Notification to attach a (specific) USB drive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Anton Tueftel, Sep 16, 2007.

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  1. Anton Tueftel

    Anton Tueftel Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I'm trying to setup TI10 (on XP) to do a weekly backup on USB drive "A" and a monthly backup on USB drive "B" using the built-in Tasks.

    The problem is, that I do need a msgbox like "Attach Drive A for backup." with user confirmation when it's connected.

    I already found this post form Acronis Support, stating that interactive commands aren't supported. But how to make sure a/the (right) drive is attached when the backup starts? With no drive attached, the task fails with "Can't open archive for writing" (or so, I'm working with the german version).

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Anton
     
  2. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Is there a reason for wanting to use two different external drives, since every fourth weekly backup will, in effect, be your monthly backup?
     
  3. Anton Tueftel

    Anton Tueftel Registered Member

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    Well, the monthly backup is (mainly) for having "historical" data over a long period. The weekly backup is for desaster recovery. Btw. there's a third (daily) differential backup on a second internal drive for a quick recovery.

    Anyway, even with one USB drive - the problem is to inform the user to attach an USB drive and to wait till it's connected cause otherwise the backup task will finish with the mentioned error.

    Anton

    P.S.: It may sound like an overkill, but this setup is for an architect who just lost all of his data due to a HDD crash (without having an actual backup). He never ever wants to loose a bit again... ;)
     
  4. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Have you thought of using removable drive trays? This allows the user to remove an internal drive without having to open the case. With this feature, a user can clone, say, drive 2 at the end of the working day, then pull out drive 1 and use drive 2 for the next day. At the end of this day clone drive 2 to drive 1 and use drive 1 the next day.

    This would give the user confidence that there is always a working drive just one day old as a spare. Plus one or both drives can be taken away from the office for safety.
     
  5. Anton Tueftel

    Anton Tueftel Registered Member

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    Did that in the "good old days" when USB drives were kind of SF ;) (Ok, it's still running that way in a recording studio :)). Nowadays I belief that USB drives are are the backup medium to choose (for PCs - Servers are a different story).

    But even with removable drives I would have the problem to make sure the second drive is "mounted" (and it's the right one) - pretty close to my problem right now...

    Anton

    P.S.: The problem with "dynamic" drive letters can be solved with this nifty program.
     
  6. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Anton,

    I don't know if this would work for you, but I just ran a quick test and it worked on my computer.

    Setup a pre-command to run (in this case, Notepad opening a file), select to have TI wait until it completes.

    When the task runs, Notepad opens and shows the text. When the user closes Notepad, TI will run the task. This gives the user time time to plug in the correct USB drive and let Windows detect it before the backup runs.

    You could use a different text file for each backup task asking for the correct USB drive. This is not as nice as a custom program or script that could check if the correct drive was attached and not show the message if it were, but it might work for a starting point. You could also use WordPad with a large font so it would stand out more.
    pre_command_chk_usb.jpg
     
  7. Anton Tueftel

    Anton Tueftel Registered Member

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    Thanks for your reply.

    I tried that. And it works as long as you use the "Test command" button. I can even invoke a ".vbs" script to show a msgbox. Runs flawless...

    But...

    when it is run as a scheduled task, notepad (or wscript) gets started (as I can see in the taskmanager) but there's no window (or msgbox) showing up :oops:

    The only way to force some action I found so far, is using "net send ...". This produces at least a msgbox, but since the backup task doesn't wait for a confirmation (as the "net send ..." command did finish without error) it starts immediately - resulting in not finding the drive and finishing with the mentioned error :doubt:

    Anton
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I didn't run from a schedule task. I just created the task and ran it manually.

    Does it work if you run the task manually? I realize that isn't the way you want it. I'm just curious if it works that way or if it fails on your computer the same way as when the scheduled task runs.

    ----

    Edit: I just ran it from a scheduled task and it didn't show the Notepad window. It did show up in the Task Manager. When I terminated Notepad, TI aborted the backup since the pre-command ended with an error.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2007
  9. Anton Tueftel

    Anton Tueftel Registered Member

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    Just tried it... Started manually the msgbox appears, but running scheduled, the script gets started, but no msgbox appears... :(

    Anton

    Edit: Ooops, you found out by yourself ;)
     
  10. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Maybe a script that opened Notepad and then waited for it to close before exiting would work. TI seems to be waiting for the original process to end, so if the original process starts a regular process (like Notepad), maybe the Notepad window will show up. Then when the user closes Notepad, the script can go ahead and exit normally and TI will continue.
     
  11. Anton Tueftel

    Anton Tueftel Registered Member

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    Just tried that (a.vbs invoked by scheduled task):

    set shell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
    shell.run "notepad"
    msgbox "Attach drive A!"


    resulting in starting wscript and notepad (taskmanager) but showing no window at all :(

    Anton
     
  12. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Is there a specific option to "force" the Notepad program to run as an "active" "visible" window?
     
  13. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    When you run the commands manually, they show up in the Task Manager's Applications list. When TI runs it on a schedule, they show up only in the Processes list.

    What seems to be needed is a way to start an application from a program running only as a Process and have it run as a normal Application so it will display.
     
  14. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    This is ugly, but you could run a batch file from the Windows scheduler to present the message to connect Drive A. This could be an hour or several hours before the backup is scheduled. A second batch file scheduled for the next day would say connect Drive B.

    Then if it's essential that TI not write to Drive B, run a test for drive A as the pre-command. If it fails to find Drive A, the backup is canceled, and vice versa for Drive B.
     
  15. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I've been thinking about this some more and had another idea. I haven't had time to test it yet, though.

    Assuming you don't want to mess with the Windows scheduler...

    Create a small program and add it to your Startup folder. This program would run in a hidden window (or in the system tray). It would sleep most of the time. Depending on the time interval set (every 20 seconds or 2 minutes, etc.) it would check for a file. This file could be C:\BKSTART.TXT, for example, and could contain info on the desired USB drive needed. Once this file is detected, the program would kick in and check for the presence of the desired USB drive (A or B, in this case). If it found the drive, it would delete the BKSTART.TXT file. If it didn't find the desired USB device, then it would pop up a window asking the user to please plug in the device. Once the device was detected, it would close the window and delete the BKSTART.TXT file.

    To make this work, you would just write a script (or program) that runs as a Pre-command to the TI scheduled task. This script would create the BKSTART.TXT file and then wait for the file to be deleted before proceeding. Since this script is running as a process and is only checking on a file, it doesn't matter if it can pop up a window or not.

    ----

    I still think there should be a way to start a "regular" program from a "process" (or "service") that is running "hidden", but so far I haven't found one. Everything I've tried works just fine when you test it or run the task manually, but when it runs scheduled, all the programs/scripts run as processes only and no windows will display.
     
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