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Using packet writing for CD/DVD


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I'm using Retrospect Pro 6.0 on Windows XP, with a CD-RW drive. Retrospect has some nice features that I didn't find in any other backup programs. But, one of my main gripes with Retrospect is its builtin CD writing capability. It takes a long time to erase disks, seems to write CDs much slower than my drive is capable of, and it can't append to CDs. My computer came with DLA, which lets me use packet writing to write to a CD just like a big floppy. I found that I can format my CDs with DLA, and then use the Disk storage type for my backup sets, instead of the CD/DVD storage type. This way Retrospect just treats the CD drive like any removable media, and uses the OS's CD writing driver instead of its own. Disk spanning still works as expected. I was wondering if anyone else had tried this, and if there are any disadvantages, since I didn't see this mentioned in the Retrospect documentation.


Here are the problems I've found with Retrospect's builtin CD writing implementation.


1) It needs to format each disk before it uses it. This takes about 20 minutes on my computer, even just to reuse a disk that was already formatted by Retrospect. If I use XP's erase function, it only takes a few seconds.


2) Retrospect seems to write to the CD a lot slower than my drive is capable of.


3) Retrospect can't append to a CD. So if I do an incremental backup, which only backs up say 30 megs, it still has to use a whole CD. I can't do multiple incremental backups to the same CD.


Formatting my CDs using DLA, and using storage type "Disk" for my backup sets, solves all these problems, but has a couple of problems of its own. Here are the pros and cons I've noted.




1) When using Retrospect's CD writing implementation, Retrospect shows about a 26 MB/min writing rate. When writing to a DLA disk, Retrospect shows about 60 MB/min write rate, a more than %100 improvement.


2) DLA disks need to be formatted once the first time they're used, which takes about the same amount of time as Retrospect takes to format. But when reusing a CD-RW, it only takes Retrospect a few seconds to erase a DLA disk, but it takes about 20 minutes when using Retrospect's builtin CD writing.


3) When using DLA, Retrospect can append more backups to a partially filled disk. When using Retrospect's CD writing, it needs a new disk for each backup, even if it only wrote a few megs to the CD.




1) CDs formatted for packet writing hold less data. A 700 meg CD can only hold about 580 megs when formatted for packet writing. However this is more than made up for by the fact that I can fill up all 580 megs of the CD because I can append backups to the CD, whereas with Retrospect's CD writer, I end up with a lot of disks that are partially filled.


2) CDs have to be formatted outside of Retrospect before the first time they're used. However, this is still much better than having to wait 20 minutes every time I use a CD with Retrospect.


Does anyone know of any other problems with using packet writing instead of Retrospect's builtin CD writing capabilities?



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Vendor: Toshiba


Product: DVD-ROM SD-R2212


Version: 1913


Driver: TOSHIBA CD-RW - RDI (1.53)




This the builtin CD drive in my HP Pavilion laptop. It's a DVD-ROM/CD-R/CD-RW drive, and its write speed is rated at 8x for CD-R or CD-RW. HP's packet writing driver is called DLA. It provides the same functionality as DirectCD, which comes with a lot of CD burners.




When I first ran Retrospect, it displayed a message saying it didn't know about my drive, and ran some tests to configure the drive.





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