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Interacting with Sources Slow

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All interactions with sources, local and remote, are very slow.  


For example, when the "Add Favorite" button is clicked, the sheet pops out, then displays a pinwheel and "Accessing Source" for between 10 minutes and an hour, before finally listing the source contents and allowing favorites to be added.  Once the windows is accessible, adding a particular folder as a favorite is also slow, but not unreasonable (10 seconds at most).  


Similar delays are present when refreshing a particular source, or when trying to locate or add new sources.  


The network is not particularly slow, nor are any of the remote or local sources.  When a backup is initiated, Retrospect connects to the sources within 30 seconds, and the backups occur with reasonable speed (the wiring limits communications to 100 Mb/s, so network backups usually max out at ~400 MB/min, according to Retrospect).  


The Retrospect version is 11.5.3.  Both the console and the server are run on the same computer.  


The computer is a Mac Mini (Macmini6,1) with a 2.5 GHz Core i5, 16 GB of RAM, running OS X 10.10.2.  

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This has been consistent for several weeks, through three or four restarts of the computer, and numerous restarts of the Retrospect server process.  The problem has persisted through a complete shutdown and restart of the entire network (all power removed and restored).  

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Try a safe boot, then boot normally before trying again.




You can use the Activity Monitor to troubleshoot. Of special interest would be to "sample" Retrospect when you see the spinning beachball cursor.


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Perhaps I should define my terminology.  "The beachball", at least for me, refers to what the cursor turns into when an application stops responding to events.  "The pinwheel", for me, is a loading icon that appears throughout OS X when "normal" loading is taking place, such as when the system is starting up or shutting down.  It looks like this:




Retrospect does not display the beachball cursor.  It also doesn't become unresponsive while waiting to list sources or source contents; it's completely responsive and it's possible to back out of the operation instantly by clicking cancel or "x".  


What it does is display this gray rotating "waiting" thing, which I usually call "the pinwheel" to distinguish it from "the beachball".  These are screen captures of the places where the delays occur.  Both are under the Sources pane in the console application.  


After clicking "Add":



(The Locate command has the same response as above)



After clicking "Browse" or "Add Favorite" for a particular source:




I tried a safe boot/normal boot sequence, but nothing has changed.  


I assume the reason to check Activity Monitor is because it would show if the Retrospect or RetroEngine processes were not responding to system events.  Even when in the middle of this delay, the two processes are responsive, although the CPU usage for the Retrospect console application shoots up to 90% (which doesn't bog down the system, as it has 4 cores).  


Here is the output of the Sample Process command on the Retrospect console from Activity Monitor:  Sample of Retrospect.txt


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It appears that the problem was caused by there being too many Past Activity logs stored.  Clearing out the backlog also reduced the size of the Config80.dat file from 8.5 GB to 56 MB.  
If attempting to delete a large number of log entries at the same time, Retrospect does seem to hang for a long time, but it will recover.  In order to quickly reduce the number of stored entries to a manageable level, changing the value in Preferences->General->Allow x Past Activities seems to do this automatically and much more quickly.  NOTE: The program won't actually execute the deletion of logs until the Preferences window is closed, using the close box or cmd-W.

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Even though my preferences say the past backups are sets to 500, my past backups indicator shows 2000 and growing.  Is that an expected behavior because retrospect is also periodically becoming unresponsive for around 30 seconds after every successful backup.  this happens both on the retro server or on a remote retro server.

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Even though my preferences say the past backups are set to 500, my past backups indicator shows 2000 and growing.

The setting in Preferences is for how many past activities (not past backups) are shown; there is no setting for past backups.


The Past Backups list corresponds to the list of your available restore snapshots; that is, it will list the most recent backup of each source to each of your media sets, plus any additional backup snapshots you might have retrieved from your backup media. If you have a large number of sources and a large number of media sets, you will normally have a large number of past backups as well.


If you have any media sets that are not in active use, you can remove them from the media set list, which will cause their snapshots to disappear from the past backups list. (They will, of course, also disappear from any scripts where they are listed as a destination.) This option would be my first choice, because if you ever need to restore from one of those old media sets, you can use the Locate button to find the media set and all of the snapshots will reappear.


You can also remove any number of past backups in the Past Backups window that belong to an active media set (that is, one that is listed in the Media Sets window). Just remember, though, that those snapshots will no longer be available to use in a Restore until you retrieve them from the backup media.

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  • 4 weeks later...

In the menu bar:


Retrospect -> Preferences


In the Preferences window, click "General" at the top.  


In the second section of the General Preferences, look for "Allow: " x "Past Activities"


Change the number in the drop-down menu to something reasonable, then close the preferences window.  This is critical; the deletion doesn't occur until you actually close the window.  

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