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Retrospect is able to make use of space available on external USB, FireWire, SCSI, or IDE hard drives for backup. Once the drive can be accessed within Windows Explorer it can be used as a backup destination. The external hard drive will NOT show up in Configure > Devices.




To use a hard drive for backup, you have two options: either back up to a file backup set stored on the hard drive or do a duplicate of your source hard drive to your backup hard drive.




File Backup Sets




A file backup set is a single file which contains all the files you have backed up, and that can be stored on any random access device. Like tape or removable disk backup sets, you do incremental backups to it and it supports software data compression. The drawback to a file backup set stored on a hard drive is that hard drives are not removable media and cannot easily be stored off-site for safe-keeping. USB or IEEE 1394 (Firewire) drives that are hot-swappable offer greater flexibility in this. Incorporating more than one backup drive allows for true media rotation, increasing the security of your backup strategy.




File backup sets are limited to the maximum file size allowed by the file system used to format the disk:




o FAT: 2 GB


o FAT32: 4 GB


o NTFS: 1 TB




To do a backup to a file backup set, choose "Create New" from within Configure>Backup Sets. From within the backup set creation window, set the "Storage Type" to "File". Name the backup set, click New, and save it on your destination hard drive. When doing your immediate or scheduled backup, select the newly created backup set as your destination.








Retrospect offers another option for copying data to a hard disk; the duplicate feature.




The first duplicate operation will copy all files from the source volume, keeping them in Windows format. Subsequent duplicate operations will be incremental, copying and replacing files that have been modified or are new. Identical files are not copied again.




The Duplicate function can be accessed from the Immediate tab or a Duplicate script can be set up for automated operation.




What is the difference between Backup and Duplicate?




o Backup copies files in a proprietary format only accessible using Retrospect. Duplicate copies files in standard file format so they can be opened or used right on the backup disk without having to go through Retrospect.




o Backups offer optional compression, not available with Duplicates.




o Backups offer optional encryption, not available with Duplicates.




o Backups can save old data incrementally so files deleted from the source are still available in the backup. Duplicate basically keeps a mirror image of the source so each duplicate operation overwrites previous data and only retains the current files.




o Backups can span multiple pieces of media. Duplicates are always a one-to-one operation; one volume is duplicated to one volume. If you have multiple volumes to duplicate you will have to create an empty folder on the destination for each disk you wish to copy. You can then define those empty folders as "Subvolumes" from within Retrospect. This will allow you to copy Source volume #1 to Subvolume #1 and Source volume #2 into Subvolume #2. The Retrospect User's Guide contains detailed instructions on how to configure a folder as a Subvolume.




Retrospect Express for Windows does not copy the registry during the "Duplicate" operations, only during Backup.




There is also an excellent tutorial outlining the process for using a file backup set on our website at:





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Well, if that is the case, then when disaster occurs, say you have to restore your c: drive which contains your Windows operating system and the backup set is in your external firewire drive, how can you restore from that.




Please advise and thank youl.

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That's the problem using a FW drive for backup. But if you have another backup device such as a CD burner you could create a CD set to restore a basic functional operating system (with FW support, which you'll never have to update), then you have access to your FW drive to restore the up to date image.







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  • 3 weeks later...

Actually, Retrospect can do this for you. Simply open up Retrospect (Express), go to the "Window" menu (odd place to look, I know), and choose "Prepare for Disaster Recovery...".


You will be prompted to choose a Backup Set on which to base the Diaster Recovery, but this not a problem as you can select any available backup set when you actually do need to recover.


Anyway, just follow the prompts, then an ISO image of a CD will be created for you. Open up your CD Burner software (Roxio, Nero, etc), and burn this ISO image to a CD. Note, don't just make a CD that has the .iso on it, you must tell Nero or Roxio to actually make a CD using the .iso image file. On Nero, the option is "File...." -> "Burn Image....". In Roxio Easy CD it is "File..." -> "Record CD from CD-Image...".


Restrospect will also generate a short text document with the disaster recovery instructions on it. Print this out and put it with the CD you have just created.


Please note, you may be asked for your Windows 2000/XP CD during this process - this is quite normal as it need to copy some stuff from the CD. If you have your CD on your hard drive (the i386 directory), this may not be required.









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I stand corrected. I think I left my brain out that day....




What you say is certainly true if the Retrsopect DR can load up all the drivers required for access to the Firewire drive.




Testing it before the evil day would be a Good Thing.










ps. I've seriously gone off Firewire drives since the time I was using them on my laptop. How the *hell* do you run diagnostics on them without another machine around?

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Hi gee, I have found an excellant way around that problem, same with a usb external hard drive, no good without the drivers, which windows safe mode also does not load. I installed a KWI HDD Mobile Rack from TCComputers in my computer. I can now use my 80 gb second hard drive as a backup system, and just power down (not hot swappable), pull the drawer out, and store it offsite, and I plan on buying another drawer and a third hard drive so I can alternate between a backup and extra storage on one, while the other is out of the computer. The rack only cost $39, and hard drives are cheap. The other advantage I like is the rack connects directly to the ide bus, no drivers required and access is same as an internal hard drive.

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