Mozy Restore Sucks

Products by on June 13, 2008 at 8:56 am

I want to apologize now to all the people to whom I’ve lauded Mozy. I take it all back. I am far from alone.

Mozy is actually a succubus, a demon sent from hell to suck the life out of men (coincidentally, one of the top 5 South Park Episodes ever). Your relationship with Mozy begins much like one with a beautiful woman. However, one morning your hard drive crashes and you realize that you’re married to Roseanne Barr. Except that she has your data. And she’s sitting on it.

My hard drive crashed. It’s been 3 weeks and I just finished recovering my data. After this experience it is pretty clear that Mozy has invested heavily in backing up your data, but had the interns write the recovery code.

My story of woe follows if you’re interested in the details. The executive summary is Don’t Use Mozy. I strongly regret having bought an annual subscription for 2 computers (instead of paying monthly).

I’m still trying to find an alternative solution. JungleDisk (S3), Carbonite and Crashplan seem to be the leading contenders.

Restoring Via Mozy

Day 1: I installed my new hard drive and used the opportunity to install Vista. I installed Mozy to restore my files, but it didn’t recognize my computer. Online help files had no information about this instance. I emailed support.

Day 3: After a bit of back and forth they sent me instructions to uninstall Mozy, reinstall it partially and then run an attached script that edited my registry. Fine. A little inconvenient, but acceptable.

I ran the script, started Mozy and went to restore my files. There were no files to restore. Nada. Not a single of my backed up files could be found. I began to grow concerned and this time I used their painfully slow live rep support IM. After much confusion, they told me that I could only do a Web Restore or order DVDs (but that my files were safe). The DVDs would cost $100 and I had no interest in waiting for physical media to be mailed, so I chose the web restore.

The first step in the web restore process is to ‘build’ a restore. I kicked off the restore and refreshed the page a few times waiting for the downloads to be ready. After 10 minutes of this I gave up. 7 hours later, my status still said 0 of 18K files ready. I was a little concerned so I emailed support.

Day 4: No word from support, so I used IM to ‘speak’ with a rep. They told me that it usually takes a day or two for restores of my size to complete. Later in the day, support emailed me back and informed me that my download was at 17.9K of 18K files. Almost there!

Day 8: Still at 17.9K. I emailed support again. A day later I was told that the issue had been escalated.

Day 12: Still at 17.9K files. Still nothing after escalation. I emailed support again.

Day 13: I’m pretty pissed at this point so I IM support. They first tell me to do something that I cannot do (start a second restore). After we get over this confusion, the rep logs into my account and uses ‘extra priviledges’ to start a new restore without canceling the first.

Day 14: My files are ready (both restores)! But I’m traveling. Mozy is quick to tell me that I only have 7 days to download the restore files before they are deleted and I have to rebuild.

Day 19: I get back to my PC under restore. All I needed to do was download 30GB in 10 separate files. Unfortunately, Mozy seems to allot more bandwidth backing up files than for downloading files. Using Flashgot, Mozy would only give me 300-400 Kbps - about 10-20% of my measured available bandwidth. Not to mention the countless timeout errors that I received from Mozy.

Day 20: After many problems downloading, I finally got my files. A handful of hours unpacking and my files are back in their rightful place. Later in the next day, Mozy emails me to tell me that all of the restores have been deleted.

Yes I did get my files in the end. But restoring files took so much time and energy on my part that I may as well have been running my own backup system. Their support utterly failed (not for a lack of good intentions though). I’m now looking at alternative solutions and will switch over as soon as humanly possible.

I should add that Mozy is re-uploading every single file. So, according to the backup client, I have 6 more days until the cycle is truly complete.

Backing up to the cloud – Mozy & Mesh

Products by on April 23, 2008 at 11:57 am

Based on a recommendation from a friend a while ago, I began using Mozy for backing up my machines. I have been incredibly impressed and have recommended the service to anyone within earshot.

I had been using Sharpcast for photo backup, and using a Linksys NSLU2 and an external hard drive to conduct local backups. My initial excitement about Sharpcast quickly eroded as they abandoned the product and left all of the rough edges in place. I grew tired of the (slight) administration overhead of managing local backups and decided to give Mozy a try.

Mozy has been awesome for several reasons:

  • It just works. Install the client and you can basically forget about it.
  • Excellent interface. It is incredibly intuitive. I’ve always been able to quickly find the things that I want.
  • Easy to retrieve backed up documents. Mozy offers a number of easy ways to get your backups. DVD, context menu, explorer extensions, website, etc.

I’m pretty convinced that there isn’t a better solution out there. However, Mozy doesn’t do the one thing that would be very useful: sync. And since they’ve been acquired by EMC, I don’t expect tremendous movement.

So, I’m pretty excited about Microsoft’s recent announcement of Live Mesh. While GDrive remains as mythical as the ‘man-month’, MSFT is launching a beta of Live Mesh, a pretty ambitious Remote Desktop in the cloud (Good overview at TechCrunch). While I’m most excited by the ‘Unified Data Management’ of Live Mesh, I can definitely see the benefits of ‘unified’ every-thing else. It is a great desktop-up balance to the cloud-down approach taken by Google/Adobe. I tend to favor the ‘cloud-down’ approach but there are definitely instances where desktop-up are favorable (like document backup and sync).

I’m a very happy Mozy user at the moment and will continue to recommend it, but Live Mesh is the first offering that has the potential to dislodge it.


I take back all the good things I said about Mozy. Mozy actually sucks.

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