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urza311

Retrospect hangs at "preparing for open file backup"

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At first I thought I was having a problem with just a single computer in my office, but now another has started displaying the same problem. Sometimes it goes to run an automated script and just sits there at "preparing for open file backup...". On one computer, I have a dozen scripts that run between midnight and 4 AM; last night it ran script #1 and then started script #2... and just sat there. All night. When I came in this morning and quit the program, it asked me if I really wanted to, because there was one execution running and others waiting to run that had piled up behind this script. After waiting 5 minutes for Retrospect to quit (it just sits there, doing nothing), I have to use task manager to force it to quit. In some cases, I can simply relaunch Retrospect and it goes back to work, but other times I have to restart the computer (or it goes to the next script but sits there at the same "preparing for open file backup" screen). All our stations are Windows XP Professional SP2, and we're using Retrospect 7.5.387 with driver update 7.5.12.103. Any idea why this keeps happening?

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I originally posted this message last year but never got a response. Since then, I've updated to Retrospect 7.5.508 (driver 7.5.13.100). Not this or anything else has fixed the problem... sometimes I come in some mornings and find Retrospect just sitting there, doing nothing. Sometimes it hits on a Friday night script and sits there for THREE DAYS doing nothing. I have to quit Retrospect and restart the computer to get it going again.

 

This is really getting frustrating, and makes my backup something I can't count will work on any given night. Does anyone know why this keeps happening? Here's a screenshot.

 

http://www.fortbailey.com/retro-stuck.jpg

 

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It sounds like you have a problem with the VSS services on the XP computer. What does the Windows Event Log say for the VSS or Shadow Copy Service when this happens?

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I have the same problem. Things used to work until a few days ago. But now I cannot execute any backups. Retrospect always hangs indefinitely at "preparing for open file backup".

I checked for errors with Start|Settings|Control Panel|Administrative Tools|Event Viewer for messages relating to VSS and shadow copy service. But there are no entries for them. I also verified that the "Volume Shadow Copy" service is running. There does not seem to be a VSS service or a "Shadow Copy" service. I did find that the "Retrospect Helper" service is not running and when I started it manually it stopped right away again.

 

What can I do? Right now Retrospect is utterly useless.

 

 

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What happens if you disable anti-virus software before the backup? It could be causing a vss hang. Under XP, you can also try to turn off XP system restore.

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Disabling AntiVirus Software had no effect.

But coming back to your earlier suggestion regarding Volume Shadow Copy:

 

Disabling "Volume Shadow Copy" and "MS Software Shadow Copy Provider" services helped.

 

Interestingly, if Volume Shadow Copy is running and I try to stop it, stopping the service fails but after restarting Retrospect it does not hang anymore anyway.

 

 

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Sounds like you have a pre-existing issue involving the volume shadow copy "plumbing" in your computer.

 

Read this for some tips:

http://kb.dantz.com/display/2n/kb/article.asp?aid=5595&n=7&s=

 

It is sometimes worthwhile to see how the Windows backup tool "ntbackup" handles the same situation. 99% of the time it won't work either.

 

Causes of VSS issues are many and varied. One cause recently discussed in this forum is if that hard disk has been cloned (ghosted, or Acronis-ed) that this can cause VSS issues to occur.

 

Thus solve the underlying OS issues involving VSS.

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Well, this problem is still occuring. There are no entries in my Event Viewer about anything relating to VSS or Shadow Copy. And the problem is happening on multiple computers. One is our network backup which covers about a dozen remote Windows stations, and the other is a standalone that only backs up itself to tape... both randomly display the problem from time to time. The standalone machine was also just rebuild from the ground-up (erased hard drive, reinstalled system and applications from scratch), so there's no cloning/ghosting issue here either.

 

About the only suggestion above that I haven't tried is disabling the antivirus software (Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition 10.1). I realize that's probably out of date because we let our upgrade protection on that expire about a year ago (definitions still continue to be updated), as we planned on switching over to BitDefender but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Still, I don't plan on disabling the antivirus software on one of my workstations for a week just to see if Retrospect will work without failure then. About the only way I would try this is if there was some way that Retrospect could selectively deactivate and reactivate antivirus protection... if anyone knows how to do that, I can give it a try.

 

Still looking for any suggestions on this problem. With at least one of my machines doing this to me on average at least once a week, I"m getting really tired of this problem.

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as the pc administrator, start up a windows command shell (start menu, run, then cmd) and check to see if vss is okay by doing a

 

>vssadmin list writers

 

You should see several writers that are enabled for vss and no error messages.

 

for example:

 

>vssadmin list writers

vssadmin 1.0 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-

© Copyright 2001 Microsoft Corp.

 

Writer name: 'SqlServerWriter'

Writer Id: {a65faa63-5ea8-4ebc-9dbd-a0c4db26912a}

Writer Instance Id: {8735cb3a-4e63-4752-b0df-19e42b3de014}

State: [1] Stable

 

Writer name: 'MSDEWriter'

Writer Id: {f8544ac1-0611-4fa5-b04b-f7ee00b03277}

Writer Instance Id: {0ff61f09-fba4-4aac-82d8-5300c9b72324}

State: [1] Stable

 

Writer name: 'Microsoft Writer (Service State)'

Writer Id: {e38c2e3c-d4fb-4f4d-9550-fcafda8aae9a}

Writer Instance Id: {92cada6b-5d15-47f3-8db0-53ff12b04c26}

State: [1] Stable

 

Writer name: 'Microsoft Writer (Bootable State)'

Writer Id: {f2436e37-09f5-41af-9b2a-4ca2435dbfd5}

Writer Instance Id: {8f8e0f54-5261-4d8f-9a19-80a6563cb56a}

State: [1] Stable

 

Writer name: 'WMI Writer'

Writer Id: {a6ad56c2-b509-4e6c-bb19-49d8f43532f0}

Writer Instance Id: {48e82a02-a300-4303-a651-d64dce1f0c4d}

State: [1] Stable

 

 

Make sure you see "Stable" for each instance. If you have any errors, or they are not stable, check the MS knowledge base for the steps to correct the problem.

 

Checking the event log or running services is really iffy when verifying VSS. Using the vssadmin tool is more reliable.

 

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I had this problem recently. The client machine event log showed errors from the Distributed Transaction Service. I resolved these with msdtc -resetlog and Retrospect started working again.

 

Ron

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I am running Multiserver 7.6 and am experiencing periodic freezes of nightly backups due to one or another client getting stuck at "open file backup". Why can't the Retrospect server go on to the next client?

I have 80 Windows clients on one scripted backup run, and one client ends up holding the whole line. What gives?

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Retrospect sent a command to the VSS Service and it is waiting for the VSS Service to respond. We use standard Microsoft APIs, the API may be failing to timeout at a very specific point.

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I've been following this thread with great interest... while I continue having to boot prior to manually running Retrospect backup. Scheduled execution fails with the same "Preparing for open file backup" message.

 

I've been using Retrospect Backup for years without problems... This is a recent development and remains a serious problem for this home user! I'm hoping the thread doesn't end here.

 

Professional

Version 7.0.326

Retrospect Update, version 7.0.6.108

 

Best regards,

Bob

 

 

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I tried the "vssadmin list writers" on one of the machines giving me problems, and I get the following message:

 

"Waiting for responses. These may be delayed if a shadow copy is being prepared."

 

It just sits there. So how do I go about determining the source of the problem in this case? This machine had been backing up fine for months, until a couple of days ago.

 

Thanks!

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Does the computer have any network drives mapped? What is the source; individual disks or a client container?

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The client computer does have networked drives, but as far as I can tell, those aren't being included in backups.

 

The backup script includes the client computer itself as the source, rather than individual drives. In the client properties window for the client the client source is listed as "Client Desktop".

 

I only have this problem on 2 machines, and the only way past them is to turn off the Retrospect Client in the control panel. I have MSDE installed on these two machines, and don't have a SQL backup license for them, but it's the same way on two other machines, and they back up without any problems.

 

BTW, the "vssadmin list writer" is still stuck, and hasn't seemed to progress since I last posted earlier today.

 

I saw some patches from Microsoft, but those only address Windows Server 2003. These two machines are running XP SP2, just like most of the other clients.

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I just started having the same problems. Just like isaacw, restarting VSS fails, yet retrospect then starts to work again. The link above to the forum article about fixing VSS problems is broken. Running ">vssadmin list writers" reports everything stable.

 

I'm going to be looking into this further, and will report whatever I find out, but sounds like this symptom can be manifested from many and various issues on various machines.

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Well, after restarting the machine again, retrospect is working. I had started to run ntbackup, but then exited and restarted. I expect I'll run into the problem again though, probably when it's least convenient.

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I had to get a new computer (vista 32). Retrospect backup hangs with "preparing for open file backup..."

I went to services and can only find: "Volume Shadow Copy." I don't see the vssvc service in the list. Does it go by another name?

 

I also tried the "vssadmin list writers" and I also get the following message:

 

"Waiting for responses. These may be delayed if a shadow copy is being prepared."

 

Not sure where to go from here. Is there an article for checking vss service related issues?

 

Any help would be appreciated.

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7.6.1.101

 

I did get my first successful backup last night. Unfortunately, I had to erase it because I needed the drive for another use. Tonight I will try again to backup to my network drive (my first choice).

 

So maybe my problem is solved - I will see tonight.

 

Thanks for your interest.

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Would just like to validate that msdtc -resetlog can be a good fix for this. It worked here.

 

Trying to stop the VSS services doesn't work. As noted, the stop hangs under this condition. Retrospect will work after you try the stop, but without VSS you will get validation errors as files change between backup and verification.

 

Why VSS isn't self-healing of any log problems is a usual Microsoft Mystery , would suppose.

 

Thanks for this forum and the good info on it - saved me this time.

 

 

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