and the mouse-over display is cool)--shows no subdivision for the first-backedup drive in "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew", which is "Macintosh HD" on the client "David's MacBook Pro". The GB for that drive is, however, included in the Total GBs.

 

P.S.: As scheduled every Saturday, today (12 September) reran "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew" (Recycle MediaSet) followed by "Sat. Backup OnlyMacHDNew" (No Media Action) to a different MediaSet. As soon as "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew" had completed, the second bug--no subdivision for the first-backedup drive--appeared on the Console Backups panel--which only shows a bar graph entry for the latest day after at least one script has run on that day. However the subdivision for the first-backedup drive in "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew", which is "Macintosh HD" on the client "David's MacBook Pro", re-appeared in the bar graph after "Sat. Backup OnlyMacHDNew" had completed. The first bug, the double-counting of the 105.7GB backup of the last-backedup drive in "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew", never appeared--even after a server shutdown and restart.

 

P.P.S: To improve readability, changed before-and-after-phrase underscores to making word/phrase italic.

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It would make life much simpler if I could get Retrospect to backup the 2 client machines first, which would free up the MacBook Pro after 3 hours and the G4 tower after another 1.5 hours.

 

I might be misunderstanding your issue, but...  in my scheduled backup scripts I can go to the 'Summary' tab and rearrange the sources, and that's the order used for backups when the script runs. Can you do that? I find that rearranging them in that Summary tab can be 'finicky' at times but it does control the script order.

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I might be misunderstanding your issue, but...in my scheduled backup scripts I can go to the 'Summary' tab and rearrange the sources, and that's the order used for backups when the script runs. Can you do that? I find that rearranging them in that Summary tab can be 'finicky' at times but it does control the script order.

Thanks, Derek500. After reading your reply, I went to my "Sat. Backup Incremental" script Summary and dragged the locally-attached-to-server "Macintosh HD New" drive to the bottom of the drive order--where I had wanted it to be. I then ran the script, and it backed up all my drives in my preferred sequence.

 

You're not misunderstanding my issue at all. I just didn't know that you have to drag drives in the Summary; back in July I had tried dragging them in the Sources tab--where you checkmark them, and they wouldn't drag. I had then phoned Alan at Retrospect Inc. TS, and he said you couldn't change the drive sequence--that "there is an algorithm which the developers know" that determines the sequence within a script. That's what I found ridiculous and intriguing, which led to my experimenting and starting this thread.

 

Alan (whom I am naming because I am angry at him) claimed this afternoon that there must have been a miscommunication between us. I told him I was displeased with him, but not quite displeased enough to e-mail Robin about the incident. I also told him that dragging the drives in the script Summary to change the sequence should have been documented in the User Guide; I checked, and it definitely isn't. To me it's not a feature that is obvious, and it's significant that--of all the 150+ people who viewed my bug report over the past 3 weeks--nobody until you suggested it.

 

I still think that the inability to Remove a locally-attached-to-server drive without physically pulling it first--which of course you can't do for the drive running Retrospect--is a monumental kludge, although maybe not technically a bug in itself. However, when combined with Retrospect's "secret" algorithm for pre-determining drive-backup sequence within all scripts (subject to override for an individual script by dragging in its Summary), I think it rises to the level of a bug.

 

Does anybody have any suggestion as to why Retrospect has this inability programmed in?

 

P.S.: This morning I duplicated the script "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew" as "Sat. Backup", and checkmarked "Macintosh HD New" in the Sources tab. "Macintosh HD New" showed up as the last Source of the Details panel in the Summary tab--the sequence position I want, so I didn't even have to drag it. I should point out that I installed Retrospect 12.5 yesterday on Ronny's Mac Pro, so Retrospect Inc. may have fixed the underlying "hidden Machine Name for server drives is not updated in Retrospect when it is changed in server System Preferences->Sharing" bug--although such a bug fix is not mentioned in the Release Notes. Anyway, the proof of the pudding will come Saturday when "Sat. Backup" runs (I deleted the scripts "Sat. Backup NoMacHDNew" and "Sat. Backup OnlyMacHDNew").

 

P.P.S.: The new script "Sat. Backup" ran this morning. It backed up "Macintosh HD New" on Ronny's Mac Pro last, as I intended. BTW, I tried to do a Source Remove of the locally-mounted-to-server "Macintosh HD New" under Retrospect 12.5. The Remove button is still dimmed. so they didn't fix that kludge.

 

P.P.P.S: To improve readability, changed before-and-after-phrase underscores to making word/phrase italic.

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Thinking about this further, in the light of the P.S. of my last post, I have realized that we can replace the concept of the Source's hidden Machine Name with the concept of the Source's Machine Name at the time the Source is checkmarked in a particular script. In other words, if you change a Source's Computer Name in its System Preferences->Sharing, the next time Retrospect is started it will not "notice" and automatically change—in all existing scripts—the sequence in which that Source is backed up—even though it will change the Machine name displayed in reports. However Retrospect will correctly sequence—according to its current Computer Name—a newly-checkmarked Source in a script. This explains why, when I checkmarked "Macintosh HD New" in the "Sat. Backup" script as described in my last post's P.S., it showed up as the last Source of the Details panel in the Summary tab without my having to drag it.

 

This does not significantly change the "moral of this story" in my original post in this thread. Before writing any scripts you should decide on what default order you want your machines to be backed up by all scripts, and immediately change the Computer Name in the Sharing preferences for every machine--including the Retrospect server(s)--so that the Computer Names sort in the desired order of machine backup. However, since you will almost certainly start writing scripts as soon as you install Retrospect on a server(s), you would be well-advised to change Computer Names before installing Retrospect (so I'm not changing the thread title).

 

Yes, as Derek500 has pointed out, you can manually change the sequence of Source backup in a particular script by dragging in the Details panel of its Summary tab. But it's going to be a nuisance to do this after you have already written a number of scripts, so if you have a default sequence you might as well establish it ASAP. Besides, we'll all be older and grayer before Retrospect Inc. gets around to documenting the Details-panel-of-the-Summary-tab-dragging trick. ;)

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Terminology notes on posts I have made in this topic:

 

Where I have written "server" I meant "Retrospect server" in Retrospect terms.  Note that "backup server" is not defined in the Glossary of the Mac User's Guide for Retrospect 12, although it is extensively used throughout that document—frequently abbreviated as "server"—presumably as a synonym for "Retrospect Server".  I do not run a Macintosh OS Server machine.

 

Where I have written "local" I meant whatever "Local" means in the Retrospect console—specifically a drive that cannot be Removed in the Sources item.  Note that "local" is not defined in the Glossary of the Mac User's Guide for Retrospect 12, although it is extensively used throughout that document.  Since the "Overview of the Retrospect Console" section in that document says each set of items is for a particular "Retrospect server", I deduce that "Local" means a drive directly mounted on the particular "Retrospect server" to which the Sources item applies.  I run both the Console and and a single Retrospect server on the same Macintosh.

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