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Don Lee

New Windows user wants advice

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I've been running Retrospect forever. I am quite familiar with its operation on the Mac.

 

I now am looking at a Windows installation and am rather surprised at some of the differences.

 

The biggest one is that on the mac, the "engine" runs whether anyone is logged on or not, but on Windows, it seems that if I log off, Retrospect stops cold. I don't see (so far) a way to leave it running as a service.

 

I also note that the Windows GUI reminds me of the Windows OS GUI, which has a bunch of annoyances, like the fact that the dialog boxes are generally not resizeable, even when it would be really nice. The displays of media sets, history and sources are (I think) less useful and efficient than the GUI on the mac.

 

Is there anyone on the forum with experience with both Mac and Windows products willing to alert me to any land-mines out there? Do I need to just finish reading the documentation? (600-page! Good stuff.)

 

Thanks,

 

-dgl-

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I come to sympathize, but I can't really help.  My "backup servers" have always been Macs, although I had a Windows 95 client from 2001 to 2004.  

 

IMHO to understand why there are major differences between the Retrospect Mac and Retrospect Windows GUIs, you need to read the first paragraph of this section of the Wikipedia article.  I do not dare to comment in these forums on the contents of that paragraph, but if you click on the footnotes for that paragraph and follow their references you'll gain an understanding as to why the Retrospect Windows GUI went its own way.

 

In this same section of the WP article,  the  Knowledge Base article linked to at the end of the first paragraph explains why you are finding that Retrospect Windows stops cold if you log off.  The article details ways around this, but I don't know modern Windows well enough to understand—much less explain—them.  One approach to finding such a way is to use the Advanced Search capability of these forums, which you can access by clicking the gear icon on the far right of the top line that says "IPS Community" on the left.  For best results, I recommend putting any multi-word search term inside quotes.  Another approach, if you either are in the pre-sales process for Retrospect Windows 12 or have purchased it within the last 30 days, is to contact Retrospect Tech Support.  Retrospect Inc. should darn well create a Knowledge Base article or video Tutorial to explain how to handle this problem, but AFAIK it hasn't done so.

 

The last paragraph in this section of the old version of the WP article linked to in the preceding paragraph of this post contains DovidBenAvraham's speculation as to why the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide is over 600 pages long.  It also contains his speculation as to why Retrospect Windows 8 and above kept what he considers to be the pre-Retrospect-Mac-8 GUI and terminology.  Some of that GUI, such as non-resizable dialog boxes, may have been adapted to the limitations of Windows; we'll only know for sure if someone tries out a copy of Retrospect Mac 5 or 6.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Wikipedia article has been significantly re-edited, but old version was saved

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Many thanks.

 

I am learning. Although you kill of "Retrospect" if you log off Windows, it seems to re-start in the background somehow. If I start Retrospect (as the same user - administrator) I get a dialog saying "Retrospect is already running under another user." Odd. I also see that Retro HAS run my scripts, so some sort of "background" execution is happening.

 

Unlike the Mac, I don't understand how to manipulate Retro while running. The dialog warns me that Retro will be stopped and brought up under my User ID. I hit OK, though, and it doesn't appear.

 

Since Retro has lots of Windows users, there are undoubtedly ways to do what I want. I just have not yet learned them.

 

So far, though, I'm tempted to just go with a Mac. That - I'm comfortable with.

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iCompute might consider doing what is described in this post.  To access the running Retrospect "backup server" app, which includes what we Retrospect Mac users know as the Console, he would then have to do what is described in this post.  That workaround is IMHO kludgey,  but it's on page 434-436 of the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide.

 

If any Retrospect Windows administrator has a less-kludgey solution, please post it here.

 

P.S.: With more knowledge, I have corrected the second sentence in the first paragraph of this post; retrorun.exe is not the "backup server" program itself, but is the launcher that runs as a Windows service to launch the "backup server" program when a scheduled script is due to be run.  I've also changed the third sentence in that paragraph, because using Terminal Services turns out to be SOP.

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iComputer,

 

If it says another user is running Retrospect that means the service is running.  You should launch the Retrospect Dashboard.  If you don't see the information you need there, click the "Relaunch" link in the top right corner of the window and the Retrospect program will run without the message and you can make any changes necessary.  The alternative is to stop the service and remember to restart it.  I personally find it easier to use the dashboard to get access.

 

If you're logged in as an administrator on a domain, or a user with administrator privileges on a non-domain Windows system, the service will run but it's very twitchy.

 

There is a solution to running the "Retrospect server" PC while logged in as a non-administrator, and it is kludgey.  I posted it about a year ago and I'll find it and provide the link.

 

Mark

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As I said at the beginning of post #2 in this thread, as an exclusively Retrospect Mac administrator I can't really contribute much to this discussion.  However I have now done a bit more searching.

 

First, it turns out that there are at least two "Resources" Knowledge Base articles on this subject: this one and this one.  I suggest checking that whole Resources section of the Knowledge Base, skipping the articles that start with a numbered error code; you may see another article that is applicable—in which case please post it in this forum thread.

 

Second, wading into the morass of the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide, it seems to me that there are two areas where this subject is covered.  The first area is the "Using Retrospect" and "Using Windows 8 ..." sections of the Getting Started chapter; these are on pages 15-23.  The second area is the "Retrospect Preferences" section of the Management chapter—especially the "Schedule Preferences" and "Security Preferences" and "Startup Preferences" sub-sections; these are on pages 416-420.  It may be helpful to search through these pages with "launch" in your web browser's search bar.

 

All I can say in conclusion is "Better you than me, buddy" (insert appropriate smiley here).

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I've been polluting my mind further.  iCompute would do well to pollute his mind by using his web browser to search the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide using the phrases "auto-launch" and "system tray".  However he can first get a general idea of what's going on by reading post #2—by JoTraGo—in the thread linked to by ProFromGrover in post #6 of this thread.

 

If you are logged in as a non-administrator on the "Retrospect server" PC, it looks as if the procedure in the long post by ProFromGrover in the thread linked to by him in post #6 in this thread is also necessary.  But, as someone unfamiliar with modern Windows, I don't understand auto-launch precisely.

 

P.S.: DovidBenAvraham has now added a link to a Knowledge Base article outlining the general idea at the end of the first paragraph of this section of the Wikipedia article.

 

P.P.S.: DovidBenAvraham has now added another sentence to the second paragraph of this section of the old Wikipedia article, mentioning the capability of setting up the Retrospect Windows "backup server" so that it can be used remotely via RDP—as described in the post linked to in the second sentence of post #4 in this thread.  That capability is mentioned on pages 67-68, 419, and 434-436 (all of which refer to RDP/RDS as Terminal Services—which AFAIK is obsolete Windows terminology) of the Retrospect Windows 12 UG, so Retrospect Inc. apparently doesn't consider it a kludgey workaround.

 

P.P.P.S: I've totally rewritten the second paragraph in this post; I didn't understand what I was talking about.  I've also rewritten the first paragraph in post #4 in this thread, because what I thought was a kludge dreamed up by an administrator turns out to be a kludge dreamed up by Retrospect Inc..

 

P.P.P.P.S.: ProFromGrover, would you be kind enough to explain under what circumstances the solution you linked to in post #6 of this thread—which you say in post #6 of the linked-to thread goes against security standards in some installations—is necessary?

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Wikipedia article has been significantly re-edited, but old version was saved

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David,

 

"P.P.P.P.S.: ProFromGrover, would you be kind enough to explain under what circumstances the solution you linked to in post #6 of this thread—which you say in post #6 of the linked-to thread goes against security standards in some installations—is necessary?"

 
The solution I posted is necessary if you can't get anything else to work, and I could not. It was posted as a direct response to a question about being able to launch the program.
 
I thought that was pretty obvious.  I'm always look for better solutions, so feel free to share your improved answer or solution.

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Let's go back to iCompute's OP.  His problem seems to be that on Windows he can't see what Retrospect is now doing, or has done, unless he either starts the Retrospect app on his "backup server" machine or finds that the app is already running.  If the app was not running before, he can simply exit the app when he is finished looking.  However if the app was running before, he must take care not to exit it after he is finished looking and/or executing immediate operations—lest he stop any script or immediate operation that is running.

 

To understand where iCompute is coming from, those readers who have only used Retrospect Windows should look at the second bulleted item—starting with "Powerful new engine"—under the first paragraph of this section of the old Wikipedia article.  The last sentence in that item means that a Retrospect Mac administrator can start or quit the Retrospect Console app without affecting the continuing operation of the Retrospect Engine app—which is the app that actually runs scripts or immediate operations.  The Retrospect Mac Console app does what the Retrospect Activity Monitor does in Retrospect Windows, but the Console is a separate user-space app. 

 

Unfortunately, as described in the second through fourth sentences in the second paragraph (the one after the bulleted items) of this section of the old WP article,  Retrospect Windows (running on Windows Vista or beyond) can't separate the Console function from the Engine function; they both must be part of the same user-space app.  So while running Retrospect Windows it seems that iCompute must—to be safe—first look at the Taskbar system tray for the account that might have Retrospect running on the "backup server" machine; and Retrospect must have been installed on that account with the Startup Preferences option to show a Retrospect icon in the system tray when Retrospect is not running.  Having done so, iCompute need only remember whether he started Retrospect from the system tray icon or whether Retrospect was already shown on the Taskbar.  If the latter, he must take care not to exit the Retrospect app when he finishes looking.  The alternative to the second and third sentences in this paragraph is for iCompute to have first checked Services and Tasks, presumably in the Processes tab of Task Manager, which he may only be able to do if he is signed in to an administrator account (not being a user of modern Windows, I don't know about such things).

 

If iCompute has physical access to the "backup server" machine, he can do all this from its keyboard.  Otherwise he can remotely use Windows RDP (renamed from Terminal Services, which is how it is still referred to in the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide).  Either way he must be able to logon to the account that might be running Retrospect.  If there is a problem with this because the account is not an administrator account, he may have to bypass UAC as described by ProFromGrover in the post linked to from post #6 in this thread.  iCompute might have a third alternative for monitoring and running/stopping scripts, which is Retrospect for iOS, but that app has not been updated in the Apple App Store since 2014 (although it is still described in an appendix on page 578 of the Retrospect Windows 12 UG).

 

I don't know whether Retrospect Windows has a method of closing the Retrospect Activity Monitor while leaving the Retrospect app running, which might cut down on the RAM used.  

 

Please remember that I don't use either modern Windows or Retrospect Windows.  If I am wrong in this post, please correct me.  I have, however, looked at this and subsequent posts in the thread linked to by ProFromGrover in post #6 of this thread, as well as at the posts preceding the one he linked to.

 

P.S.: Corrected fourth paragraph; Retrospect for iOS is still available in the Apple App Store, although it has not been updated since 2014 (I couldn't find it when I checked the App Store app on my MacBook Pro, but that app may only show App Store apps for Macs).

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Wikipedia article has been significantly re-edited, but old version was saved

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Good Morning,

 

I haven't had time to read the entire Wikipedia page, and it might be right. However, my experience is strictly limited to Windows and its many problems and limitations when it comes to this issue. I certainly don't have all the answers. Since I upgraded to Windows Version 12 my Proactive backups won't run on schedule in spite of everything I try.

 

The Retrospect Dashboard on the Windows "Server" will give you a snapshot of what's going on, and it owns the service. So when you use the "Relaunch" option on the dashboard to run the Retrospect program, make changes and exit, the service and program continues to run and jobs launch as scheduled. (Except for the before mentioned Proactive jobs.) Retrospect does not normally appear on the taskbar or in the tray.  It's only running as a service.

 

The kludge I suggested before is only for the situation that I outlined, where the Retrospect Server is located on a Windows PC where the user does not have administrator's rights. It works and the program is always running on the taskbar, but if the user closes Retrospect no jobs will launch. I set Retrospect to email me when the program starts and stops so I'm aware of the issue immediately.

 

There are a lot of shadings to this issue, and experience will help you get a grasp of what's going on, so have some patience and I think you'll get there.

 

Mark

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DovidBenAvraham updates the Wikipedia article basically from the information in Retrospect User's Guides, although wherever possible he tries to cite a second-party review as a reference to avoid being accused of violating a WP rule by using too many primary sources.  He does, however, look at relevant Forums posts.

 

The only mention of the Dashboard in the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide is in the "High-level Dashboard" section of the Fundamentals chapter on pages 31-32.  There it says "Launch Retrospect Activity Monitor from the Windows Start menu or Start screen."  On page 242 it says " ... click Activity Monitor from Retrospect’s navigation bar ...."  That IMHO means that the Retrospect Dashboard can only be viewed within an execution of the "Retrospect backup server".  AFAIK the "backup server" runs as an ordinary Windows program, with the accesses allowed by the user account it is run in—per page 419 of the Retrospect Windows 12 UG.  

 

As described on page 420 of that UG, you can Enable Retrospect Launcher service [my bolding], which "registers the launcher application as a service so it is always running. This allows the auto-launch preference described below ....".  My understanding is the Retrospect Launcher is a Windows service; my further understanding is that Windows services cannot display a GUI (I don't have any Windows programming documentation, but some of you may).  I'm dead sure that, if it could display a GUI, the Retrospect Inc. engineers would have built a capability to display the Dashboard into the Launcher.

 

So I think what I wrote in my post #10 is correct, and when ProFromGrover wrote "it owns the service" in the second substantial paragraph of his post #11 he didn't mean Windows service—i.e. the Launcher.

 

​Please, anyone, feel free to correct me if you have better information.  I'm trying to make this thread a definitive resource for any "new Windows user [who] wants advice" about Retrospect Windows, especially if—like iCompute—the new Windows user is coming from Retrospect Mac.

 

P.S.: A little Googling goes a long way.  My further understanding in the third sentence of the second paragraph appears to be correct; a Windows service, such as the Retrospect Launcher, cannot display a GUI.

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When you install any recent version of Retrospect the Dashboard is installed. Find it in the programs group with the Retrospect program.

 

Yes, I did mean the Dashboard is owned by the same owner of the Windows Retrospect Launcher service.  The evidence is quite simple.  Try to run the Retrospect program and you'll probably get a message that the program is in use.

 

Run the Dashboard first, then Relaunch and you never get that message.  I think the inference is simple, because the service continues to run when you launch with this method.

 

It also worries me that you guys are contining to refer to the Version 14 User's Guide to steer your actions, and that's the guide for the Mac.  Make sure you're downloading and referring to the Version 12 UG for Windows.

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So how does one run the Dashboard without having launched the Retrospect app, and then running the Dashboard from within that app?  I don't have a Windows machine, so I don't know about the programs group, but is there actually a separate  app or Windows service named "Dashboard"—not "Retrospect Launcher"—shown there?  If so that would be wonderful news, and I'm sure DovidBenAvraham would want to revise the Wikipedia article to include that information.  However that news seems to have escaped the Retrospect Inc. committee that, per Mayoff, writes all the User's Guides and most of the Knowledge Base articles.

 

And yes, I am sure that I am downloading the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide when I refer to a UG on this forum.  Even I am not stupid enough to look in the Retrospect Mac UG when I have a question about Retrospect Windows (although a few months ago In the "Retrospect 9 or higher for Macintosh" forum I actually did intentionally look in the Retrospect Windows 11 UG, because its greater length includes discussions of facilities that are in the Retrospect Macintosh app but left out of its UG).  It's just that my fingers are stupid, and tend to type the number 14 instead of 12 because I now have Retrospect Macintosh 14 installed.  I've now fixed the two such mistakes my fingers made in this thread.

 

IMHO ProFromGrover is misunderstanding what the Relaunch button in RDP (still known in the Retrospect Windows UG as Terminal Services) does for the Retrospect app.  Every mention of the word "relaunch" in the Retrospect Windows 12 UG after the "What's New" chapter—except for the mention on page 383 that refers to manually relaunching Outlook—puts it into a phrase similar to "exit [my emphasis] and relaunch Retrospect".  That includes mentions on pages 67, 264, 436, and 509.  If you have exited Retrospect the program can never be in use, because you just killed it by exiting.  That is why you don't get the message that the Retrospect program is in use.

 

P.S.: ProFromGrover has taken irate exception to what I wrote in the third paragraph.  At the time I wrote it, I did not yet believe that there is a "Retrospect Dashboard" program that is separate and distinct from the "Retrospect" program—given that to this day there is no indication in the Retrospect Windows UG of the existence of the "Retrospect Dashboard" program.  In post #11 (where he refers to what turns out to be the "Retrospect Dashboard" program as owning the "service", and erroneously reasons that it must do so because like the Retrospect Launcher it does not show a Taskbar icon), and even IMHO in post #13, ProFromGrover did not make it clear that he was referring to a separate program rather than the Dashboard in the Activity Monitor of the Retrospect program.  So that's why I thought he was misunderstanding the Relaunch button in RDP.  Fortunately iCompute—having learned a fair amount about Retrospect Windows during the nearly 2 weeks since he wrote post #1—has explained in post #15 that there are two programs with different functioning of the Relaunch button.

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Retrospect Windows server installs two programs. One is called "Retropect", and the other called "Retrospect Dashboard".

 

The "Dashboard" is limited in what it can do. To actually manipulate the retro behavior, you have to fire up "Retrospect". If you use the "Relaunch" button in the upper right corner of the "Dashboard", it does not seem to interrupt running activities.

 

Exiting "Retrospect", on the other hand, *does* seem to kill off anything that is currently running. After exit, the activities will "auto-launch", but the activities, at minimum, are interrupted.

 

I run Retrospect as "administrator" of the "domain". I also told Retro at install to use that login. When I log in as that same user, and launch "Retrospect" it whines at me that I am about to kill stuff off. If I say "OK", nothing happens. If I launch the "Dashboard", and hit "Relaunch", I get Retrospect, as expected. Strange, but workable.

 

Odd, but workable.

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Thank you, iCompute, for clarifying the existence of the Retrospect Windows "Retrospect Dashboard" stand-alone view-only app and its differences from the Dashboard panel in the "backup server" Activity Monitor.  

 

DovidBenAvraham has now updated the Wikipedia article accordingly.  He has also updated the article to state that the "Console for iPhone" app mentioned as an item in its "Retrospect Macintosh 9" section has not been updated since 2014, even though there is still a "Retrospect for iOS" appendix in both the Windows and Mac User's Guides.  My guess is that either there were technical problems in keeping the iOS app up to date, or the iOS app still works un-updated, and/or the rise of Android phones made an iOS-only phone app into a niche product whose generalization would have been too expensive—so Retrospect Inc. may have simply abandoned it.

 

I will create a Support Case requesting updating of the Retrospect Windows User's Guide to include the "Retrospect Dashboard" app.  In that Support Case I will also ask Retrospect Inc. to test whether the Retrospect for iOS app still works either for Retrospect Windows and/or for Retrospect Mac (being an old fuddy-duddy I don't have any kind of cell phone, so I can't check it for Retrospect Mac myself).

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Information about the Dashboard is on page 31 of the manual.

 

This dashboard works in a similar manner to dashboards in other programs. By design, you should not be able to manipulate the program, with the exception of being able to pause or stop a job. There's nothing odd about it, dashboards are supposed to inform you of the status of current jobs, or jobs to be executed soon. There are a lot of programs with dashboards, not a new concept.

 

 

 

IMHO ProFromGrover is misunderstanding what the Relaunch button in RDP (still known in the Retrospect Windows UG as Terminal Services) does for the Retrospect app.

 

If you've admitted that you don't use the Windows version of Retrospect, and obviously haven't read the manual, don't tell me I don't understand the program or what it does. I use it every day.  RDP has nothing to do with it, you're still running a Windows desktop.

 

Tell us what you know from your own experience, and stop putting words in my mouth.

 

That's MY humble opinion.

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"This dashboard works in a similar manner to dashboards in other programs. By design, you should not be able to manipulate the program, with the exception of being able to pause or stop a job. There's nothing odd about it, dashboards are supposed to inform you of the status of current jobs, or jobs to be executed soon. There are a lot of programs with dashboards, not a new concept."

 

Not true for Retrospect Macintosh since early 2009, which is why iCompute made his post #1 in this thread—asking in his third paragraph for an explanation of the differences between it and Retrospect Windows.

 

To understand where iCompute is coming from, I suggest again that you first should look at the second bulleted item—starting with "Powerful new engine"—under the first paragraph of this section of the old Wikipedia article.  It means that each Retrospect Mac "backup server" is like a combination of the "engine" part of a Retrospect Windows "backup server" and the Retrospect Launcher—but with no GUI. Next I suggest that you read the first two sentences in the third bulleted item—starting with "All-new, customizable [administrator] interface"—under the first paragraph of that same section of the old WP article.  It means that in Retrospect Mac there is a Console app that serves as the GUI for one or more "backup servers".

 

When I boot the Mac that runs my Retrospect "backup server" program, the Engine immediately starts—whether or not there are any scripts scheduled to run at that time—and it keeps running unless and until I stop it in System Preferences or shut down the machine.  I happen to have chosen to make my Retrospect Console program a Startup Item on my "backup server" machine, but I don't have to do that—and as an experiment once chose not to do so.  I can Quit (Exit) the Retrospect Console program, and it has no effect whatsoever on the Engine—including on any scripts that may be running as I once proved as an experiment.  If I weren't a cheapskate who licenses the Desktop Edition, I could run the Retrospect Console program on a different machine on the same LAN/WAN and still have it be the GUI for my "backup server" program(s)—one or several on different machines.

 

All this explains why the "Accessing the Dashboard" sub-section of the Retrospect Mac 14 User's Guide consists of the following paragraph on page 27: "Click a Retrospect server in the left sidebar [my bolding] to show the dashboard for that server [my bolding]."  The subsection "Using the Dashboard" on page 184 of that same UG (erroneously followed by a screenshot of the pre-Retrospect-Mac-11 Dashboard) says "When you launch the Retrospect console [my bolding], it displays the dashboard ....".  The sub-section "Using the Dashboard" of the Retrospect Windows 12 UG, by contrast, consists of the following paragraph on page 31: "Launch Retrospect Activity Monitor from the Windows Start menu or Start screen."

 

Obviously Retrospect Inc. would have loved to have this same capability in Retrospect Windows 8 onwards.  But they couldn't, for a reason explained in the second sentence of the second paragraph (the one following the bulleted items) in this section of the old WP article.  So in Retrospect Windows 9 they apparently added the view-only stand-alone "Retrospect Dashboard" application along with the Activity Monitor version of the Dashboard.  Under the circumstances, which I suspect include an element of embarrassment, it's understandable why—as I said in post #14 of this thread—Retrospect Inc. has so far chosen not to mention the view-only stand-alone "Retrospect Dashboard" application in a Retrospect Windows UG.

 

I'm sorry, ProFromGrover, that I said at the bottom of post #14 that I thought you misunderstood the Relaunch button in RDP.  But I wrote that before iCompute clarified, in post #15, that there really is a view-only stand-alone "Retrospect Dashboard" application that is a part of Retrospect Windows—and that it works differently than the Activity Monitor Dashboard.  I'll try to revise that last paragraph of post #14.

 

P.S.: Somewhat expanded the fourth and fifth paragraphs, for increased clarity about the Retrospect Mac Console program and the Dashboard within it.

 

P.P.S.: Changed "shame" to "embarrassment" in sixth paragraph.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Wikipedia article has been significantly re-edited, but old version was saved

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David,

 

I don't care what is said in a Wikipedia article. I don't think there is any reason to hold that up as the gold standard to which the Retrospect program or docs must be held.

 

And I continue to be baffled when you cite documentation that is for the Macintosh version of Retrospect, in a subject thread that is explicitly requesting information about Windows.

 

Neither of those things has any bearing at all on the subject at hand that I can see.

 

But since you like Wikipedia, try this subject:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_intelligence_software

and follow that the the Digital Dashboards subject. This is an entire genre of software applications.

 

I also wouldn't fall too much under the thrall of either the current Mac or Windows UI. I strongly suspect that in a year we'll be looking back on what we're using today as the "old interface".

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As to why I cite the "Retrospect (software)" Wikipedia article, I do so only because that article is a more-succinct source of facts than citing a whole bunch of pages in the Retrospect Windows or Retrospect Mac User's Guides.  As I said in the first paragraph of post #12, DovidBenAvraham—who did the major expansion of that article starting in October 2016—is obligated by Wikipedia rules to back up every fact by references to—in the case of that article—either the UGs or reviews that essentially build on material published by Retrospect Inc..

 

As to why I cite documentation that is for the Macintosh version of Retrospect, I think ProFromGrover—when he came into this thread with post #5—failed to carefully read iCompute's post #1 which establishes "the subject at hand".  In the third paragraph of that post he is asking for an explanation for a key difference between Retrospect Windows and Retrospect Mac.  In his fifth paragraph he is asking for someone with experience in both to alert him to "land-mines out there".  AFAIK the only person who posts on this forum and has extensive experience with both flavors of Retrospect is Lennart Thelander, but he hasn't replied in this thread—probably because he is not retired and is therefore too busy.  

 

I stepped up to the plate, partly because I am quite familiar with the Wikipedia article.  That article does a fairly good job of explaining the key difference that motivated iCompute's puzzlement as recounted in the third paragraph of post #1.  However, once iCompute—having meanwhile acquired nearly two weeks worth of experience using Retrospect Windows—had in post #15 answered his own post-#1-paragraph-3 question, it became evident that many Retrospect Windows administrators—ProFromGrover in particular—don't understand the key difference between the way Retrospect Mac and Retrospect Windows function.  So, since (per J.G. Heithcock) the purpose of these Forums is for Retrospect administrators to inform each other, I wrote post #18 as a definitive source of information about that difference.  That required citing the Retrospect Mac 14 User's Guide, but those citations indeed have "bearing  ... on the subject at hand".

 

BTW I have now taken a fast look at this Wikipedia article, but I'm not convinced that the contents of the Dashboard in either flavor of Retrospect really qualifies as a "digital dashboard" in the sense of that article.  Regardless, I don't see how next year's possible GUI format changes are going to overcome the basic limitation of Retrospect Windows I have alluded to in the sixth paragraph of post #18.  That basic limitation is the result of the design of security features added to Windows Vista, and I don't think that design is going to change next year.

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I want to add to this thread a note about the "console".

 

I have a Mac laptop, with a copy of the Mac Retro "console" on it. Just 'cuz, I fired up the console, and lo and behold, it *works* on the WINDOWS Retro server. As far as I can tell, I get the full function of the Mac engine/console via the Mac console when operating/controlling the Windows Retro server. There are a few things missing (things in the Retro Windows application that do not exist on the mac), but all in all, when I can, I find that I *prefer* to maintain/manage the Windows Retro server from the Mac console. There are a number of advantages.

 

Way back when I posted this thread, I had no idea this would work. Turns out that it does. I hope it's supported. ;->

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Holy s**t, iCompute, and congratulations!  I presume the copy of the Console app on your Mac laptop has a Server license, so that it can control the Engine of a "backup server" on another machine.

 

I have no training in inter-process communications, and the only experience I have in Windows programming was from 1999 to 2004 using Borland C++ Builder—which is a version of Borland Delphi that uses an enhanced C++ instead of an enhanced Pascal as the programming language—to create single-process applications.  However IMHO (very HO) this means that the Retrospect.exe Windows app must have the ability to exchange inter-process messages with another process that has the proper authorization.  According to my ignorant reading of the third paragraph in this section of the Wikipedia article "Security and safety features new to Windows Vista", another user mode application should not have such an authorization within Windows.  However it looks like a Macintosh application can be made to appear to a Windows user mode application to have such an authorization.

 

This makes sense in the light of the second paragraph (the one after the bulleted items) of this section of the old Wikipedia article "Retrospect (software)".  Since the Retrospect Launcher is a Windows service process, it must have the proper exalted authorization to pass messages to and receive messages from the Retrospect.exe user-space process—which contains the equivalent of the Retrospect Mac Engine and Console code.  Maybe, just to avoid a bunch of re-programming and to keep as much commonality as possible with the Retrospect Mac code, the "console side" and the "engine side" of the Retrospect.exe app also communicate with each other by passing messages—even though the two "sides" are part of the same process.  If so, it's not too much of a stretch to think that the "engine side" of Retrospect.exe retains the capability of exchanging such messages with another app—even if that app is not the Retrospect Launcher.

 

The interesting question is whether this capability is just an unintended leftover, or whether the Retrospect Inc. engineers intentionally left this capability in—or even took extra programming steps to preserve it.  If it's the former, then this might be considered a security hole.  If it's the latter, then this must be an unadvertised feature of Retrospect Windows.  Wait a second, it's not so unadvertised; how else can the "[view-only] Console for iPhone", mentioned in the last bulleted item here and now described  in the Retrospect for iOS appendix on page 578 of the Retrospect Windows 12 User's Guide, work for Retrospect Windows?  That iOS app was developed by a Retrospect engineer, working on his/her own time, just about the time Retrospect Inc. was spun off from Roxio in 2010.  So Retrospect Support must know about the capability.

 

BTW,  iCompute, IMHO you should be careful about accessing the Retrospect.exe Windows app from the Retrospect Mac console.  Hofstede said in this 2016 post that the Retrospect for iOS app "can cause your Retrospect server to crash while you access it from the app in some circumstances."  That may just be a problem with the iOS app, which has not been updated since 2014, but it may indicate a problem that could affect your use of a Retrospect Mac console to access Retrospect.exe on Windows.

 

P.S.: Revised fourth paragraph; I didn't remember Retrospect for iOS until later this morning.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Wikipedia article has been significantly re-edited, but old version was saved

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I've had further thoughts this afternoon about what I wrote in the first two paragraphs of post #22 directly above this post, and I now have an alternative explanation for why iCompute is able to control a Retrospect Windows Retrospect.exe Engine from a Retrospect Mac Console.  This explanation does not assume any message-passing security hole within Retrospect.exe, but instead assumes that inter-machine message passing code was put into Retrospect Windows 7.5 and left there.

 

The explanation relies on a careful reading of this 18 January 2007 article in The Register by Ashlee Vance.  DovidBenAvraham found it less than a week ago, and updated the lead and "Retrospect Windows 7" sections of the old "Retrospect (software)" Wikipedia article accordingly.  Vance's article was written two weeks before Windows Vista was released worldwide; it deals with EMC's killing of plans to release Retrospect 8 following a mass layoff at EMC Insignia's Walnut Creek CA offices.

 

The seventh paragraph of the article says "Our sources indicate that a skeleton crew has been left to oversee the release of a point upgrade to Version 7.5 of the software. That code due out this quarter will include updates for Microsoft's Vista and Apple's Leopard operating systems."  Note that that paragraph does not refer to just a Retrospect Windows 7.5 release, but also implies an apparent Retrospect Mac 7.5 release.  IMHO this means that the EMC Insignia engineers had already made substantial progress in merging the Windows and Mac Retrospect code bases.

 

But what were the engineers working towards?  Starting with the fourth paragraph from the bottom of the article, Vance says "'The engineers were halfway through 8.0 in December and then all work ceased,' one source said."  Vance follows that with "'From what I understand, the new version will not even be released,' said another source. 'Everyone had such high hopes for the product. It had a polished interface, and I think it would have been a success.'"  Note that these paragraphs do not refer to just a Retrospect Mac 8.0 release, but also imply an apparent Retrospect Windows 8.0 release.  IMHO this means that both flavors of Retrospect 8.0 were intended to have the new interface that eventually was released in early 2009 for Retrospect Mac 8.0.

 

That new interface separated the Engine and Console into separate processes, communicating with each other on the same machine—or between machines if a Server edition of Retrospect was being run.  But Microsoft essentially torpedoed the possibility of same-Windows-machine interprocess communication sufficient for the EMC Insignia engineers' Retrospect plans, when it released Windows Vista on 30 January 2007.  So the rehired EMC Iomega engineers hurriedly released Retrospect Mac 8.0 in early 2009, a release which was roundly panned for both its bugs and the new interface—which was confusing to many Retrospect Mac administrators.

 

My guess is that the remaining EMC Insignia engineers simply left the code for interprocess communication in Retrospect Windows 7.5 and following, where it has remained ever since—ready for iCompute to activate its inter-machine capability with a Retrospect Mac Console.

 

And here's a quote from a very knowledgeable inside source, namely Mayoff.  "Retrospect 8 for Macintosh is totally different from version 6.x and earlier for Macintosh. Retrospect 7.7 for windows and version 8 for windows share probably 99% of the same code."  That doesn't exactly prove my guess is correct, but it indicates that the non-interface code added for Retrospect Mac 8 and 9 and 10 was merged into the code for 2013 Retrospect Windows 8, rather than the reverse.  I'm a retired programmer, and programmers hate to delete code that used to work.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Wikipedia article has been significantly re-edited, but old version was saved

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Why not file a  Feature Request that the Retrospect Mac Console—when connected to a Retrospect Windows "backup server"—allow access to the few  "things in the Retro Windows application that do not exist on the Mac" that iCompute refers to in post #21?

 

However IMHO that Feature Request would likely run into a corporate political problem.  If my explanation in post #23 is correct, Retrospect Inc. has known since at least 2010 that a Retrospect Mac Console can be used to control the Engine in a Retrospect Windows "backup server".  But the closest they have come to admitting that fact is by releasing the "Retrospect for iOS" app in 2010, as I pointed out in the fourth paragraph of post #22.  I think one reason for Retrospect Inc.'s reticence is that, to avoid embarrassing Microsoft, they don't want to call attention to the fact that a Mac app can access a Windows user process in a way that Windows security restrictions prevent another Windows user process from doing.  I think another reason is that, considering the longtime Windows vs. Mac user dispute that JamesOakley alludes to in this post, Retrospect Inc. marketing may not consider the limited number of administrators who would do what iCompute is considering doing worth the kerfuffle.

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I've now followed a version of my suggestion in post #24 of this thread, but in a different direction.  Here's my Feature Request to create a separate Windows user-space GUI app similar to the Console app in Retrospect Mac, which is now a Support Case.  It assumes such an app would have to run on a different Windows machine from the "backup server" Engine—as is allowed for Server editions of Retrospect Mac.

 

I realize this will be a controversial Feature Request.  First of all, the proposed "Windows Console" app would only be feasible to implement if two things are true: [1] By December 2006—inferring from the Ashlee Vance article—the EMC Insignia engineers had made significant progress in developing a Windows, as well as a Mac, version of the separate Console app.  [2] The source code for that Windows version has not been lost, and the Retrospect Inc. engineers can find it.

 

Second, the proposed "Windows Console" app would only be worth implementing if a significant percentage of Retrospect Windows administrators of Server editions would be willing to use it.   And they'd probably have to put up with the app's "polished interface" being based on the Console GUI that was adopted for Retrospect Mac 8 in early 2009, as summarized in the third bulleted item and its sub-items after the first paragraph here, because that's the GUI the EMC Insignia engineers would have been trying to implement in December 2006—even though the "Windows Console" app would probably be changed to use the Retrospect Windows terminology.  This is a question that definitely should be discussed, and I think the proper place for discussion is in further posts to the "Product Suggestions—Windows" thread I've linked to in the second sentence of the first paragraph of this post.

 

OTOH, whether a significant percentage of Retrospect Windows administrators of Server editions would be willing to use the proposed "Windows Console" app would also depend on whether they would be willing to allow the Retrospect.exe "backup server" app to run continuously.  That is what Retrospect Mac users do with the Retrospect Engine app, as mentioned in the fourth paragraph of post #18 in this thread.  If you don't run Retrospect.exe continuously, the proposed "Windows Console" app probably wouldn't do much for you beyond what occasionally running the Retrospect Dashboard can do for you now.  I think that particular discussion belongs in this thread, because it is basically an extension of iCompute's original question.

 

P.S.: Added fourth paragraph; also added mention of changing the proposed "Windows Console" app's terminology to the second sentence of the third paragraph.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Wikipedia article has been significantly re-edited, but old version was saved

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