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DVD-RAM Restore failure(s)


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About two weeks ago, the (Apple branded original) internal hard disk of my PowerMac G4 DP 500 MHz gave up the ghost. I managed to hobble along with a borrowed computer for a few days, and left town for a long trip anxious about the effort that would be needed to restore my system to its prior good behavior, but confident that my frequent Retrospect 5 backups (5.205, running under Mac OS X 10.1.3) would make that job only moderately painful. After I returned and a new hard drive was installed in my computer, I took up my DVD-RAM backup disks and started the process of restoring the hard drive. (Retrospect lists the DVD-RAM drive as a Matshita DVD-RAM LF-D211A, v. A 109 -- this is the stock DVD-RAM drive that came in the computer when new.)

 

 

 

o As per instructions in the Retrospect 5 manual, I initialized the new hard drive and installed a fresh base OS X10.1 configuration, and then upgraded that with Apple's updaters to 10.1.3, the OS version I was running at the time of the last backup.

 

 

 

o I installed Retrospect 5, updated to 5.205, and rebuilt the catalog for the last backup (I didn't have a copy saved to another location, alas.)

 

 

 

o I began a full restore, but made what quickly seemed to be a mistake in the backup sequence (but which may have forecast more serious trouble to come): I waited to insert the first backup disk until *after* clicking on the "Restore" button in the Restore Summary dialog. Retrospect could not locate the DVD-RAM disk, though it could identify the drive -- perhaps, I assumed, because the windup to restoring the entire hard disk had deleted files needed to mount the disk. (That's what I assume is happening when Retrospect reports that it is deleting folders and files before the Restore begins.) True, the manual says to insert the first disk *before* clicking on "Restore", but it doesn't suggest that doing things the other way will mean that Retrospect will not be able to read the backup media, and that, having deleted a kajillion unidentified system files, has rendered your boot disk unusable. Perhaps -- if the sequence is in fact crucial -- this possibility needs to be spelled out more plainly in the manual?

 

 

 

o Having thus determined a credible explanation for the failure of the restore, and blaming myself for not sticking to the precise sequence spelled out in the manual, I reinstalled and upgraded the system software, and reinstalled Retrospect, as before. (Luckily, I had kept a copy of the rebuilt backup catalog). This time, before, clicking on "Restore", I inserted the first disk in the (two-disk, four sides total) series of DVD-RAM disks in the backup set. The restore began smoothly enough.

 

 

 

o When all files from side 1 of disk 1 had been restored, Retrospect spit out the disk, and asked for the next in the set -- that is, side 2 of disk 1. I flipped the disk, and reinserted it. Retrospect did *not* recognize the disk right away. After a short wait, the OS kicked in with an error message reporting that an unreadable disk had been inserted, asking me if I wanted to continue, eject, or erase the disk. I clicked on "Continue," thinking that Retrospect would perhaps figure things out. But, Retrospect did not. I could eject the disk from the keyboard and reinsert it. It did not appear on the desktop (on inserting, I got that "unreadable disk" message" -- I presume because, in the process of preparing the restore, Retrospect had deleted files needed to mount the drive in the Finder. (The disk is readable on other DVD-RAM drives.)

 

 

 

Is it possible that performing a full hard disk restore from DVD-RAM media may, in effect, prevent Retrospect from recognizing the second disk in the backup set, because Retrospect has already deleted files needed to mount the media to the desktop? If this is the case, then how is it possible to do a complete restore from DVD-RAM? My hope is that I've simply misinterpreted the symptoms of the failure, and that some other problem is to blame. I certainly would like some advice on how to proceed, as I am now unable to restore my files. If I'm right, however, isn't this a howler of a limitation of the software, rendering it potentially worthless for DVD-RAM backups?

 

 

 

TH

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Hello,

 

 

 

From your post it does not sound like you did anything wrong in either your backup or your restore steps. We need to dig a bit deeper and find out what happened here.

 

 

 

What state is your computer in currently? Are you able to try a few different approaches to the restore? Are you able to reproduce this?

 

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

 

Irena Solomon

 

Dantz Tech Support

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Been there. Done that. I am convinced the Retrospect is deleting something needed to mount the media (same thing happened to me with a MO drive). Once you have a bootable disk, convert your media backups to a file set and then restore. That works! That was the only way that I could restore my Cube when the drive died! mad.gif

 

 

 

Hope this is feasible and works!

 

 

 

John

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>What state is your computer in currently? Are you able to try a few

 

>different approaches to the restore? Are you able to reproduce this?

 

 

 

The computer is up and running with an OS X 10.1.3 base install, to which I can add a Retrospect install so as to execute the restore. I'm loathe to try now to "reproduce" the problem, as I'm pretty sure that, having gone through the restore process now twice (albeit, with a slightly different order of actions -- I mean, in one case, inserting the first disk after clicking on "Restore" and in the second, before clicking on "Restore"), the underlying issue is clear: Retrospect appears to be deleting files required to mount the backup media, thus preventing the backup from proceeding past the point of the first disk mounted to the desktop. (See the next reply to this thread for a similar story.)

 

 

 

But I'll try whatever you suggest: I'm in a crisis mode now: I need this computer restored to its former state *ASAP*, or I shall miss two very important, unmissable, deadlines. Please advise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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>Been there. Done that. I am convinced the Retrospect is

 

>deleting something needed to mount the media (same thing

 

>happened to me with a MO drive). Once you have a bootable

 

>disk, convert your media backups to a file set and then

 

>restore. That works! That was the only way that I could

 

>restore my Cube when the drive died!

 

 

 

Ah -- that would corroborate my suspicion that Retrospect is deleting vital files before starting the Restore. If that's the case, I'm alarmed that this can happen: it would seem to be a quite serious error, something easily caught in testing, and fatal to the Retrospect's reliability for many Macs. Unless there's some bizarro condition that only your MO-equipped Cube and my DVD-RAM equipped G4 have in common. (Like, say, the need to do a full restore from removable media... :-/ )

 

 

 

Transferring the media backups to a file set sounds as though it might fix the problem, but:

 

 

 

o How reliable is the transfer of backup sets for a full restore? OS X is pretty finicky about missing files; if even one odd little system file is not copied over, the full restore might result in a faulty system setup. I take it that you were able to do this without incident?

 

 

 

o Can one do a full restore from a file set, stored on the volume to which you are restoring? I don't want to partition this drive, and I don't have second drive large enough to hold a file set for the restore.

 

 

 

TH

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o How reliable is the transfer of backup sets for a full restore? OS X is pretty finicky about missing files; if even one odd little system file is not copied over, the full restore might result in a faulty system setup. I take it that you were able to do this without incident?

 

 

 

Yep. No problems. It should work fine.

 

 

 

o Can one do a full restore from a file set, stored on the volume to which you are restoring? I don't want to partition this drive, and I don't have second drive large enough to hold a file set for the restore.

 

 

 

Yes. You can do the restore from the restoring drive. No partitioning necessary! My only problem was the time it took to effectively do two restores. frown.gif

 

 

 

Hope this helps!

 

John

 

 

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Thanks for the suggestion -- unless Dantz can offer a less time-consuming one, I'll give it a try. (But I would still like an explanation from them of the problem I've had. All evidence points to a quite nasty Retrospect-deletes-files-it-needs bug.)

 

 

 

TH

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>Dantz is now aware of this problem and we are working toward

 

>a resolution.

 

 

 

Er, then I'm a bit stuck for the moment, yes? With a computer, diligently and correctly backed up, which I must restore to its original state... but cannot...

 

 

 

I don't wish to appear unduly testy or impatient here, but: I hope that "working toward a resolution" can be correctly interpreted to mean "a fix will likely be forthcoming, soon."

 

 

 

I will give John's suggestion a try -- converting the media backups to a file set -- and report on the results.

 

 

 

An unhappy, anxious,

 

 

 

TH

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I reported several DVD-RAM problems to Dantz during the beta, starting as early as January 25th. None of the problems were fixed prior to release.

 

 

 

I've also experienced your exact same problem where the restore trashes the files and then the DVD-RAM media is not recognized. Or, the first side is used but the second side won't mount forcing the restore to be terminated and the server rebooted to clear the problem. The X client is trashed.

 

 

 

To this day, I still have problems mounting DVD-RAM disks on the desktop in the 9.2.2 server's Finder after Retrospect has accessed the disk. What is not consistent is when it decides to stop mounting disks. Sometimes I can get through several sides and then the next one won't mount. Very frustrating.

 

 

 

I never had any trouble at all with 4.3 and DVD-RAM.

 

 

 

My solution for the live restore problem, and to avoid the ultra time consuming install and upgrade of X, was to dig up an old 3 GB external drive, install X there, boot from it, wipe the X client's internal disk, do a complete restore there after I rebooted the server to ensure that the DVD-RAM disks would mount (for a while), and then boot X from the internal drive.

 

 

 

It took me only 2 failed live restore attempts to realize this is not workable, at least until Dantz gets DVD-RAM stability back to being as reliable as 4.3. ANY problem during your restore leaves you with a crippled, unbootable X client and you have to start all over again by wiping the disk.

 

 

 

Since I doubt Apple will make the effort to bring all system files into one folder, like OS 9, if it's even possible in Unix, so that we can do the OS 9 rename the system folder trick before a complete restore, then I think Apple needs to create a minimal system that can be booted from a CD, with the Retrospect server, so that we don't need to do live restores. Hopefully, there would be enough room on the CD/CD-RW so that we could put the catalog on there too.

 

 

 

...Tom

 

 

 

Configuration:

 

PowerMac G4/450, 192 MB real, 256 MB virtual

 

Mac OS 9.2.2

 

Retrospect workgroup 5.0.205 w/ 20 MB

 

LaCie DVD-RAM drive w/ Matshita LF-D200 version A120 mechanism

 

Driver: SAI DVD-RAM Tuneup 2.2.3n although Retrospect reports .AppleCD

 

Orange Micro Grappler U.130 SCSI card

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>I reported several DVD-RAM problems to Dantz during the

 

>beta, starting as early as January 25th. None of the

 

>problems were fixed prior to release.

 

>

 

>I've also experienced your exact same problem where the

 

>restore trashes the files and then the DVD-RAM media is not

 

>recognized. Or, the first side is used but the second side

 

>won't mount forcing the restore to be terminated and the

 

>server rebooted to clear the problem. The X client is

 

>trashed....

 

 

 

Hi Tom,

 

 

 

Like you, I never had any trouble with Retrospect 4.3 and DVD-RAM media. Retrospect 5's handling of DVD-RAM disks has always been a little twitchy for me, complicated in some cases by OS X's mishandling of SCSI drives. On my home computer, a G3 minitower, I run an external SCSI DVD-RAM to facilitate transfers of files from home to office. The only way I could get Retrospect 5 to reliably handle DVD-RAM on this machine was to fiddle repeatedly with the SCSI chain, and eventually to remove my scanner from the chain altogether. (I've no scanner now, but I do have backup.) This scare re. DVD-RAM backup on my office machine (a stock G4 with built-in DVD-RAM) now has me quite worried that my backups of the home machine will not be restorable.)

 

 

 

John's suggestion, that I convert the media backups to a file backup, and then try to restore from that, seems to have worked for me. My system appears more or less to be back where it was a month ago. I'm concerned, naturally, that, should I need to do a full restore some time in the future, I'll have to go through this workaround once more. If this happens on my G3 system, that the added gotcha of the external drive may make a (fatal) difference here.

 

 

 

All in all, I'm now not confident of Retrospect's ability to do what it is I need it to do. I've been a Retrospect user software since version 1.0, and have recommended it to dozens of friends and colleagues, and was responsible at my previous academic post for the adoption of Retrospect as the network backup solution for an entire school with the university where I worked. But I will now add a stern caveat to potential users about R5's apparent MO and DVD-RAM misbehaviors. If this problem is not corrected soon, I'm going to have to look for another backup app. :-(

 

 

 

TH

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  • 1 year later...

Here we are, almost a year later...I too have DVD-RAM mechanism Matshita LF-D211A, driver A115. I just upgraded RetroExpress to v5.0.238 and *still* no ability to format the 9.4Gig DVD-RAM disks reliably, either by OS X or recognized within Express. I've gone 8mos without a backup waiting for what Dantz has said was an issue on their part after OS X v10.2.2 and I'm getting nervous. I either eat my $100 worth of DVD-RAMs and buy more 5.2Gig disks, or keep waiting for Dantz and risk a loss of data.

 

Whats the status of solving this now year-old issue?

 

thanks.

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