It turns out Mozy isn't so hot after all

Last week a hard drive in my home file server died, taking hundreds of gigabytes of MP3s, movies, source code, and other things with it (including the uncompressed master copies of all my cinematic masterpieces). Fortunately, I had backed up the important stuff using Mozy. Unfortunately, Mozy’s restore functionality turns out to suck. Bigtime.

Mozy gives you two options for doing a restore. The preferred option (according to Mozy technical support) is a web restore. You log into Mozy’s website, select the files you want to restore, and then wait about six hours while Mozy’s little file restoring robots pull the files off the storage servers, pack them into self-extracting 7Zip archives, and copy them over to a web server, at which point Mozy sends you an email saying your files are ready to be downloaded.

Before trying that method, though, I tried Mozy’s newer Windows Explorer integration, which displays your backed up files in Explorer as if they’re on an external hard drive and allows you to begin a restore operation by simply selecting the files and directories you want to restore and choosing “Restore” from the context menu. Easy enough, right? Wrong.

Every time I started a restore, Mozy would crunch for a looong time searching for the files on the server, then finally start downloading them. I’d go away and let it run for a few hours, only to return to find that Mozy had hung and was just sitting there doing nothing. Canceling and restarting a restore operation takes a good 15 minutes or so, since the Mozy client doesn’t seem to be very happy about responding to cancel requests.

After about three days of continuously trying and failing to get Mozy to restore my files via this method, I decided to try a web restore at the prompting of Mozy tech support. As described above, my web restore files were created and I was emailed when they were ready to download. In the email was a link to a special Mozy web page that had download links for six archives, each about 4 gigs in size.

I queued up all the links in my download manager as Mozy had suggested and then went and did other things. When I returned several hours later to check on the progress, two of the downloads had finished, but the others had failed.

Unfortunately, Mozy’s restore website thinks it’s smarter than me, so it removes the download link (and deletes the archive) when it thinks you’ve downloaded the file. I was able to restart three of the downloads, but the remaining one had already been deleted and I couldn’t resume the download.

This means I now have to go through my 8,000+ restored files manually and try to figure out which ones were in the archive that Mozy wouldn’t let me download so I can create another web restore request to re-download those files. Thanks Mozy.

I’ve now spent four days trying to coax my backed up files out of Mozy’s broken servers, and I’m fed up. Mozy’s great at making backups painless, but it’s totally broken when it comes to restoring, and that makes it pretty goddamn useless.

I feel cheated now, especially after having written such a glowing review of Mozy earlier.

Update #1: All three remaining downloads have now failed as well. Great.

Update #2: Mozy has apologized for the problems and gone way beyond the call of duty to try to make things right.

Update #3: Despite Mozy’s attempts to make things right, I still didn’t get all of my data back, and I now strongly recommend using CrashPlan instead of Mozy.