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Please explain "Grooming for Dummies"


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I have read the docs available but I don't understand grooming. I tried to groom and it made my drive bigger to the point that the disk filled. I think it reversed the incomplete process. I am trying to reduce the size being used for my backups. I don't want to save the groomed data to a device, I just want the latest 'picture' of my drive and all the associated data.

I don't want to do anything 'fancy'. It seems that the more 'fancy' you get (ie: compression, encryption, etc) the more problems you can create when it comes to a restore. I need to feel 100% confident that NO MATTER WHAT, I can restore when needed. I don't want to find out there is a problem when I need it to work. It's like having homeowners insurance and after a fire, you find out that it's not covered until it's too late.

Please advise.

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Version 7.0.326


MS XP Pro w/current updates

Yes, I understand the concept of incremental backups.


Now I read the tutorial. Apparently, I have to select the snapshots I want to remove before grooming. What I did was just try to groom by selecting the backup set and set it to 10. I will try the tutorial and see. I am still in the learning curve when it comes to the ‘conceptual’ process and the nomenclature used by Retrospect.

What I am doing now is using Retrospect to do my initial Full backup, and then daily incrementals (or just before installing something that could have unwanted effects). I do download and try many applications, and some are, as you know, not nice to my registry and other system areas. One of the main reasons I backup so frequently is not that I add or remove many files daily, but because I am convinced, due to my experience, that my 'system' files, are constantly changing. Sometimes, these un-initiated changes have negative effects that I am unable to recover from any other way than by restoring my entire volume to a previous state. One of the changes I am referring to is when the 'open file' feature in Retrospect errors. I realize that Retrospect is dependent on the system to perform the open file feature. This feature hangs by a thread. So many things are dependent on each other to be set exactly right for this feature to work, permissions, VSS, registry settings, etc. I have formatted and reinstalled 5 times just for this open file error issue. Support is ineffective with regard to resolving this issue (I notice in the forums that there are numerous users experiencing open file issues that support is unable to resolve). But that's a separate issue.

The way I am presently backing up, is to do my full backup and my daily incremental backups. As the drive gets full with Retrospect backup files, I do a disk image, with a Snapshot with http://www.drivesnapshot.de/en/, delete the Retrospect backups (to regain my disk space) and start over with my Retrospect routine. My purpose of doing a grooming is just to recover disk space, and I thought grooming would allow me to recover the disk space AND leave the most current (or selected previous) backup versions on the drive, hence preventing me from having to start all over with a full and subsequent incremental backups. I would hope it would just allow me to get rid of backup catalogs, files, and everything that is taking up space from previous backups that I no longer want to restore from. Although, I put 100% faith that Retrospect will do exactly what I think it is doing, I do not want to end up with a strategy that will 'surprise' me when I go to restore, like, sorry can't restore because you blah, blah (like compressed, or encrypted, etc.). So I don't want to get 'fancy' to complicate things. I just want to be able to have a backup I can rely on, and a strategy that will allow me to feel comfortable, that is easy do implement and maintain. That's why I am afraid to rely on scripts and such.

I have a 150 gig hard drive (C:), configured with RAID 0, that I back up to a 300 gig internal removable drive. I also use USB drives to retain weekly snapshots, just in case. I know there is a better way to achieve my desired outcome, but as I said, the more complex or uninformed I am about how and what is going on with my backups, the less comfortable I am with the process. I would love to be able to fully utilize the features available to me through Retrospect Professional, like incorporating backing up my laptop, etc. I presently use stand-alone thinking because I understand it, so I do a completely separate process, as described above, with my laptop.

I am a relatively knowledgeable user (with XP) and love to learn. I feel backing up is THE most critical utility to incorporate into any system. I would like to become more proficient with Retrospect. I would even consider upgrading to 7.5 but when I spoke with tech support, they led me to believe that I would not realize much advantage to doing so.

My needs are simple compared to what I think Retrospect is capable of doing. The main reason I use Retrospect is that fact that I can go back in time with files and system settings. Retrospect has saved me days of time that would normally be wasted rebuilding my drive.

Thanks for your help.

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OK. I get it now. The reason my free space did not increase on my backup drive (D:) was because I had set System Restore to protect this drive which increased the System Volume Information folder size as I was grooming. I can't think of any reason to have System Restore set to monitor a drive unless it is a system drive. My D: drive is just a data drive, so I turned it off. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions with regards to this process I have just been through. Hopefully, my assumptions are correct. I'm just not sure if I can trust the groomed backup to actually work for me when I need it. A little reassurance please.


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I think I can ask a question that may help both of us understanding grooming.


Suppose I create a backup set and enable grooming.

Then every day, before doing a daily backup, I create a new file in the data being backed up.

Finally, I never change these new files I create daily.


Does this mean that grooming can't recover any space, because every backup will include a file that does not appear in a later backup?


If the answer is yes, that explains why grooming does not seem to help me.

I am constantly adding new files sent to me, and I never change these files.


[if the answer is no, then it will be interesting to learn how this is possible. Does grooming open a file in the backup set and remove files that appear in a later backup, then rewrite the smaller file to the backup set?]

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