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kidziti

Automating a removable disk backup

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I have two external drives which I use as backup destinations on alternate nights. I am using a third drive which will only stay connected during the backup and them I would disconnect it (as protection from ransomware attacks.) I'd like to do something that is essentially an inverse of what I have with proactively backing up my laptop - but for the destination, not the source. I'd like a situation such that when I plug in the destination drive for this backup, Retrospect sees it and runs the backup script that I designed for that destination. I suspect that is not possible but figured I would ask anyways.

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kidziti,

Do you realize that questions on these Retrospect Forums are almost exclusively answered by volunteers?  Do you also realize that you've never said what major version of Retrospect you are trialing, although this post implies that it's Retrospect Windows 16?  Lastly, do you realize that you are entitled to 45 days of free personalized Technical Support when you upgrade?  I suggest you take advantage of it, because what you've been doing in this Forum since 30 October is conducting a multi-thread "concern-of-the-moment disclosure" in which you selectively define and then re-define what you want to accomplish.☹️  If you want to get other administrators to keep responding to your posts, IMHO what you now need to do is to "organize your concerns" in a thorough back-and-forth conversation with someone in Retrospect Tech Support.🙄

The main problem with your OP in this thread is that you never define whether your third drive is to be an independent Backup destination every night, or whether the third drive is supposed to have some source-destination relationship with whichever of the other two drives has been a Backup destination that night.  Another problem is that you are apparently talking about source drives that you won't back up with Proactive scripts, but you haven't bothered to say so. 

If the third drive is intended to be an independent destination, go ahead and back up to it every night—you'll just get a -1204 error if the destination drive isn't mounted (see the fifth paragraph about using the Media Request Timeout box).  If OTOH the third drive is intended to be a cumulative copy of what's been backed up alternately onto the other two drives, there's a simple solution named Transfer Snapshots discussed on pages 213-220 of the Retrospect Windows 16 User's Guide.  You'll need to run two Transfer Snapshots scripts each night—unless you do fancy scheduling per the next paragraph, one of which will fail because its designated source Backup Set wasn't mounted.  It will help your education if I don't tell you which options to use to make sure that that only the new backups are copied from the Backup Set that was mounted that night.  The advantage of this approach, possibly better protection against ransomware, is that it won't access your actual source drives—only whatever Backup Set drive(s) you happen to have mounted.

As for alternating backups onto the other two drives, I'm afraid my remote ancestors messed things up by popularizing a week with an odd number of days in it.  Retrospect "Inc." and its predecessors never made the effort to put automated alternating-destination scheduling capability into Retrospect  Backup scripts, but you can achieve that by creating two pairs of Backup scripts per "Using the Day of Week Scheduler" on pages 230-231 of the UG.  Each script in a pair will be scheduled to run on either Sun-Tues-Thurs-Sat or Mon-Wed-Fri, repeating every 2 weeks starting on the applicable Sunday or Monday date of two successive calendar-weeks.  Each script in a pair will designate the same destination Backup Set—which will not be the same destination as in the other pair of scripts that start in the same pair of successive calendar-weeks with an earlier applicable start date one day after the earlier applicable start date used for the other pair of scripts.  That means if Backup Set A is the destination in the Sun-Tues-Thurs-Sat script and the Mon-Wed-Fri script in the first pair starting 1 December 2019 and 9 December 2019 respectively, then Backup Set B is the destination in the Mon-Wed-Fri script and the Sun-Tues-Thurs-Sat script in the second pair starting 2 December 2019 and 8 December 2019 respectively.  You may already have solved this, but it'll be useful for others.

If this is too complicated for you, you can instead create a single pair of scripts scheduled to run every day of the week; each script in the pair will designate a different destination Backup Set.  Each night one of the two scripts will fail with a -1204 error, because you intentionally haven't mounted that Backup Set's drive. Make sure to checkmark the Media Request Timeout box per page 404 of the UG; I'm fairly sure that Preferences option includes a number-of-minutes timeout box (Retrospect Mac includes one, so I suspect its omission is merely a long-standing typo in the Retrospect Windows UG).

The features needed to do this were all in Retrospect Windows 7.7, so I guess that ransomware is making you rethink what you've been doing for years.

P.S.: I see now that I misunderstood your OP.  I presumably didn't need to write the fourth paragraph of this post , because you may already have the alternating-between-two-Backup-Sets scripted Backups under control.  The third paragraph—with the revised first and added last sentence—is still valid.

Edited by DavidHertzberg
Correct last two sentences in fourth paragraph for script start dates, add fancy scheduling possibility to next-to-last sentence of third paragraph; P.S. saying I maybe didn't need the fourth paragraph; rephrase first paragraph to be less insulting

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18 hours ago, kidziti said:

I'd like a situation such that when I plug in the destination drive for this backup, Retrospect sees it and runs the backup script that I designed for that destination. I suspect that is not possible but figured I would ask anyways.

You could just the schedule the script as normal, with a short "media timeout" window, so that if the disk is attached the script runs but if it isn't it waits bit, errors, then carries on with whatever is next.

 If you want to get a bit more nerdy, what you need is a Windows script/utility that regularly polls mounted volumes for the drive and, if it is there, executes the appropriate Retrospect "Run Document"  -- see the "Automated Operations" section of the RS manual for more about these but, basically, when you create a schedule you have the option to save it as a Run Document that can be launched by eg double-clicking in Windows Explorer. Extra credits if you then use a script trigger at the end of the schedule to run another Windows script/utility that unmounts the drive for you...

ObDisclaimer: Certainly doable on a Mac, and I'd say *probably* doable on Windows, but you'll have to wait for one of the Windows gurus to chime in if you've any scripting questions.

 

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19 hours ago, Nigel Smith said:

You could just the schedule the script as normal, with a short "media timeout" window, so that if the disk is attached the script runs but if it isn't it waits bit, errors, then carries on with whatever is next.

 If you want to get a bit more nerdy, what you need is a Windows script/utility that regularly polls mounted volumes for the drive and, if it is there, executes the appropriate Retrospect "Run Document"  -- see the "Automated Operations" section of the RS manual for more about these but, basically, when you create a schedule you have the option to save it as a Run Document that can be launched by eg double-clicking in Windows Explorer. Extra credits if you then use a script trigger at the end of the schedule to run another Windows script/utility that unmounts the drive for you...

ObDisclaimer: Certainly doable on a Mac, and I'd say *probably* doable on Windows, but you'll have to wait for one of the Windows gurus to chime in if you've any scripting questions.

 

Nigel Smith,

What you suggest in your first quoted paragraph is precisely what I suggested in the fifth paragraph in this post above.  In that paragraph I questioned whether a "media timeout" window actually exists in Retrospect Windows;  I guess you're saying it does—even though it's not documented.

What you suggest in your second quoted paragraph about "a Windows script/utility that regularly polls mounted volumes for the drive and, if it is there, executes the appropriate Retrospect 'Run Document'" may be beyond kidziti's Windows-scripting abilities.  That's why I suggested, in the fourth paragraph of the post linked-to in the first paragraph of this post, using Retrospect Windows' own scripting capability.  The disadvantage of what I suggested is that he'd have to consult the Retrospect Activity Monitor or a marked-up calendar to see which drive he is scheduled to mount for tonight's run, instead of relying on a Windows script to back up to the drive he happens to have mounted.  OTOH  that could be considered an advantage, in that it would force him to follow a routine in taking a drive off-site and bringing it back the next day—which is why I assume he wants to establish these alternating-between-two-Backup-Sets scripted Backups—probably to protect against ransomware as he says in his OP.

I see now that I misunderstood kidziti's OP.  I presumably didn't need to write the fourth paragraph of the post linked-to in the first paragraph of this post, because he may already have the alternating-between-two-Backup-Sets scripted Backups under control.  Its third paragraph—as revised—is still valid.

 

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On 11/12/2019 at 10:13 PM, DavidHertzberg said:

kidziti,

Do you realize that questions on these Retrospect Forums are almost exclusively answered by volunteers?  Do you also realize that you've never said what major version of Retrospect you are trialing, although this post implies that it's Retrospect Windows 16?  Lastly, do you realize that you are entitled to 45 days of free personalized Technical Support when you upgrade?  I suggest you take advantage of it, because what you've been doing in this Forum since 30 October is conducting a multi-thread "strip-tease" in which you selectively define and then re-define what you want to accomplish.☹️  If you want to get other administrators to keep responding to your posts, IMHO what you now need to do is to "take it all off" in a thorough back-and-forth conversation with someone in Retrospect Tech Support.🙄

The main problem with your OP in this thread is that you never define whether your third drive is to be an independent Backup destination every night, or whether the third drive is supposed to have some source-destination relationship with whichever of the other two drives has been a Backup destination that night.  Another problem is that you are apparently talking about source drives that you won't back up with Proactive scripts, but you haven't bothered to say so. 

Thank you to David and Nigel for taking the time to answer. I have gleaned good information from both of your answers. And yes, David - the fourth paragraph is a redundancy for me. My solution to alternating between my two perpetually-connected external drives was simply to schedule each on an every-other-day schedule and start them a day apart - easy peasy and they've been humming along fine for the past week. I apologize that the third drive confused you - it is simply an external drive to add an unmounted redundancy to the two alternate-day backups. As such, I'm fine with a transfer backup to it from either drive and was simply looking for a more elegant way to do it than plugging it in and starting a manual backup - then unplugging it. I suppose if I scripted a dismount of that drive after the transfer backup, then I wouldn't have to physically unplug it from the USB port to keep it safe?

To your many questions, David, I am also aware that I have 45 days of free technical support but (1) my work hours completely lock me out of available support hours and (2) I generally have found the best help via shared forums than directly from technical support. And so you know, I have Windows Desktop version 16.5.1.109.

I've obviously caused some serious consternation for you, David. Please understand that was not my intent. I am also quite active helping other users on a different forum and certainly know what it means to volunteer time to do that. I have not had too many people abuse my time, fortunately, but when it seems they do, it is often because they are just finding their way and I try to be patient and polite. So I think I understand where your frustration comes from when someone like me who is not as smart as you in this field stumbles about, failing to even know how to phrase the question correctly.

While you are undoubtedly at the top of the pack here in terms of technical expertise on Retrospect - something I do respect - I might suggest refining the way you address people you do not know and would presume to help. I would never phrase a response to anyone in such a personally targeted and public way as the quote above. It's targeted when "you" appears 20 times in the first seven sentences. And it's personal when the answer to my question is three consecutive "do you realize" questions right back at me, followed by two statements describing how my question is a "problem" for you. And just in case I have not been talked down to enough, I am described in rather prurient terms ("strip tease") - a not-so-subtle way to shame me. And that is topped off with a salient suggestion that I metaphorically undress completely. Perhaps you might agree that is a rather humiliating way to address anyone - especially someone you do not know.

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kidziti,

I owe you three apologies for this post above.

First, I apologize for not having read your OP carefully enough to have realized that you had already solved the problem of alternating-destination Backup scripts.  When I finally reread the OP and realized that you had, I considered deleting the fourth paragraph in my post.  However I had spent a lot of time rewriting that paragraph, and was rather proud of it—muddily-written though it is.  In addition, it may in the future be useful for linking-to to help an administrator not as smart as you.

Second, I apologize for not having read your OP carefully enough to have realized that you had fairly clearly described the purpose of your third drive.  That said, IMHO what I wrote in my third paragraph is pretty good advice for an administrator who really has to worry about ransomware—which I don't (my LAN is within my one-person apartment and has only 3 computers, so all I have to do is be very careful about clicking on any links in e-mails or Web articles); I instead worry about flood or fire.  Therefore I've never learned enough about Mac Automator to know how to detect or dismount a drive, but I shouldn't have assumed you might not know enough about Windows scripting to do so.  I do a Recycle Backup of all my sources to one of my 3 weekly-rotated destination drives every Saturday morning, and take that drive—by then also containing 6 incremental daily backups—to my bank safe deposit box around noon every Friday.  IMHO you should think about whether it might be better to let the contents of that third drive lag a day behind the contents of either of your source drives, to keep quickly-discovered ransomware-encrypted files off it; if that turns out to be true, Transfer Snapshots would be a good tool.

Third, I apologize for not having been empathetic enough about your possibly being an administrator who suddenly has to worry, after many years, about ransomware.  That explains why you started half-a-dozen threads in a few days; your thinking was evolving as you did so.  So it wasn't a "strip tease", and I've now eliminated the term—which was meant to give you my impression of your multiple threads—from that post.  That impression made me feel you needed to at least slow down and organize your thoughts before posting, which is why I phrased the first two paragraphs "in such a personally targeted and public way as the quote above"—which I don't remember having done before on these Forums.

I'm not "undoubtedly at the top of the pack here in terms of technical expertise on Retrospect", as Nigel Smith and Lennart_T and Scillonian are.  They have more OS -related expertise than I have and have used more Retrospect features; I just answer the easier questions, based on 19-out-of-the-last-24-years experience and the ability to search manuals and Forums and to think like a systems analyst.

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14 hours ago, DavidHertzberg said:

which is why I assume he wants to establish these alternating-between-two-Backup-Sets scripted Backups—probably to protect against ransomware as he says in his OP.

As you've since realised, that wasn't the problem. The ultimate aim is to limit a drive's exposure to ransomware attacks by minimising the amount of time it is connected to the system -- in an ideal world you'd have a scripted "mount disk, run backup, unmount disk on completion" which would run without human intervention. That would have been easy on the Mac in the "old days", when RS had OK Applescript support, now you should probably use Script Hooks which is something I've not really played with. Run files as described above would also work, if you prefer to do your scheduling from outside RS.

kidziti -- you'll find more about Script Hooks here. You'll see there's both StartScript and EndScript events, and a quick google gets me this page with Windows batch scripts for mounting and unmounting a volume. So I'm thinking you'd set up the script, plug in the drive, unmount it via Windows Explorer, walk away. Then, every time the backup script runs, it would be script start -> StartScript hook -> mountBatchScript -> backup -> script ends -> EndScript hook -> unmountBatchScript.

I'm not a Windows scripter, so there's some questions you'll have to answer for yourself but should be easy enough to test. I don't don't know if RS waits for the hooked scripts to finish, though that shouldn't be a problem in this case as the BU script will re-try until the media is available (within timeout limits, obv). I also don't know what privileges RS would run the script with -- Windows privileges as a whole are a mystery to me! -- but would optimistically assume that you could get round any problems by creating the correct local user and using RS's "Run as user" setting (as discussed in your "Privileges" thread).

But this is all theoretical for me -- and I, for one, would love to hear how you get on!

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David - Thank you for your apologies and I do accept them with the same grace with which you wrote them. I read carefully your last post and wanted to clarify that I am very much like you - a LAN "administrator" in my own home. I am not a professional in IT administration - my professional degree is an entirely different field. But with another user in the house who deals with a plethora of emails, I know that we are one click away from the kind of thing most home users probably never think about. A ransomware attack happened to a business I deal with, so suddenly it became "real" instead of simply a theoretical possibility. I once bought an item on eBay and immediately got an email confirming it - but a detail was incorrect. Without thinking - and it was an expected email anyways - I clicked the link and signed in. Suddenly my account was shut down because I was illegally selling BMWs. I think about that now - and about how lucky I was it was not a malicious extortion attack. Probable? Perhaps not. Possible? Certainly. Data security is one of those fields that is likely well-served by embracing a bit of paranoia as a strategic component in the algorithm.

Skip these next light-gray paragraphs if you wish - they are a little backstory of why I am here at the Retrospect forum. When I mentioned that I prefer forums over tech support, it's because I generally find a higher level of expertise and experience on the forums. I have found that 80 - maybe 90 - percent of my calls to tech support lines reveal I know more about solving my problems then they do. And so I come to places like this - with people like David, Nigel, and Lennart. I am far from God's gift to human intelligence (sometimes I swear I'm just here on earth to provide comic relief for the rest of you), but I have two synergistic qualities that make up for the brain power I lack: First, I'm a techno-geek and love learning the patterns of digital logic just "because" (but I don't wear flood pants, bowties, or thick-framed glasses held together at the hinges by white tape.) The second quality is that I'm amazingly stubborn. That was a shortcoming I had hoped to outgrow, then to unlearn. Unable to shake the curse, I've relented and learned to embrace it as a means to a better end. I'll figure out anything given enough time (often a significant variable, unfortunately) - not by virtue of my intelligence so much as simple relentless drive.

I suppose it doesn't take more than a single mistake to bring someone to the learning curve of a program like Retrospect that - configured correctly - is a powerful security tool. Maybe it's losing the emails of your oldest and best friend who was like a brother to you - who committed suicide just three months before. That's a hell - sort of like losing him all over again - that I would wish on nobody. Or almost losing the last priceless videos of your mom laughing with the family because you trusted NAS redundancy too much and let your outdated backup program slide. Fortunately, SMB access saved 99.9% of my data. And it only took a year off of my life in stress and anguish.

So as technical as this is - and especially for us home LAN administrators tending to digital kingdoms surrounded by a white picket fences far from glass buildings and cubicles and project management teams - it can get surprisingly personal very suddenly. And that's why I'm here. It reminds me of the new president of a foundering drill company who closed the factory for an afternoon, took his employees out to lunch and asked them, "So we're having a tough time selling our product. Do you even know what that product is? What do we sell here, folks?"

The answer was resounding. "Drills!" the employees shouted.

The new leader shook his head with a smile and said, "No. We sell holes." I think about that with Retrospect. It's a fun program to learn and discover. But at the end of the day, back-ups are only the means. The real product is simple peace of mind - knowing one's digital treasures are safe.

Getting back to the nitty gritty - I have been thinking about the bank deposit box approach myself, David. I suppose there are so many levels that can be employed. Knowing me, I'll likely fail at some point to do that as my enthusiasm wanes and other things get in the way as they tend to do. I am thinking the cloud is probably a better solution but with hacks and data breaches happening to robust enterprises that should have been secure, I wonder if we put far more stock in cloud security than we should. You brought up an interesting point of making the removable backup a bit more historic by a day to add more ransomware security from more recent and perhaps yet unrealized attacks. I agree that would be a good strategy. And again, I think of the cloud. If you don't mind me asking, is there a reason you prefer walking your data physically every weekend to safe deposit storage vs just putting it in the cloud?

Nigel - Windows scripting does sound intriguing. I also wonder if increasing scripting power within Retrospect is something that Storcentric is considering. That's a high hope, of course. I could probably figure Windows scripting out, but my obstacle at the moment is finding the time to do so.

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Nigel Smith,

Thank, you've certainly proved my statement that you are "at the top of the pack here in terms of technical expertise on Retrospect".  Two days ago I didn't remember that script hooks exist in Retrospect, even though I wrote the mentions of them in this Wikipedia article.  I've never used them, but I'm wondering whether spawned scripts can kill the application that spawned them—which would satisfy kidziti's desire to have a Retrospect script that can't find its source or destination drive die without leaving disturbing messages in the Log.

kidziti and Nigel Smith,

I now understand that ransomware protection for a destination drive can be achieved by simply unmounting it.  I had still been thinking about protection from installation fire or flood, which also requires taking a copy of the source data offsite. In 1995 I disciplined myself to taking a Backup Set's media (originally tape) offsite once a week, but I didn't have fast-enough Internet upload speed until 9 October 2018.  It would still require several days to download a complete copy of my source data from the cloud at the realistic speed available from cloud vendors, whereas retrieving a backup drive from my bank safe deposit box takes at most overnight—except for Sundays when the bank branch is closed.  Besides, I think I've read that ransomware perpetrators have developed methods of encrypting a victim's cloud backup data before he/she realizes it has happened.

As for "increasing scripting power within Retrospect", the first two paragraphs of this post in another thread are my current speculation on the subject.  I have further speculated that EMC Iomega employees realized that part of the adverse administrator reaction to Retrospect Mac 8 was that—besides being buggy— it changed the UI from what it still is in Retrospect Windows.  IMHO the same developers—now Retrospect "Inc." employees—have the equivalent of a plaque on the wall that says (paraphrasing H. L. Mencken) "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the flexibility of some Retrospect administrators."

 

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16 minutes ago, DavidHertzberg said:

I now understand that ransomware protection for a destination drive can be achieved by simply unmounting it.  I had still been thinking about protection from installation fire or flood, which also requires taking a copy of the source data offsite. In 1995 I disciplined myself to taking a Backup Set's media (originally tape) offsite once a week, but I didn't have fast-enough Internet upload speed until 9 October 2018.  It would still require several days to download a complete copy of my source data from the cloud at the realistic speed available from cloud vendors, whereas retrieving a backup drive from my bank safe deposit box takes at most overnight—except for Sundays when the bank branch is closed.  Besides, I think I've read that ransomware perpetrators have developed methods of encrypting a victim's cloud backup data before he/she realizes it has happened.

 

I am pretty sure that most cloud services offer the option of sending a drive with your data so that it doesn't all have to transfer via internet, but admit that I'd feel uneasy sending all my data on an external drive via UPS/FedEx or whatever else. While that would not address the concern in your last question, I cannot imagine a cloud service not having or at least offering an offline (protected) copy of what you can access online. One service that stands out in terms of affordability, security and upload options is Amazon S3 and they discuss the issue of large initial uploads here ("Send Us That Data") and in fact have an interesting option called Snowball where they have a quick and informative video that explains how it works.

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kidziti,

I'm concerned about the speed of large-scale recovery, not "seeding".  Amazon started offering Snowball for "seeding" in October 2015, which was almost 6 months after I formulated my modern Retrospect off-site strategy and 5 months before Retrospect Windows 11—with cloud Backup Sets and a nifty facility for changing paths for a Backup Set between cloud and shipped disk (unfortunately only shown in this Retrospect Mac video Tutorial)—was introduced. 

Microsoft offers Azure Data Box and Backblaze B2 offers Fireball, but renting these devices or Snowball run US$200-300 minimum.  All 3 of these services include encryption of your data.  As far as affordability is concerned, the reason Retrospect Inc. offered Backblaze B2 as a cloud backup service in Retrospect Windows 12 is because it "is a business-class cloud storage provider with extremely low costs, at $0.005/GB a month."

Overnight FedExing of a recovery physical device back to your installation would add more to the cost.  That's why "Some applications offer seeding and large-scale recovery via third-party services, which may use a high-speed Internet channel to/from cloud storage rather than a shippable physical device."

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On 11/14/2019 at 10:13 AM, kidziti said:

 

Skip these next light-gray paragraphs if you wish - they are a little backstory of why I am here at the Retrospect forum. When I mentioned that I prefer forums over tech support, it's because I generally find a higher level of expertise and experience on the forums. I have found that 80 - maybe 90 - percent of my calls to tech support lines reveal I know more about solving my problems then they do. And so I come to places like this - with people like David, Nigel, and Lennart. I am far from God's gift to human intelligence (sometimes I swear I'm just here on earth to provide comic relief for the rest of you), but I have two synergistic qualities that make up for the brain power I lack: First, I'm a techno-geek and love learning the patterns of digital logic just "because" (but I don't wear flood pants, bowties, or thick-framed glasses held together at the hinges by white tape.) The second quality is that I'm amazingly stubborn. That was a shortcoming I had hoped to outgrow, then to unlearn. Unable to shake the curse, I've relented and learned to embrace it as a means to a better end. I'll figure out anything given enough time (often a significant variable, unfortunately) - not by virtue of my intelligence so much as simple relentless drive.

I suppose it doesn't take more than a single mistake to bring someone to the learning curve of a program like Retrospect that - configured correctly - is a powerful security tool. Maybe it's losing the emails of your oldest and best friend who was like a brother to you - who committed suicide just three months before. That's a hell - sort of like losing him all over again - that I would wish on nobody. Or almost losing the last priceless videos of your mom laughing with the family because you trusted NAS redundancy too much and let your outdated backup program slide. Fortunately, SMB access saved 99.9% of my data. And it only took a year off of my life in stress and anguish.

So as technical as this is - and especially for us home LAN administrators tending to digital kingdoms surrounded by a white picket fences far from glass buildings and cubicles and project management teams - it can get surprisingly personal very suddenly. And that's why I'm here. It reminds me of the new president of a foundering drill company who closed the factory for an afternoon, took his employees out to lunch and asked them, "So we're having a tough time selling our product. Do you even know what that product is? What do we sell here, folks?"

 

I can't add anything to the immediate discussion in this thread, but I just want to say that kitziti said what I might have said, and he said it better.  I haven't had the awful experience with losing a friend that he has.

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On 11/14/2019 at 6:13 PM, kidziti said:

Nigel - Windows scripting does sound intriguing. I also wonder if increasing scripting power within Retrospect is something that Storcentric is considering. That's a high hope, of course. I could probably figure Windows scripting out, but my obstacle at the moment is finding the time to do so.

The obvious question is -- why would they bother?

Building in application scripting ability to work with an OS is a lot of work, especially with both Windows and OS X constantly moving the goalposts! Better, IMO, for RS to concentrate on their core functionality -- difficult enough because of the aforementioned moving goalposts -- while providing ways to interact with RS from "outside" with whatever scripting language a user is comfortable with. There's currently a bunch of events revealed by RS via Script Hooks and you can start a script by using a Run Document (in Windows -- I think us Mac users may have slipped behind here, but haven't checked). Most other things -- adding clients, creating sets, and so on -- are pretty much edge cases which few users would ever need, so not worth the development time.

OS scripting can be remarkably easy. There's enough info in the two pages I linked above that you could do what you want without any other knowledge of Windows scripting. You could then think of other features (maybe take the scheduling outside of RS? Initiate the whole process based on some other event? Voice controlled via Alexa/Siri/whatever!) and learn as you add them. I think that's how most scripters find their feet, one small "utility" at a time, learning what they need as they go -- so jump in and give it a try!

(And if anyone from Storcentric is reading -- ignore me! RS would be *so* much better with a fully-revealed Applescript dictionary and the ability to both send and receive Apple Events. Go on, you know you want to... And think of the sales demo -- "Hey Siri, activate script Important Machines, add client MD's Mac to it, then run it" and the Managing Director's computer is being backed up!)

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