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Need help with restore from major failure.


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I just had the worst failure ever. Probably due to a short circuit of some sort almost every component in my PC has died. I found out after I first replaced the PSU and then the mainboard/CPU/memory/gfx (my PC was 4y old so I decided to just do a major upgrade after realizing the MB/CPU were dead). After that, I found out that all my IDE devices were also dead, incl. my 2 harddisks.

Fortunately I've been a Retrospect user for ages and was still making weekly backups with a 3-set backup schema. So I should have no problem finding a set that will work.

I still have some questions however :

1. I was still on Retrospect 6.5, because it worked for me and didn't feel like paying money to upgrade a well-working product. So, can I still download 6.5 somewhere as the installers were on my harddisk as well ?

2. The DVD-writer with which the backups were made (NEC 3520A), is also dead. Should I be looking for the same or similar model to be able to read the backup disks (as I know Retrospect uses some low level formatting and the like) ? I'll probably be buying a NEC 3570 now. Should that work or am I better trying to find a second-hand 3520A to do the restore ?

Note that I just want to recover all the backed up files. I realize that a system restore is out of the question since the system will be totally different from the one the backups were run on.


Tnx a ton!



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You can get the installer for 6.5 here:



Before restoring you will need to rebuild the catalog file for your backup set. In order for Retrospect to be able to read optical media, it is recommended you use the same model drive or as similar a drive as possible. If you had to custom configure the drive to work with Retrospect, this recommendation will more likely be a requirement.

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I found the installers and now have Retrospect 6.5 on my new PC again. Tnx.

Wrt the drive, you were absolutely correct. I bought a NEC 3570 for my new PC and Retrospect can't read my old backups on that drive. I am now hoping to find a 2nd hand 3520A and can only hope that a restore will work then.

I'm left with two questions :

* is it only the writer that must be the same, or is it possible that I also must look for the same mainboard as before ?

* why is it that Retrospect is using a low level format like that which even causes the backups not to be readable on other dvd-drives ? Why not simply a standard filesystem on the DVDs ???

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Having the same burner should be enough, as the incompatabilities come from the mechanics of the burners themselves, not from the data transmission.


Retrospect does not use a more standard filesystem such as Joliet 9660 because of the limitations of such file systems. With Joliet the path name is truncated after a very small number of characters, this would make it next to impossible to restore a complex directory structure to any usuable state. In addition to this, Retrospect only stores system state information in snapshots - which are only taken when performing a backup. Using a standard file system would basically be a duplicate to cd/dvd, which would prevent Retrospect from being able to perform a full system restore. Finally, in order to write to a disc incrementally, normal 'track-at-once' writing methods use a lead-out which, after several lead outs, compounds into a large amount of disc space that is unusable for actual data. These are the main reasons Retrospect uses a proprietary format in conjunction with packet writing technology rather than standard writing techniques in use by applications such as Nero and Toast.

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