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Posts posted by mbennett

  1. 3 hours ago, Mayoff said:

    Thank you for the thoughtful and well details article. I am sure other users will find it helpful.  

    side note: I see some access keys and secret keys in the article. I assume those are generic and do not expose anything private. 

    And for the record, we fully support most models of NAS devices and that will never change. We want users to have the most flexible backup storage solutions available.

    I'd like to point out that I asked for and received help from Retrospect Support dozens of times during this project, mostly in the early phases. While I didn't always get the answer I wished for I always got an answer, so I knew where the lines were drawn and what could and would work. It helped immensely to move the project along, and I thank them again.

    They may not have been exactly aware of the full scope of what I was attempting, but certainly new the arena I was working in.


  2. On 8/20/2021 at 8:42 AM, mikezZ1 said:

    Just to confirm, I'm assuming that Retrospect shows you all files including hidden system ones when you go to restore from a snapshot and click files chosen? The reason I ask is that I ran a full system scan in Norton 360 after it mentioned a large amount of outbound traffic from the Windows 7 computer and it claimed to scan approx 1.9 million files. Checking Retrospect restore C drive it said matched 424 k files out of 468 k. Showing properties for 'All in C:\ ' with folder options show hidden checked showed 464 k files. Is Norton 360 displaying incorrect info or do I really have over 4 times the files I think I have? Thanks.

    I think it's entirely possible that your Retrospect selectors are set to exclude trash or temporary files.  Norton may also be scanning networked drives or other sources that aren't part of the backup set.  I expect when you dig into it you'll find they're both correct on some level.

    Try cleaning up disk C:\ or other drives on your system that are being backed up, and empty the trash.  Check your selectors.  I've been fooled before about what's getting backed up, especially when I find an exclusion in a backup set that I'd forgotten about.

    This did raise an interesting idea in my mind. I can't find a file count for the entire drive, although as you show in your screen capture you can count files in each directory.  Where did you find the window you show?  Which version of Windows is that from?  Retrospect does count the files, but I'm not sure that interprets to anything meaningful, just what has been backed up and can be restored.

    When I've restored from a Snapshot it does restore everything and puts the entire system back to that point in time including all files.

    Report back what you find.

  3. David

    Why don't you stick to the subject of this thread, which it so happens is not a personal grudge you have against Retrospect that dates back to 2017?

    It's because you have absolutely no pertinent information or knowledge of this subject at all, as you admitted in your first response.

    Start your own forum thread and beat that dead horse once and for all, leave this topic to those who are interested in the subject.


    • Like 1
  4. I found one mistake or at least an omission in my original document, where I made a statement that Synology does not team network interfaces. Some of their models do offer link aggregation, and you can find more information on that here.


    If you try this and test it, it would be very interesting to read details on exactly how you configured it, especially it if results in overall backup speed improvement.


  5. 15 hours ago, DavidHertzberg said:

    Your OP asked for notes and critiques.  You're not going to get them as easily if the head of Retrospect Tech Support, acting on what he perceives to be Retrospect "Inc." policy, takes this thread down.


    I'm not soliciting hysteria over whether the post should have been made. Rather, I was more interested in a productive discussion about factual or procedural errors or improvements.

    AFAIK this post does not violate Forum rules, and this and and other similar posts should be encouraged because it expands the functionality of the product.

    You personally display a deep distrust and dislike of Retrospect and StorCentric, which is a recurring theme in nearly every one of your posts.  Why are you here? Just asking, but I read a lot of your posts and they're nearly all non-responsive. It's interesting in a weird way.


    • Like 1
  6. 10 hours ago, DavidHertzberg said:


    Magnificent job, which I'm not worthy  to judge. 😁   (I back up my little home installation to 1 of 3 alternative portable USB3 HDDs, transporting the latest-week's HDD to my bank safe deposit box once a week.   I don't have a NAS.  My 2020 Mac "backup server" is never booted except when It's in use for backup, and it can only be accessed via my LAN, so I don't worry much about ransomware.)   Your ransomware-proofing solution is IMHO much better than the new feature on pages 5–7 of the Retrospect Windows 18 User's Guide, because it isn't tied to the speed of communication to and from a cloud provider.  Moreover it IMHO goes a long way towards solving the data-theft problem described by Malcolm McLeary starting with this post in his July 2020 thread.

    However its discussion in this thread seems IMHO to raise a Forums problem, because Retrospect "Inc." is now a subsidiary of StorCentric—whose Drobo and Nexsan and Vexata NASes are competitors of Synology.  My personal experience is that the head of Retrospect Tech Support looks very unfavorably—to the extent of deleting posts—upon any Forums discussion that casts "aspersions" on either Retrospect "Inc."'s employees or the competitiveness of its products. That's why I never fully name any competitor's backup software unless it has also been named in a "Competitive Analysis" article in the "White Papers" section of the Retrospect Knowledge Base.  Will he now look unfavorably on any thread that discusses a NAS product that is a competitor of StorCentric products? 😕

    My suggestion is that you therefore convert your OP in this thread into a feature request Support Case.  Here's how to do that.  For the "description of your issue" you could copy the first full sentence of your OP, followed by the full URL link to your .PDF and the 2nd through 4th paragraphs of the "Introduction - Why?" section in it, and end with a request that the equivalent capability be added to StorCentric's LAN software.  You can then add another post in this Forums thread giving your assigned Support Case number, even though we other non-Retrospect-"Inc." nuisances will not be able to view it.  That way we can artfully frame any further posts in this thread as if they are intended to apply to the StorCentric feature request, even though they may regrettably 🤣  also apply to the Synology version of your project.

    And the StorCentric feature request wouldn't IMHO be asking for the Moon.  StorCentric's Data Mobility Suite, announced in October 2020, supports MinIO—which the 5th paragraph of the "Introduction - Why?" section in your .PDF says is what you chose to use to create an internal cloud device.


    Since Retrospect specifically documents support for competing NAS products in the knowledgebase, including Synology and QNAP, I think I'm pretty safe.  Those two companies own a huge share of the consumer NAS market, so I'm pretty sure that a lot of users and dealers are already using them.  If the forum admins take this down I'll just post it on my own website and let people search for it and find it.

    We're all on the same side in this war, offering alternative ways of securing data and backups. This is just one more tool, one more approach. If it's found and used successfully it only enhances Retrospect's capabilities, which is good for StorCentric.

    The NAS business seems to be extremely competitive. Drobo has a lot of good hardware diagnostics features. If Drobo wants to send me a free NAS to play with I promise I'll write up a similar treatment. (This is me holding my breath.)

    Nexsan is much more geared for enterprise or large business environments from my casual observation. I watched a terrific on-line demo a couple of months ago and immediately passed a link along to some people who I thought might be good prospects.  I don't know anything about Vexata.

    The way I look at it Retrospect should be a big tent supporting multiple hardware devices, which it does now.  Hope it stays that way.


  7. Good Morning,

    I have been engaged in a long project to design a way to harden a Synology NAS so it can be used with Retrospect to make it ransomware-proof.

    I decided early on that I should make notes. Good thing. This is the result of months of work, and I hope it's useful to many users and dealers.

    Please leave notes and critiques, which I'll try to address as we go along.

    Good Luck, Mark

    Hardened Synology NAS.pdf

    • Thanks 1
  8. This is how I've been able to use the Disaster Recovery CD.  I found my notes, so this should be pretty good, but I'm made a few edits.

    1. Boot up with Retrospect emergency CD.  Make sure you use the correct 32 / 64 bit version for the crashed system.
    2. Initialize the drive every single time.  If you completely start over for some reason just init the drive again, but make sure your situation is unrecoverable.  Read the last paragraph.
    2a. The biggest problem I've had at this point is obtaining the correct Network card driver. You can find that somewhere on the internet and put it on another CD or USB drive and load it as part of the initialization procedure.
    3. Select to restore as client.  The IP address will be displayed (requires DHCP to be running on the network.)
    4. Go to the Retrospect server.  Select to restore from the left menu bar, and create a new client during that process.  It will find the client running, named "minit-xxxxxxx" and do not rename.  Don't worry about the drive letters.  (I have also gone to Configure | Clients and setup a new client there.)
    5. Select the PC snapshot you want to restore, with the temporary client name as the target.  Select the second bullet to restore the system state, registry and all files.
    6. Once the restore is complete, reboot the client computer.  If it doesn't boot it may be because the bit version was incorrect at step one, so try using a Windows emergency disk for the correct 32 / 64 bit system and repair the system.
    Generally speaking this works fine.  The last time I used it the restore hung at about 98% complete and never finished.  After almost an hour I eventually rebooted the client, cursing under my breath, and restarted the whole procedure.  After I launched the restore job (new client name) Retrospect chewed for a few minutes and decided almost all of the files had been restored already, restored the very few remaining and the job was completed in less than ten minutes.  I was extremely grateful.
    I hope some of this is useful for you.  Good luck.
  9. I think having duplicate names may be the issue, and it's ambivalent from the Retrospect POV.  I'd rename the backup drive on the Retrospect server to "Backup2" in Windows.  Then you'll need to rebuild the catalog for all of the backup sets.  I think I'd do one as a test, since the rebuild will take a long time.

    This is just an opinion.  The closest I've come to this is making a backup on a Windows 7 system where Drive C had one name, then installing Windows 10 on the same system overwriting everything.  W10 uses a different drive naming convention, so I had to adjust a lot of scripts.

  10. If you got the simple restore to work and saved the job, you should be able to toggle back over to the advanced restore and look for differences.  I don't do a whole lot of restoring.  The most fun I've had with this type of thing was to define my Downloads directory and exclude it from being backed up.  I took several runs at that before I could get it to work.


  11. I haven't tested this, but using the "Condition" dialog can be very tricky.  I think instead of "Starts with" I would instead use "Match".  Keep experimenting in that dialog because that's where the problem lies.

    In fact, I would delete the other conditions and do this as a building block.  Start with one line and make sure it gets the results you expect, then add one more condition, test the results, then another until you see the only results you want.

    Also, when the restore starts pay close attention to any prompts, because there may be a question in there with a "Do you want to overwrite" with a reverse logic default answer.

    Newer versions haven't changed this that I know of.

  12. I think I'd call support on crossing platforms.  But here are two things to try if you want.

    1.  Even going from one Windows system to another, the only sure fire way is to use the Transfer Backup Sets tool.  I'm successfully moved the manager server setup, configuration and catalogs.  But when you move the backup set to a new repository it won't work.  Transfer takes care of that, but I'm not sure you can do that unless you can map a drive on Windows to the Mac's SMB share.

    2. You should be able to create a new catalog from a backup set, simply by using the Repair a Catalog tool.  If it repairs the catalog or creates a new one, you should then be in business.

    Running either function should be expected to take hours or days.

    Good luck.

  13. 9 hours ago, rbratton said:

    How do I tell Retrospect that if a scheduled backup is missed because resources aren't available, just wait until the next scheduled backup time to try again?  I don't want to block off specific times when backups are allowed as I might need to run a manual backup any time of the day.

    I suggest you simply remove the systems from the backup schedule on the weekend, therefore when you boot the systems on Monday morning there won't be a slowdown.  You obviously already know how to launch a backup job manually, so just do that.

    • Like 1
  14. I can't explain why the Dashboard hangs when loading, but it has done that to me on occasion.  If the Retrospect service is running, when you try to launch the program itself the Dashboard will launch instead.  If no jobs are currently executing, you can click the power button in the top right corner and launch the program.  If you do that, close the dashboard as soon as the program starts.

    If you try to start the program with a job executing it will kill the job or jobs.  The same thing happens if you use services.msc and stop the Retrospect services, the jobs die immediately.  This is sometimes not a bad thing, but you should know it's coming.

    A lot of people aren't happy with the Dashboard, but it does give you a way to monitor when jobs are executing, completed, failed, etc. without stopping the program from functioning.  You can also simply launch the program once and minimize it.  The big issue they're working around is how Windows services work.

  15. I experience this too, on a regular basis.  Yes, it used to work and stopped being reliable a couple of years ago.  Tried using a static IP address but that's inconvenient for a laptop that frequently travels to other locations and networks.  Nothing else works.  When it breaks I use ipconfig on the laptop and reset it to that address on the client setup in Retrospect.  It's annoying, but nothing else seems to work.

  16. On the recovery disk and Windows one size does fit all, with the exception of bit size.  You need a recovery disk for 64-bit and one for 32-bit if you have such systems.

    The much, much larger issue you have here is that your laptop won't boot the disk, which should take only a few minutes.  Ten minutes is too long.  Your laptop is likely dead, unless you can prove otherwise by booting from a recovery partition or a Windows installation image.

    If this is Windows 10 you can download a bootable image from Microsoft, burn it to a thumb drive and boot off that.  You may need to dink around with the BIOS to get it to boot, but usually that's unnecessary.  If it boots and installs Windows then you should first run MEMTEST which is also a free download from Microsoft, and every diagnostics program available from the laptop maker and figure out why it went south.

    Once you're absolutely positive that your hardware situation is stable, then you should be able to also boot from the recovery CD and restore a backup.  You don't need to worry about the dissimilar hardware stuff since this is going back on the original source system.

  17. Pete,

    Yes you can do this.  Setup your restore job under Manage Scripts. On the Destination Selection window, there's a list box at the top of the window "Retrieve Files & Folders".  Click the down arrow and choose the option you want.  If you can, you should restore all files to a new location.

    My advice, if this is at all possible, is to replace the drive and then restore.  What you're doing is super risky as I'm sure you're aware.  Make a Disaster Recovery disk to do this, and run it on the problem system.

    My further advice is to go to http://grc.com and purchase Spinrite and run it on your system first. If your drive isn't healthy and is repairable, Spinrite will do it.  Your system must be able to run 'chkdsk /f' first before you use Spinrite.  (I can't type the Cee-colon in that command, the stupid forum software keeps inserting a smiley face for some reason.)  You should also have SMART turned on so you're warned if the drive is close to failure.

    Good luck, Mark

  18. To save time, the most efficient thing to do is simply open the Dashboard first every time.  As long as a job isn't in progress you can then click the power icon in the top right corner of the Dashboard window to launch the Retrospect program itself. Unless you're making quite frequent changes to the configuration there shouldn't be a reason to have the program open. Since Retrospect runs a couple of services it usually will not start when you try to launch it directly.  If you stop both services first you'll be able to launch the program directly.

    Try putting the Dashboard in the startup folder instead.  I haven't tried that, but it should work.

    I fully understand that this is a PITA but this is simply the easiest path to solve your problem.


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