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Proactive scripts refuse to run


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Mac OS X 10.6.2

Mac mini Intel Core 2 Duo


Retrospect 8.1.626 (Console and Engine)

Backing up to Exabyte VXA2 Firewire tape drive.


I have tried and failed for a week to get my Proactive scripts working. The Proactive scripts simple refuse to run. In contrast, all normal backup scripts are working fine.


All Proactive activities in the Activities list have past-due dates. When I highlight a proactive script in the Activities list, the status reported is "(Not yet determined)".


I've created new Proactive scripts from scratch, deleted the old ones, restarted both Retrospect Engine and the entire machine numerous times, and nothing I do will force Proactive scripts to work.


I see others advising people to contact EMC support, but I'm not about to pay for a support call when this is so obviously a bug in Retrospect 8.1! This has got to be THE buggiest piece of software I have ever had the displeasure of having paid for!

Please help!


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Can someone at least tell me how to enable debug logging of proactive scripts?

That information is in the missing manual.


See also this post (and you might read the entire thread, too):

Turn on proactive script logging


And also this KnowledgeBase article:

Retrospect 8 Debug Logging directions


I see others advising people to contact EMC support, but I'm not about to pay for a support call when this is so obviously a bug in Retrospect 8.1!

Seriously, for support made necessary by buggy software and lack of documentation, you shouldn't have to pay anything.


For a program as complex as Retrospect is, and especially while it is still so immature, I really think that most people need to purchase a support contract with the software.



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Neither of the forum posts/threads you cite contains information about how to enable proactive backup debug logging. One of them mentions proactive debug logging, but offers no specifics about how to enable it.


When I look in /Library/Application Support/Retrospect/RetrospectEngine.bundle/Contents/MacOS/retro.ini, there is no proactive logging option that I can see. These are the log options I do see:











If one of those pertains to proactive backups, it isn't evident by the configuration label.


What is this missing manual you reference?


BTW, I am a long-time user of Retrospect and Mac OS software developer of 20 some odd years. I'm familiar enough with Mac OS software and systems not to consider myself a novice or intermediate user. I'm not paying a single red cent for support when all of the issues I am encountering are due to buggy software!

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Steps for logging are these:


You can turn on Proactive logging by creating a

"proactive_backup_log.utx" file in the /Library/Application

Support/Retrospect directory and cycling the engine.



1. Open terminal, and type the command: cd /Library/Application


2. Still in terminal, type the command: touch


3. Stop and start the engine.

4. Open the file with some text editor and notice all kinds of




The resultant .utx file is pretty unreadable, though...

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Neither of the forum posts/threads you cite contains information about how to enable proactive backup debug logging. One of them mentions proactive debug logging, but offers no specifics about how to enable it.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. The KnowledgeBase article was for R8 debugging in general. The thread, if you read it all, related to Steve Maser's proactive debug logging issues, and that's the specific post I pointed you to. If you read Steve's initial post in the thread and the one that I pointed you to, you will see the details. If the logging file exists, proactive actions will be logged to it. A "touch" command in terminal, with appropriate "chmod" and "chown" commands will do the trick. I hesitated to provide cookbook details because it might not be for novices (and I see that you aren't a novice; Steve is one of the more, if not most, sophisticated users, and his posts and Anton Rang's should be carefully studied), and it's still unclear to me and perhaps even to him (see his posts) whether the problems he suspects are because of proactive backup logging or not, so you might not want to leave proactive backup debugging enabled, but it might help the Retrospect programmers track down your issue.


I don't use proactive backup, so I can't be more direct help to you, but I tried to point you in the right direction. Our backup needs are very specific and are a bit different from what others need.


I can be a bit cynical at times, but I try to word my posts carefully, and often the subtlety is lost to the casual reader. I didn't say that you would be charged for calling EMC support, and I believe, and have always believed, that the EMC Retrospect support group is very good, and that they are performing heroically while R8 is undergoing growing pains. I know that the support group has not been charging incident fees as the Retrospect community struggles with this promising but still immature product, but I don't set EMC policy (I'm just a user like you are; I developed software and hardware in my youth), and I am careful not to state EMC policy. I do believe that there is a genuine and still-ongoing commitment by the EMC Retrospect group to "do the right thing" and be fair, and Robin Mayoff's post (he's in charge of support) affirms that. I believe that, if there were enough hours in the day, he would personally try to get the manual written and published and would personally try to fix every bug in the program and add every feature desired, but he can't and that's not his job. He stays positive and dedicated in a situation that would be difficult for the rest of us.


What is this missing manual you reference?

The Retrospect 8 User's Guide, describing how to use the program. Here's the most recent official word on the missing manual for the program that was announced the first week in 2009:


Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 13:40:57 -0700
From: "Ullman, Eric"
Subject: Where the @#%& is my Retrospect 8 User's Guide?
To: EMC Retro-Talk 

Please feel free to choose the expletive you deem most suitable.

The Retrospect 8 User's Guide is a particularly frustrating pain point. So
what's the deal?

The Retrospect team no longer has a dedicated staff tech writer. Knowing
that EMC didn't have any tech writers familiar with both Retrospect and the
Mac, and knowing also that to train someone on both would be quite a job, we
wanted a tech writer who at least understood the Mac. Then we lucked out and
ended up finding someone who understood both Retrospect and the Mac:
long-time Mac journalist and author, Tom Negrino. (Those of you who remember
MacWEEK may recognize Tom's name right off the bat.)

While some of the information can come across from the Retrospect 7.6 User's
Guide, as Henry suggests, the methods for performing most actions are
completely different. Combine Tom's other responsibilities with the fact
that we were making changes to the UI up to the very last minute (and still
are, really), and that extends the schedule for a User's Guide.

The good news is that it's getting close. Tom has been cranking along, and
I'll be editing chapters this weekend. We have Iomega's tech writing staff
ready to handle layout for us, since neither Tom nor I excel at that kind of
work. Anyway, I expect that we'll have the User's Guide finished in about a
month, which is pretty close to when we'll be shipping an update with Snow
Leopard support. Of course, we'll announce it here as soon as the User's
Guide is available to download.


Eric Ullman
Director, Product Management
EMC Retrospect

For old-timers, who have used Retrospect from its infancy, most of the stuff can be figured out from the Retrospect 6 (Mac) and Retrospect 7.6 (Windows) manuals. For newcomers, it would seem to be next to impossible to figure out the program and to discern what doesn't work because of operator error and what doesn't work because of bugs.



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Thanks, guys.


So I contacted EMC Retrospect support, and was informed the configuration was likely corrupted. So I've rebuilt my configuration from scratch, and am watching proactive backups run. I lost my backup catalogs in the process, which means I effectively had to recycle my tape media. I hope configuration corruption won't be a very frequent issue!

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I have had a lot of problems with pro-backup. Im currently using it on three clients, it now works fine.


What i did was constantly go thru the scripts. Checking that everything worked, sourced, sets, schedules, and my rules (that i still haven't figure out how to just take what i want). Problems i had was not starting, constantly restarting, hanging.


One thing; since i reinstalled the clients with cert instead of password, they have run flawlessly, slow as hell but run every time. I also unchecked some things in options, no verification is one thing.


So, triplecheck everything, just to make sure everything is in shape.


About stale configs, i noticed that when Retro is having problem, when shut down and waited for on hour or so i have been able to fix every restart, config error that has come up since then..


And remember: a shutdown will take a lot of minutes.

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