Throughout this book, I've sung the praises of Retrospect, the well-known backup software from EMC Insignia (formerly from Dantz). It's my main backup tool (though I do use other software for certain tasks). Although I've tried every backup program I can get my hands on, I haven't encountered anything that impressed me enough to tempt me away from Retrospect.
And yet, I'm well awarebelieve meof Retrospect's shortcomings. I get email all the time from people who find it inscrutable. I've read many complaints about Retrospect on Web sites and discussion lists. And I've encountered numerous problems myself. But although Retrospect surely has some bugs and limitations, its biggest problem is the user interface. It's weird. It's confusing. It's 10 years overdue for an extreme makeover. And the difficulty ordinary users have in getting past the interface to the useful stuff beneath is the main reason so many people are looking for alternatives to Retrospect.
When I started using Retrospect way back when, I found it confusing, too. Its 250+ page manual contains plenty of helpful information, but it's a lot to get one's brain around. With some effort, though, I managed to figure out enough of Retrospect to get my own backups working, and eventually I became so accustomed to the interface that I barely notice how weird it is anymore.
In the next few pages, I provide a brief overview of Retrospect's terminology, logic, and interfacewith special attention to things you're likely to find confusing. I won't cover everything, of course, but I hope I can give enough information that you can feel comfortable using it for basic duplicates and archivesfor a single computer or for a small network. Unless otherwise noted, everything in this appendix applies to both Retrospect Desktop and Retrospect Express.