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Dashboard "jail" issues - can I uninstall just the Dashboard?

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I am running the very latest Retrospect 15.6 (see, I did upgrade) on a Windows 10 Pro system with 32 GB of RAM.  The CPU is a "Sandy Bridge" Intel 3930K model, six-core 3.2 GHz with 3.8 GHz Turbo Max.  Not the latest generation, but a very respectful performer.  This system has no problem with normal workloads for Photoshop or Lightroom.  Yet, the Retrospect Dashboard is a terrible, simply awful performer on this system.  It cripples my ability to run Retrospect to manage my backups.

I have these issues:

  • If I so much as click on the scroll bar on the right side of the Dashboard window, the entire Windows desktop dims for about 30-60 seconds.
  • I can't seem to bring up the main Retrospect window using the Dashboard.
  • Dashboard says that Retrospect is active, even at 9 am.  All my scripted backups are scheduled to start after 9.30 pm.
  • I don't see any way to simply stop the Dashboard.  Every time I launch Retrospect the Dashboard starts.
  • If the Dashboard has really hung up my system, say for 2 minutes, and I use Task Manager to kill that process, when I restart Retrospect, I get the ..... Dashboard.  I once heard the term, "Error loop for life," and I think that applies to this behavior.
  • The only reliable way to start Retrospect is to reboot my system, and start Retrospect right away. But once a backup runs, I'm stuck again with the Dashboard.

I would like to go back to the simple Retrospect main window that I had with earlier versions of Retrospect.  I'm just an advanced user running Professional with single-unit execution disk backup only.  Depending on the day of the week, I run 3-5 backup scripts each evening.  I don't need the kind of management that an IT professional requires when running Multi-Server with multiple execution units, with both disk and tape, dataset rotation, etc.

So what can I do, aside from reverting back to something like Retrospect 6?

 

x509

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x509,

One approach—especially if you were having the same problems with the Dashboard when you were running Retrospect Windows 12—is to follow the links from the second paragraph and P.S. of this post, and to do what one or the other of them says depending on whether you are running Proactive scripts (see mbennett's post below Lennart_T's if you are)—I'm only the messenger.

The other approach is to contact Retrospect Support; I think you'd be entitled to personalized phone help because you evidently just upgraded to Retrospect Windows 15, but in any case you should file a Support Request because you're not the only administrator having this problem—see the OP of the thread linked to in the first paragraph of this post.  See the rest of this post below for what IMHO might well be included in that Support Request:

if you've been having the problems with the Dashboard only since you started running Retrospect Windows 15, I will now give you the benefit of a bit of informed speculation—as a Retrospect Mac administrator—on this subject.  Back around 2007 EMC Insignia decided that a fully-interactive Administration Console, optionally running on a machine separate from the "backup server", is an essential component of an enterprise client-server backup application's user interface.  The (by then) EMC Iomega engineers in Walnut Creek CA were able to successfully introduce an Administration Console in Retrospect Mac 8, but found that—because of mandatory security settings introduced with Windows Vista/Server 2008—they were unable to introduce an Administration Console in Retrospect Windows.  The Dashboard was introduced in Retrospect Mac 11 as the first-appearing panel in the Retrospect Mac Console, and at the same time was introduced as a display-only feature of Retrospect Windows 9.  The non-GUI code of Retrospect Windows and Retrospect Mac was meanwhile integrated with Retrospect Windows 7.7, and over a year ago administrator Don Lee discovered that he could almost perfectly control a Retrospect Windows "backup server" from a Retrospect Mac Console—because the inter-task communications capabilities had been carefully preserved in the Retrospect Windows code even though they can't be invoked from a Windows task.

Meanwhile developers of other enterprise client-server backup applications have introduced Administration Consoles that get around the Windows security restrictions by running under a Web server, and Retrospect Inc. has been IMHO quietly desperate to compete with them.  They were intending to introduce a beta version of the Retrospect Management Console in Retrospect 15.1, but were evidently delayed until Retrospect 15.5 by the need to have Retrospect immediately satisfy GDPR "right of erasure" requirements.  For a few days last spring I ran a special test release of Retrospect Mac 15.0 to help the engineers diagnose the -530 bugs, and the Dashboard in that release had 3 blue icons on the upper-right—one of which could interactively start and stop a "backup server" Engine. 

So what I'm speculating—confirmed by this video—is that the Dashboard code in Retrospect Windows 15.6 has been enhanced under-the-hood to function as the Retrospect Management Console, and that this is what's causing your Dashboard problems.  IMHO what will solve your problems until Retrospect Windows 16 would be the addition of a C:\ProgramData\Retrospect\retro.ini parameter line that reads something like DashboardNotAConsole=1 .  Ask Tech Support if Engineering can give us that in a Retrospect Windows 15.7 release.  An alternative would be to have the Dashboard code look at the Enable Management Console box in Preferences, as described in this Knowledge Base article, and act as if that parameter line were present if the box is not checked.

 

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Added parenthetical note about Proactive to end of the only sentence in first paragraph; added link in first sentence of fourth paragraph to head of RTS's 2012 post about wanting to separate Engine from Console
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David,

Thank  you for this very detailed response.  I was having the same issue with the Dashboard in Retrospect 12, and I was hoping that it was fixed in Retrospect 15. Quite the contrary, things have gotten worse.

I will definitely read the referenced article.  If I can free up some time, I will contact Retrospect support, but since I'm only a Professional customer, albeit for many years, I don't expect a lot of "sympathy" from them.

x509

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22 hours ago, x509 said:

David,

Thank  you for this very detailed response.  I was having the same issue with the Dashboard in Retrospect 12, and I was hoping that it was fixed in Retrospect 15. Quite the contrary, things have gotten worse.

I will definitely read the referenced article.  If I can free up some time, I will contact Retrospect support, but since I'm only a Professional customer, albeit for many years, I don't expect a lot of "sympathy" from them.

x509

x509,

Please, please file a Support Case!  :(  If "things have gotten worse" for you in Retrospect Windows 15.6, it's likely because of what I speculated on in my preceding post in this thread.  That would mean that other administrators are having the same problem.  As a Retrospect Mac administrator, I can't file a Support Case for Retrospect  Windows—so we need somebody else to do it.  Just copy your OP in this thread into the Problem Description, although you'll have to do manual indentation of the listed issues to get around the lack of text formatting in Retrospect Inc.'s Support Case software.

You just paid for an upgrade—even if it's only for the Desktop Edition, so Retrospect Inc. should at least consider fixing what is probably a just-introduced bug.  If Tech Support doesn't respond with more than the usual automatic return e-mail, phone (888) 376-1078 or (925) 476-1030 (those are U.S. phone numbers, but call the second one even if you're a Brit—from what I've heard the European Retrospect Tech Support is ignorant), choose X814 to speak to Werner Walter—the head of Retrospect Sales, and complain.  Werner can "goose" Engineering; I've seen him do it.

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10 hours ago, DavidHertzberg said:

x509,

Please, please file a Support Case!  :(  If "things have gotten worse" for you in Retrospect Windows 15.6, it's likely because of what I speculated on in my preceding post in this thread.  That would mean that other administrators are having the same problem.  As a Retrospect Mac administrator, I can't file a Support Case for Retrospect  Windows—so we need somebody else to do it.  Just copy your OP in this thread into the Problem Description, although you'll have to do manual indentation of the listed issues to get around the lack of text formatting in Retrospect Inc.'s Support Case software.

You just paid for an upgrade—even if it's only for the Desktop Edition, so Retrospect Inc. should at least consider fixing what is probably a just-introduced bug.  If Tech Support doesn't respond with more than the usual automatic return e-mail, phone (888) 376-1078 or (925) 476-1030 (those are U.S. phone numbers, but call the second one even if you're a Brit—from what I've heard the European Retrospect Tech Support is ignorant), choose X814 to speak to Werner Walter—the head of Retrospect Sales, and complain.  Werner can "goose" Engineering; I've seen him do it.

DavidHertzberg,

Thank you for all this help.  I really appreciate it. 

I just filed out a support request on the Retrospect site.  I'll give it a few days for a response.  If no response, then I will definitely call Werner Walter.  I am in high tech myself (but not in IT), and have worked often with sales.

Even if I hadn't wanted to do this support request for myself, I owe it to you and all the other IT professionals on this board, who have always been very helpful to guys like me, to do this support request.

Edited by x509
rewrite sentence

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So I already got a response from Retrospect, posted here.  What do you all think of the response?  Should I reply to Retrospect support?  How?  Or should I call Werner Walter?

I explained in my problem submission to Retrospect support that using Task Manager to stop the Dashboard does not solve the problem.

--------------------------

Agent Response:

 

When Retrospect Autolaunches for a scheduled backup, the program opens under the System account.  Under Windows Vista or later, Windows will not allow the currently logged in user to view programs running under user accounts that are different from the currently logged in user account. Because of this, you are unable to view the Retrospect user interface when the program automatically opens for a scheduled backup.  If Retrospect autolaunches, you can use the Retrospect Dashboard utility to close the Retrospect.exe process so that you can manually reopen Retrospect. You would use the Relaunch button in the upper right corner to open Retrospect again.  If that doesn't work for some reason or the UI is stuck like you have been experiencing, you can use the Windows Task Manager to end task on Retrospect.exe and open the program again.

 

The best workaround is to manually open Retrospect and leave it running prior to a scheduled backup operation.  This will give you full access to the user interface so that you can view what Retrospect is doing and troubleshoot any issues that may come up during a backup, such as a media request dialog box.

 

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

The Retrospect Support Team

 

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x509,

The advice in the second paragraph of the Agent Response is to do what Lennart_T said to do in order to eliminate the Dashboard entirely, as linked-to—and described to the best of my understanding—in this post.  AFAICT the advice in the first paragraph of the Agent Response simply repeats the standard advice, and ignores your statement in the Problem Submission that using the Task Manager doesn't kill the Dashboard.

If I were you I'd phone Werner Walter and ask him to find out when this problem is going to be fixed.  In the meantime you might instead consider following the advice of gjs, which I linked to in the P.S. of the post linked to in the first paragraph of this post.  See mbennett's post below Lennart_T's linked-to suggestion; it points out that suggestion doesn't work if you have a Proactive backup setup.

One thing you might first consider is whether you had fewer problems with the Dashboard in Retrospect Windows 12.  If so, and if there aren't any must-have features or bug fixes that made you upgrade to Retrospect Windows 15, you might seriously think about downgrading to Retrospect Windows 12.  If this is a feasible alternative for you, I suggest telling Werner that—if they can't give you a Retrospect Windows 15.7 Dashboard that can be made to behave like the Retrospect Windows 12 Dashboard (last paragraph here) or promise that the Dashboard will be fixed in Retrospect 16—you want to do a downgrade and get your upgrade payment back.  This should be a very effective tactic with Sales, but you need to be prepared to follow through on your threat if Werner can't get action from Engineering.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Added third paragraph, suggesting threatening switch back to Retrospect Windows 12; added additional sentence to second paragraph about Proactive

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David,

Almost a week has passed since I started this thread.  I don't always have the time to set up the fixes on my system, because I'm not a system administrator.  So I've rebooted several times now, hoping to "catch" Retrospect where I can actually bypass the Dashboard and start up directly with Retrospect.  That used to work, but not anymore.  So I'm going to read through the threads that describe how to reconfigure Retrospect at Windows startup.  I'm also going to call Sales on Monday.

I don't have any must-have features in Retro 15.  I don't do any cloud-based backups (yet) but I upgrade on the assumption that there will be overall enhancements, call that "value added."  I was in software product management for over 30 years, and I had an expression for new releases that screwed things up.  "Value deleted."  Since I was in product management, I often dealt with sales and learned how to get sales to support me when I needed something from engineering. 

Anyone know the name of the Retrospect (Professional) product manager, and have his/her email address?

My only concern about downgrading is that my backup catalogs have sessions done under Retrospect 15, and Retrospect 12 may not recognize those sessions.  But I can still make my threat to sales. ?

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x509,

If we're lucky, Retrospect Inc. still has as many as 20 employees.  I have some doubts about that, because the head of Retrospect Tech Support lost his telephone-inquiry-answering assistant over a year ago and still hasn't gotten a replacement. Thus—with only one product until R.V. was introduced about a year ago, I think the closest equivalent to a Retrospect Product Manager would be Brian Dunagan in this Web page.  Brian did answer a tricky Forums technical question I posted about Retrospect 13 Mac two years ago, so I think he qualifies.  J.G.Heithcock does happen to be the lead author on this 2006 patent for Retrospect User-Initiated Restore, but IME he now considers himself a bit too exalted to directly answer customer complaints. :rolleyes:  (The Retrospect Management Console is not being beta'ed as a Retrospect-Windows-only feature, so IMHO any new problem with the Dashboard introduced in Retrospect 15 would be with the common underlying code rather than the GUI; the question Brian answered had to do with terminology relating to the underlying code.)

Up until the still-in-beta introduction of Storage Groups, I doubt whether the format of Catalogs has changed since Retrospect Windows 12.  If it has, you could simply rebuild your Catalogs under Retrospect Windows 12 using the existing Members—and there's no indication Member format has changed in Retrospect Windows 15..  Be sure to ask this question of both Werner and Brian; it will give your threat to downgrade verisimilitude. B)

 

 

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David,

Thanks.  I just sent an email to Brian Dunagan.

After reading your email, it popped into my head that I should check LinkedIn and I a company page for Retrospect here:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/retrospect-inc-/

The listing indicates that Retrospect has 11-50 employees, but I found 23 people who were listed as LinkedIn employees.  I was really surprised to see how many of them were in sales, and how few were in Engineering.  One of the Engineering people is David Lee, who is in charge of the US and China development teams.  So I'm guessing that like many software companies these days, most of the actual software development now takes place in China.

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7 hours ago, x509 said:

David,

Thanks.  I just sent an email to Brian Dunagan.

After reading your email, it popped into my head that I should check LinkedIn and I a company page for Retrospect here:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/retrospect-inc-/

The listing indicates that Retrospect has 11-50 employees, but I found 23 people who were listed as LinkedIn employees.  I was really surprised to see how many of them were in sales, and how few were in Engineering.  One of the Engineering people is David Lee, who is in charge of the US and China development teams.  So I'm guessing that like many software companies these days, most of the actual software development now takes place in China.

x509,

I refuse to join LinkedIn on the principle of not wanting to be inundated, so I can't see David Lee's full profile.  Remember that Dantz Development—the predecessor of Retrospect Inc.—started around 1984-85, so other development employees may be in their 50s and share my sentiments, or be retired. 

I have it on good authority that the product named R. V. (which the head of Retrospect Tech Support forbade me to name on these Forums, but you know its full name) was not developed in Walnut Creek, so it wouldn't surprise me if it is being developed in China by contractors.  However we're concerned here with R. non-V., and I strongly suspect that that product continues to be developed in Walnut Creek.  When you have a development organization that's been functioning for around 35 years, IME experience tends to overshadow formal hierarchy.

So I think it's good you e-mailed Brian Dunagan.

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1 hour ago, DavidHertzberg said:

x509,

When you have a development organization that's been functioning for around 35 years, IME experience tends to overshadow formal hierarchy.

Very true in my experience also.  People who know me know that I'm not exactly "shy" about raising issues to the people in charge, because they are the ones who set the tone for the entire organization.  And at this point in my career, who cares if I p--- off some VP somewhere.  :)

If I get a good response from Brian, then I don't need to call sales.  Otherwise, I have that much more to complain about.

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