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.

17 replies
  1. Larry Richman
    Larry Richman says:

    I've been using Carbonite. Very happy with it. Easy to use. Unlimited storage for $50/year. Never have to worry about it.

    Reply
  2. Jimmy Smith
    Jimmy Smith says:

    Larry,
    Have you ever had to use Carbonite to restore your hard drive?
    We were satisfied with Mozy…until we actually needed it.

    Reply
  3. Jeannette
    Jeannette says:

    Almost the exact same thing happened to me with Mozy. Their customer support is a joke. A while after my incident for which Mozy offered no solution, they sent me an email asking me to complete a survey. They offered the option of providing a response if I wanted one. I expressed my displeasure with their customer service and, of course, never got a response to my survey answers. They do not want to hear negative feedback. I predict they will be a thing of the past pretty soon as more and more people realize they are unreliable and until then, they are just trying to make as much money as they can.

    Reply
  4. Nicolas Martin
    Nicolas Martin says:

    I just subscribed to Mozy tonight and prepared the download of 667 GBs of data. Forget it. That amount of data would take weeks to transmit to Mozy, and then I may never get it back when I need it. In addition, Comcast might put a data limit on my account or cancel it altogether. I already do backup to another hard drive which I keep onsite, but should move to another location and bring home weekly.

    Reply
  5. womanwithanissue
    womanwithanissue says:

    I have a Christian blog and hate using my account for things other than those, but this is like a sore tooth!

    I had the same sort of problem with Mozy, and now I cannot make them stop billing me.

    When I FINALLY got someone who could actually help me. it turns out he couldn't. I have since gone to Carbonite (as well as an external hard drive).

    But apparently it is not possible to cancel a Mozy account. I have twice emailed Mozy, and have called them four times now to try to get the less-than $5.00 a month to stop.

    It appears that Mozy believes that if they make it difficult enough, people won't cancel. This is insane. I feel like I'm standing at the edge of a cliff, waving drivers away. "GO BACK! IT'S A TRAP!!"

    Reply
  6. Ozzieville
    Ozzieville says:

    Gotta add my two cents to this discussion. I just learned that Mozy has not backed up my data for the past 343 days! No response from email support. Finally reached chat support, and was told the problem is I'm using an older version of Mozy. Fine, but no one told me to upgrade. Just by the grace of God have I not had any computer problems within the past year that might have required an attempt to do a Mozy restore — what a cruel joke that would have been.

    Reply
  7. Gemelle
    Gemelle says:

    I just canceled Mozy yesterday (same day that my Mozy bill cycled) because it was taking me a week to back up 1GB of data (leaving the computer on all day). The hangups and slow upload process wasted a lot of my computer resources as well as electricity.

    I emailed customer service to cancel and they emailed me back within an hour to a link that would delete my account. Then I asked if they could refund me the $4.95 that was just billed. It's been 2 days and I haven't heard back. They should have had the decency to say they can't refund instead of just ignoring my emails. This just goes to show what kind of business they really are.

    Reply
  8. Nick
    Nick says:

    Thank goodness for google and your article. I was just about to sign up to Mozy and thought I would do a quick google on 'mozy review'. I think you have saved me a whole heap of pain. Thanks for the heads up.

    Nicholas

    Reply
  9. Chris Casquilho
    Chris Casquilho says:

    Sadly, I'm having problems with Carbonite. Haven't had to restore files (yet), but get this sad notice that "Your computer hasn't contacted us for a week." This has happened two times, and I've been using the software for less than a month. Each time, they tell me to reinstall – which works. Problem is: what's the point of having this sure-fire thing running if: 1. They don't tell you it's not working until a week goes by (hope I didn't do anything important that week) and 2. I have to manually reinstall the program every other week to get it to work.

    Adding fuel to the fire is that the little lock icon in the tray is always green. You think maybe if the computer was having trouble contacting the backup server, it might change color…

    I would have to say that the external drive is the surest way – but I don't have the time or the discipline to plug the stupid drive in every day (which is what I need).

    Is there an online backup service that works?

    Reply
  10. cozy200305
    cozy200305 says:

    Sounds pretty typical. I've been using backazon.com for a while. All info is secure and its pretty fast. Also ready for me to download the second I upload it.

    Hope all is well

    Cheers
    Eric

    Reply
  11. LAX
    LAX says:

    I've had Mozy for about 6 months and feel I should defend it after seeing the comments on this page. I've had great luck with Mozy; however, the software is designed to offer maximum flexibility and I think this is where a lot can go wrong as well. Because of the sheer number of programs and the resulting variety of output files, it’s very difficult for Mozy to know exactly what you wish to back up. The setup page has a section that asks if one wishes to backup all "financial files" or all "document files" etc., and what's really happening behind the scenes, is that the tool is making a decision as to which file extensions are backed up based on your selection for each criteria.
    Here's what you must do to ensure files you want backed up, get backed up: Once the initial backup is finished, you must go into Windows Explorer and start looking through your directories and files. Mozy places a green check next to files that were backed up, a red check next to those that have changed and need to be backed up, and nothing will be next to those that will never be backed up. It is this stage at which you must take action with the software, by right clicking each section mentioned above (e.g. "document files") and adding your own rules to the predefined rules to add and exclude the files not being grabbed by their filter. Finally, lots of people mentioned the lengthy initial backup. Mine initially took about 2 weeks of 24/7 operation – but that only needs to occur once. Afterward, it performs incremental backups, only touching new or changed files. Remember, most everyone’s residential cable internet service provides a must faster download capability than upload – some being almost a 15 to 1 difference, which explains why the initial backup is so lengthy yet resotres occur so quickly. Note they do have an option that allows you to mail them a DVD of backup files to establish the initial set. Finally, those currently using the service should periodically right click on the Mozy logo in the system tray and verify the status of their backups. The status screen indicates the date/time of the last 50 or so backups. Clicking on each backup will reveal the files backed up in each session. I hope someone finds this information to be helpful, as what I wrote is clearly not well documented in their instructions and represent the hours I’ve spent to ensure I’m protected. Mozy can really work flawlessly as advertised, but it does require setup beyond the basic filters they provide, and a possessing a strong knowledge of file extensions helps tremendously. Just be sure to periodically verify that what you intend to backup is truly being preserved.

    Reply
  12. Allen
    Allen says:

    I am considering canceling my sub. The Manifest file was corrupted and I spent a total of about 12 hours with a level 1 and a level 2 tech and we managed to get the program working again. However, their "# Algorithm" decides what files to re-associate with and which to re-upload. In my case out of 230GB's of data it decided to re-upload 180GB's – all large video and photo files. For me at 300kbps that takes months. I asked for a year's free sub. but was told I could get 2 months extra or a full refund. They offered no promise that this wouldn't happen again and blamed Norton 360 anti virus for corrupting the file, yet Norton and Mozy have co-existed fine for 8 months. Mozy is the best online backup system out there at a great price – but you gets what you pays for. I'm doubling up on my external HDD's and keeping my data more securely near me rather than in the clouds

    Reply
  13. Allen
    Allen says:

    PS. My level 1 tech was very helpful but couldn't fix the Manifest issue. The level 2 tech was an expert, might have confused a less technical user, but immediately blamed Symantec when he saw it on my computer. Once he'd got Mozyhome running correctly he abandoned me saying the program chooses what to re-associate with on the Mozy servers and what to re-upload and there was nothing that could be done.

    Reply
  14. Allen
    Allen says:

    Well, I wanted a full refund and was offered one, but when I accepted I was offered 6 months extra service for free. I refused and was offered 12 months. Add that to the 2 months already given during the tech support, I am good until April 2012. I might as well stay a customer. It still doesn't mean the backups are robust, and I am not pleased. I have backed up to more ext. HDD's to ensure no data loss, but here goes for another several months of uploading 170 GB's all over again!

    Reply
  15. Techie Guy
    Techie Guy says:

    I have had a better experience with Mozy than most. I usually backup my digital photos, at 3-4GB at a time and that takes only about 8 hours to complete (an overnight job).

    The only issue I had was my external hard drive wasn't connected to Windows, and Mozy thought the files were missing, so it set the backed up file count to zero. I was a little angry by that so I e-mailed Mozy. Within a few hours the tech guy told me the files weren't deleted and all I needed to do was run the backup. I did, and within a few hours almost 200GB was showing as backed up by Mozy. I guess everyone has different experiences with different companies.

    As for backing up, for those that only have one external hard drive, I suggest you invest in an additional portable hard drive for offsite storage. One external hard drive as a backup is not a plan, but a problem. Always keep at least 2 copies of your data if you don't want to lose it.

    Reply

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