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10.4: Workaround for a Spotlight - Retrospect 6 conflict
Authored by: pediddle on Aug 10, '05 01:47:11PM

When Dantz fixes Retrospect to not be an ugly piece of crap, pigs will fly.

Why is it so hard to find good backup software for OS-X?

Quick Poll: What's everyone's favorite? Is there a good solution that can schedule both full, bootable backups to another HD and incremental backups to CD/DVD?

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10.4: Workaround for a Spotlight - Retrospect 6 conflict
Authored by: jollyroger on Aug 10, '05 09:31:27PM

pediddle wrote:
> Quick Poll: What's everyone's favorite? Is there a good solution that
> can schedule both full, bootable backups to another HD and incremental
> backups to CD/DVD?

Yes: Retrospect.

While I recognize the fact that Retrospect's user interface could be simpler, I think that is hardly an excuse to call it a piece of crap.

As far as the interface goes, I agree it is complicated; but so is the underlying technology. Retrospect isn't a simple duplicator - it lets you configure and execute complex backups or multiple machines with multiple operating systems in several different ways. I see a lot of complaints about the interface, but don't recall ever seeing someone offer a solution to that problem. Maybe it's just that the features themselves are complex, and the interface simply reflects that.

As far as features go, like it or not, Retrospect is arguably the best solution for automated, unattended, network, incremental backups on Mac OS X. Most other backup utilities for Mac OS X don't provide the features and depth that Retrospect does. There were lots of bumps when Dantz Carbonized it; but most of those are gone now. It's largely stable and reliable.

I have a Mac mini in my closet that has been up and running 87 days without a reboot, and Retrospect has been running the whole time, reliably performing incremental daily backups up four computers on my home network (three running Mac OS X, and one running Classic Mac OS). To me, that's hardly worthy of the word "crap".


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10.4: Workaround for a Spotlight - Retrospect 6 conflict
Authored by: nobrain on Aug 11, '05 08:29:50AM

in short: Arkeia!

long version:
sorry monoclast, but in my view, you are wrong: retrospect is a piece of crap. That it is is also ugly is the least of my problem - I do not need my backup program to impress friends, like BluePhoneElite, Sailing Clicker or iDive does. I need it to work reliably and provide RESTORE as well. You say Retrospect just happily runs in the background and makes backups. Well, until you try to restore them you will not know if they are any good. And trust me, they are most likely not.
I am a computer consultant with more than 15 years of experience on various platforms, and a Mac user since 3 years. I have to admit backup situation on OSX is nothing short of catastrophic. People relying on various drive image utility, which could, in best case, be a part of the disaster recovery but not a backup solution.
Retrospect, if you are lucky, might work for you if you are using the full backup option, WITHOUT touching the selectors. I have wasted days on testing Retrospect, trying to exclude/include directories, and I can tell you it is nearly impossible, and I have had examples that show it to be simply not doable. For, to me, unexplainable reasons, excluding enclosing folders "my iPod/Downloads" would work, but doing EXACTLY the same on "my iPod/Videos" would not. Not even the "enclosing folder starts with" and using "my iPod/V" would get it to exclude the directory! I will not even go into the story of trying to exclude a directory with it's subdirectories in one place, without it excluding the directory with the same name somewhere in your filesystem, between hundreds of thousand of files...
Similar experience, on random cases appeared more than once within few days of testing, so I gave it a pass. It is much more than an ugly piece of crap, it is one application, other than your OS, that needs to perform 100%, and it is far from it. It is plain dangerous, and I urge people thinking they have proper backup with Retrospect in place, to do proper tests, by restoring the backup on an empty drive and then compare the two. You just might be in for a surprise.


as it is, the only proper solution I found in days of searching, is also a FREE ONE! Go to and download free version for Linux server and client for OSX.
Yes, I know, you have to have a linux server, but as there is simply no backup available for the money single person could/should pay, this is small price to pay for your peace of mind.
Arkeia is a "proper" network backup solutions, made with much larger heterogenous systems than I and most of you are running at home. It has never failed restoring complete systems or locating and extracting single files. It's user interface is X-Windows-ugly, but is logical and easy to setup for anybody that knows anything about backups. If you are bothering reading this, you probably know enough to set up and run Arkeia. Aside from working with tape drives (free version does not support tape libraries), it will also work with hard disks amongst others. I have been running one on my home system, backing up a network made from some Solaris servers, Linux machines and macs, including mac and Windowz laptops. Never had a problem. I looked at Retrospect trying to find a mac-only solution I can use when away from home for longer time, with only my laptop and external disk or two on hands. But no luck...

I wonder when will somebody write a decent utility for under EUR 200 for selfemployed people, small businesses and everyody else that values ther data...

Ivica Vujanic

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10.4: Workaround for a Spotlight - Retrospect 6 conflict
Authored by: jollyroger on Aug 11, '05 12:22:53PM

Actually, I restore frequently, and have used Retrospect for many years through many operating system versions, on many models of Macintosh. With the exception of one unfortunate tape drive hardware failure (unrelated to Retrospect), I've *always* been able to count on my Retrospect backed up data being 100% accurate, and 100% accessible. I have never encountered the problems you state.

It seems your beef lies mainly with Retrospect's filters. Could it be the problems you are having are more the result of your misuse or miunderstanding of the (admittedly bad) filtering interface? For instance, it seems like you expect a filter only to work in one place in the file system. But filters are designed to filter ALL files in the backup source; so of course it will filter out (exclude) all files that match in other places in the file system - that's what it's designed to do. Also, are you sure filters are designed to take partial POSIX paths like you illustrate? I'm not trying to excuse any bugs, if they do indeed exist, but it wouldn't surprise me if most Retrospect users don't use filtering very much, and therefore this isn't an area the authors deem as important. I digress.

If you really want to exclude certain directories from backups, why not either not include them in the backup source to begin with, or maybe use the Retrospect Client exclude feature to exclude files with a certain character in the name?

Anyhow, for most people, Retrospect does indeed work reliably, including data restoration. I personally have relied on Retrospect for many years (granted with minimal filtering) - and it's always been rock solid.


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10.4: Workaround for a Spotlight - Retrospect 6 conflict
Authored by: MahatmaWFC on Aug 12, '05 12:55:31AM

I, too, have used Retrospect for many years, and without any overwhelming problems. However, I find duplicating my main drive to an external drive both efficient in the long run and, shall we say, less stressful. First of all, my purpose in backing up my drive is to have everything available when disaster strikes. Why keep something on my drive that I don't need or don't want? Second, I simply select Duplicate and, a couple of clicks later, I take a lunch break or read a short story. Finally, if disaster does strike, I simply reverse the backup.
I have noticed about a half dozen or so minor error notations — but no error numbers — but these have never seemed to impede a reverse backup. Now that I have noticed the question about Spotlight, I shall look further into this — and perhaps let Dantz in on the secret as well.

Just plain Bill

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10.4: Workaround for a Spotlight - Retrospect 6 conflict
Authored by: wheeles on Aug 11, '05 05:01:41AM

Sadly nothing yet seems to match up to Retrospect.

I used Tri-Backup in the past but when I last looked that couldn't handle network backups. I've looked, and looked, and looked again, but cannot find anything that comes close to what Retrospect offers. It seems to be a necessary evil.

I hate the Retrospect interface and find that it takes me several attempts to configure a backup set properly. I'm still not sure what the difference is between a folder and an enclosing folder (I'm not sure Retrospect knows either!). The string matching seems somewhat arbitrary. It annoys me that it can't run a backup in the background especially if the machine you are using is the one doing the backing up - instead it insists on popping up windows indicating backup progress.

This is one of those types of application that needs serious competition from Apple. Apple's Backup is a joke for anything more complicated than a basic "copy my Word documents to .Mac". It's about time they took the bull by the horns and built something into the OS that could do this all with no fuss.

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