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Restore Problem: Folders empty except .DS_Store


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I currently run Retrospect 6.1.126 from a Panther (10.3.9) Mac and the main Retrospect Client is a Tiger (currently 10.4.5) Mac. I was shocked when I decided to do a test restore of files/folders for the client and found that most folders were empty (except for a small file named .DS_Store). In the past year I have created a dozen Iomega REV "members" and now I wonder if they are useless.

 

Can someone help me out? Am I doing something wrong?

 

NOTE: This is the first time I've tried to restore since I ran Retrospect on a System 9 Mac -- back then I always found exactly what I expected to find when doing a search to restore files...

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What does the browser show for the contents of the backup sets? Anything there? That will tell you whether it's a selector problem on doing the backup, or a selector problem on doing the restore, or a permissions issue on backup or restore that prevents reading (on backup) or writing (on restore). Do your backups do a comparison after the backup? What do your logs say for that comparison pass? If the comparison works, then you know the data was backed up.

 

It's a bit hard to provide ideas or help if you don't provide any information whatsoever as to what your backup strategy is (selectors, etc.). And I know that you don't want to hear it a year after the fact, and there is no way to correct it if something has been wrong for the past year, but did you really put this into use without a test restore at the start?

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Yay, thanks for your response!

 

Yes, I want to make sure future backups work correctly. I had used Retrospect for so many years without recovery problems that I probably didn't test the OS X backup enough in regards to recovering client volumes... As a one-man business (I'm a graphic artist), it's hard to always devote the time necessary to test that everything is working perfectly, or to completely understand the ins-and-outs of software that is not in my field of expertise. That said, I actually am more ******* about backup issues than just about any graphic artist I know: I mirror my hard drives regularly, backup jobs to DVD when they're complete, and even have several Retrospect scripts Duplicate important folders from one computer to another on a daily and weekly basis. So this incremental backup is really a last-ditch safety net that I rarely need to use. With that said, I do wish to learn how to make it operate correctly for the rare time I need it!

 

BACKUP DETAILS

Based on my first note, you probably can tell this is an incremental backup. The backup setting are:

Selecting: All Files Except Cache Files

Options: Verification on, Data compression, Synch client clocks, Don't backup FileVault

 

Sometimes there are a few backup errors, but they usually seem to either be system files that change during the backup process, or a handful of random MP3 files that I have no idea why they have comparison errors.

 

RESTORE DETAILS

When I try to restore, I select "Search for files and folder", and search by folder name. After retrospect searches the sessions, I see the folder name I searched for when I click "Files Chosen". However, the folder is almost always empty except for the .DS_Store file -- this is for the files backed up from the Client computer (running Tiger). On the other hand, restoring files backed up from the Retrospect host computer (running Panther) is never a problem. Oh, and maybe this information will help. While still looking at the "Files Chosen" window, to the right of the folders of the local volume (that contain real files), it says "rob/staff" (rob is my user name). However, on the client volume folders (that only have the .DS_Store file), to the right it says "501/501".

 

This may in fact be a permission issue, as I'm really uneducated on how permissions effect the backup and/or restore process with Restrospect (actually, permissions in general are pretty fuzzy to me). I think I will know a lot more soon.

 

Thanks again for any advice you can give me!

 

-Rob

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Quote:

When I try to restore, I select "Search for files and folder", and search by folder name. After retrospect searches the sessions, I see the folder name I searched for when I click "Files Chosen". However, the folder is almost always empty except for the .DS_Store file

 


 

If a Restore with the above settings results in a folder containing only the .DS_Store file, then it sounds as if Retrospect is working perfectly in respect to the Restore. If the Browser window doesn't list any files, then the Restore isn't going to write any either.

 

So the problem is likely either how you did your backups, or how you're setting up your Restore.

 

There are many things you can do in order to discover if you have backups of the files you want. The first and easiest would be to Search for all files ("Filename contains anything"). This will give you a Browser window with all the files in the Backup Set(s) selected. Then browse and find the folder you were searching on before, and see if it contains any files. If you can see listings for the files you need, then your previous problem was with your search criteria. If the folders are empty in this window, then it's likely that their contents were never backed up in the first place.

 

Dave

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Thanks for the suggestions, Dave...

 

First of all, my backup settings were the same for the local volume and the client volume -- both volumes are part of the same backup set. But when it comes time to restore, the Files Chosen window shows the folders from the local volume as having ALL the files I expect to see. On the other hand, the folders from the client volume appear to be EMPTY (except for the .DS_store file).

 

Per your suggestion, I did try an empty search and got the same problem when looking at the Files Chosen window: the majority of folders on the client volume appears to be empty, while the identical copies of those folders that reside on the local volume have the expected files in them.

 

Do you happen to know why, while in the Files Chosen window, the problematic folders say "501/501" to the far right (root/admin), while the folder that have the proper contents say "rob/staff"? I really think this may be the key to solving the problem, but I don't know enough to understand what "root/admin" really means...

 

-Rob

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I really think this may be the key to solving the problem

 


 

No it's not. It has nothing to do with it.

 

>the identical copies of those folders that reside on the local volume have the expected files in them

 

Did you say identical?

 

Are the files in the folders identical, too?

 

Retrospect only copies a file once; if identical copies of the same file are found in other places, Retrospect notes this fact in the Snapshot and doesn't bother to copy them over again.

 

I'd suggest that instead of doing a "Search for files" Restore (wich doesn't use Snapshots), you use the "Restore files and folders" option. Then select an appropriate Snapshot for the Client, and see if the expected files are revealed.

 

Dave

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Quote:

 

No it's not. It has nothing to do with it.

 

 


I guess I'm showing my ignorance...

 

 

Yes Dave, the folder and enclosed files I search for are identical on both computers (my important files are duplicated from my client to my local computer on a daily basis). The backup script was set to back up the home folders of both computers. I am aware that Retrospect doesn't copy the same file more than once, but I thought virtual placeholders of all the files in a folder would be visible when viewing selected files for a restore. But it appears that isn't the case...

 

The snapshot method gave me much better results -- that seems to be the key! I guess my simplistic memory of restoring files comes from the days my set-up was less complex, and the snapshot method wasn't necessary to see the files I was looking for.

 

With the snapshot method, I'm still a little unclear why folders just include recently created files (or in some cases, just the .DS_store). From my memory of using retrospect almost 10 years ago, I though a snapshot showed the complete contents of a computer (or folder) at a specific point in time. But I guess I'm wrong again... It seems I need to do some studying.

 

So unless you (or anyone) thinks a few more tips will help me rise from my confusion, I will call this problem solved and do some reading.

 

Thanks for helping me get past this, I genuinely appreciate it!

 

-Rob

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I though a snapshot showed the complete contents of a computer (or folder) at a specific point in time.

 


 

Correct.

 

>I thought virtual placeholders of all the files in a folder would be visible when viewing selected

>files for a restore. But it appears that isn't the case...

 

Since the virtual location for Matched files (files that live in multiple locations) is handled by the Snapshot, the Restore method (Search) that does not utilize Snapshots can only display the files in the location from which they were actually copied.

 

In your case, the files were copied originally from the local machine running Retrospect. Using "Restore files from backup" you indeed saw "virtual placeholder" listings for the files when you viewed the Snapshot of a different machine, which could then be selected for Restore.

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Okay, so as much as it seems I understand a snapshot... Why does the snapshot only show the more recently created files in the folder, rather than ALL the files that I see in the folder when I look on my computer? For instance, I have a folder that has a dozen monthly newsletters, yet the snapshot only shows the most recent newsletter?

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If, in fact, you are looking at snapshot contents, then the snapshot SHOULD, as you note, show the contents of the folder. It's a "snapshot". However note that the snapshot has been filtered by your Selectors used during the backup, so that, for example, if you had a selector to only back up files starting with the letter A, then the only files backed up, and thus the only files in the snapshot, would all start with the letter A. It's like putting filtering goggles on Retrospect as it views the disk. Are you sure you aren't looking at the list of files backed up in that session?

 

Let's do this step by step. From the main Retrospect window, Reports > Contents, click on some backup set and you will see in the window below a list of the backup sessions. Click on some session (which generally will correspond to volume names, although you might see subvolumes listed if you are using those) and then click Browse. You will see a pane on the right with a tree structure of the volume and a pane on the left with a hierarchical listing of the entire volume. You have to click the triangles at the left of folders to get them to open, and its sometimes difficult to make that happen. This lets you see a "snapshot" of the contents of the volume at the time it was backed up, as filtered by the Selectors you are using. That's not the same as the list of files backed up in that session. If you choose to restore a file not backed up in that session, Retrospect has to figure out where in the entire backup set, in which session, the most recent backup of that file is, and get it. That's one of Retrospect's strengths, in that the snapshot view it presents to you is a composite of the historical sessions.

 

The best way to understand snapshots is to, back at the Contents Report window, click the "More" button (rather than Browse), which will cause Retrospect, at your direction, to rebuild a snapshot at any point in the past, so that you could, for example, restore a machine or file or folder to its state at some point in the past. You might, for example, remember that you did a major OS upgrade on some date, and thus might want to recreate a snapshot just before that upgrade, and leave that snapshot hanging around in the snapshot list so you could quickly go back to that point. It's simply for convenience that Retrospect, by default, only shows the most recent snapshot.

 

Does this help?

 

Russ

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Okay, so as much as it seems I understand a snapshot... Why does the snapshot only show the more recently created files in the folder, rather than ALL the files that I see in the folder when I look on my computer? For instance, I have a folder that has a dozen monthly newsletters, yet the snapshot only shows the most recent newsletter?

 


Hi.

 

It is by design that Retrospect only shows the most recent snapshot. You can, of course, recover files from any snapshot, but it requires an extra step: Click on the "Add Snapshot" button when selecting the source for the restore and select the snapshot in question.

 

Regards

Lennart

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Quote:

For instance, I have a folder that has a dozen monthly newsletters, yet the snapshot only shows the most recent newsletter?

 


How are you viewing the snapshot? The only way I know to view the files included in a snapshot is to select the appropriate option when performing a Restore.

 

You didn't happen to go to Reports> Contents> did you? That will show the contents of individual backup sessions (sessions are not snapshots), which will indeed only contain the most recent files.

 

Another thought: if your process of duplicating files from the client computer to your main backup computer deletes the copied files from the client computer, then the snapshot for the client computer will only show the (recent) files that actually remained on the client at the time of backup.

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Ahhhh, after reading the Retrospect manual I figured out the reason why the Restore from snapshot didn't show all the files it should have. Somehow, many of the old backup set members had been marked as "missing". I'm not sure how that happened, but after telling Retrospect that I indeed had all the members, I can now find and Restore files as expected. Thanks again Dave for the tip on snapshots!

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