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Restore specific file from older backup session


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I'm thus far unable to figure out any convenient way to restore a version of a file from a specific past backup snapshot other than by painstakingly searching the backup set for a file of the desired name created or modified on that particular date.

 

When I try to select a file using a snapshot I only see the most recent changes to each file, even if I've specifically selected an older snapshot. I'm not sure what good being able to select a snapshot does if I cannot select files from THAT particular snapshot, but maybe I'm missing something really obvious.

 

I know my desired file is present because I can use the Reports --> Contents button to find the desired version of the file extremely quickly. I can even double-click it such that a check mark appears next to it. Unfortunately that appears to be an inexplicably useless behavior (the check marks) because there appears to be no way to do anything interesting with the selected file, such as recover it.

 

Am I missing something? This seems really bizarre. Is there any relatively straightforward quick way to recover arbitrarily old versions of files, or do I always have to resort to the painfully slow, awkward, and frustrating process of locating the file manually via Reports --> Contents to figure out exactly what the file is named, recording the date it was backed up, entering that information in to the clumsy search criteria window for the restore, and waiting fifteen to twenty minutes for Retrospect to contemplate my request...even though I can put a check mark next to the desired file via the Reports --> Contents feature with about thirty seconds of effort?

 

Is it really completely pointless to choose a particular snapshot via "Restore files and folders"?

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If you're able to locate the file via Reports> Contents, it means you can identify the snapshot that contains it.

 

In a restore, Retrospect lists only the "current" (i.e., most recent) snapshots by default, but you can manually select any snapshot you want. All the previous snapshots are stored on the backup media.

 

Go to Restore> Restore from a backup, as usual. When the snapshot selection window appears, highlight the desired backup set and click on "Add Snapshot..." This will bring up all of the snapshots in the backup set. Highlight the desired snapshot and hit "Retrieve." Retrospect will ask for the appropriate backup set member and will add the snapshot to the catalog. You will then be able to select it for your restore.

 

Alternatively, you can use Reports> Contents to browse the snapshot and save any part of it as a selector. After checking the desired version of the file as you describe above, the file should have both a checkmark and a highlight (click on "Highlight Marks" in the browser menu if it's not already highlighted). Then click on "Save Highlights" to save the file descriptors as a selector. When performing your restore, use the option "Search for files and folders," using as your file selection criterion the selector you just created.

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Thanks. Being able to save as a Selector should help.

 

Re: choosing a snapshot...

I can choose the desired snapshot for a restore, but even after choosing that snapshot as the "source for restore," the browsing window still only shows me the most recently backed up versions of the files. For example, suppose I have a file "example.txt" that I changed yesterday, before the most recent backup. I also happened to have changed that file most other days, and decide I want to pull the copy that was backed up on January 1. When I select the January 1 snapshot, the browser shows example.txt was changed yesterday, and if I choose to recover it I get yesterday's copy. Is this a fiendishly clever feature that I'm not just understanding, or is Retrospect not working correctly?

 

I can, of course, recover the file by explicitly stating the path and date (perhaps also by creating a selector for the file in the manner you described by browsing the contents of the archive), then searching the archive, but I would have expected to be able to recover just by browsing the snapshot.

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Quote:

suppose I have a file "example.txt" that I changed yesterday, before the most recent backup. I also happened to have changed that file most other days, and decide I want to pull the copy that was backed up on January 1. When I select the January 1 snapshot, the browser shows example.txt was changed yesterday, and if I choose to recover it I get yesterday's copy.

 


 

Retrospect does indeed work as it should; restored files are from the Snapshot that was chosen for that restore.

 

You'll have to provide more specific steps to describe what you are doing in your tests; for example, you state "...the browser shows..." without describing the steps you took to get to that Browser window.

 

Retrospect has a great deal of functionality in regards to selecting files for Restore (something that sets it apart from other backup products, which pretty much require the user to know exactly the name/date/location of files they want to retrieve), including searching by name, date, etc, as well as browsing through snapshots.

 

Here is an example of steps that result in expected behavior:

 

- Make an empty folder

- Put a text file in folder, type "test 1" in text file.

- Define this folder as a Subvolume

- Backup: Source=defined Subvolume, Destination=new Backup Set

- Open test file; change text to "test 2"

- Backup to same Backup Set

- Open test file; change text to "test 3"

 

- Immediate->Restore->Files from a backup->BackupSet->Add Snapshot...

- Select Snapshot from bottom of list; note its time

- Click Retrieve

- Confirm earlier Shapshot is selected; click OK

- Select Destination for Restore (any volume or defined subvolume will do)

- Click OK

- Click "Files Chosen"

 

- In the resulting Browser window, confirm that the time of the test file matches the time of the Snapshot.

- Mark the file, close the Browser, and click Restore

- Navigate to the restored file, open and confirm that it's text reads "test 1"

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This artificial scenario with a new backup set results in the expected behavior.

 

Unfortunately when I try to to recover in this manner from other backup sets I get unexpected results. For example, I just tried recovering from the Oct 7 snapshot a file that was backed up the same day. I know it's there because I could see it in the contents and I could successfully recover it by "searching" for it. When I tried to select it, however, the file selection window showed its date as January 3. (NOTE: the file was modified almost every day subsequent to Oct 7, and the backup ran almost every day -- there were dozens of backups of that file between Oct 7 and January 3.) When I recovered it the file it did indeed contain January 3's data. At least it wasn't showing the most recent file this time, and it's good the date stamp in the selection window matched the contents of the file -- I just wish it showed the contents of the Oct 7 snapshot rather than the Jan 3 snapshot which was most definitely NOT the snapshot I selected.

 

Assuming it's not supposed to do this, and I believe it's not, then retrieving based on snapshots appears to be broken in this and a couple other backup sets.

 

Is there anything I can do to fix this problem or prevent it from occurring in the future?

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Quote:

retrieving based on snapshots appears to be broken in this and a couple other backup sets.

 


No, it's not. I don't believe that you are following the instructions. It is remotely possible that you've got a corrupt catalog. I've never seen what you are describing and I've been using Retrospect since 1992, and have always been able to restore the state of any file on any machine on our network as it was on any day in the past back to 1992. I believe that you are doing something wrong. Retrospect is missing some features that I wish it had, and has a couple of bugs that I wish were fixed, but reliable restores from a snapshot has always worked perfectly. Every time. Without fail.

 

Quote:

Is there anything I can do to fix this problem or prevent it from occurring in the future?

 


Yes, use the program correctly. From everything you are saying, you are choosing the January 3 (or subsequent, or most recent) snapshot for restore, not the October 7 snapshot. It is not possible for a file with a January 3 date stamp to be in an October 7 snapshot. Hmm.. there's a remote possibility that you are having memory errors on your Mac. Can't help you if your computer is not working right.

 

Assuming that, in fact, you did do a backup on October 7, and that your catalog isn't corrupt, and that you are selecting the correct backup set, do the following:

 

(1) Launch Retrospect

(2) with the Immediate tab selected, click Restore

(3) select Restore files from a backup, click OK

(4) in the top pane, choose your backup set. In the bottom pane, if 10/7/2006 does not appear as a snapshot date for your volume, click "Add Snapshot..."

(5) scroll down until you see your volume and 10/7/2006, select that entry, click "Retrieve". You should now get a 10/7/2006 snapshot for your volume in the original "Restore from Backup: source" window.

(6) select the 10/7/2006 snapshot, click OK.

(7) choose either "Retrieve Just Files" or "Retrieve Files and Folders", as you wish

(8) choose a destination for the restore, click OK

(9) When you see the "Restore from Backup" dialog appear after the matching phase, click the "Files Chosen" button, see the list of files (marking files for restore), choose your file.

(10) do the restore, see the file as it was on October 7, 2006, at the time of backup.

 

If this doesn't work, and if you followed the above steps carefully, then you might have a damaged catalog. Perhaps your machine crashed during a backup. In that case, drag your catalog to the desktop (preserve it in case of bad stuff) and the rebuild the catalog (Tools > Repair, rebuild from whatever type your backup set is).

 

Try again. If it doesn't work, you aren't following the directions.

 

Russ

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Although I was initially heartened by Russ's confidence that I was't following directions or was unable to distinguish between January 1 and October 7 snapshot, that does not appear to be the problem.

 

After a 28 hour catalog rebuild, snapshots seem to be working correctly. Now when I recover a file from the Oct 7 2006 snapshot the file browsing window shows the correct modication date and the recovered file has the October 7 contents.

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