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Full backup takes twice as long as before

Hank Lefcort

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I am using Retrospect Professional 7.6.123 with My OS is Windows 7 64 bit. The program has been running perfectly for a couple of years. I use several external hard drives, rotating between them. They are WD Elements drives. Beginning about 2 months ago, when doing full backups on a reformatted hard drive, I noticed that the speed with which the copy and compare functions ran was 1/2 if what it used to be. This happens 75% of the time. And affects all the drives, since I rotate them for each backup. I have changed the USB cable with no success in stopping the problem. Each backup backs up up 3 internal drives: my C, D and E. I am using a Dell XPS 435T.


Let me emphasize that nothing has changed. I have been using open file backup but the only files that are open are on my C drive--none on the other 2 drives. Yet all 3 drives randomly have these problems. So far, on each occassion when I get the very slow backup, it affects only one drive--again not always the same one. In fact, it has done this with all 3 drives, but never more than one during the backup process.


Each drive contains at least 100gb. The impact this is having is significant. The drive affected when this occurs, can take up to 5-7 hours, twice what it normally would take. File backup speed goes from roughly 1,200 files per minute to half that. Compare runs slilghtly faster--but again at half normal speed.


Please advise how I can fix this very perplexing and upsetting problem.



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Sounds to me like you have windows 7 system restore enabled for the external drive's you are using for backup. Try turning this off. If system restore is active for the external drive it interferes with Retrospect because it tries to keep copies of every backup set file Retrospect changes.

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Thanks hofstede. Since I format the backup drives before creating full backups, System Restore is not set. In addition, the problem surfaced only a couple of months ago and I've changed nothing on the computer except installing Windows updates--which, of course,could be the culprit. But good luck trying the find the one update out of 50+ that could cause this odd problem. Also, keep in mind that it happens randomly when backup up eac of my 3 internal drives to the external one. And I rotate among 6 external drives which, again, I reformat before using. If you have any other ideas I welcome them.


Again, thanks for your suggestion.

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Probably not much help, but are you sure it's Retrospect slowing down the backups? I'm no advocate for Retrospect - I've had my share of problems with it that drive me crazy (especially random crashes just navigating through the software which in turn corrupt catalog files of the systems that we're being backed up at the time of crashing).


However, physical disks will wear down after several writes and rewrites over time. Are all of the hard drives the exact same specs, make and model - to include the 3 internal drives as well as the 6 external drives? Are some 5400rpm, others 7200RPM, are they all 3.0GB/S transfer drives or better? You may have some failing disks (external and/or internal), bad sectors, bad blocks, etc that make it difficult for Retrospect to scan for data.


System Bus is a key factor as to the speed of the drives ability to read/write. If the system is in use (perhaps Defrag, Windows 7 backup, AV system scans, etc), all that will have an impact on the drives. The theoretical maximum speed of USB 2.0 under optimal conditions is 480mbps, but i've never come anywhere close to that transfer speed on any system I've used. I have a few Seagate externals hooked up to e-sata and when I use Norton Ghost, they come up blazing for a few minutes (ETA to complete 80GB of backup is about 20 minutes with full compression), but then settle way down and it usually takes closer to 1.5 hours. Even if the hard drive is rated for a specific speed, and USB 2.0 is rated for a specific speed, factor in system bus bottlenecks, additional applications utilizing CPU resources, etc. and you'll find that transfer rates will vary depending on what's happening with the system at that particular time.


You also mentioned that you checked the USB cables, but what about your system board or USB card?


If you're drives are only about 100GB each, have you considered buying a 1, 2, or 3 TB drive for your external data? Prices have really come down and speeds and capacity are way up. I'm not sure what your particular situation is, but not sure what the purpose of backing up to drives, wiping them, and then backing them up again is really set to accomplish unless your rotation is to delete the oldest data whenever you run out of storage space and then you need a "new" disk to start writing to again.

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Thanks for the suggestions cawsc1. Very thorough and much appreciated. I use 6 different external drives, all Western Digital Elements, and which have worked perfectly. They are 6 months to 1 1/2 years old. I tested each one using the test software from Western Digital (took hours for each test!) and no errors were found. All are 7200 rpm and are 1tb or larger. I switched USB ports and used 2 different cards. The speed issue started only 6 weeks ago. The purpose of doing a full back up is to have on a single drive all the files in my 3 internal hard drives. The full back ups are done every several days. Meanwhile, I'm doing incremental backups on the other external drives. I back up every day or so so the drives fill up very quickly.


I went back and looked at any programs I may have installed just prior to the slow backup problem. The only one is Quicken 12 but it has no services or startups in msconfig. I'm baffeled.


Again, much thanks for taking the time to send me your suggestions.

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Not a problem - I know how frustrating it can be, but really not sure what would be the exact culprit int this situation - especially since it appears to be random. I only use proactive backup scripts (for easy automation), and to speed things up, I've made the following tweaks to the proactive backup scripts:


Proactive Script changes:

Under Execution / Client - enable "syncronize clock"... can't hurt to have it enabled

Under Windows / System - disable "backup system state"... i'm only using retrospect to backup data and not for bare-metal system recovery - no need for system state if you just backup data and this frees up lots of space and time

Under Windows / Security - disable all everything (leave nothing checked).... also not needed if you are just backing up data - if you have to recover, file permissions will be reset once you copy the data back to your particular system (only need Windows Security if you have a large File share with several users/groups and permissions, but even then, for what Retrospect really does, I don't find it very useful)


Backup Set changes:

Under the Options Tab - use the radio button "Don't compress catalog file information"... I've found that it takes longer to scan the previous sets when it's compressed, and compression has led to far more catalog corruption over time

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