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Hi, I have been using Retrospect for about 8 years now and have a variety of disk backups. The problem is they are huge, and, it turns out, unnecessarily so, because of how Retrospect works. Here is what is happening, and suggestions for how it could easily be improved and also give users a reason to pay for an upgrade. I (and probably most users backing up to disk) will back up from one or two volumes (C and D drives e.g.), to a disk set on an external drive. I know that historically backup was more to tape, but these days it isn't, and Retrospect has not really been adapted to this world, even though it is bundled with endless disk drive solutions. Snapshots are currently 400 MB on my Windows machine. That is huge. But without a snapshot, Retrospect is essentially useless right now. I have analysed what is happening and: - There are 450,000 files on the computer. 250,000 of these are part of Windows and Program Files, so I can not get rid of them. - When I turn off all the snapshot 'additions', such as system state, folder security info, the backup drops to 125 MB - still huge (and sadly I only just discovered this and turned it off, so I have been unnecessarily chewing up even more storage space) - My daily backup is about 60 MB of changed stuff, so the snapshots are still about 2/3 of my backup storage requirement. However, a snapshot contains ALL the files on the computer, even though I am only backing up a small number of folders, representing about a third of the files on the computer, and I have no use for the bulk of the snapshot. That indicates that the snapshots only need to be about 40MB in size, for the backups I am doing. That would more than HALVE the size of the backups, and also make them considerably quicker. The reason the snapshots are there is so you can restore the whole system - but this is not something that I want to be able to do, to any day in the last umpteen. However I DO want to access my own files to greater granularity (I currently have the last 8 years of them, daily, and pruning out the snapshots is something I do not want to do. There is a very simple solution - instead of storing a snapshot of ALL the files, simply store a snapshot of what TOP LEVEL FOLDERS are backed up in each session, and all the tree under those folders. That would reduce the size of snapshots drastically (assuming users also turned off the System state and other unneeded options). Clearly this is already technically possible, because it is essentially what happens when you create subvolumes. But the subvolume approach is NOT what I want to do, because I want to back up EVERYTHING except the things I do not want to. That way it is safe, for example if I make a new top level directory, as that would be included. Also the subvolume thing, e.g. with 10 top level directories, is very unmanageable with tons of 'snapshots', and you would have to make subvolumes of things like Users and so on, and who knows where Windows will put things in the future. The only practical way to operate is to backup everything except things you definitely do not want. There is a secondary thing, which is that the snapshots (with just the file listings, not the system state etc.) will compress 5x - so my 125MB .rdb file with the snapshot in will compress down to 18MB. That is 6x compression. End result is that my snapshots could be 18MB and my data 60MB, compared to the current minimum of 125MB and 60MB. So overall less than half the storage space would be required. I suspect that for most users the gains would be larger, as most of them will not be backing up over 200,000 files... The huge snapshots created by the default settings are disastrous these days. Even with the system state off, they are still hugely bigger than they need to be. The solutions are simple and would improve the product drastically. Please consider them. To add - this sort of improvement would be a major reason to upgrade. I finally upgraded from v7 to v11 and found no advantages at all - very sad - I hoped things would be smaller and quicker. Also, to give an additional reason to upgrade, you could provide a 'Shrink Snapshots' option. This would: - have options to remove system state and file / folder security information from existing snapshots - Have options just to compress existing snapshots (my 400mb snapshots zip down to 70mb, even with system state etc. in there - note that I am using software compression in Retrospect) - Convert the current file listings in the snapshots into much smaller ones per my suggestion earlier That would give someone an easy way to recover huge amounts of disk space - more than half, in my case, and judging by comments on various forums, lots of other people would also benefit from these improvements. Final thing, as an aside - having a way to select multiple snapshots, either to 'forget' or to 'retrieve' is such a simple thing to do, but we have to deal with them one by one - exceedingly tedious. I tried using NTFS file compression, but that would only work for my USB attached drive, not for my NAS. Also the performance takes a hit, especially as it would be trying to compress other files that would be largely incompressible - it needs to be built into Retrospect to do it optimally. Regards, Jeremy Kenyon
Hi there. I have a large disk backup set (~8TB of data, ~300,000 files) of video editing work from 2014. The backup set media is 6 hard drives. (Also have an "off site" set of the same data). Since hard drives die, I would like to transfer this set to an LTO-6 tape backup set. I select my source, the 2014 Disk Backup set, choose the destination, a new LTO Tape Set. I'm Selecting "All Files". In the Options…Since I've already selected transfer "All Files", do I need "Copy Snapshots" selected? We're only concerned with being able to search and restore specific files; I don't need to restore an entire disk as it was at a certain point in time. Is there any reason to uncheck this (would it go faster? will I be missing data once the transfer is done?)? Also wondering about the option "Transfer any needed intermediate database Snapshots". If I don't need Snapshots, can I leave this unchecked? When would someone check this box? Does database mean the Retrospect database (the .rbc file?), or does it mean an actual database, like mySQL, etc (probably a dumb question, but oh well)? Further to that…is there any point in using Snapshots for this type of data backup? Maybe for our 2015 set I don't need to create Snapshots? Or is it always a good idea? I do use Snapshots for my backups of our system boot drives in our computers, because in that case, I may someday need to restore a disk to a certain date. But for media files, maybe it's not necessary? If it helps, an example of our restore process would be: our video editor needs to restore a video project from 2014. He has the Final Cut Pro/Adobe Premiere project file, opens it up, and the program will show a list of what files are offline/missing, ie. exactly what we need to restore. Thanks in advance for any help.
Retrospect 7.7.620 Windows XP My IT Manager has been running nightly backups on several volumes for months. Apparently he has NOT been saving snapshots. Yesterday an entire volume got deleted by mistake and I just want to restore it back to the state it was in when it was last backed-up. How do I do this without a snapshot? Can I create a snapshot from the catalog file somehow? Or is there another way to restore the volume to it's last known state?