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Winter 2010
Dear Colleague:

Welcome to those of you who have joined us since our last quarterly newsletter. This is our 16th newsletter! These newsletters are emailed to all version 2007 and 9.0 users, plus those who have requested to be on our list. All previous copies can be read from link on our home page - there's valuable technical information in each.

Latest release 9.07 is now available

Retain Pro 9 users can download this latest update from, or click YES when prompted by AutoUpdate which will periodically appear on startup. This new release has over a dozen enhancements, including many suggested by our users. A list of what's new and changed is posted on Retain Pro 9 Advisor, which is near the bottom of our home page. Also see Tech Topics below.

In this Newsletter

Retain Pro 2007 users

Nearly all of you have now upgraded to version 9.0, but many have not. We will no longer provide updates and technical support for version 2007 after March 31st, but will help with any installation problems, and it is still available for download. For those who have not upgraded to Retain Pro 9 we are keeping the $99 upgrade offer until March 31st. There are many new features, design options, and enhancements in Retain Pro 9. For a list of what's new click List of Features on our home page - the new features are highlighted. To upgrade go to and click on the $99 offer. You will be asked for verification to get this discount and you will need to enter your password and the email address you used when originally ordered (there are prompts to help if you've forgotten).

Retain Pro 9 Installation System

The installation problems that plagued some users of version 2007 are now gone in version 9. That installation system has been replaced by a new and simpler system, now requiring just one activation code. We hope you are finding it much easier to activate your software. And yes, Retain Pro 9 does run on Windows 7 64-bit and Vista 64-bit.

Free Retain Pro 9 for plan review agencies

We now offer a free copy of Retain Pro 9 to any city, county, state, or federal agencies using it for design reviews. If your building official or design reviewing agency would like a copy they can submit their request by clicking a tab on the Order Menu at This will help them review your design submittals and those submitted by others. Encourage them to take advantage!

Boom times ahead?

Sure. But when? Some say at least a year or two, some sooner. In our talks with you some offices report "we're busier than ever!" Most are in survival mode. Bid wars for scarce work, and as an ENR article (Turning Point, 2/22/10) it's "scratch and claw". Small offices (one- and two-person) seem to be doing better with their niche markets and residential remodels. The big firms (ENR 500s) seem to be busy with ongoing work, but not immune to layoffs - and those laid off are setting up shop. It's time for belt tightening and creative marketing. There are opportunities!

Retain Pro sales seem to be climbing. We're pleased, of course, but can't explain why. Perhaps, and just perhaps, it's a sign that our industry is headed toward better times. It will be an interesting 2010!

New 8th edition of Basics of Retaining Wall Design

This companion to Retain Pro can be a very helpful reference for the design of nearly every type of earth retaining structure. The 8th edition has been revised and updated throughout, with many new topics, building code updates, and added design examples. For more information and contents see It can be purchased on our home page and will soon be available on For those upgrading from version 2007 it's still offered as a "bundle package" (book and software) for $149.

Technical Topics

We've revived the half-stress option. In release 9.07 we've added a checkbox to use the former half-stress option. We've learned that some communities still allow the half-stress option to avoid special inspection for masonry walls. This was allowed in the new defunct UBC '97. To accommodate this we have reinstated it as a checkbox on the Stem screen. If checked, it will automatically reduce f'm by one-half for subsequent masonry calculations and will be noted on the report.

Discrepancies with version 2007. Results of a specific design could differ between versions 2007 and 9. If input values are exactly the same for each the results will match. But version 9 has design options new or changed that were not in 2007 and if overlooked could give different results.

The three most frequent tech support questions (Retain Pro 9):
  1. My title block and watermark says I have an "Unauthorized copy".This is because you have not created your title block. Go to the Settings tab and click on Printing & Title Block. Follow the instructions exactly. In release 9.07 when clicking the PRINT button it will automatically take you to the title block screen if the title block is not valid. Once in the title block screen you are required to create it properly.
  2. I can't get out of demo mode and get an "Access Denied message.You have not given yourself Administrator Rights nor given th folder Retain Pro is stored in modify/write rights. See instruction on Retain Pro 9 Advisor which is near bottom of our home page.
  3. On Retain Pro 9 there is no "Deactivate" button so I can free a computer for another install. The new installation system in Retain Pro 9 does not require a "deactivation" to free a computer for another install. Instead, the "deactivation" is automatic when you go to "All Programs > Retain Pro 9" and click on "Uninstall Retain Pro" from that computer.

    If you've been helped with any of these or other non-engineering issues, you've probably been contacted by Robert Meyers. Robert is a professional software engineer who has been with us for over five years. He is thoroughly familiar with the workings of Retain Pro and has programmed much of it. To better assist you he often uses a remote desktop support system (such as GoToMyPC or Mikogo) to have access to your computer. He's got a near 100% record of quick fixes.

House calls

No, we don't make house calls for tech support, but we did make an exception. A user with a unique problem that was hard to solve via email (we usually use Mikogo remote desktop support) happened to have his office near our programmer, Robert Meyer. So Robert stopped by. Solved the problem in a couple of minutes (one faulty setting) then they proceeded to chat on a subject of common interest for an hour. But don't count on this service :).

When you request technical support

If you email us for tech support ( please include your name, company, phone, and you must include your registration number (RP-xxxxxxx). If we do not respond within two business days please resend - some emails are inadvertently lost or overlooked. Before asking for help, scroll through technical FAQs which are on our Support page ( And remember that pressing F1 from any screen will get entry explanations. When phoning for tech support (but we prefer you email us at please at the beginning of your message give your phone and registration numbers (RP-xxxxxxx) slowly. Many times we've had to listen to long messages several times to get hastily given phone numbers.


Over 10% of our over 4,000 users are not getting these newsletters - OR IMPORTANT BULLETINS -- because they have not updated their email address. It's easy to update. Go to our Support page and click Change email address. One person in your organization should be designated to receive emails from us and distribute as necessary.

Suggestions and comments.

If you have suggestions, comments, or a technical item to contribute, we want to hear from you. Email me at

With best wishes,


Hugh Brooks, SE
Retain Pro Software

Retain Pro 2007 users: Until March 31st you can upgrade to Retain Pro 9 for just $99, or get the "bundle package" which includes Basics of Retaining Wall Design book for $149.
To order:

Here's what's new...

  • Soldier pile shoring walls
    Enter all criteria and this module computes max. bending in beams and lagging and computes embedment depth required.
  • Gabion & large block multi-wythe SRWs
    Design rock-filled wire basket gabion gravity walls. Also multi-block depth stacked large block segmental walls.
  • Building code updates
    All Current codes: IBC '09, ACI '08, ASCE 7-05, CBC '07, MSJC '08, AASHTO LRFD.
  • Added seismic design options
    New entry option for geotechnical report presented in differing format.
  • AASHTO LRFD added
    Now revised for latest LRFD requirements.
  • Now apply wind or seismic in either direction
    Reversing load direction makes easier checking for most critical condition.
  • F1 Total Help
    Press F1 from any screen for explanation of all entries. Also access all topics in user's manual and 14 design examples.
  • New Design Status control panel
    This "dashboard" alerts you of problems and suggests remedies.
  • More equations in Equation Menu
    Added allowable moment for masonry Sections, both ASD and LRFD.
  • Revised report printout
    New aesthetics and with thumbnail sketch of design for easier reference.
  • New User's Manual & design examples
    Now over 200 pages of instructions, including new and updated design examples. Also available from F1.
  • New footing option for restrained walls
    Automatically check stem-footing interface for uniform soil bearing.
  • Free technical support and updates
    until 01/01/11.
You are receiving this email because you are a Retain Pro user or have downloaded a demo and asked to be on our email list. This email list is for our use only to provide you with information, but if you do not want to receive future copies just email me at and on the subject line type "Cancel", and don't forget to include your company name and email address where you received this.

To order visit:

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