July 26, 2008

Computer Crash -1: MozyPro Remote Backup Review

Last December, I signed up for MozyPro's online backup service after checking out its five-star reviews and its low cost (I could backup 20GB for under $15/month). It appeared to be the best remote backup service on the web.

I was very happy with MozyPro - every night, it would automatically backup my files (including my email) and every morning, there was a nice little window letting me know I was safe. Sweet.

Then, my Workhorse Desktop started acting screwy. Freezing up, paralyzed mouse. It wasn't the skeery Blue Screen of Death, so I didn't panic ....

I need a computer to do my job, but no problem! I'd use Mozy Pro to backup my files to my Starbucks laptop, and my Workhorse would be free to spend a couple of weeks at the Repair Shop. (My Starbucks laptop is the one I take to the coffee house, or down to the Riverwalk, or whereever -- no financial info, just a few files ....)

Of course, all this happened on a holiday weekend (the Workhorse decided to buckle on the Saturday of the Fourth of July weekend). But this shouldn't be a problem: MozyPro should easily download what I needed, and didn't they have 24/7/365 live support?

Workhorse's window that Saturday morning comforted me that a backup had been done the night before, so I should have everything I needed over on MozyPro. Everything was looking soooo good.

It wasn't that pretty.

First, I learned not to trust the MozyPro notice window.

Luckily, MozyPro had completed a full backup on THURSDAY night - but this was the only backup that had really occurred in the past week to 10 days. Friday's work and Friday's emails were not picked up by MozyPro. Forget what the notice window tells you.

Second, that MozyPro live support sounded great - but just try to get through to the techies by phone.

I had a big, big problem finding a technical support phone number. I finally got one by calling the sales line (yes, they picked up just fine) and after initially being transfered by a sales rep, I got ahold of a tech support number. Here it is for you:

MOZYPRO TECHNICAL SUPPORT CAN BE REACHED AT 866-789-6699.

Then, you get to wait and wait and wait for a tech to answer the line. Here's a help: if they don't answer, call the Sales line and get transferred over (one of their reps told me they all office in the same space - techs and reps):

MOZYPRO SALES CAN BE REACHED AT 801-756-2331.


Third, calendar at least a full day to get a full restore.

After a full day of dealing with MozyPro, confirming that only one backup had occurred in the past week and getting live help on downloading that backup to my laptop, I then had another night and day (or two) in dealing with the actual restore.

Fourth, don't expect to retrieve all your backup in one restore file.

True, I had a lot of files - almost 2GB - to be restored. MozyPro didn't give me all those files in one restore file, though - although the techs told me this would be one quick, clean download. One big restore handled most everything. The next day, though, there was a little file - more to download. All the emails, as well as my favorites, address book, and some other stuff, came in this separate restore - which suddenly popped up about 12-24 hours after I first requested my files from MozyPro.

Fifth, expect lots of duplicate emails from MozyPro for around a week after you request your restore.

After I downloaded the restores, I got notices in my Yahoo mail for about a week - "restore complete," "need to restore," etc. - after I'd already restored everything. Apparently, there were duplicate restore files setting there, somewhere.

Bottom line:

1. MozyPro did save me - I did get all most of my files. I have my emails, I have my word processing documents, I have my publisher files. I may have lost my TurboTax and QuickBooks files (most of this was in hardcopy already, however) as well as some website designs made with a special webdesign software provided by GoDaddy.

2. MozyPro's tech support was helpful and human - when I finally tracked them down.

3. MozyPro doesn't always download even if that window tells you it does.

4. I will keep using MozyPro, but I won't be as trusting of the software. I'll double check the reality of those backups. And, I'll keep that tech support number handy.

5. In addition to MozyPro, I'll also keep hard copies of all my important, current workweek stuff - including emails, invoices, works in process - on a flash drive. I would have been in a mess if this had happened in the middle of the workweek, and I had to be down three days just to get myself up and running again. In a way, it was a blessing that this happened over a long holiday weekend (except for cancelling that picnic/BBQ ....).

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the subject of file backup, sharing and storage ...

Online backup is becoming common these days. It is estimated that 70-75% of all PC's will be connected to online backup services with in the next decade.

Thousands of online backup companies exist, from one guy operating in his apartment to fortune 500 companies.

Choosing the best online backup company will be very confusing and difficult. One website I find very helpful in making a decision to pick an online backup company is:

http://www.BackupReview.info

This site lists more than 400 online backup companies in its directory and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.

Rebecca said...

Anonymous,
Thanks so much for this information! What a great help - I'm going to study the site you've provided us right now.
Thanks again,
Rebecca

Mike Garland said...

Rebecca,
The online bakcup industry is a hot market now. I also recommend www.BackupReview.info as a source for practical information. In addition, you may be interested in a great industry overview by IDC
Storage as a Service - Who What Where?

I appreciate your review of Mozy. They have done a lot to educate the consumer on the importance of backup and the viability of online backup. For their market and price their offering is an excellent value.

Rebecca said...

Mike,
Thanks for this - especially the IDC article. You've got me thinking, too -- with the online backup industry as "hot" in the marketplace observation.

One thing that scared me silly during my July Computer Crash Crisis (to be read in the same ominous tones as the Bay of Pigs Crisis, the Housing Bubble Crisis, etc.) was my inability to access the web for a significant period of time.

In my attempts to become as paperless as possible, a strategy which relies in part on online backups, I had become extremely dependent upon 24/7 speedy access to the web. It was crippling to be denied instanteous access.

The implications of that experience are something that I'm still pondering ....

Thx again,
Rebecca

Anonymous said...

There are a number of good reviews of Mozy and competing products at www.backupreview.info. Some of the problems you alude to were noted by the reviewer as well.

Miriam

Rebecca said...

Miriam,
Thanks -- Mike Garland also recommended backupreview.info: with both of you giving that site a thumbs up, it's gotta be great, right?

And, it sounds like Mozy is still trustworthy and recommended at this point - even if my experience was far from smooth.

Thanks so much for writing,
Rebecca

Anonymous said...

It's not the least bit suspicious that three separate people have referred to www.backupreview.info by URL. Must be quite the site!

Anonymous said...

Mozy Pro Can take 24 hours on a weekend (weekdays would take longer) to simply GATHER the files that you need to download before you can even start to download them!! (50k files, or a typical workstation, or home computer) This makes it worthless for Dr.s lawyers, dentist, hotels,... or anyone who needs their data restored rapidly.

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