Backing-up Your Files

January 21, 2004
Often Baylor faculty and staff experience both confusion and concern about the automated backups of their computers. We are currently using two systems for backing up desktops. Some users are on the older system, Retrospect, while others are on a newer system, Tivoli Storage Manager.

Because of its higher capacity and enhanced features, Tivoli clients are backed up 5 days per week, while Retrospect clients are backed up once per week.

Tivoli Storage Manager is installed on all new computers, but faculty/staff members can upgrade an existing computer to the Tivoli system by purchasing a client license from the Computer Store for $30 per computer.

There are two questions that are often asked about backups. The most asked question is "How can I tell if my computer has been backed up?"

The second most asked question is "What is my backup schedule?"

Since the two systems work very differently, the answers are different for each system.


Retrospect clients are notified when their backup is overdue with messages such as, "You have not been backed up since..." To verify these messages or to check when your last backup occurred, go to Start\Settings\Control Panels. Open the Retrospect Client control panel and read the information in the History Window.

Retrospect backups run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Clients do not have a set time or day that they are scheduled to backup, but rather the server attempts to backup clients exactly 7 days from their last backup. If a client's computer is unavailable when the server attempts to connect for a backup, then the client is skipped temporarily, but the server continues to revisit the client's computer until it is available for backup. When the backup does take place, information about the backup is written to the History Window in the client control panel. When checking clients, the Server uses the information in the History Window to schedule the next backup.


Tivoli clients are scheduled to backup 5 times a week on weekdays, but clients can also initiate their own backups at any hour except between 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. each weekday. During those hours we backup the Tivoli Server and clients are disallowed from connecting. The Tivoli Server has 3 schedules that divide the 24 hour day into three segments. Each segment handles an approximate third of the client backups, and Tivoli randomly spreads out the start times for those clients.

Unlike Retrospect Tivoli Storage Manager does not automatically notify the user when their computer has been backed up. For this reason we are developing a small application to handle this function. This application will be installed on each computer that has a Tivoli client, and will notify the user when Tivoli has failed to back them up in 3 or more days.

NOTE: Tivoli users often still have Retrospect installed on their computer. If you know you are being backed up by Tivoli, but you are getting backup messages from Retrospect, do not uninstall Retrospect. Go to Start \ Settings \ Control Panels \ Retrospect Client. Open the preferences tab in Retrospect, turn off the notifications and click the apply button.


1. When relying on the automated backups for either system, it is often necessary for users to leave computers on and connected to the network overnight to facilitate regular backups. About 65% of all backups occur during the evening hours.

2. Try to restart your computer about once a week. It refreshes the memory and generally helps your computer perform better.

For more information on backups please type in the following URL into your browser:

Or go to Baylor's web page and follow these links:
Faculty Staff
Information Policy & Proceedures (under the "Technology heading)
Computer Back Up (look in the dark gray sidebar under "Services")
Are you looking for more News?