2009-05-11

MOZY backup

Vista screwed up on me recently.  It totally refused to boot either in normal or safe mode.  I ended up having to delete my partition and re-installing Windows, I decided to move back to Windows XP.

I have 54.2GB of personal data backed up using Mozy Home.  This files are mainly photos and videos of my children growing up and are obviously irreplacable.  Imagine my shock when

  1. After reinstallation MozyHome showed that I have no backup history.
  2. MozyHome had no Restore button - it wasn't disabled, there just wasn't one.
  3. The web restore showed me as having 141GB of data to restore.
  4. When *I* worked out what caused #3 the support engineer said "I guess".
  5. The web restore then said I only had 16GB of data, then it said I had 42.8GB of data.
  6. MozyHome showed 0.6GB too little in my backup history, the file that was missing was nothing important - just an ultrasound scan of our unborn child - but it's okay, restarting my computer brought it back.
When the engineers I talk to say things like "I guess", and "Ooops" it doesn't fill me with a sense of security that my data is safe.  Needless to say I shall be finding a new provider.  iDrive looks quite interesting, I wonder if that is any good?

For anyone who is interested, here is a log of my support chat.  At first I had a guy named "Vinod" who thought it was okay to guess answers rather than checking them, so I didn't want to talk to him again....

Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Chandra '
Peter Morris: **DO NOT** TRANSFER ME TO VINOD!!!
Chandra : Welcome to Mozy Live Support. May I have your account email address please?
Peter Morris: Please reassure me you wont transfer me
Peter Morris: I do not want to talk to Vinod
Peter Morris: (My email address)
Chandra : Peter, how may I assist you today?
Peter Morris: I have just re-installed Windows and want to restore
Peter Morris: The "Restore" context menu is not on "My computer" in Explorer after installing MozyHome
Peter Morris: And the "History" tab in MozyHome shows no history
Chandra : Which version of Windows did you install ?
Peter Morris: I was on vista, now I am on XP
Chandra : ok
Chandra : I understand that you wish to restore you data. Is that correct?
Peter Morris: Last time this happened to me someone had to associate my backups from my previous machine to my new machine
Peter Morris: Yes I do
Peter Morris: It's 54GB
Peter Morris: Which is larger than recommended for web-restore
Chandra : Please wait till I check your records.
Peter Morris: and I am concerned by my History tab having no history
Peter Morris: thanks
Chandra : Peter, I have checked your account and have found out that you have opted for a web restore that is now building. You will receive a email once the restore is built. Is there any concern you are having currently?
Peter Morris: The website says to use web restore for up to 20GB
Peter Morris: Mine is 54GB
Chandra : yes
Peter Morris: So I think it would be more efficient to restore through the mozyhome application
Chandra : How much data did you select?
Chandra : no.
Peter Morris: *and* I am concerned that it is not showing my backup history
Peter Morris: I selected all 54GB
Chandra : You have to choose DVD restore above 20 GB

NOTE: DVD restore would cost me £60, and is only available to USA addresses.

Peter Morris: I have to pay to get my data back?
Peter Morris: I didn't have to before
Chandra : If you have to select few files then client restore is efficient else web restore below 20 gb and DVD restore above 20 GB
Peter Morris: Last time this happened I spoke to someone on here and they linked my new installation with my old history
Peter Morris: then I did a restore through the Windows application
Chandra : Perer, You have to associate you computer with your old data
Chandra : I will assist you in doing so
Peter Morris: When given the option
Peter Morris: "Add new computer"
Peter Morris: "Replace PMORRIS-PC" (old computer)
Peter Morris: Vinod told me to choose replace
Peter Morris: is that incorrect?
Chandra : no, that is correct if you replace with your old machine, you will be associated with your old data
Chandra : If you add, then another comp will be added to your account 
Peter Morris: Good. So please do associate my backup history with my new installation
Peter Morris: So I can restore through Windows, and keep my history too
Chandra : Did you perform a backup after associating your computer/
Peter Morris: no
Peter Morris: My last was yesterday morning
Chandra : one moment please...
Peter Morris: and I have installed MozyHome today
Chandra : Please wait a moment....
Chandra : Peter, I am sorry to inform you that your old backup history will not be available to see since you have migrated your operating system from Vista to XP.
Peter Morris: I only need APPS and DATA
Peter Morris: the rest is irrelevant
Chandra : You have associated your computer but since there 
Peter Morris: but since there?
Chandra : I am unable to trace your requirement since I am unable to understand your requirement of History of backups.
Peter Morris: The windows application
Peter Morris: 1: Double click in the tray to bring it up
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: 2: Click the "History" button
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: Expected: All backup history for my account so that I can restore
Peter Morris: Actual: It is empty
Chandra : ok
Chandra : For restoring your data You have to go into Restore tab. History tab is just for your backup reference
Peter Morris: There is no Restore tab
Peter Morris: I suspect because Mozy thinks there is no history
Peter Morris: My history is missing
Chandra : oops....

NOTE: "Oops" is not a word I like to see when discussing how to restore my lost files!

Chandra : Peter, I suspect your installation is corrupt since it is not possible that you don't have a restore tab. Please cross check once again and if not available we have to perform a repair install of the client.
Peter Morris: This has happened before
Peter Morris: It is because there is no backup history associated with my account
Chandra : That's quite strange
Peter Morris: that is what it was last time at least
Peter Morris: you want me to uninstall the software?
Chandra : no
Peter Morris: Ealier you said "Perer, You have to associate you computer with your old data"
Peter Morris: That is what I need you to do
Chandra : Login to your account and download the latest client. Install over the existing and when it asks for repair install click OK
Peter Morris: just Apps and Data will do
Chandra : Peter, I think you have already associated you computer, I can find one comp by the name IMAC. is that the new comp?
Peter Morris: yes it is
Peter Morris: PMORRIS-PC was the name I used previously
Peter Morris: IMAC is this installation
Chandra : That means you have associated your comp.
Peter Morris: but there is no history
Peter Morris: I have done a repair, still no Restore button
Chandra : History is not at all a basic requirement, all you need is to backup and to restore your data
Peter Morris: History is important if like me you sometimes need an old file which was not present in your last backup
Peter Morris: but anyway, at this point I would be happy with a restore 
Chandra : Peter, just try running a backup.
Peter Morris: starting now
Chandra : good
Peter Morris: with a new folder called "DeleteMe"
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: (Communicating with Mozy servers)
Chandra : It will take some time.
Chandra : Please wait and check what happens.
Peter Morris: Still waiting, I will tell you when it changes
Chandra : ok. please wait and see for some more time. If it is not connecting, then I would suggest you to send me the log file that is located in the following location:  C:\Program Files\MozyHome\Data\mozy.log

Approximately 10-15 minutes later.

Peter Morris: 10May2009 20:05:11 mozybackup.exe: Setting encryption type on servers... 10May2009 20:05:49 mozybackup.exe: Retrieving manifest from servers...
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: It's a large backup set, so might take a while
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: oh no, the original backup set was large
Peter Morris: this is 1 folder and 1 file
Peter Morris: should have finished
Peter Morris: shall I cancel then retry?
Chandra : sure.. go ahead
Peter Morris: okay, says "Communicating with MozyHome servers"
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: 10May2009 20:13:22 mozybackup.exe: Retrieving manifest from servers...
Chandra : ok
Chandra : I would suggest you to wait and check if the backup happens. If not, send me the log file that is located in the following location: C:\Program Files\MozyHome\Data\mozy.log
Chandra : Apart from that, I would request you to send me the screenshot of your backup console that is without a restore tab. It's quite wierd...
Peter Morris: where shall I send them to?
Chandra : We will create a case ticket and send it across to you. Please reply to the mail with the attachments. We will precisely look into the issue and will resolve the same at the earliest.
Peter Morris: email (a temporary email address)
Peter Morris: that's easier for me at the moment
Chandra : Peter, we cannot use the email address other than your Mozy account email address.
Peter Morris: okay, use that one then
Chandra : Thanks. 
Peter Morris: How long should this web-restore take?
Peter Morris: It hasn't finished generating yet
Chandra : It will take some time since you have almost 54 GB to download.
Chandra : You will receive a mail once the building of your restore is complete.
Chandra : The restore will have a number of parts that you will have to download one after the other.
Peter Morris: I am clicking Refresh in my browser
Peter Morris: requested 1 hour and 15 minutes ago
Peter Morris: Status = In_Progress
Chandra : Well, that will only refresh your browser.
Chandra : You will have to be patient since you have almost 54 GB to download that might have taken weeks to upload.
Peter Morris: I am not downloading it yet
Peter Morris: it is "preparing" it for me so I can download it when it has finished
Peter Morris: It has taken 75 minutes and there isn't anything for me to download yet
Peter Morris: I know it will take days to download
Chandra : Mozy is preparing your download and will subsequently make a number of parts that you can download easily.
Peter Morris: but 75 minutes to prepare the files for me to download?
Chandra : Peter... It does take that much time.

NOTE: With hind-sight, yes, it is probably zipping up my files or something so 54GB should take a long time. 

Peter Morris: Still no email from you, has it been sent?
Chandra : Email is being drafted. You will be receiving it soon.
Chandra : By the way, what  time is it now there?
Peter Morris: 20:36
Chandra : ok
Chandra : AM ?

Okay, NOW I am getting worried!

Peter Morris: 20 = 8pm
Chandra : Sorry about that. am not quite good in timings.
Chandra : Peter, mail has been sent. Please check and reply with the attachments.
Peter Morris: Why is the email from Vinod and not you?
Chandra : Peter, That won't make any difference, I will put my transcripts and will work accordingly.
Chandra : Peter, are you with me ?
Peter Morris: yes
Peter Morris: just sent your email
Chandra : thanks, let me check your mail.
Chandra : Peter, did you use the same subject line while replying?
Peter Morris: yes
Peter Morris: I just clicked reply, attached files....send
Chandra : ok, I haven't received yet. need to check...
Peter Morris: got it?
Chandra : It has not yet come. Please check if you have received any undeliverable message..
Peter Morris: no bounce
Peter Morris: would you like me to put the files on the web?
Chandra : If you don't mind let's wait for some more time.
Peter Morris: (Pasted 2 urls)
Chandra : I have checked the log and there seems to be a database issue along with the manifest. 
Chandra : Go to C:\Program Files\MozyHome\Data using Windows Explorer.
Chandra : 2. Remove / delete the file named "cache.dat" and restart the computer.
Chandra : 3. Now try to perform a manual backup.
Peter Morris: If I reconnec to support will I get you or someone else?
Peter Morris: I don't want Vinod back
Chandra : You can connect back to me.

Computer is rebooted.

Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Chandra '
Peter Morris: hi
Chandra : Hi Peter.
Chandra : What is the status now ?
Peter Morris: Now I see a restore button
Peter Morris: but I am VERY concerned
Chandra : Great !!
Peter Morris: I have logged into the web
Peter Morris: and it now says I am using 16GB
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: and not 54GB
Chandra : ok wait a moment..
Chandra : I am looking into your account...
Chandra : Peter, I would suggest you to perform a web restore and while doing so you will find an option to select the date of restore. Please browse through the dates and you should find your data. 
Peter Morris: when I log in
Peter Morris: to the website
Chandra : Yes
Peter Morris: before I did this 1 file backup it said "In use, 54GB"
Peter Morris: then I did this 1 file backup
Peter Morris: and now it says "In use, 16GB"
Peter Morris: that's 38GB of data missing!
Chandra : ok just login and click on web restore and browse through the dates.
Peter Morris: I have already done so, I am just waiting for it
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: 53.82GB that says
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: So I have 16GB on the main site, 53.82GB on the restore page, and neither are right
Peter Morris: it sould be 54.2GB if I recall
Peter Morris: or 52.4
Chandra : Anyway, we will look into it later, I would suggest you to start restoring your data. I may have to escalate the data mismatch happening.
Peter Morris: ok
Peter Morris: thanks
Chandra : Is there anything else I can assist you with?
Peter Morris: I don't think so no
Chandra : Thank you for choosing Mozy, Have a nice day !
Peter Morris: yes
Peter Morris: there is
Peter Morris: I can see a missing file
Chandra : ok
Peter Morris: 2009-01-15 Baby Scan 2.wmv
Peter Morris: Slightly important, just a video scan of my baby
Peter Morris: I want this escalated immediately
Peter Morris: and I want someone to phone me
Chandra : Peter, my recommendation would be to start restoring your data right away, I will put across this issue and get it resolved.
Peter Morris: There is a problem with that
Peter Morris: if the data is incorrect
Peter Morris: I may end up with old or corrupted data
Peter Morris: and not realise a file was wrong/corrupt until 12 months from now
Chandra : yes.
Peter Morris: and by then it will be too late
Peter Morris: It needs to be fixed BEFORE I can trust the data that is sent to me
Peter Morris: I have wasted enough time on this now
Chandra : I will right away escalate this issue and they will get back to you.
Peter Morris: I want a phone call
Peter Morris: (My telephone number)
Chandra : Peter, MozyHome customers do not have the telephone facility. The escalation team will do whatever possible from their end to resolve your issue.
Peter Morris: tough
Peter Morris: Mozy has messed up
Peter Morris: my baby scan video is missing
Peter Morris: do you realise how important that is to me?
Chandra : I will put across your request and they will take it to a conclusion.
Peter Morris: These are exceptional circumstances, make an exception
Peter Morris: Please talk to them now before I disconnect
Peter Morris: then tell me what they say
Chandra : We don't have direct interaction with them, all we can do is to forward your ticket with all our transcripts and they will come back to you at the earliest.
Peter Morris: There is a number that mozy-pro users can phone right?
Chandra : yes, but MozyHome customers will be re-directed to chat support and will land back to us.
Peter Morris: then you please phone that number, explain who you are, explain that mozy has messed up and lost some of my very important data
Peter Morris: and tell them that to resolve the issue you would like them to treat me as a pro user
Peter Morris: to fix the error that has taken place
Peter Morris: When a company does something wrong, it should do its best to put it right
Peter Morris: I am not after pro support because I do not understand something. I understand how to use your application fully
Peter Morris: Your company has lost some vital data
Peter Morris: which was there only minutes ago
Peter Morris: so now it needs to take exceptional steps to rectify this mistake
Chandra : I would suggest you to wait until the escalation team responds back to you. I have put your issue on high priority and they will get your issue fixed without any concerns.
Peter Morris: and how will they contact me?
Peter Morris: by phone?
Peter Morris: and how long will I wait?
Chandra : No, by mail and it will be done soon
Peter Morris: So I have to sit here refreshing my email until I get a reply
Peter Morris: How long is "soon"?
Chandra : Peter, you have to allow me to escalate the issue. They are our next level of support. They will get back to you at the earliest on priority basis. You can rely on these statements.
Peter Morris: please escalate it
Peter Morris: I am on the phone to mozy-pro support now

I explained the story to the guy on the phone, he agreed to give me telephone support (first positive action of the night).  We restarted my machine, tried doing a restore again and the missing file was there!

This whole episode took over 4 hours, that's 4 hours JUST TO START doing my restore.  Shocking!  I have no confidence in Mozy at all after this, they write software which hides user interface elements instead of disabling them, the app wont show you restore history unless you do a backup first (which is pointless after a fresh installation as there is nothing to restore), and then they let staff lose on their support system who obviously do not understand the product fully.

11 comments:

Rik Hemsley said...

All of the 'online backup' services I have evaluated have had their faults, ranging from being overly keen to destroy data to having useless support.

I would suggest that you should take responsibility for your own backups, rather than relying a single third party service. As you have found, if you have only two copies of your data and lose one, you are at the mercy of your single backup.

Have you considered making local and remote 'physical' backups?

Peter Morris said...

Hi Rik

My previous backup scheme was.

1: Backup to DVD.
2: Put DVD into coat pocket.
3: Move previous from coat to Car.
4: Move previous from car to in-laws' house.

I'd have to lose my coat, have my computer stolen, my car stolen, and my in-laws' house burn down all on the same day to lose data; but it was labourious :-)

MrJavaGuy said...

I have used Carbonite for a few years and have been quite happy with it.

Online Backups Review said...

Wow, that's a pretty horrible restore story. Mind you, going from one OS to another caused all these problems, but still their support didn't seem to care. For future reference, if you message @mozy on Twitter, they'll respond very quickly.

As for IDrive, they have a "portable" version, which is a mini USB drive (320 GB) which interacts with their online service, so you'll have 2 layers of backup right there.

Kent said...

Very long story but at least all your data is not lost :).

I think Mozy need Telephone Support option for customer.

Peter Morris said...

@Review:

I am surprised that Mozy scored so highly on your page!

Have you only tried backing up/restoring, or did you also simulate a complete hard disk crash?

I ask because this is the 2nd time in a year I have had to re-install my operating system, and both times I had to have support manually intervene because their restore process is flawed.

In addition to this I spent the best part of a year with a crippled Windows Explorer because of a bug in MozyHome - 30 seconds to select 2 files, if I selected 10 then Explorer would crash. This was solved with an update, Mozy knew about the problem but didn't email customers to let us know that there was a critical update to their software. It was only once I found time to investigate that I identified Mozy as the culprit.

If you haven't tried restoring onto a different computer then I'd advise you to do so, you will find that

1: You can't restore unless you first do a backup, even though you have nothing to backup.
2: You cannot order restore DVDs if you live outside of the USA, which makes it almost useless as a service for the occupants of the rest of the world.

Downloading 50GB just takes too long!

Rik Hemsley said...

My personal file storage and backup system is as follows:

Currently I have 300GB of important files. Most of the bulk is audio files and photos.

At each location I visit regularly (home and work), I have a 'personal files' hard drive. I also have one portable (2.5") hard drive. Each of these drives is large enough to take all my files (they're 500GB).

I carry my portable drive around with me. It's small enough that, even if I don't have a bag, it's not too large to slip into my jacket pocket.

Whenever I make changes to files, I sync with the portable drive at both fixed locations.

I use Microsoft's SyncToy for doing this - and review all changes before allowing them to be performed.

As for the 'backup' part of this story (so far I've only described syncing), I keep all files which require change history in a Subversion repository, which is stored as part of my personal file storage.

There's a possibility, though very small, that two copies could be destroyed at once. For example, I could leave the house without my portable drive and it could burn down. This is why I always have at least three copies of my files.

This system is cheap (less than £200 if I was to buy the drives now), easy and allows me to be confident my data is safe.

I would like this to work over the Internet, so I could ensure all three stores were in sync without having to manually run a sync at both ends, but there is currently no software which will sync over the Internet while allowing review of changes before accepting them.

This also requires Windows machines at each location, though I'd guess there are suitable sync tools for other platforms.

John said...

im having a horrible experience with mozy. 4 days not and they have to restored one file and are mostly trying to get me to spend $400 to get DVDs sent.

Backup Right said...

Computer backup can be a pain. There are reliable systems out there that can help this though.

Anonymous said...

Before you sign up, be known to the fact that it is an online backup where data flows from your computer to the online server. There can be chances of a number of errors in the network that will make things go wild. If you have data anywhere above 20 GB, go-get a hard drive instead. It is not Mozy or Idrive or Hp upline to be cursed. Try to know the basics before you put up your weird thoughts in blogs like this. If you download a movie and if that fails, you will sincerely try after some time without a second thought. But if that data belongs to you, your ass goes red since you are paying nuts. If you wish a painless backup, get yourself a backup such as veritas, symantec or TSM. But no, backup is important but $600 is not worth for this bullshit. Isn't it.

Peter Morris said...

"There can be chances of a number of errors in the network that will make things go wild"

Please go and learn about computer software before writing ignorant comments like this one.

The data will be sent in chunks using checksums