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Retrospect hangs while backing up to external hard disk


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The other day, my Retrospect 7.5 stopped backing up to my external hard disks. It would say it was copying the first few files, but then it would hang forever. Clicking "stop" said it was stopping, but nothing happened. Trying to exit said it was exiting, but nothing happened. The only way out was to kill the Retrospect task with the Windows Task Manager.


So I updated to Retrospect 7.6. Same problem. It does successfully back up to DVD, but not to the hard disk.


Details: Windows XP, Retrospect 7.6, scripted backup at night to USB hard drive (alternating USB hard drives every week).


Trying a new backup disk does not help. Trying immediate backup of a small number of files to disk does not help. Trying a different disk does not help.


What is going on?



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Disk check succeeds. I can also open the disk in Windows Explorer and look inside. I can even run the defragmenter on the disk.


Turning off XP System Restore made no difference. My test backup hangs at the same spot as it previously did.



Moreover, Stop does not stop the backup execution. It acts as if it is hung up in the middle of a disk write with no error recovery or escape.


Incidentally, I do run Norton Internet Security, and turning that off makes no difference, either.


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The problem happens on two different drives, with two different USB cables and two different USB ports, and in various combinations of these.


I blew away the backup contents of one of the drives, and created a new backup set. The problem still persists. I am not willing to blow away the backup set on the other drive, but I did check the drive on another computer (Vista). There were no problems reported by disk scan.


Looking back into the Retrospect History file, the first sign of anomolous behavior came on Saturday morning, when I logged into my computer. Retrospect was waiting for an answer to a dialog box about downloading version 7.6; but the backup scheduled for 3:00 AM that morning was still waiting to run. After the download completed, it would not start by itself, so I had to stop the backup and restart it by hand, at which time it completed satisfactorily.


Sunday I forgot to switch disks, so the backup was still waiting for the other drive. So I stopped it, shut down to switch disks, and restarted. At that point, it just hung before it wrote the first backup record on the file.



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Has anyone had any further thoughts on this problem? I am stuck without the ability to do a regular backup.


The problem occurs when the backup data set is on a disk, but not when the backup data set is on a file ON THE SAME DISK. It happens to all USB drives I can lay my hands on, including a new one out of the box. It happens to drives formatted as FAT32 or NTFS.


The problem does NOT occur when running in SAFE mode. I.e., I was able to do successful backups to the backup sets on the disks in question in SAFE mode, but not in NORMAL mode.


The symptom is that Retrospect reads some number of files (usually about 8-15 MBytes) and then hangs. At the point where it hangs, a file has been created in the backup set member, but no data is written to it. Once it hangs, the only way out is to kill Retrospect in the Task Manager.


I was just starting to set up Continuous Backup, and the problem appears to be happening there, also.





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Retrospect and Retrospect Continuous Backup do not share any code. They are totally independent from each other. If both programs are hanging, then clearly something you have installed is not allowing valid file copies.


I would uninstall anti-virus software and try again. I would disable any programs that might do things like disk defragmentation or disk indexing.

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I am having exactly the same problem with a number of different servers running Retrospect 7.5 and 7.6 on server 2000, server 2003 and sbs 2003.


I can do a file backup to the disk or NAS drive but a disk backup set will not work.


Some servers using trend virus scanner some using McAfee.


Definately a retrospect problem as its common across so many platforms. Deleting and recreating backup sets does not resolve problem. Even reinstalling retrospect and recreating scripts does not work.

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In my case, the anti-virus software seemed not to be the culprit. Disabling and even uninstalling it did not help.


My problem appeared a lot like the "conflict" issues we used to have on the old Mac-OS. Some programs just didn't work with others.


After days of experimenting, I could not figure out what the culprit was, so in the end, I re-installed Windows XP from the manufacturer's CD. Retrospect started working properly right away, but the process of reinstalling exposed some of the conflicts of other installed applications.


Of all my applications, the ones that seemed most likely to be guilty were Adobe Acrobat 7.0, Quicken 2006, and HP Photosmart printing software. All of these are self-updating, so it is possible that one of their updates caused a conflict with Retrospect. To recover, I had to un-install and re-install each of them. (Originally, I also suspected Google Desktop, iTunes, and URGE, but none of these turned out to have any impact on the Retrospect and/or Windows reinstallation.)


That leaves three questions about Retrospect. First, why did Retrospect's disk drivers for external USB drives deadlock so consistently and so hard, when the OS and all other applications could still read and write to the same disks? Second, once a deadlock in the writing occurred, why was Retrospect completely unable to abort the backup operation and exit cleanly?


Third (and not mentioned previously in this thread), why did this leave the member of the backup set unusable after I put things back together? Basically, any attempt to append to a backup set that was part of the deadlock caused a 106 error, after an attempt to groom. Retrospect insisted that the drive was full (when it wasn't). My recovery was to Transfer the entire backup set to another drive, "forget" or recycle the original, and then transfer it back.

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