Mozy Review: Two Thumbs Down

Avoid Mozy, Use an External Hard Drive for Backup

My wife and I have had a miserable experience with Mozy over the last month since our hard drive crashed.  Their customer and technical support is awful, but the real disappointment is that some of our files were not available  to restore.  My advice: go with an external hard drive to back up your computer, and save yourself the wasted time, money, headaches and heartaches when Mozy fails to meet your expectations.

Sorry for using my political blog for a personal issue, but I wanted to get the word out to as many people as possible to have a backup for your backup if you are using Mozy.  For those who don’t know, Mozy is an online hard drive backup service.  For $5 a month, Mozy will backup the files on your computer and have them available to re-download in case your hard drive crashes. We starting using Mozy’s services at the beginning of the year, and it initially gave us great comfort to know that everything was backed up.  But when we really needed Mozy, they completely failed us, they admit no wrong, and do nothing to try to make up for our loss.

From the Beginning Mozy was Slow

Mozy is slow in two ways.  One, the backup process takes an inordinate amount of time.  Our 250 GB hard drive took over a month to back up, and that was with us leaving our computer running 24/7.  And the problem was not our internet connection.  We have a cable modem with service through Comcast; it is about as fast an internet connection as a residence can get.  We also had a 100 GB external hard drive, and combined it took nearly two months, with our computer turned on all day and all night, to complete the backup.

The other way in which Mozy is slow is in regard to the responsiveness of their software.  Once their software was installed on our computer, to get into the configuration and setup area took way too long.  It just sits their and churns 5 to 10 minutes while the dialog box opens up.  And again, it’s not as if our computer is a dinosaur.  The computer is only two years old and has a 2GHz processor and plenty of memory.

Mozy’s Confusing Restore Process

When our hard drive crashed last month, the first thing I did, after getting the computer back up and running, was to visit Mozy.com to figure out how to restore my hard drive.  The only documentation was lengthy and confusing; I could find no simple steps to begin restoring my files in a similar manner (set-it-and-forget-it) as they had been backed up.  The online documentation mentioned a “restore” tab in the Mozy client, so I downloaded the software.  But when I opened the Mozy client, there was no “restore” tab.  At this point, I initiated an online chat with a technical support person from Mozy.

Mozy’s Unhelpful Help

The support person I chatted with that night did little to help me and actually contributed to the frustrations.  He told me that the “restore” option in the client wasn’t available to me and that I would have to use the “web restore.”  For a week, my wife and I struggled to use the web restore service which requires you to download the data file by file and folder by folder.  This process was excruciatingly slow and confusing due to the list of zip files(which Mozy generates) changing order each time I came back to the download page.  This put a major burden on us and still it was nearly impossible to keep track of what files and folders had been restored and what had not been.

After a week of trying to use the Web Restore process, we reported some of these issues, when the Mozy support person asked us why we weren’t using the client restore tab.  I re-checked the client and discovered that the “restore” tab had appeared.  No explanation was given as to why that tab was not present and usable a week earlier, and we didn’t ask (by this point we had no hope of getting a straight answer from Mozy support).

At that point we were finally able to use the the client restore and set-it-and-forget-it method of having Mozy simple go to work restoring our entire computer.  We let that run about a week and then Mozy said that our entire computer had been backed up.  The relative speed of the restore was a major surprise to us given how long it took to back up the computer.  But then we discovered one reason why the restore process was so fast, a huge folder was missing.

Surprise! A Major Folder is Missing

My wife has a small business where she designs and prints photo cards.  Therefore she has hundreds, even thousands, of Photoshop files, including templates and the final product.  These files were located in a folder called “C:\users\Heather\simplyfreshdesigns”  After the restore was complete, we realized that this folder was missing.  We went and doubled checked our online Mozy account, and sure enough, it was not listed as a folder that had been backed up.  At this point we re-engaged Mozy’s support team which, true to form, ended up being no help at all.

We explained that we had every indication that this folder had been backed up.

  • In the initial backup configuration, we had told Mozy to back up all PhotoShop file types.
  • The ultimate back up size was confirmed by Mozy to be 346 BG.  This, we thought, was consistent with our 250 GB hard drive plus 100 GB external drive.
  • Other folders located under “C:\users\Heather\” had been backed up and were present and available to restore.

Yet none of these facts phased Mozy.  Again and again they came back to us and said that the folder in question had not been selected by us to be backed up, therefore Mozy had not backed it up.  And of course with a fried hard drive, at this point, it was impossible to prove that Mozy was wrong.

Slow Responses, No Efforts to Make Amends, and Insults

During the past two weeks of trying to figure out what happened to the missing folder, Mozy has been extremely slow to respond to our emails.  We average less than one email a day from Mozy, which makes it very difficult to carry on a good conversation.  I would send an email to Mozy and it would be 24 hours before I would get a response back.  Once they did reply, I would respond again within minutes, yet it would still be a day or two before I would hear back.

And after nearly a month now, I have lost all hope of recovering this missing folder.  And all the while, no one at Mozy has made any offer to make this up to us. No offer of a refund.  No offer to try to recover our hard drive. In fact, in the middle of this whole situation, Mozy billed us for another month of service.  What an insult!

In the most recent email I received from Mozy (7/22/09), the Mozy support person acknowledged no wrong doing on the part of Mozy and has even gone so far as to begin mocking me. In response to my statement that I had all indications that the folder had been backed up, he said, “all indications are the folder was never backed up.” And he continued, “it looks like Mozy was working fine.”

If the experience we have had was “Mozy working fine,” you’ll definitely want to avoid ever using their services.

50% of Americans Have Little Use for the Internet

On Tuesday, May 15th, I will be starting a new position here at FedEx. I will be moving from a Marketing Analyst role on the Small Business Team to a Marketing Specialist role with FedEx.com. Particularly, I will now be working on the application to prepare shipments online at FedEx.com.

Given this new direction professionally, I was particularly interested when I saw this recent headline “Nearly 50 Percent of Americans Have Little Use for Internet and Cell Phones, Survey Finds.” (From Fox News) This article is based on a report by the Pew Research Center. See full report here.

While the headline above seemed shocking to me, as I looked at the data, it all made sense. The study puts Americans in 10 buckets according to their use of information and communication technology (ICT).

  • Top 4 buckets = Elite Tech Users (31% of American adults)
  • Middle 2 buckets = Middle-of-the-road Tech Users (20% of American adults)
  • Bottom 4 buckets = Few Tech Assets (49%)

    The elite users of ICTs consist of four groups that have the most information technology, are heavy and frequent users of the internet and cell phones and, to varying degrees, are engaged with user-generated content. Members of these groups have generally high levels of satisfaction about the role of ICTs in their lives.

    The middle-of-the-road users consist of two groups whose outlook toward information technology is task-oriented. They use ICTs for communication more than they use it for self-expression. One group finds this pattern of information technology use satisfying and beneficial, while the other finds it burdensome.

    For those with few technology assets (four groups), modern gadgetry is at or near the periphery of their daily lives. Some find it useful, others don’t, and others simply stick to the plain old telephone and television.

    Take this quiz and find out what kind of tech-user you are: http://www.pewinternet.org/quiz/