Problems and Solutions
  • 16 Nov 2023
  • 74 Minutes to read
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Problems and Solutions

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  • PDF

Article summary

This section offers solutions to problems you may encounter with Retrospect and its clients. It includes general troubleshooting help, answers frequently asked questions, and introduces you to the same troubleshooting techniques Retrospect Technical Support uses to solve problems.

includes common problems encountered during installation and backup and restore operations and offers explanations and solutions.

Tips and late-breaking information

Securing Retrospect

To prevent Retrospect from being accessed by unauthorized Mac and iOS versions of Retrospect, it is strongly recommended that you set an access password for Retrospect. To set a password, go to Configure > Preferences > Security.

Stopping scripts

The Retrospect toolbar includes a button that makes it easy to stop all current operations. The icon for this button has changed from a red circle with an X in it to a pause symbol. When the option to stop all operations has been selected the button will flash the Retrospect logo.

Backing up file security information

When you select the “Back up file security information from servers” or “Back up file security information from workstations” option, Retrospect copies NTFS file security information for all the files it backs up from the source computer(s). If a file has new security information since the last backup, but has not changed in any other way, Retrospect recopies the entire file, including its new security information. If the permissions have changed for multiple files on the source computer(s), backing up file security information can take a long time and require lots of storage space, even for a Smart Incremental backup.

Powerful deployment of the Retrospect Client for Windows

The client software can easily be deployed to Windows-based computers using Microsoft SMS, Active Directory Group Policy, or other software distribution tools.

Live restore of UNIX client computers

After you perform a live restore of an entire UNIX client computer, Retrospect displays the following alert message: “The volume / has been restored. The client’s boot loader may need to be reinstalled before restarting the client.” If the client computer hangs at GRUB after you restart it, rebuild the boot loader and restart the computer again.

Backing up the My Documents folder

If you change the target folder location for the My Documents folder, Retrospect selectors that include My Documents (such as Documents and Settings) will not work correctly.

Scripted recycle backup

When performing a scripted recycle backup to a tape member with the correct name, Retrospect will generate a media request unless the “Automatically reuse named media” preference is selected. Click Configure > Preferences and then browse to the Media Erasure preferences to specify this option.

Can't save files to Desktop

Depending on the account that Retrospect is running under, you may not be able to save files (e.g., exported selectors) to the Desktop. If this is the case, manually browse to the desired user’s Desktop folder instead of using the top level Desktop option.

Retrospect Launcher service fails to start

If this happens go to Configure > Preferences and browse to the Execution Startup preferences. Clear the Enable Retrospect Launcher service check box and click OK. Go back to the Execution Startup preferences, select the Enable Retrospect Launcher service check box, and click OK.


Most problems encountered while using Retrospect fall into a few general categories. Retrospect Technical Support follows some basic troubleshooting procedures for each of these categories. With a little effort, you can learn how to troubleshoot many problems on your own. This section outlines those procedures and shows you the most common problems and their treatments.

The first thing you should do when you encounter an error is to make sure that your version of Retrospect is up-to-date. Choose Retrospect Updates from the Help menu, then click Check Now to check for available updates to your current version of Retrospect. Install the latest updates to see if they resolve your problem.

We recommend that you keep notes of your troubleshooting efforts. Even if you are unable to resolve a problem right away, your notes can establish a pattern of behavior to help us both understand the problem. If, after reading this section, you find you are still unable to solve a problem, try using some of the other Retrospect support resources. See Retrospect Support.

Troubleshooting Road Map

The first step in troubleshooting a problem is to isolate the problem by identifying exactly when and where it occurs. Knowing when an error occurs gives you a fixed point of reference to help you solve a problem. Retrospect has different phases of operation. For example, a backup typically includes scanning, matching, copying, and verification phases in that order. If you can determine the problem happens while matching, you are on your way toward solving it.

Client Configuration Issues

A client in the local subnet or in another Retrospect-configured subnet does not appear in Retrospect’s live network window, or appears intermittently.

Use the Test button in the live network window to see if the client is on the network.

Open the Retrospect Client control panel on the client computer and check whether the client software was loaded at startup and whether it is turned on. Check that its status field says “Ready” or “Waiting for first access.”

Make sure the client computer is connected to the network and its network settings are correct.

Should these measures not work, see Testing and Pinging to Verify TCP/IP Communication. If the backup computer and client ping successfully yet the client still does not appear, your network may not fully support TCP/IP and UDP. Passive networking hardware, such as hubs and bridges, may not forward network information Retrospect needs to work with TCP/IP clients. Retrospect’s advanced networking lets you directly add a client by its DNS name, WINS name, or IP Address (see Direct Access) and may skirt around the problems and let you work with a client.

After taking the appropriate measure you may log in the client.

If the client has more than one Ethernet card, that might also be the source of the problem. See “Troubleshooting multiple ethernet cards on a Retrospect Client running Windows” in the Retrospect Knowledgebase ( for more information.

A client outside the local subnet does not appear in Retrospect’s live network window.

The live network window shows only clients Retrospect found in a specific network with a specific way of searching for clients.

Retrospect Desktop can only access clients connected to the backup computer’s local subnet. Retrospect Single Server and Multi Server can access clients directly anywhere on the network by using an IP address, DNS name, or WINS name. It can also access clients on any network segment you define. See Advanced Networking.

If the client has more than one Ethernet card or NIC, that might also be the source of the problem. See “Troubleshooting multiple ethernet cards on a Retrospect Client running Windows” in the Retrospect Knowledgebase ( for more information.

See also –530 (backup client not found) and –541 (backup client not installed or not running).

The advanced networking direct access method fails to connect with the client at the specified IP address or name.

Make sure the client computer is connected to the network and its network settings are correct.

Open the Retrospect Client control panel on the client computer and check whether the client software was loaded at startup and whether it is turned on. Check that its status field says “Ready” or “Waiting for first access.”

Make sure the IP address you are using is current. If the client is using dynamic IP addressing its IP address may have changed. It is not a good idea to directly add a dynamic address unless it has a long-term lease. Use the subnet broadcast access method instead.

If you are using the client’s DNS or WINS name try using its IP address.

Ping the computers to check whether they are correctly communicating with TCP/IP. See Testing and Pinging to Verify TCP/IP Communication.

There may be a firewall between the client’s network and the backup computer’s network, restricting outside access. For example, Windows XP with Service Pack 2 enables the firewall by default. See the Retrospect Knowledgebase ( for information on creating a firewall exception for Retrospect and Retrospect Client.

The advanced networking direct access method added the wrong client.

Make sure the IP address you are using is current. If the client is using dynamic IP addressing (for example, DHCP) its IP address may have changed. Use the subnet broadcast access method instead. Also see Common Questions.

Mac OS X client file/folder permissions and Access Control Lists (ACLs)

Before restoring or duplicating to a volume on a Mac OS X client, you must prepare the volume if you wish to retain changed ACLs or permissions of the source. In the Finder's Get Info for the volume, ensure that the "Ignore ownership on this volume" checkbox is unchecked, and if needed, enable ACLs on the volume.

Backup Issues

Immediate backups and scripted backups differ in the way they are started and what they do when they are done. Otherwise, both follow the same procedure after starting: scanning, matching, requesting media, copying, comparing, and then closing.

Retrospect fails to automatically launch to execute a scheduled script.

There are a few reasons why this can happen:

  • Confusion About Start Date: The date you expect a script to run may not be its actual start date. See Common Scheduler Elements.
  • Incorrectly Scheduled Script: Check the list of future scripted operations to confirm that Retrospect has the same schedule you expect your scripts to run. To do this, click Activity Monitor>Scheduled. Check that you have not set a limited schedule of possible execution times with the Schedule preference (see Schedule Preferences).
  • Autolaunch Preference Not On: Check that the unattended execution preference is turned on (see Startup Preferences).

Retrospect crashes while it is being launched.

The Config77.dat file may be damaged. Move it (and any other configuration files, “config.*”) out of its parent folder and try launching again. If this solves the problem, place the suspect configuration file in the recycle bin. (Retrospect creates a new configuration file using the default settings.) If you do not want to recreate your scripts and settings and log in clients again, you can use the configs.xml file to recreate Config77.dat, or restore a recent version of the Config77.dat file from a backup.

The Config77.dat and configs.xml files can be found either in the same folder as the Retrospect application, or in ../Documents and Settings/All Users/Application Data/Retrospect .

Retrospect reports an error during scanning or matching.

There may be a problem with the volume being scanned. In this case, Retrospect reports a specific error in the Operations Log.

Look up the error number in Retrospect Error Messages.

A removable cartridge drive does not appear in the Volumes Database or media request window.

Removable disks (such as DVD-RAM or MO) must be accessible with a drive letter in the Windows Explorer.

A tape drive or CD/DVD drive does not appear in the Storage Devices window or media request window.

Go to Configure>Devices and click the Environment tab. If the driver name listed for your device does not appear in boldface, some other software loaded a driver inappropriately, keeping Retrospect from using its own driver. Determine which other device driver is loading and disable it.

All devices should be connected before launching Retrospect. Verify the drive is properly connected and terminated then make sure it is turned on. If other devices on the communications bus are off, turn them on and restart. Use Retrospect’s Environment tab (from Configure>Devices) to review your ID settings. For a SCSI device verify it has a unique SCSI ID number.

On Windows systems, Retrospect uses NT Passthrough by default to access devices. When using ASPI instead, if the ATAPI miniport driver is disabled Retrospect will not see the ATAPI bus. You must enable the miniport driver by editing the registry key at the path:


Set the ExcludeMiniports value data to empty so Retrospect sees all buses.

If you have a new drive model, it may not be supported by the version of Retrospect you are using. To find out if a newer version of Retrospect is required for this drive, refer to the Retrospect web site .

Retrospect reports “the drive can’t be used because no drive letter is assigned” for a CD/DVD drive that has an assigned drive letter.

Under Windows if the ATAPI miniport driver is disabled Retrospect reports the drive does not have an assigned drive letter.

You must enable the miniport driver by editing the registry key at the path:


Set the ExcludeMiniports value data to empty so Retrospect sees all buses.

Retrospect can’t use the inserted disk or tape because it is “busy.”

There are several possible causes.

  • You saved the disk Backup Set Catalog on a disk that is a Backup Set member. Catalogs must be saved on different volumes. Move the Catalog to your hard disk and double-click it to force Retrospect to recognize it.
  • You are using the disk as both a source and destination, which is illogical and not allowed. For example, you are trying to back up the 2-Dunsinane volume to the Dunsinane Backup Set, of which 2-Dunsinane is a member.
  • Some other software may be creating or using files (which may be invisible) on your backup disk. Likely suspects are compression programs; see the latest “read me” file for conflicts and workarounds.
  • The drive may be malfunctioning. Contact the drive vendor for assistance.
  • The medium may be damaged. Designate it as missing and use a new medium.

Retrospect refuses to use the inserted medium.

Retrospect has a system for recognizing media and for adding them to Backup Sets. If Retrospect is not automatically using the tape or disk you think it should, carefully read the text that appears in the media request window. It explains what medium Retrospect needs.

You may not have inserted the exact medium required by Retrospect. Check that the name of the medium you are inserting exactly matches the requested name. If the name is the same and Retrospect does not proceed with the operation when you insert the medium, you probably have two pieces of media with the same name and are inserting the wrong one. This can happen if you switch media when you perform a Recycle backup to a particular Backup Set.

Turn on the “Automatically reuse named media” preference to avoid this scenario. See Erasure Preference.

Retrospect may require new media. Insert the tape or disc you want Retrospect to use and wait for it to appear in the window, or click Add to use hard disk storage space, and then click Proceed. Retrospect will not use media that is part of a known Backup Set, as detailed below. It will automatically use any media that is erased or correctly named.

Retrospect asks for a new medium, but then complains “You can’t use ‘1-Birnam Wood’, it already belongs to a Backup Set!”

This is a feature designed to prevent accidental erasure. If you are sure you want to erase this medium and use it for the current backup, click Erase from the toolbar, then click Proceed if necessary. Erasing the medium removes the entry for this member from the Backup Set it previously belonged to.

Retrospect asks for a particular medium, but then reports ‘“2-Dunsinane’ is not a member of this Backup Set. Although it is named correctly, it has a different creation date.”

This means you have more than one medium with the same name. This can happen if you run a Recycle backup to new media and later try to do a Normal backup with older media. If possible, locate the proper tape, disk, or CD/DVD for the restore.

Try other media to see if any match the Catalog you are using.

If you are sure this medium has the files you want, rebuild its Catalog. Click Tools>Repair Catalog, and select the appropriate repair function to recreate the Catalog. See Recreating a Catalog.

Retrospect asks for a particular medium, but you do not have it.

If you know where it is, but it is not available right now and you must back up, follow these instructions. Click Choices, then click Skip. Retrospect treats the requested member as if it were full and backs up progressively to a new piece of media. Files previously backed up to the requested member are not backed up again. Future backups will require the new member and you will need to use both members later if you need to restore.

Once you click Skip, you will not be able to take advantage of the remaining free space (if any) on the skipped member.

If you know it is lost, damaged, or erased, follow these instructions. If this is the first member of the Backup Set, it is easiest to start a new Backup Set or run a Recycle backup to this Backup Set. Either way, Retrospect asks for a new medium, which becomes the new first Backup Set member. If this is not the first member and you wish to continue backing up progressively to the members you do have, click the Choices button, then click Missing. Retrospect will start backing up to a new medium. Files that were backed up to the missing member will be backed up again, if possible, during your next Progressive Backup.

Retrospect reports a Catalog out of sync error at start of backup.

Update your Catalog from the media.

See Updating a Catalog.

Retrospect reports a chunk checksum error.

If the error occurs only with a particular Backup Set, repair its Catalog and try again.

See Updating a Catalog.

Retrospect reports verification errors.

Retrospect reports different kinds of errors depending on the type of verification you are using.

Thorough verification compares the files on the destination media to the files on the source. If Retrospect reports “different modify date/time…” for a particular file, the most likely explanation is that the file was modified during the backup. In this case, no action is required. When you next back up, Retrospect will re-copy the file.

Errors such as “File … didn’t compare at offset…” usually indicate a problem with the communications bus (for example, SCSI or ATAPI). Back up again to re-copy the file.

Note, however, that these “offset” error messages usually point to serious data corruption problems you should not ignore. If the error occurs with many or all sources, including clients, or with a source connected to the backup computer itself, troubleshoot its communications bus. If the error occurs only on a particular source being backed up over the network, troubleshoot the communications bus of that computer and possibly the network connection to that computer.

See FireWire and USB Device IssuesSCSI Issues, and Network Troubleshooting Techniques. Consider using diagnostic software on affected volumes.

Media verification compares MD5 digests for the files on the destination media to MD5 digests generated when copying the files from the source.

When Retrospect reports that these MD5 digests do not match, this usually indicates a problem with the destination media (e.g., the media is corrupt, or data was written to a bad disk sector). Check your Backup Set media for problems. If you cannot correct the problems, you should back up to new media. Files that generate Media verification errors, by definition, do not match those in the destination Backup Set. Therefore, they will be recopied to the destination during the next backup.

In certain circumstances, Retrospect does not have access to MD5 digests generated during backup. This is true for all backups created using versions of Retrospect prior to Retrospect 7.7, as well as backups that took place when Retrospect’s “Generate MD5 digests during backup operations” preference was disabled. See Verification Preferences for more information. In these cases, Retrospect still checks all files on the Backup Set media to make sure that they are readable.

When it has finished executing an operation, Retrospect does not quit, log off, restart, or shut down according to the Unattended preference.

Retrospect quits, logs off, restarts, or shuts down when it finishes only if it is executing an operation in unattended mode and no additional operations are scheduled within the look ahead period (see Schedule Preferences).

Retrospect automatically enters interactive mode when you start an immediate operation and unattended mode when you start a script. While Retrospect is copying, use the Control menu to switch between modes.

Retrospect is not backing up a particular client volume.

Check that your backup script includes the volume as a source.

Make sure the client volume is not designated as private (see Access Restrictions Preferences).

Make sure the client’s volume is mounted for use with the client computer. (Under Mac OS, the volume icon is on the Desktop; under Windows, the drive letter is accessible.)

Use the client container as the source, rather than specific client volumes, to select all volumes connected to the client. Then go to Configure>Clients, get the properties of the client in question, click the properties window’s Volumes tab, and choose Client Desktop from the list box.

For more information about using client containers see Configuring Clients.

The client crashes during the backup.

Failing network hardware, a virus, or a software conflict may be causing the client to crash. Use diagnostic utilities to look for viruses and hard disk problems.

ProactiveAI Backup Issues

ProactiveAI Backup indicates “media,” but there is a medium in the drive.

ProactiveAI Backup is reporting it needs a specific media member to back up a source. To determine which Backup Set needs more media, click the Backup Sets tab in the ProactiveAI Backup status window and look for any Backup Set with a status showing “media.”

If you have never backed up to the Backup Set that needs media, Retrospect accepts any new or erased medium. Stop ProactiveAI Backup, use Configure> Devices to erase the medium you want to use, then start ProactiveAI Backup again.

If you still cannot determine why ProactiveAI Backup is not accepting your medium, start a backup to that Backup Set using Backup> Backup. Retrospect displays a window naming the medium being requested.

Retrospect does not quit when ProactiveAI Backup completes its backups.

ProactiveAI Backup is optimized to run continuously. If you have other kinds of scripts, they will start at their scheduled times even though ProactiveAI Backup is still running.

If you schedule ProactiveAI Backup to run only part of the time (for example, from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. each day), you can quit Retrospect after the Stop time without affecting ProactiveAI Backup. Retrospect will automatically launch when the next script is scheduled to start.

The Retrospect Client control panel’s ProactiveAI Backup Schedule was set to “As soon as possible” but the client was not immediately backed up.

The “As soon as possible” preference waits for ProactiveAI Backup to poll the client; the client does not initiate contact itself. Meanwhile, ProactiveAI Backup may be busy backing up other sources or polling other clients; it may even be inactive, according to its schedule. When Retrospect does poll the client set to ASAP, it backs it up.

See Allow Early Backups.

Restore Issues

When you start a restore, you first select the Backup Set from which you are restoring. Retrospect then goes through the following stages: selecting a volume (specifying where the files are going), matching or selecting files, requesting media, copying, and setting privileges if necessary.

You have problems selecting a Backup Set.

If your Backup Set is not in the list, click the More button. Click Open if the Catalog for your Backup Set is available, or click Recreate to rebuild it from the media.

If Retrospect reports a chunk checksum error after selecting a Backup Set, see –641 (chunk checksum didn’t match).

You have a medium that you want to restore from, but you do not see its Backup Set in the selection window.

Use Windows Explorer to look for the Backup Set Catalog File on your hard drive. It will have the same name as the medium in Retrospect’s Storage Devices window. For example, if a tape is named “1-Macduff” look for a Catalog File named “Macduff”. Double-click the Catalog File to show Retrospect where it is.

If you cannot find the Catalog File on your hard drive, click Tools> Repair Catalog, and select the appropriate function to recreate it (see Recreating a Catalog).

You cannot find the files you want to restore.

If you are using “restore selected files,” be sure the Snapshot you select is for the right volume. By default, the files chosen preview browser shows your files and folders in alphabetical order, organized as they were on the backed-up hard disk. Once you find the file you want, double-click it to mark it for retrieval. If you cannot find your file, choose Find from the Edit menu to search by name or other attributes. A file with a poof icon indicates the file is on a missing member of the Backup Set.

If you are restoring older versions of files, use Restore>Find Files. Tell Retrospect to look for a particular file or folder name, and if necessary click More Choices to use Retrospect’s Selector interface for finding files.

See Restore and Using Selectors.

While retrieving an older Snapshot from media, Retrospect says no Snapshot is available.

There are two possible causes:

  • You turned off the “Save source Snapshots for restore” option (see Catalog File Execution Option).
  • You cancelled the backup before it was completed. Retrospect does not save a Snapshot for a volume until the backup is finished.

Retrospect refuses to use the inserted medium, reporting it is named correctly but has a different creation date.

This means that you have more than one medium with the same name. This can happen if you run a Recycle backup to new media and then try to restore with older tapes, disks, or CD/DVDs. If possible, locate the proper medium for the restore.

Try other media to see if any match the Catalog you are using.

If you are sure this medium has the files you want, rebuild its Catalog. Click Tools> Repair Catalog, and select the appropriate repair function to recreate the Catalog. (See Recreating a Catalog).

Retrospect reports the disk is full while copying during restore.

The volume you are restoring to does not have enough space for the files you are restoring. You will need to manage your disk space by moving or deleting files, or avoid the problem by marking fewer files to restore. If you are restoring a volume that was using a compression utility, you may need to restore your files in batches and use your compression utility between restores to make room for the next batch of files.

After restoring, NTFS security permissions are not set.

You must restore by Snapshot and leave on the option to copy security information. See Windows Security Options and Restoring from a Full Backup.

After restoring, Mac OS file sharing privileges are not set.

Before restoring to a volume other than the current system volume under Mac OS X, use the Finder’s Show Info command on the volume. Choose Privileges from the info window’s menu then turn off the “Ignore privileges on this volume” option.

See Restoring Mac OS File Servers.

After restoring a backup to a new Macintosh hard disk, the volume icon on the Finder Desktop is no longer custom. It is now generic.

Restart the computer.

After restoring, Subvolume definitions for a Macintosh client are wrong.

Subvolume definitions may be re-identified following an operation restoring a large number of folders. The Subvolumes may have incorrect names (because they were re-associated with incorrect folders) in Retrospect’s volume selection window and browsers. The cause has to do with the invisible directory identification numbers of folders.

To prevent this rare problem from occurring, erase or format the destination volume before you use Retrospect’s “restore entire volume” feature. To avoid Subvolume confusion, check the names and accuracy of all Subvolumes after any large restore operation (such as restoring an entire disk). You will have to re-define each Subvolume on a volume after a full volume restore.

You can’t retrieve or restore data to a client.

Take the following steps:

  1. Attempt to access the client. From the client database, select the client and click Properties from the toolbar. Click the Refresh button to check whether Retrospect can connect to the client.
  2. Go to Configure>Volumes, select the volume to which you wish to restore data, and click Properties from the toolbar. Make sure the volume has enough free space to accommodate the files you want to restore, and that there is no lock symbol on the Attributes line. (If there is no Attributes line it is not locked.)

If you are sure that the volume to which you are restoring data is both unlocked and has free space but you still experience difficulty restoring, refer to Disaster Recovery for general assistance.

FireWire and USB Device Issues

If you’re having problems with FireWire or USB devices it could be due to a number of issues.

Hardware Issues

  • Isolate the device. Another device on the chain may be interfering with the backup device’s communication. If your backup device is connected to your computer through a hub or another FireWire/USB device, unplug it and connect it directly to a port on the computer. If it is already connected directly to the computer, try changing ports. If the problem persists, do not reconnect the other devices, and continue down the checklist.
  • You may have a bad cable. Replace the cable that connects the device to the computer.
  • The system board or FireWire/USB adapter in the computer may be having a problem. Install Retrospect on another computer, if available, and try the device there as the only device.

Media Issues

  • Try a new piece of media to see if the problem is related to a faulty or damaged medium. If applicable, try using a different brand of media. Often drives are picky regarding the brand of media. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended list of brands.
  • If you are using a tape drive, clean the heads with a cleaning cartridge.

Firmware/Software Issues

  • Check to make sure you have the latest USB or FireWire firmware update for your computer. Hardware vendors often release firmware updates that may help to resolve USB or FireWire issues. Search the vendor web site for Updates. Retrospect lists the current firmware of the drive that you are using in the version column of the Device Status (or Environment) window. If there is a known problem with a firmware version, this will be listed on the Retrospect web site.
  • Update or reinstall the FireWire and USB adapter drivers. Corrupt drivers can cause issues that may not be otherwise detectable. Check the manufacturer’s or vendor’s web site for updated drivers.
  • Completely uninstall any other third-party backup software that may be on your machine, including any drivers that software may have loaded for the device.

If you have investigated all the issues listed about and still get failures on new media, then the backup device itself may be defective. Contact your drive vendor for further diagnostics, tests, or to inquire about repair or replacement.

SCSI Issues

If the SCSI chain is not set up properly, communication errors may cause data corruption or system failures during copy operations. The following information is designed to give you guidance when you encounter SCSI problems.

Also see USB/USB 2.0/USB 3.0, your SCSI card’s user’s guide, and the manual that came with your hardware device.

These sample errors can indicate communication errors on a SCSI bus:

  • File “Tech Note” didn’t compare at offset 3,253
  • Trouble reading: “1-Office Backup 2” (0), error –102 (trouble communicating)
  • Trouble writing: “1-Macbeth” (0), error –205 (lost access to storage medium)

These errors can usually be traced to a failure in the SCSI configuration, whether it is termination, a particular device, cabling, or device order. The most common cause of SCSI bus communication problems is improper termination or bad SCSI cables. Try changing terminators, using a powered terminator, changing cables, isolating the device on the SCSI chain, and moving the device to a different computer. If it is a tape drive, clean its heads and if cleaning does not work, try different kinds of tapes.


The general rule for termination is to use only two terminators on the SCSI bus; one at the beginning and one at the end. If you have only a single device on the SCSI bus, then only one terminator is needed because your SCSI card should have built-in termination. Some SCSI peripherals come with internal termination built in, and must be placed at the end of a SCSI chain.

Consult your hardware’s user guide for its specific termination requirements.

SCSI Cables

Communication problems can be caused by bad or loose-fitting SCSI cables. Check all cables to ensure they are properly seated in each connector. The entire length of your SCSI bus should not exceed 20 feet. Whenever possible, try to use short (12 to 36 inches) cables and avoid cables over six feet in length.

Device Order and Device Conflicts

To avoid problems caused by device order or device conflicts, make sure that each device has a unique SCSI address. To see the SCSI address of every device, click Configure>Devices. Then click the Environment tab to view all of your devices. You may print this window for future reference. If problems occur (for example, a device does not appear that you know is turned on and connected), try changing the order of SCSI devices or temporarily removing unneeded devices. Recheck that each device has a unique SCSI ID.

Some devices, such as scanners and removable disk drives, can cause communication failures on the SCSI bus, especially if they are turned off. If you are experiencing SCSI communication problems, make sure all of your SCSI devices are turned on when you use your computer. Even if you are not experiencing SCSI problems, we highly recommend you turn on all SCSI peripherals before starting the computer. Do not turn them off until after you shut down the computer.

Unresolved SCSI Problems

If everything is properly set on the SCSI chain, there is still the unpredictability of “SCSI voodoo,” the cause of problems which theoretically should not occur because the “rules” of SCSI are being followed. SCSI voodoo may require you to rearrange the devices on the chain, change the termination, assign new IDs, or replace SCSI cables. (Short cables cause less problems than long ones.) In theory SCSI has well-defined rules and expected results, but in practice SCSI sometimes is an inexact science.

Network Troubleshooting Techniques

Testing and Pinging to Verify TCP/IP Communication

Use the Test button in the live network window to see if Retrospect can connect to a computer on the network via TCP/IP and communicate with the client software. Click Test and enter an IP address, DNS name, or WINS name. If Retrospect reports error –541, it connected to the computer at that address but no client software responded. If it reports error –530, Retrospect could not even connect to the computer. Other errors may indicate network and TCP/IP configuration trouble and you should “ping” the backup computer and client computer from other computers to check whether they are communicating with TCP/IP.

Windows computers configured for TCP/IP have built-in ping commands. From a TCP/IP Windows computer on your network, go to the MS-DOS command prompt and type “ping” followed by a space and the IP address.

On Mac OS X, click the Ping tab on the Network Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities).

Using an IP pinging utility on the troublesome client computer, first ping the IP address of the backup computer. A reply tells you the pinged computer’s TCP/IP setup is operational. If it times out or reports it as unreachable there is a problem with the TCP/IP setup, the network interface hardware, or the network itself.

If pinging the backup computer is successful, use it or another computer to ping the IP address of the troublesome client computer.

Troubleshooting Networks

When you have network problems with Retrospect or clients, start by identifying a pattern of failure. If the problem occurs on a single client, begin your troubleshooting by examining that particular computer. If the problem occurs on multiple client computers, find out if those computers share a common hub, router, bridge, or gateway. You may be able to identify a faulty network component that should be repaired or replaced. If you encounter failures on multiple client computers but cannot identify a pattern, troubleshoot the networking hardware on the backup computer.

Common Questions

This section answers common questions about setting up and configuring Retrospect Clients, backing up files locally and over the network, Backup Sets, Catalogs, devices, and media.

Client Setup Questions

How do I find out the IP address of a client so I can access it directly?

It depends on the operating system and how the client computer is configured. If the client has a static IP address you can use it with the direct access method. However, if the client automatically obtains a dynamic IP address from a DHCP server you probably should not be using the direct access method. Dynamic IP addresses may change later and Retrospect may find a different machine at that address if you directly added a dynamic IP address. You should use multicast or subnet broadcast instead.

Here’s how to determine a computer’s IP address and whether it is static or dynamic.

Mac OS: Open the Network preferences (Mac OS X) on the client. It shows the “IP Address” the computer is currently using. Above the IP address is the Configure pop-up menu. If it shows “Using DHCP Server” it is a dynamic address. If it shows “manually” it is a static address.

Windows: Open the DOS prompt and enter “IPconfig -All”, which lists the full IP configuration.

All Windows Systems: The IP configuration information shows the IP address the computer is currently using. It shows whether the computer is using a DHCP server and, if so, shows the lease dates of the automatically obtained IP address. If it does not show DHCP server and lease information, the IP address was specified manually (that is, it is static).

Client Configuration Questions

How do I change the name of a client?

The client is named when it is first accessed from the backup computer.

If a client has already been logged in and you want to change its name, click Configure>Clients, double-click the client to be renamed, then click the Tools tab in the client properties window. Click the Rename button and enter a new name.

The name change will not affect previously backed up files—they are still stored under the old client name. New files and Snapshots will be stored under the new name.

How do I log in a client when I forgot its password?

You must uninstall the client software, reboot the client computer, then reinstall the client software with a new password.

How can I get back a client volume after accidentally using Forget?

If you forget a client’s volume, you can put it back into Retrospect’s volume lists by configuring the client (see Configuring Clients). Remember to add the volume to the appropriate scripts, if necessary.

Backup Questions

How do I back up to a hard disk drive?

Use a disk Backup Set or a file Backup Set on the hard disk. See Backup Sets and Their Components and Hard Disk Drives.

How do I back up a Snap Server or other NAS? How do I use it as a backup device?

Retrospect works with Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices in a number of ways. You can run the Retrospect application or Retrospect Client on the NAS device, or you can use the NAS device as the destination to store data for file and disk Backup Sets.

See Network Attached Storage (NAS) Devices for more information.

How do I back up only files which have changed?

Retrospect does this automatically. The first time you back up, Retrospect copies all selected files. On subsequent Normal backups, it copies only the selected files which are new or changed.

How do I specify complete (full) or progressive (incremental or differential) backups?

By default, Retrospect does progressive backups; i.e. it backs up only new or changed files. You can modify this behavior by setting the backup action. See Backup Actions for more information.

There are many ways to do this:

How do I back up multiple volumes to the same tape, disk, or CD/DVD?

Use the same destination Backup Set. To back them up at the same time, select each volume you want to back up in the volume selection window. You can make a non-contiguous selection using the Control key or select a range of volumes using the Shift key. When you execute the backup, Retrospect backs up each of the selected volumes, one after another.

You can later do Normal backups of other volumes to the same Backup Set and Retrospect will add them to the medium until it is filled.

How do I quickly start a backup?

First create a script in Retrospect and save a run document (see To make a run document:) from it. Use the run document to start that script directly from the Windows Explorer.

How do I include or exclude files with particular attributes?

You can specify which files Retrospect backs up by using selectors. These allow you to include or exclude files by their size, kind, dates, and many other attributes. See Using Selectors.

Network Backup Questions

How do I see what was backed up last night? How can I tell if everyone has been backed up by ProactiveAI Backup?

The Backup Report shows a summary of the backup operations for each volume. To view the report, click Reports>Backup Report. See Viewing the Backup Report.

The Operations Log shows by date and time which volumes were backed up, how much data was copied, and whether the backup completed successfully. To view the log, click Reports > Operations Log. The log also lists any errors which occurred. See Viewing the Operations Log.

To view files backed up during the most recent backup, click Reports>Session Contents. Select the appropriate Backup Set from the top list in the contents report window, select one or more sessions from the bottom list, and click Browse. A browser appears, listing the files in the order they were backed up. See Viewing Session Contents.

To see all files on a particular volume at the time of a given backup, get the Backup Set properties and view the Snapshots tab. See The Snapshots tab.

Can more than one backup computer run on the same network at the same time?

Yes, you can run multiple backup computers at the same time on the same network with no problems, though when they transfer data at the same time both backups will probably slow. If you run backups in different physical network segments, traffic on one segment will not affect other segments.

I want to make a computer on a different network segment the backup computer. What should I do?

Moving to a new backup computer is explained in detail in Moving Retrospect.

How can I use multiple network cards on the backup computer?

Retrospect Multi Server allows you to access all clients from multiple subnets without crossing your network backbone. Connect each network interface card to a separate network segment and use Retrospect’s advanced networking features (see Advanced Networking) to configure a separate interface for each card/subnet combination.

What is Retrospect’s network port number?

Retrospect uses a well-known port, 497, assigned by the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA), for both TCP and UDP.

How many client computers can I back up from a single backup computer?

There is no fixed limit to the number of clients you can access from one backup computer. It is not a question of numbers, but more a question of resources. You can back up more clients with a faster backup computer, a faster backup device with higher capacity media, and simply more time to do the backups.

If the backup computer is not completing backups in its scheduled time periods or if you want volumes to be backed up more often than they are, you may need a faster backup computer or a faster backup device, if not both.

Why do my network backups take too long?

For a discussion of backup performance, including guidelines for estimating your backup speed, see Network Backup Guidelines, and Choosing the Backup Computer.

If you notice that your backups have suddenly become much slower, or if one particular client backs up more slowly than others with a similar configuration, you may be experiencing a problem. Potential problems may lie with the following:

• The amount of activity on the backup and client computers during the backup.

Other applications (anti-virus software for example) running on either computer draw processing power away from Retrospect. Try a backup with Retrospect as the only application running on the backup computer for optimal performance.

• The amount of data being copied.

Recycle backups tend to show higher performance figures than Progressive Backups. For each backup, Retrospect must spend time examining the entire volume to determine which files need to be backed up, regardless of the amount of data that needs to be backed up. The ratio of this overhead time to total backup time will be higher for a small amount of data (Progressive Backup), as compared to a large amount of data (for a Recycle backup or when an empty Backup Set is first used in a Normal backup). Backups of small amounts of data may therefore report slower performance times than backups of large amounts.

Sample values for client backups over an Ethernet network shows sample data from several backups. Performance figures for the Recycle backup are much higher than for subsequent backups of the same client due to the lower proportion of overhead time to the amount of data actually backed up.

• The total number of sessions for which a Backup Set has been used.

The greater the number of sessions created, the longer Retrospect takes to match sessions to determine what files need to be backed up. Periodically resetting your Backup Set with a Recycle backup or adding new media to your rotation using a New Backup Set backup will limit the number of sessions in your Backup Set, thereby speeding up both your backup and restore operations.

• File sharing.

File sharing slows copying on both clients and the backup computer. Turning off file sharing when it is not needed can help optimize network performance.

• Backing up across network segments.

The backup computer and a client may reside on two physically different networks connected by a bridge or router that may slow the progress of data from one machine to the other. Backup performance may also suffer if the two networks vary greatly in terms of their relative network activity or performance. You can confirm the speed of the connection between the backup computer and the client by getting properties from Configure>Clients. If the echo time seems higher than under normal circumstances (for example, consistently above 0.3) or the KB/second performance figure seems lower than normal, a network problem may be affecting your backup speed. Get properties to view the performance figures for various client computers and compare them to determine current levels of network performance.

• The performance of the backup and/or client computer.

Problems with either machine affect the speed of your backup. Specifically, you should check for hard drive fragmentation, problems on the SCSI bus, and network problems.

• The speed of the backup computer.

Different computer models feature various central processing units with various clock rates (for instance, a relatively slow Pentium or a relatively fast Pentium III) that determine how quickly they perform tasks. The performance of similar CPUs also varies based on their clock cycles (as expressed in megahertz). Finally, the speed of the SCSI bus varies among the different expansion cards, influencing how fast each computer can transfer data across its SCSI bus. For optimal backup performance, assign a relatively fast computer to run Retrospect.

• Using encryption or software compression.

If possible, avoid using encryption on the backup media or link encryption for client computers. Encryption requires additional processing power the backup computer would otherwise use to increase backup performance. Whenever possible, use hardware compression (if your tape drive includes hardware compression capabilities), since hardware compression works faster than software compression. Because backup speed influences tape capacity, hardware compression also allows more data to fit on a tape.

How do I determine a working speed threshold for the client execution option?

Get the properties of several different clients from the clients database window. For about a minute, observe the speed of each client.

Can Retrospect shut down a Windows client computer when it is done with its backup?

No. The Retrospect client software for Windows does not support software shutdown because most PCs must be turned off with a hardware switch.

Can I duplicate the system from one Windows computer to another?

No, because too much of a Windows computer’s information is specific to that computer. Each card, peripheral, and software program requires specific settings which are unlikely to carry over from one PC to another, even if they were identical models and configurations.

Do I have to upgrade my clients to the latest version?

Retrospect strongly recommends using the latest version of the Retrospect client software with clients used with the latest version of Retrospect.

How can I prevent the “waiting for backup” dialog from appearing on Macintosh clients on nights when no operation is scheduled?

The Retrospect Client control panel has no way of knowing when an operation is scheduled to occur, so it always waits at shutdown if this option is turned on in the Retrospect Client control panel preferences dialog. There are several ways to get around this if you do not perform operations every night.

Make a script using the No Files selector then schedule it to run on nights when no backups are scheduled. Retrospect shuts down the script’s Macintosh sources.

Tell users which days they should click the Shut Down button in the “waiting for backup” dialog when they leave for the day.

Turn off the Wait at Shutdown preference in the Retrospect Client control panel on each user’s Macintosh. Tell the users which nights to leave their Macintosh computers on. Remind them to turn down the monitor brightness or turn off its power to prevent screen burn-in.

Restore Questions

I thought I just restored some files. Where are they? Where did they go?

Look on the root level of your hard disk for a folder with the same name as the Backup Set from which you restored.

Does Retrospect restore empty folders?

Yes. Empty folders are restored when you restore from a Snapshot using Restore>Entire Volume, using any option except “Restore just files”.

I backed up multiple volumes using a single backup script. How do I restore all of the volumes at once?

Create and schedule a restore script for the first Snapshot you wish to restore. Duplicate this script. Edit the copy of the first script, changing the source and destination to reflect the next Snapshot to restore. Repeat this process for each volume you wish to restore. Retrospect runs each script, one after the other, alphabetically by script name, starting at the time you specified.

Backup Set and Catalog Questions

What if I forget my Catalog?

If you forget a Backup Set Catalog from within Retrospect, its file remains on your hard disk until you drag it to the recycle bin. If you have mistakenly told Retrospect to forget a Catalog, you can open the Catalog File from within Retrospect or from Windows Explorer. After forgetting a Catalog, you must add the Backup Set to your scripts again because Retrospect removes them when you forget the Catalog.

What if I lose my Catalog?

If you lose your Backup Set Catalog (perhaps because it was deleted, corrupted, or lost), you can have Retrospect recreate the Catalog by scanning last member of the Backup Set. See Recreating a Catalog.

If the Fast Catalog File Rebuild option was turned off, Retrospect will need to scan all members of the Backup Set. If this is the case, it may take several hours to recreate a Catalog if there is a large amount of data in the Backup Set.

Can I delete files from a Backup Set?

No, you cannot delete files from a Backup Set because most types of storage devices do not allow it. If you want to keep only selected files from a Backup Set, you can copy these files to a different Backup Set using Retrospect’s Backup Set transfer operation. See Transfer Backup Sets.

Can I rename a Backup Set?

Retrospect has no facility for renaming Backup Sets but you can rename a file Backup Set in the Windows Explorer. (Other types of Backup Sets cannot be renamed.) Open the file Backup Set after you rename it to make Retrospect recognize the change.

Can I put more than one Backup Set on a tape, disk, or CD/DVD?

You cannot have more than one Backup Set on a tape or CD/DVD but you can have multiple file Backup Sets or disk Backup Sets on a disk. When you add a removable medium to a Backup Set, Retrospect reserves the entire medium for that Backup Set.

You can, however, back up as many volumes as you want to a single Backup Set.

What is the best way to manage Catalog Files?

Catalogs typically contain about 4 MB for each 10,000 files you back up. Keep your often-used Catalogs on your hard disk. If you have little available space on your hard disk, here are a few alternatives:

  • Store infrequently used Catalogs on a file server.
  • Archive old Catalogs to their own Backup Set.
  • Compress the Catalogs. See Configuring Backup Sets.

It’s a good idea to duplicate Catalog Files in case they are damaged.

I back up by moving a tape drive from computer to computer. What is the best way to do this?

It is not necessary to create a separate Backup Set for each computer unless you plan to use a different tape for each workstation. If you use a single Backup Set for the computers, do not do a Recycle backup of each workstation; use Normal backup only, and New Backup Set backup when you need to rotate media.

After each backup, copy your Backup Set Catalog to a server or removable disk and then, once you move to the next computer, copy the Catalog to its hard disk. You may want to use Retrospect’s Catalog compression option (see The Options tab) to keep the Catalog as small as possible.

Alternatively, keep the Catalog on a server accessible from each computer. This, though, assumes all of your computers are connected by a network, in which case you will save yourself a great deal of trouble by purchasing Retrospect Clients. For less than thirty dollars per client, Retrospect client software allows Retrospect to back up Windows and Mac OS computers over a network without moving the backup device.

What are the consequences of not saving Snapshots to save time and space?

Turning off the Save source Snapshots for restore option (see Catalog File Execution Option) mainly makes it harder to view or restore a volume’s folder hierarchy.

Without a Snapshot, you cannot:

  • restore a volume to its exact state as of a given backup, as you would after a crash, for example;
  • restore the Windows registry (necessary when restoring an entire disk);
  • restore NTFS security information;
  • restore empty folders;
  • browse a volume backup for restoring.

Should you need to restore files, you will have to use a selector (and/or browse “flat files” without hierarchy) to choose which files to restore—a time-consuming process.

Devices and Media Questions

Ignore ID

When you upgrade from an earlier version of Retrospect, backup devices with IDs that you previously ignored will display in the Storage Devices window. To ignore them again, choose Configure > Devices from Retrospect’s navigation bar. In the Storage Devices window, click the Environment tab, then select the ID to ignore and click the Ignore ID button from the window's toolbar. You must exit and relaunch Retrospect for the changes to take effect.

Mounted recordable discs

Retrospect does not support recordable discs (CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVR+R DL, or DVD+RW discs) formatted for use with software that allows you to mount the discs in Windows Explorer and use them like floppy disks. In addition, when the disc mounting software and Retrospect are both running on the backup computer, conflicts may occur.

To use disc mounting software when Retrospect is running:

  1. Open Retrospect.
  2. Choose Configure > Devices.
  3. Click the Environment tab.
  4. Right-click the recordable disc drive and choose Ignore ID.
  5. Exit Retrospect, then re-open it.

To use Retrospect when disc mounting software is running:

  1. Make sure the disc drive is empty.
  2. Open Retrospect and make sure the disc drive ID is set to Don’t Ignore ID (Configure > Devices > Environment).
  3. Insert a blank disc or a disc that already has been used with Retrospect. You can also leave the disc drive empty until Retrospect requests a disc.
  4. Cancel any attempts by the disc mounting software to format the disc.

Why are my DAT tapes filling up sooner than I expected?

Drives using the DDS-1 format support 60 or 90 meter tapes for an uncompressed data capacity of about 1.3 GB or 1.9 GB, respectively. Drives using the DDS-2 format support 120 meter tapes for an uncompressed data capacity of about 4 GB. Drives using the DDS-3 format support 125 meter tapes for an uncompressed data capacity of about 12 GB. Drives using the DDS-4 format support 150 meter tapes for an uncompressed data capacity of about 20 GB.

For typical everyday use, when your tape is full, it may store up to 30% less data than its ideal maximum capacity.

If you use a drive with hardware compression, you can effectively increase the capacity of your tapes. Your tape’s actual capacity will depend largely upon how well the data you are copying compresses. Text compresses well, for example, but applications do not.

If you back up many small files or back up files over a network, your tape’s actual capacity will also decrease.

Retrospect requests a new tape for one of three reasons:

  • The tape drive reports the current tape is full.
  • An error occurred while writing to the tape. Open the log to see if an error occurred.
  • You selected Skip or Missing while configuring a Backup Set, or you are performing a New Backup Set backup.

How much space is left on my tape?

Retrospect estimates your tape’s capacity to help you manage your backup. To view this estimate, click Configue>Backup Sets. In the Backup Set selection window, select your Backup Set and click Properties. The window that appears lists the estimated available space on that Backup Set’s current member.

This estimate is only to help you gauge when Retrospect will request new media. Regardless of the estimated available space, Retrospect uses a member until the tape drive reports the tape is full.

Because many tape drives do not report a tape’s capacity dynamically, Retrospect’s estimate may be inaccurate. To change the estimate to match your tape’s actual capacity (based on your own experience), uses the Capacity button as described in The Options tab.

What do I do when I know my tape or disk is going to fill up during tonight’s backup?

If you think there is not enough space for the next backup on the current tape or disk of your Backup Set, you can tell Retrospect to ask for a new one.

To skip to a new member, use the Media Action button, described in The Options tab. The next time Retrospect adds files to that Backup Set it will ask for new media, in effect skipping over the blank space at the end of the current member.

If this situation arises frequently, consider using Retrospect’s Automatic skip to blank media preference. When this preference is on, Retrospect automatically uses any erased media if the current member is not available.

You might also consider purchasing a tape library, a backup device which holds a magazine of many tapes. When one tape fills, Retrospect uses an empty tape from the magazine.

When I try to erase a tape or disk Retrospect asks for the Catalog File, but I no longer have it. How can I erase the tape?

When you erase a disk or tape, Retrospect tries to remove the member’s contents from the Catalog for that Backup Set. If it is missing, Retrospect asks you for it. You need to tell Retrospect to forget the Catalog because it is gone, which will then allow you to erase the tape. Go to Configure>Backup Sets and Forget the Backup Set then go to Configure>Devices and Erase your tape.

If I have two tape drives, will Retrospect use them both when performing unattended backups?

Yes it will if the devices are similar, with the same kind of mechanism. When it fills up a tape, Retrospect looks in any available drive for any tape that is new or erased, or has the correct name.

If you have Retrospect’s Advanced Tape Support add-on, you can run simultaneous operations using both tape drives at once.

See Multiple Concurrent Executions for more information.

How do I start over at the beginning of the tape?

Insert the tape and click Configure>Devices. The devices window that appears shows you the name of the tape. Select the tape and click Erase from the toolbar.

Erasing a tape that is a member of a Backup Set erases the backed up files.

How do I recycle tapes from old Backup Sets?

To re-use a tape from a Backup Set that you no longer need, insert the tape, and click Configure>Devices. The Storage Devices window that appears shows you the name of the tape. Select the tape and click Erase from the toolbar. The next time Retrospect requests a new member for a Backup Set, it will automatically use this or any other erased tape in the backup device.

You should also remove the old Backup Set’s Catalog. Click Configure>Backup Sets. In the Backup Set selection window that appears, select the old Backup Set and click Forget from the toolbar. Drag the old Backup Set Catalog File to the recycle bin.

How do I determine the name of a certain tape?

To view the name of a tape, click Configure>Devices. Retrospect scans for available tape devices. The Storage Devices window appears, listing each tape drive, its status and location, and the name of the inserted tape. Insert the tape if you have not done so.

Once you know the name of a tape, use a soft-tip pen and the manufacturer’s adhesive labels to identify the tape cartridge.

Can I use my audio DAT or DV camera deck for backup?


Can I use audio DAT tapes in a DAT drive?

No. While audio-grade DAT tapes can be used in some computer DAT drives, we recommend data-grade media. Data-grade tapes must pass more stringent testing than audio-grade tapes. More recent computer DAT drives recognize only Media Recognition System (MRS) data-grade tapes.

Miscellaneous Questions

An Upgrade Authentication Code (UAC) is not the same as a license code. If you received a Retrospect upgrade that came with an Upgrade Authentication Code you must obtain a permanent license code. To do so, go to and follow the instructions on this page, or contact Retrospect Customer Service.

In summary windows and browsers, why do the file sizes reported by Retrospect differ from the Windows Explorer?

The discrepancy in size is due to the difference between any given file’s logical size and its physical size. The logical size of a file is the actual number of bytes the file contains. The physical size is the amount of space the file occupies on a hard disk or other volume. This physical size varies for a given file depending upon where you store the file (for example, on a floppy disk or a hard disk). Retrospect reports a consistent size based on the physical size of a file, regardless of where you store the file.

How do I get rid of a Backup Set I don’t need anymore?

Click Configure>Backup Sets. In the Backup Set selection window, select the Backup Set to be removed and click Forget from the toolbar. This removes the Backup Set from the destination lists of all your scripts. To remove a Backup Set completely, you must also drag the Backup Set’s Catalog File to the recycle bin with Windows Explorer.

How do I get rid of a volume that no longer exists?

Click Configure>Volumes. In the volume selection window, select the volume to be removed and click Forget from the toolbar. This removes the volume from the source lists of all your scripts.

When I quit Retrospect, how can I prevent the message that tells me the next time Retrospect will execute?

Click Configure>Preferences. Select the Notification Alerts Preferences category and turn off Check validity of next script.

Where are my scripts stored?

Your Retrospect scripts are stored in the Config77.dat file.The Config77.dat and file can be found either in the same folder as the Retrospect application, or in ../Documents and Settings/All Users/Application Data/Retrospect .

Many other customizations you make to Retrospect are stored there as well.

Retrospect Error Messages

When Retrospect detects compare errors while backing up, write errors while retrieving, or read errors while retrieving or verifying, it opens a browser displaying the files involved. The execution errors browser may be printed for reference, or copied and pasted into another browser for easy re-selection. Look in the Operations Log for the error message associated with each file and act appropriately.

When Retrospect is performing operations over the network, either the client or the backup computer can generate errors, which are then reported by Retrospect on the backup computer. In general, errors that are reported at the client occur when the Retrospect client software surveys the system and determines that Retrospect will not be able to use it over the network.

Catalog out of sync

Retrospect was unable to update the Catalog the last time it copied data to this Backup Set.

This may have been due to equipment failure or power failure, or was caused by a full disk or by a lack of memory.

If updating the Catalog does not eliminate the “Catalog out of sync” error Retrospect cannot add files to that tape. You have three options:

  • Perform a Recycle backup, which resets the Catalog and erases the media, removing its existing backup files.
  • Skip to a new member using the Media Action button (The Options tab), forcing Retrospect to use a new piece of media for the next backup.
  • Create a new Backup Set and do a backup to new media.

Resynchronizing (slow)

When Retrospect reports this message during a Catalog update or a Backup Set recreation, the Backup Set medium in use may be damaged.

If this message appears for more than about fifteen minutes, stop the recataloging or recreation and save the partial session. You will not be able to add any more data to the medium. The next backup to this Backup Set will require a new or erased medium.

This error can indicate device communication problems. See FireWire and USB Device Issues, and SCSI Issues.

Bad Backup Set header

Retrospect encountered a missing or damaged file header, which contains information such as the file’s name and size.

This error can indicate device communication problems. See USB/USB 2.0/USB 3.0, and SCSI Issues.

Content Unrecognized

Retrospect can see data on the medium, but the data is not recognized as data formatted by Retrospect. With a removable cartridge, the unrecognized content most likely is other files, which you may not want to lose.

When a DVD-RAM or MO disk shows as Content Unrecognized, use caution. Any files on a disk are permanently removed when Retrospect uses the disk in an operation with a disk Backup Set.

For tapes this usually means that the tape was damaged, used by an incompatible backup program, or used with an incompatible drive. This often results with tapes used with hardware compression drives then used with drives which do not support the same hardware compression. Do the following to troubleshoot:

  • Make sure the tape cartridge you are inserting is compatible with your tape drive. For example, DDS-4 150 meter tapes cannot be read by DDS-1, -2, or -3 drives. Refer to the Retrospect web site for current information on tapes that each tape drive supports.
  • Clean your tape drive and continue to clean it according to your drive vendor’s recommendations. Tape drives need to be cleaned regularly with special cleaning cartridges (see Cleaning Your Tape Drive).
  • Check if other tapes also show as content unrecognized. If only one tape does then either it is damaged, it has been written to by other backup software, or it was created in a different, incompatible tape drive. If all tapes are unrecognized, then they were either all created in a different tape drive, there is a problem with your SCSI configuration, or your tape drive may be broken. See SCSI Issues for detailed instructions on troubleshooting your SCSI bus.
  • If possible, try your tape or tapes in a compatible tape drive. If tapes are recognized in one drive but not another of the same type, it is possible that one drive needs repair. Contact your drive vendor for advice before assuming a drive needs repair.

Media too different

Retrospect reports that your media is too different in two cases:

  • You are trying to append to a tape Backup Set that is damaged. If you crashed or experienced a power failure while last writing to your tape and are now getting this error when trying to append, your Backup Set is damaged. You will not be able to append to this Backup Set, but you can retrieve all files from it. Create a new set, or do a Recycle backup to this set if you wish to start over. The media is not damaged, but the Backup Set is damaged such that Retrospect cannot append to it.
  • You are trying to append to a tape Backup Set using a drive with a different kind of mechanism. Use similar drives when creating mixed drive Backup Sets.

Verification Errors

The following messages indicate an error while comparing to verify files with Thorough verification:

  • File “Home.html”: different modify date/time
  • File “Bore Dimensions”: didn’t compare at offset 263,078

Thorough verification errors occur when Retrospect determines a file it copied to the destination is not identical to the file copied from the source. The file in question is not considered valid in the destination. If this happened during a backup, for example, Retrospect would try to copy the file again during the next Normal backup to this Backup Set.

When you know the file was in use at the time the copying was done, a verification error is usually nothing to worry about. It simply means the file changed between backup and verification. Verification errors that mention offsets usually indicate problems with the communications bus. See SCSI Issues.

Media verification errors occur when Retrospect finds that the MD5 digests for the files on the destination media do not match the MD5 digests generated when copying the files from the source.

This usually indicates a problem with the destination media (e.g., the media is corrupt, or data was written to a bad disk sector). Check your Backup Set media for problems. If you cannot correct the problems, you should back up to new media. Files that generate Media verification errors, by definition, do not match those in the destination Backup Set. Therefore, they will be recopied to the destination during the next backup.

In certain circumstances, Retrospect does not have access to MD5 digests generated during backup. This is true for all backups created using versions of Retrospect prior to Retrospect 7.7, as well as backups that took place when Retrospect’s “Generate MD5 digests during backup operations” preference was disabled. See Verification Preferences for more information. In these cases, Retrospect still checks all files on the Backup Set media to make sure that they are readable.

Media request timeout after waiting

This is how the Operations Log reports error –1204 (user didn’t respond).

Failure Notification

Retrospect experienced a major problem not due to normal errors or circumstances. When this happens, Retrospect creates an error log in the Retrospect folder named “assert_log.utx”.

If you experience one of these errors restart your computer and try to do what you were doing when the error occurred.

Retrospect Error Numbers

If Retrospect is unable to complete an operation, it will display an alert with an error number. This section explains some common error numbers in greater detail.

–102 (trouble communicating)

The backup computer lost contact with the backup device.

Check the communications bus and device cabling, termination, and settings. See FireWire and USB Device Issues and SCSI Issues.

–107 (out of application memory)

Effectively the same as error –625.

–203 (hardware failure)

The backup device is having problems because of a bad medium, a communications problem, or a mechanical error.

If the error occurs only when you use a particular medium, that medium is probably damaged. Try using a new medium. If the error occurs when you use any medium, you may have a problem with your communications bus or device. Try turning off the backup device and computer for two minutes and then turning them back on again.

See FireWire and USB Device Issues and SCSI Issues.

–204 (device busy)

This error will likely occur if you store the Catalog for a disk Backup Set on a disk used as a member of that Backup Set. Keep the Catalog on your hard disk.

–205 (lost access to storage media)

Usually indicates the communications bus was reset during a backup, causing Retrospect to lose contact with the medium.

This error usually indicates a communications bus problem and may be accompanied by an error –102 (trouble communicating). If error –102 accompanies error –205, see FireWire and USB Device Issues and SCSI Issues.

If error –102 does not accompany error –205 and communication problems have been ruled out, the next step is to check for media failure on the source volume.

Some hard drives reset the bus when they sense they are experiencing a media failure. Try testing the hard drive with the software that was originally used to format it.

–206 (drive reported a failure, dirty heads, bad media, etc.)

There is trouble reading from or writing to the Backup Set medium. This error is always generated by the backup device, and is usually due to one of four causes.

  • The media is physically defective and needs to be replaced. Try using a different medium.
  • The heads on the tape drive are dirty and need to be cleaned. Consult the manual that came with your tape drive or contact the drive manufacturer for cleaning recommendations.
  • Another device is causing interference. If you have a drive immediately next to another electronic device, try moving the devices further apart. Try removing one or more devices temporarily to see if there is some other device conflict. Try using your backup device on another computer to see if interference is caused by your monitor or other nearby electronic devices. Also see FireWire and USB Device Issues and SCSI Issues.
  • Retrospect can also report error –206 when a crash or power failure interrupts the backup computer or tape drive. Some tape drives require an end of data (EOD) marker on a tape to append data. If a tape does not have an EOD marker Retrospect may report error –206 when it next tries to append to the tape. Tape drives are responsible for writing EOD markers, but a drive may not get the chance if you shut down or restart the backup computer or the power is interrupted. Lacking an EOD, the tape will later produce error –206 when you try to append (write data) to it with Retrospect.

To avoid problems, take the following precautions: do not disable verification in scripts and immediate operations; let the tape drive fully rewind or eject the tape before you power off or restart the computer; and if the computer crashes, try to eject the tape (using the drive’s eject button) before restarting or turning off the computer.

When Retrospect reports error –206 on a tape because it lacks an EOD marker, that tape is unusable for future appends until you erase it, though it is not physically damaged and you can use it to restore. The tape cannot be repaired with Retrospect’s repair tool. To use the tape for additional backups or archives, you must first either reset the tape’s Backup Set from Configure>Backup Sets or erase the tape from Configure>Devices.

When the error persists on multiple media and you have eliminated the above possibilities, the device may be failing. Contact the vendor.

–503 (backup client turned off)

The client was turned off by the user at the client computer before the operation started. The Retrospect Client control panel will automatically turn on when that client is restarted.

–505 (backup client reserved)

The client is in use by another backup computer. A client may be used by only one backup computer at a time.

This can also happen when the backup computer or client computer crash during an operation. Restart both computers.

–507 (incorrect password)

Make sure you are properly typing the password. It is case sensitive, so you must type the password’s proper upper case and lower case letters. Make sure you are entering the password for the client, not a license code.

If you cannot remember the password for a client, you must uninstall the Retrospect Client software, reboot the client computer, and then reinstall the client software with a new password.

–508 (access terminated)

The client user has turned off the Retrospect Client control panel during the operation. When this occurs, the backup computer logs the error and moves on to the next client.

–515 (piton protocol violation)

Retrospect sees its data is becoming corrupt while being transferred over the network. It is usually caused by a hardware failure.

Look for a pattern to these errors. If the problem occurs only on one client, it is likely that there is a problem with the client’s network connector or its connection to the network. If the problem happens on several clients with no coherent pattern, the problem may be with the backup computer’s network card or connection, or with a gateway/router common to all network transactions. See Network Troubleshooting Techniques for more information.

–519 (network communication failed)

The backup and client computers ceased to communicate, a situation which has many causes and solutions, as detailed below.

A user shuts down a client during the backup, or the client fails or is disconnected from the network during a backup. Determine why the client is failing or what part of the network communication link is failing (for example, a router, bridge, hub, or individual network connector). See the next item for help in determining if the problem is due to a software conflict.

A user is using too many applications on the client during the backup, or an application takes up most of the computer’s processing power. Schedule backups for periods when the client is idle.

A network communication problem caused by hardware or software is making transactions unreliable. A failed network connector on a client will cause errors on that client. To determine whether a failed network connector is causing the problem, try switching connectors with a nearby computer that is not experiencing problems. See Network Troubleshooting Techniques.

A bad or failing hard disk is hanging the client computer. If the hard disk read light on the client is stuck “on,” and not blinking, and the client must be restarted before it will work, the client has a failing hard disk or a bug in the hard disk’s firmware or software. For the hard disk that is hanging, update its driver to the latest version from its vendor. Then try running a disk-checking program.

Your network software is incompatible with your network hardware. Use the latest network software which matches your network hardware because older software might have problems.

–525 (name/login conflict)

Usually this error appears when a client has been uninstalled and re-installed or replaced by client software which is not logged in.

On the backup computer, go to Configure>Clients, select the client experiencing the problem, then Forget the client. Click Add to go to the live network window and add the client of the same name. Add the client to your scripts.

–527 (backup client was renamed)

Another backup administrator has renamed a client from another backup computer. Simply configure the client again to update the name in your own client database.

–530 (backup client not found)

Retrospect cannot find the client computer on the network. Make sure the client computer is connected to the network and turned on and that it is not powered off by energy saving software. If it is a mobile computer make sure it has not been “suspended” or put into “sleep” mode. (Restart a suspended Windows computer to let Retrospect see it.) Make sure the client has the most recent version of the Retrospect client software and that the client software loads at startup.

If not, follow the suggestions provided for the error Client service not loaded at system startup or Retrospect Client not loaded at system startup.

Test the connection between the backup computer and the client by using Properties from Configure>Volumes. If it can connect with the client, Retrospect displays its measured transfer rate in kilobytes per second. Also, try pinging it (see Testing and Pinging to Verify TCP/IP Communication).

–540 (trouble creating service)

Retrospect could not properly access a Windows client.

–541 (backup client not installed or not running)

The backup computer can see the client computer at the IP address but no client software is operational.

Make sure the client computer is turned on and that it is not powered off by energy saving software. If it is a mobile computer make sure it has not been “suspended” or put into “sleep” mode. Restart it and try again.

Open the Retrospect Client control panel and examine its Status field for an error message about why the client software is not working. You may need to reinstall the client software.

If the backup computer has more than one Ethernet card, that might also be the source of the problem. See “Troubleshooting multiple ethernet cards on a Retrospect Client running Windows” in the Retrospect Knowledgebase ( for more information.

–594 (lost communication with server)

This error occurs when Retrospect’s “Automatically check for available updates” preference is enabled and Retrospect loses its connection to the updates server while it is downloading an update.

–625 (not enough memory)

There is not enough memory available to Retrospect for it to continue the operation. This error occurs most often when scanning volumes and Catalogs.

Retrospect may report this error when other applications are using most of the memory or your computer does not have enough RAM installed.

Try exiting your other applications, restarting, or adding more virtual memory swap space to make more memory available to Retrospect. Repeat the operation which brought about the error.

If your edition of Retrospect is capable of running multiple simultaneous executions, Retrospect recommends the following:

  • 2 execution units, 512 MB RAM
  • 4 execution units, 1 GB RAM
  • 8 execution units, 2 GB RAM

If you are following these guidelines and still encountering error -625, try reducing the number of execution units. See General Preferences.

–641 (chunk checksum didn’t match)

One of Retrospect’s files, likely a Catalog, is corrupt.

To check whether a Catalog is corrupt, set up a restore by searching on a blank file name so Retrospect scans all files in the Catalog. If the error occurs, you know this Catalog is corrupt.

If the error occurs during a backup or archive, you need to rebuild the Catalog (see Recreating a Catalog) of the destination. After the Catalog is reconstructed, reselect this Backup Set in your scripts. If the error occurs when you launch Retrospect, see Retrospect crashes while it is being launched..

– 843 (resource is in use by another operation)

The resource (volume, subvolume, Backup Set, etc.) you are trying to access is currently in use. For example, if you are trying to browse your C: drive while a subvolume of C: is being backed up.

Wait until the required resource becomes available and try again.

–1004 (database backup/restore error)

The database API reported an error.

In the operations log, the lines immediately preceding this error explain specifically what the API reported to Retrospect.

–1017 (insufficient permissions)

This error indicates that Retrospect was not able to access a volume during the backup operation.

This can happen when doing a scripted backup of a volume via Microsoft networking rather than a Retrospect Client.

Permission errors can occur under the following conditions:

  • When the script was created you were logged in as user X. At the time of backup you are logged in as user Y who does not have permission to connect to the source server.
  • When the script was created you were logged in as user X. At the time of backup you are not logged in.

This error can also occur when backing up to or from mapped network drives. If you receive this error when running scripts that involve mapped network drives, it is because the Retrospect Launcher service (the service that allows Retrospect to auto launch) needs to be configured to log on to the drives as a user with the appropriate privileges.

See the Retrospect Knowledgebase ( for information on how to avoid -1017 errors in all these situations.

–1020 (sharing violation)

The file cannot be accessed because it is in use.

Another application or the operating system may have the files open, preventing Retrospect from accessing them. Exit the application that owns the busy file.

It is possible this error was reported on insignificant files and you can just ignore it.

–1101 (file/directory not found)

Retrospect cannot find a file.

This usually means you or someone moved or deleted one or more files and folders while an operation was in progress.

If this error occurs because a Backup Set’s Catalog File was moved and Retrospect asks you where it is, use the file selection dialog to navigate through files and folders and point out the new location of the Catalog to Retrospect.

Try backing up again. If this error continues to occur, run a disk checking utility to check for possible directory corruption.

–1102 (drive missing/unavailable)

Retrospect cannot find the drive.

This error occurs with Subvolumes when the folder has been moved or deleted.

–1110 (general i/o failure)

A media problem occurred on a source volume.

Try verifying your source volume using a disk utility or the formatting program that came with your hard drive. Use ScanDisk on a Windows computer. On a Macintosh, use Drive Setup’s Test command and Disk First Aid.

–1111 (locked range conflict)

A file is open by another application or service, using a lock range, preventing Retrospect from backing it up.

Try stopping the application before starting backups and resuming it afterward. Consider using Retrospect’s external scripting ability (see External Scripting) to automatically stop and resume the other application.

–1115 (disk full)

A volume has little or no available storage space.

There are three causes of this error:

  • You are restoring or duplicating more files than will fit on the destination volume.
  • Retrospect is updating a Backup Set Catalog and the volume on which it is saved runs out of room.
  • You are backing up to a file Backup Set and the destination volume runs out of free space.

Go to the Windows Explorer and make more space on the full hard disk by removing unnecessary files and emptying the recycle bin. Try marking fewer files to restore or duplicate, or select a larger destination volume. Use Catalog compression (see The Options tab) to make your Catalogs use less space.

–1204 (user didn’t respond)

Retrospect could not find a requested disk or tape before the media request timeout period elapsed.

Turn off the media request timeout preference (see Request Preferences) so Retrospect waits indefinitely for the requested media.

–2241 (Catalog invalid/damaged)

Effectively the same as error –641.

–2247 (snapshot not found)

Retrospect could not find the requested Snapshot on the medium. For more information, see While retrieving an older Snapshot from media, Retrospect says no Snapshot is available..

–3047 (disk inactivity threshold not met)

You may see this error when using the Open File backup add-on. Open File Backup requires a period of inactivity on the source volume’s disk (disk inactivity threshold) in order to accurately copy open files. The disk inactivity threshold is the amount of time Retrospect waits for the source disk to be idle in order to proceed with Open File Backup. When the threshold is reached, Retrospect waits again until the retry timeout occurs. The default threshold is 5000 milliseconds.

First, try reducing the threshold to a smaller number. See Windows Open Files Options.

For other suggestions, see Open File Backup Tips.

Retrospect Client Errors

When backing up clients, you can also get error message on the client side. The errors appear in the client control panel on the client computer.

Windows Client Control Panel Errors

When everything is set up normally and no errors have occurred, the control panel’s Status tab should say “Ready” or “Waiting for first access” in the Status field. Below the status is the History area with information about the most recent operation or error messages.

Client service not loaded at system startup

If the status shows this error message, examine the history field for one of the messages from Windows client control panel startup errors, then proceed as indicated.

There are a few possible reasons (in addition to those in the table) why the client software may not load at startup.

  • The client software files are not in their proper location. The client software must be in the location you specified during the installation. Put it back in place or run the Setup program to reinstall the software. Log in as the administrator or another user with full access privileges when you install.
  • The client’s service was terminated. This is unusual. You may be able to run Retroclient.exe to get the service operating, but because you do not know what terminated the service in the first place, it is best to restart the client computer.

=== UNIX Client Control Panel Errors When everything is set up normally and no errors have occurred, the control panel’s Status tab should say “Ready” or “Waiting for first access” in the Status field. Below the status is the History area with information about the most recent operation or error messages.

Mac OS Client Control Panel Errors

When everything is set up normally, and no errors have occurred, the Retrospect Client control panel should say “Ready” or “Waiting for first access” in the Status field. Below the status is the History area with information about the most recent operation or error messages.

Retrospect Support

Retrospect provides built-in access to a number of useful resources. From the Retrospect Help menu, you can access:

  • Retrospect Updates. Choose this option to check the Retrospect web site for free updates to your current version of Retrospect. See Retrospect Updates for more information.
  • Retrospect Web Site. Retrospect’s home on the Internet. To access Retrospect’s web site directly, go to .
  • Online Knowledgebase. Searchable database containing answers to frequently asked questions about Retrospect-related terms, error messages, and troubleshooting techniques. To access the Knowledgebase directly go to
  • Supported Devices. Searchable backup hardware compatibility database provides information of which devices Retrospect supports. To access supported devices information directly, go to .
  • Retrospect Support. Support section of the Retrospect web site. Includes links to tutorials, user forums, etc. To access the support section directly, go to .

All of these resources are available for free and can help you solve problems quickly and effectively to get the most out of Retrospect.

If you experience problems that you cannot solve using these resources, Retrospect Technical Support is available to help. To learn more about available support options, check Retrospect’s support matrix at .

For information about contacting Technical Support in the U.S. and Canada, as well as internationally, see .

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