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Mysterious error message in Retrospect - plus general questions


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Hi all,


Let me first say that I'm new to Retrospect. I recently acquired Retrospect software together with a Maxtor OneTouch external hard disk. I have made several functioning backup scripts as well as a complete, immediate backup and a Disaster Recovery CD. However, one script causes a mysterious error message. I have made a duplicate script that moves files from one particular folder on my internal hard disk to the Maxtor drive. For some reason, each time I run the script via a run document, Retrospective opens with an error message that says: "Retrospect cannot run in Disaster Recovery mode; error reading run document. Please contact Dantz Technical Support for assistance." - even though the script has nothing to do with disaster recovery! I have re-made the run document, and I have even deleted the script and re-made it, but the problem remains. The problem does not occur when I run the script via the run menu in the Retrospect program, nor does it occur with any other script. I have Windows XP, and Retrospect is version 6.0.222. Can anyone help?


I also have a number of general questions regarding the use of Retrospect. I hope someone will have the patience to answer or comment on them - perhaps only on some of them, any input will be much appreciated! And please note: although the questions are rather long, the answers can be very short, unless I have misunderstood it all!


1) Is it only possible to select/de-select specific files (as opposed to folders) for backup when doing an immediate backup, using the Preview function, but not with a script? Is there any way to save a Preview, i.e. a selection of files to be backed up if one does not want to back up whole drives or folders? As I understand it, with scripts I can only select certain folders, but not files, and I cannot deselect subfolders to a folder that is selected for backup. Example: If I want to do a backup of my drive c, but without the folder "XYZ", I have two options: (1) I can do it with a script, but only by manually selecting all other folders than "XYZ", and files placed in the root folder of drive c would not get backed up (since, if I choose the root folder, I am forced to include all folders placed there, which would be all folders on drive c including the unwanted "XYZ"); or (2) I can do an immediate backup, using the Preview function to deselect the "XYZ" folder while keeping the files in the root directory of drive c marked for backup, but I have to redo the Preview selection every time I want to update the backup. Is this correctly understood?


2) In the help function of Retrospect it says that Disaster Recovery preparations need to be updated under certain circumstances. Does the mentioned update mean that I have to make a new Disaster Recovery CD as well as update the Backup Set? And further, the circumstances mentioned are if (a) a recycle backup is made to the backup set in question, (B) a different backup set is used, or © if new hardware is added. But does the Disaster Recovery preparations not need to be updated if Windows is updated, e.g. in form of a security update from the Windows update web site?


3) Does every snapshot contain a copy of the Windows Registry Database? If not, which selections influence if the Registry Database is backed up?


4) The help function also advises users to only do Disaster Recovery preparations (i.e. make a Disaster Recovery CD) after a complete backup of the hard disk. But is it possible to divide the complete backup in several Backup Sets? For practical reasons I would like to use a backup strategy making use of three Backup Sets: one containing all files except my mail database (this backup set should be updated only if new hardware or software is installed - this should be a progressive backup paired with a Disaster Recovery CD), a second set with my mail database (to be updated once a month, since my mail server keeps copies of all mail for one month - this should be a Recycle Backup, since my mail database is very large and would take up too much disk space if placed in the progressive Disaster Recovery backup set, and a third set containing my documents (to be updated daily using the Maxtor OneTouch function - this should be a progressive backup). Would it then be possible to do a Disaster Recovery in three steps: a 'real' Disaster Recovery via the Disaster Recovery CD, which restores the system and programs, but neither my mail database nor latest documents, followed by two 'normal' recoveries (i.e. not Disaster Recoveries) of my mail database and documents, ending up with a completely identical system, but utilizing a backup strategy by which the amount of data backed up and the number of backups performed are the least possible?


5) Is it possible to make the Maxtor OneTouch button start two scripts/two backups, so that the abovementioned mail database recycle backup and progressive documents backup can both be carried out by pressing the OneTouch button?


6) Is it correctly understood that it is possible to do a Disaster Recovery even without a Disaster Recovery CD? And that the difference between a Disaster Recovery using a Disaster Recovery CD and one not using a CD is the ease and speed with which the recovery can be carried out? As I understand it, by using the CD one does not have to install Windows, but simply boots from the CD and continues directly to restoring, whereas without the CD one has to go through a whole installation of Windows and Retrospect before the restoring process can begin, is this correct?


7) What does the symbols in the browser windows mean? I have observed a black diamonds sign (a square standing on its corner) and what looks like a pencil with a line across it.


8) Can I make backups to one Backup Set using various scripts (each adding different folders to the Backup Set), or should I only use one script with one Backup Set?


9) What is the "NTFS Security Information from workstations" that Retrospect offers to back up? I use the NTFS file system and I have a 'stand-alone pc' (no network) - should I choose to back up the NTFS Security Information?


Thank you so much!



Dennis Nielsen

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To answer your questions in order:


1)You can save files file selections in Retrospect Professional edition and above. You would need to upgrade to have this functionality.


2)You can use the same disaster recovery disk with any backup set- you don't need to create a new one after each backup. Creating a new disaster recovery CD after a backup makes the restore prosess a bit more seamless though.


3)A full "backup" (not "duplicate" like the one touch feature) of the system drive includes the registry by default. This is true even if you choose to backup only 1 file. As long as the system drive is the backup source you will get the registry.


4)In a disaster recovery situation you really want to run your restore from one backup set. You could break it up if you like but you will have to run 3 separate restores (one for each set) rather than 1 master restore. In other words, it will work but it will be a pain.


5)The one touch button only works with one script


6)You do not need the disaster recovery CD to do a full system restore. You can install windows as usual, install Retrospect and then do a live restore over the top of the running system.


7)A "Black diamond" means the file already exists in the backup set and will not be copied. The pencil with a line means read only.


8)Backup sets are just containers to hold data. You can put data from multiple drives/ computers in a set and you can use them with multiple scripts.The set keeps track of where and when the data came from so you don't have to.


9)NTFS security information is not necessary but I back it up just in case (Never know what a virus might try to break on a machine). It makes the backup a lot longer though.





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Hi Nate, thanks a lot for your response!


After reading your post I got an idea that I wanted to hear your opinion to. It touches on questions/answers 4 and 8. It seems to me that a smart solution would be to make a complete backup, make a Disaster Recovery CD based on this backup, and then make progressive backups of my documents to the SAME Backup Set via the OneTouch button (it is possible to re-configure the button to do a "real" backup instead of a "duplicate"). This way I have one single, complete backup set in case of Disaster Recovery, at the same time that I can update my precious, often-changed documents on a daily basis. Does this make sense?


I still haven't given up on the idea of using two Backup Sets, though, one complete and one for documents... doing it this way would make it easier to make a Recycle Backup of the documents every once in a while to save disk space. If I use a single Backup Set to all files, I would have to (at least the Retrospect documentation recommends that you do) make a new Disaster Recovery CD when the Backup Set got so big that I was forced to do a Recycle Backup. This makes me want to ask you: Would it really be such a hassle to do two (or three) restores, if the first one deals with the system and programs, and the following ones only restore documents and mail database? After the system and programs are restored, it seems to me that restoring only the documents would be a piece of cake! And it would give the advantage that I mentioned: making it easier to do a Recycle Backup of the documents when the progressive backup started taking up too much space. What are your thoughts on this?


Based on your answer, it sounds as if you have had the unfortunate experience to do a Disaster Recovery with Retrospect? How easy/difficult was it? Do you have experience with Norton Ghost to compare?


In answer 9 you write that backing up NTFS security information makes the Backup Set a lot longer - do you mean it takes more time to do, or it takes up more space on the hard drive, or both? Should I back up the NTFS security info once, when making the Disaster Recovery CD, or often, every time I make a progressive backup to my documents?


Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge!


Btw, if anyone reading this got an idea with regard to the mysterious error message I mention at the beginning of my first post in this thread, I'd love to hear from you!



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Disaster recovery is really easy actually, however using multiple sets for the recovery would make it a little harder than it needs to be. Your strategy of one set for the documents folder one set for full system is just fine and will work well. You don't want to try a separate "applications" backup. That will be messy.


NTFS permissions don't take up much space, they just take time to copy. If you run your backups at night when you are asleep then I would back them up.


Keep in mind: the Disaster Recovery holds exactly none of your personal and data. It is only an install CD to get Windows and Retrospect running to the point where you can restore you backup.


If the error you saw has since gone away it is safe to ignore it as a one time error.






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