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NoelC

Can scheduled operations be done without retrorun

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Hello,

New Retrospect user here...  Looks like a good product; I like that I could quickly set it up to do exactly the nightly backup I needed, and that it's reporting 0 errors and 0 warnings for incremental backups of multiple terabytes of volumes that complete in good time. 

However, the need to keep service retrorun running bothers me.

I have a philosophy of keeping installs of all software on my computers as lean as possible.  By following this philosophy and enforcing a minimal running process count through the use of e.g., Autoruns I have been able to keep Windows installations efficient and performant and have often advanced performance.  People often complain that Windows slows down over time.  Not my Windows systems!

Windows provides a perfectly good Task Scheduler.  Can Retrospect be configured to use it, eliminating the need for the retrorun service component to be kept running? 

I have seen, for example that the command line given to Retrospect.exe contains the term "autostart", and an attempt to start Retrospect.exe from the Task Scheduler at the time of my nightly scheduled backup DID work after a fashion but did not yield the expected process exit after the backup was complete.

Thanks for any wisdom you are willing to share on this.

-Noel

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NoelC,

I'm a Retrospect Mac administrator, so I don't have the possibility of any retrorun service—since Retrospect Mac 8.0 in 2009 eliminated it.  However this 2017 post seems to tell how to use Windows Task Scheduler.

OTOH the 2018 thread starting with this post seems to tell how to use the Retrospect Launcher Service.  There's also this 2019 Knowledge Base article, which may not be applicable to your setup. 

Finally  Retrospect Windows does not quit after an operation—backup or otherwise—is complete if there is another operation scheduled within the "look ahead time", which defaults to 12 hours.  This is discussed under "Schedule Preferences" on pages 397-398 of the Retrospect Windows 16 User's Guide.  I think the feature applies whether or not you're using retrorun, but again as a Retrospect Mac administrator I'm  not an expert on it..

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Added third paragraph; Retrospect Mac pre-8.0 did have retrorun

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Thanks.  It occurred to me I didn't provide enough information.  My backup is set for once per night at 2am; my look ahead time is minimized to 1 hour, and I have disabled Instant Scan.  Basically I want a very simple, once per night, single computer backup to permanently attached local storage.  The system runs 24/7.

I find these text lines from the post at the first link you posted most interesting, as they are pertinent to my question:

> Retrospect is configured to run as the logged-in user (who has all permissions needed for backups), and the Task Scheduler is configured to run its task under that same user account. This enables Retrospect windows to appear normally on that user's desktop.

> ) Invoking Retrospect.exe with a "Run Document" argument opens the main window, runs that script and any waiting scripts, and either stays in Retrospect or exits (depending on Startup Preferences).

> Exit (or others) (Works only with a "Run Document" argument.)

The above describe my situation and imply it's possible I simply have not yet found the proper combination of options and command line arguments.  I have not tried saving the one and only script I've created as a "Run Document".

The only thing I'd rather not have to do is leave the system logged on, though in practice that is almost always the case.

My remaining question is whether the setting for "Enable Retrospect Launcher Service" and "Automatically Launch Retrospect" should be left checked but the retrorun service set to "Manual" or "Disabled", or should they just be unchecked.  I will proceed presuming the latter.

Appreciate your help!

-Noel

 

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NoelC,

With Retrospect Mac, the Retrospect Mac Engine task normally starts when the Mac is booted as a particular user, and is not stopped except by going to System Preferences.  The Retrospect Mac Console (non-Web) is a separate GUI task that can be started and stopped and re-started from the Mac Dock.  The Retrospect developers were trying to implement this same Engine/Console split for Retrospect Windows, but—as the first paragraph here says—Gates and Ballmer made that impossible (unless the Engine was given a built-in Web server—which the Retrospect developers either couldn't or didn't want to do).

The Retrospect "Inc." developers are, as I write this, preparing to release an enhanced version of the Web-based Management Console that should—based on hosting the Console on Heroku—finally allow Retrospect Windows to have the same Engine/Console split as Retrospect Mac.  Then you'll be able to let the Retrospect Windows Engine run 24/7, while using nothing except paged-out memory when no operation is running.

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Got it working.

Success was as simple as realizing that Retrospect.exe with a run document (xxxxxx.rrr, as saved during script setup) as a parameter will just do the backup specified by the run document then do what's configured when done (e.g., exit in my case).  No scheduling at all needs to be done in Retrospect, Enable Management console is unchecked, Enable Retrospect Launcher service is unchecked, and Instant Scan needs is disabled.

Voila, one scheduled job in the Windows Task Scheduler done at a particular time that invokes my nightly backup.  There are no ongoing running processes from the intergalactic backup program that I just need to do one very simple backup at the same time each night.

While it would have been nice for it to work like this right out of the box (e.g., easy integration with Windows Task Scheduler just by setting the right options in the Restrospect UI), I can live with rolling my own.  Might be a case where developers, very close to the product and constantly focused on adding valuable features, have forgotten that it can/should be a basic low-impact backup solution too.

The only other downside I've seen so far (and will work on next) is that Retrospect emits my system "Asterisk" (ding in my case) sound - presumably to announce that the backup has succeeded - which has awakened me at about 3:30am twice so far.  Next step will be to configure it to not interact with the console at all if possible.  I suspect that will just be a small change in the Task Scheduler to "Run whether user is logged on or not", which is what I want anyway because I don't want to have to leave it logged on to get backups done.

Still on the trial period but I suspect I'll succeed and Retrospect will get my business.

-Noel

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NoelC

Retrospect can be very frustrating at times.  Just check out the threads I have started.  But it also has amazing functionality to back up my home LAN, that I don't think I can find in any other backup program, at least at an affordable price.

This forum is a great resource, with some very smart people.  (I'm not one of them ... 😀 )

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On 9/7/2019 at 11:47 AM, NoelC said:

Got it working.

Success was as simple as realizing that Retrospect.exe with a run document (xxxxxx.rrr, as saved during script setup) as a parameter will just do the backup specified by the run document then do what's configured when done (e.g., exit in my case).  No scheduling at all needs to be done in Retrospect, Enable Management console is unchecked, Enable Retrospect Launcher service is unchecked, and Instant Scan needs is disabled.

Voila, one scheduled job in the Windows Task Scheduler done at a particular time that invokes my nightly backup.  There are no ongoing running processes from the intergalactic backup program that I just need to do one very simple backup at the same time each night.

While it would have been nice for it to work like this right out of the box (e.g., easy integration with Windows Task Scheduler just by setting the right options in the Restrospect UI), I can live with rolling my own.  Might be a case where developers, very close to the product and constantly focused on adding valuable features, have forgotten that it can/should be a basic low-impact backup solution too.

The only other downside I've seen so far (and will work on next) is that Retrospect emits my system "Asterisk" (ding in my case) sound - presumably to announce that the backup has succeeded - which has awakened me at about 3:30am twice so far.  Next step will be to configure it to not interact with the console at all if possible.  I suspect that will just be a small change in the Task Scheduler to "Run whether user is logged on or not", which is what I want anyway because I don't want to have to leave it logged on to get backups done.

Still on the trial period but I suspect I'll succeed and Retrospect will get my business.

-Noel

NoelC,

Although I am a Mac user, I think you fail to recognize how much more Windows knowledge you have than the average backup administrator, as DovidBenAvraham describes her/him in the last sentence of the lead of the appropriate Wikipedia articleThis Digital Citizen article says "Unfortunately, not many people know about this tool, as Windows does not advertise it as much as it deserves."  The article starts out describing how to open Windows Task Scheduler, but that description only applies to Windows 7 and later.

Windows 7 wasn't released to manufacturing until late October 2009 and was adopted by users over the next 3 years.  By March 2014 Retrospect Inc. had introduced the Dashboard, which the engineers evidently believed would be an easier-to-use generalized within-the-application-UI solution for Retrospect Windows (but they didn't attempt to fix its glaring bugs until 2017).  In 2013, the engineers must have felt that building a UI solution into Retrospect Windows would be easier than trying to teach backup administrators to use a separate facility in a version of Windows that was just then achieving critical mass—and a scan of these Forums will show you that many Retrospect Windows administrators are forced by their organizations to work with obsolete versions of Windows.

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