Mozy Backup Failure – Day 5

No update yesterday since I had other things going on in the evening and couldn’t spend more than a few minutes working on getting the restore to work. Mozy does seem to be taking my problem quite seriously though – during the day yesterday I received phone calls from both a product manager and one of their Enterprise support technicians. (My subscription level is Home, I assume this level of attention was due to the nature of the problem – application failure – as opposed to the more common “How do I use the program?” issues which plague most product software support teams.)
The Web Restore I started on Tuesday evening finished sometime in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. I started the download around 10:30 or 11:00 Wednesday evening and when I woke up Thursday morning, the download had failed. I restarted it before leaving for work and when I came home this evening, discovered that this time around, rather than finish the download, my computer had decided to go into sleep mode (the download continued immediately when I woke the PC).
This evening around 8:00, I finished downloading the three self-extracting archive files, this time from the Sunday 4pm backup. I extracted the archives and

I have all my photos back!!!

So where does that leave things?
The most important thing for me is that I have my photos back. I’m grateful that Mozy’s service worked well enough that I was able to restore them. But Mozy’s not out of the dog house: restoring data shouldn’t be this much of a chore, particularly with a service targeted at home users. The initial restore attempt failed, but the message it displayed simply said, “Restore Completed.” The error message was in smaller text, accompanied by a message saying when my next backup would take place. If I hadn’t paid attention, I might have thought all was well and then, 30 days later, my photos would have been gone forever.
To my way of thinking, a “Restore Completed” message should only be displayed if the restoration was successful. And if it fails, it would be nice if the software made the next restoration attempt automatically rather than reverting to “business-as-usual.”
As for the failure itself, I understand that with any online service, failures do happen from time to time. With something as critical as online backup and restore, I’d prefer to see them a lot less often. For that reason, I’ll be dropping a line to Mozy to let them know I’m willing to work with them to reproduce the failure so they can learn from it and make the product better.
Some takeaways:

  • Backup is important. I’ve lost data in the past when I didn’t have a backup regimen in place. (I’m not alone in this, I don’t consider myself to be one, but even a Geek Rock Star can lose data.)
  • There is value in online backup – anything which could damage your computer could also damage an external drive. This experience does however demonstrate that online isn’t a good place for the primary/only backup.
  • My previous backup scheme was a copy of Norton Ghost and an external drive with backups automatically taking place every night. If I’d still been using an automated solution (in addition to Mozy), I probably would have had everything back almost immediately.