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Preserving access to Legacy Files (6.1)

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I’ll try to be as brief and clear as I can.


Currently running a Dual 1GHz PowerPC G4, planning to move up to an Intel Mac Pro.


I was reviewing the specs on the latest version of Retrospect (8.1), as part of the process of checking my software to determine which apps will need to be upgraded.


While reading the promotional material, I came across a few puzzling points - two of which really concern me.


A) Lack of DVD burning capability - which may be in future versions?


B) More significantly - inability to read/access back-up sets from previous versions (6.1)


The secure storage/archiving of files is essential to my business. As a Graphic Designer with more than 40 years experience, I have a considerable collection of client material and at least 20 years of digital files for safekeeping. (Several hundred CDs,DVDs, and older tapes). In selecting Retrospect many years ago, I expected that with continued
upgrades/development I would be able to access these files well into the foreseeable future.


These files are ARCHIVED, not just back-ups to be deleted in a few weeks time. It is essential that I can at least retrieve my old files, new files would naturally be added to the new Back-up sets.


Is EMC Retrospect suggesting that I (and all other current users) abandon their legacy



Will future versions regain the capability to access our legacy files - is this part of the planned future development of Retrospect?

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One way or the other, older media in time will not be supported from a hardware point of view. This actually has nothing to do with Retrospect. Even new OS'es drop older hardware support over time.


One word of advice. If you have used CD's and DVD's as an archival medium I -STRONGLY- would advise you to transfer these to a more robust medium like hard disk and/or tape. Even A-branded CD-R's and DVD-R's have a tendency to become unreadable, even after a couple of years. Get a 2TB (which probably would get you far enough) external (firewire works better on a Mac) disk and restore all your old data to it. Then copy it to a second drive and keep that one stored offsite.


Digital storage with retrospect can be traced to about 18 years back I guess. However a lot from the graphic formats from, let's say, 10 years ago you will not be able to open with current software. The question begs if your archive needs to be that deep. But this is something you have to decide for yourself. I certainly can sympathise with you wanting to keep those files. However it might be more of a psychological than a functional thing.


What you also can do is to keep your old computer with old Retrospect install mothballed for the oldest archives you have.


Anyway, you will also be safer off not archiving your files using a backup program with a proprietary storage format. Use Retrospect to backup and less for archiving would be the key to ensure you won't get deadlocked with one software solution.


Just my 2 cts.


Good luck with your Mac Pro upgrade, I'm sure you'll like the speed boost! :)

Edited by Guest
Corrected nasty typo.
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@ Ramon88

Thank you for your comments


Yes, keeping all the bits and pieces might be more of a psychological than a functional thing - to a certain extent. However I do frequently get requests for copies of older material, and it has proved to be very useful in at least one legal dispute.


Yes, I agree that evolving technology (both software & hardware) is a major problem when maintaining an archive. The oldest files were stored (via Retrospect) on Magneto-optical disks, these were retrieved and re-archived onto tapes some years ago.

It was a bit of a pain, but then we did not have the volume we have now. Now we are gradually retrieving all the taped files and re-archiving them onto DVDs - Accessing files on DVDs is much faster and at the same time we open/resave critical files with the latest versions, and clean out the redundant and orphaned stuff (Claris CAD files anyone?)


It's ironic that modern technology has made the safe storage of information more difficult. Stone tablets were very reliable!


I liked Retrospect's capability to quickly search and retrieve files across several back-up sets, but if that capability will no longer be supported we may have to consider other options. I agree that perhaps the best approach may be to not archive the files in any proprietary format at all, but to simply burn to large/reliable hard drives. To that end I'm currently looking into CDfinder combined with Filemaker to track and catalogue everything.


All this would be considerably easier if ver 8.1 could at least read the earlier sets, It looks like my old G4 will not be retired before I am.



Thanks for your input

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Is EMC Retrospect suggesting that I (and all other current users) abandon their legacy



Will future versions regain the capability to access our legacy files - is this part of the planned future development of Retrospect?



I am in complete agreement with you. In my opinion, a backup program, whose sole job is to back up documents for subsequent retrieval, needs to be able to do that, and to do it reliably.


Retrospect has been backing up our files since about 1992 or 1993 (Retrospect 2.0). We have stayed with the program because we have seen a commitment to being able to retrieve our files that were backed up by Retrospect. I previously made the same observation that you did, and was accused of a disparaging tone.


See the comment by Eric Ullman, the product manager, and read to the end of that thread:

Plans for Retrospect to read 6.x backups


See also the comment by Robin Mayoff, head of Retrospect support, in that same thread, that support for reading backups made by versions of Retrospect earlier than 6.x will probably never be tested and might not be supported:

No promise for reading backups before 6.x




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Well, this compatibility problem sure has complicated my upgrade planning. (and last night's near miss with a Tornado hasn't helped)


I guess I'll just have to step back and reconsider all my options, - I understand the business reasons why a vendor needs to offer new features, to continue to develope an existing product and maintain market share. However, in this case there seems to be a divergence between what I require (essentially - not much more than the existing app running natively on an Intel Mac, with backwards compatibility) and the admittedly interesting new features (for which, unfortunately, I don't see much of a requirement in our situation). This is not unique to Retrospect, products evolve, markets change. (anyone want to buy a Hummer?)


I don't mean this to be a tirade against Retrospect, marketing decisions are intended to appeal to the target audience but sometimes have inadvertent effects. I certainly don't see this as an evil plot against us, just product evolution.


In the meantime this poor old crumpled and worn head must now try to figure out how to adjust/compensate.


Thank You for your comments & links

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