Product Reviews

Smart Backup for Windows

Retrospect delivers cutting-edge backup and restore technology

Dantz is one of the long-time players in the backup field (Retrospect 1.0 was released in 1989), and Retrospect 5.0 is a mature and full-featured network backup program. The folks at Dantz have obviously put a lot of thought into the backup and restore process, and have done the work needed to help administrators protect their data without a lot of fuss.

Like most products in its niche, Retrospect can back up a single server or multiple systems on a network. One bonus, though, is its Backup Server component, which can queue machines for backup when either the computer or the backup media isn’t available. So, for example, you can specify that you’d like full backups of 100 notebook computers, and Backup Server will grab the data from each one as it docks to the network. You don’t have to worry about going through lists and reports to see which machines still need backing up.

Retrospect also puts a lot of effort into making the restore process easy. Incremental backups are automatically distributed among multiple media sets so that you can do a full restore from any set with a single pass, rather than needing to reload multiple daily backups. This rebuilding includes registry settings and security information so that in most cases you can get a machine back from a crash with only a single restore (some areas of Windows 2000, including encrypted files, are not yet handled by Retrospect).

Retrospect Backup 5.0 Server can queue a client machine’s backup job for later, when that machine, such as a laptop for a roaming user, is again attached to the network.

Retrospect includes a full scripting and automation facility, so once you’ve got it set up, you can just let it run itself. It supports a wide variety of tape drives and CD-R backup media with its own specialized drivers, and automatically detects and configures support for your backup hardware.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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