July 30, 2006

New tech: Mozy Remote Backup

Posted in Technology at 4:34 pm by Calico Jack

Like many people, I’ve had computers crash and die on me. I had my first laptop for less than a year before I dropped it and destroyed pretty much everything inside. Thankfully, I was able to retrieve most of my files, but I very easily could have lost documents and files that were irreplaceable. Now that I’m on my second laptop, I have even more important photos and projects and files that I would hate to lose.

Mozy is one of the coolest websites I’ve come across in a while. They offer remote backup for all of your important files. The process couldn’t be simpler: sign up for a free account, download their program (currently only works with Windows XP, but they’re working on a Mac client), select the files you want to back up, and click “Start.” Mozy will upload everything to their secure servers, and you can set the program to update automatically whenever you add files of a certain type.

For example, I have a photo album that I want to make sure isn’t lost. So once a week, Mozy will scan my computer to see if I’ve added any photos to my folder, and it will automatically upload the new photos for me; I don’t have to do anything at all. You get 2 GB of storage for free, and if you want more space the fees are minimal. What’s great about Mozy is that you can download your files from anywhere, as long as you sign in on their website. If my computer dies, I can simply go to another computer and sign in; and Mozy will prepare a zip file for me to download. It’s as hassle-free as you can imagine, and you can restore your data up to several times a month.

Of course, you need a broadband connection, because Mozy needs to be able to connect to their servers to automatically update. And if you’re working with large files, it can take a while to upload, depending on your speed. But once you finish your initial upload, Mozy only updates if there are new items that you want to save, which cuts way back on the bandwidth.

I like the security that comes from having my important files in a secure place. Yes, you can go and burn CDs or DVDs of all of your files; but that takes a long time and you have to keep updating as soon as there are new files. And having your files online means that you’ll be able to retrieve your data, even if your house burns down. It’s cheaper than buying an external hard drive, and Mozy does all of the work for me. Seriously, this is a great website. Just click here, and you’ll be up and running in no time. I can’t recommend this service enough.

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3 Comments »

  1. Here’s an article that outlines the ‘dark side’ of most of these glowing blog entries about Mozy.

  2. Zach Crestwill said,

    Good call on mozy – I definitely agree that it is one of the best apps I have found in a while. I am a photographer and it’s really nice to be able to back up my pictures.

    I did play with the restore and it was tricky but hey, you can’t beat the price (2GB for free).

  3. sb said,

    On the surface, Mozy seems great. Simple, minimal configuration, offsite backup with unlimited storage (and no bandwidth charges) for a low price. That it where the greatness ends. It was only after using three months of service that I realized its pitfalls. If you do any of the following, Mozy thinks you are adding another computer to your account, makes you pay double, and begin your backup from scratch again:
    – uninstall the client
    – reinstall the client
    – reinstall your OS
    – get a new computer and transfer your old computers data to it
    – have a hardware failure
    – have a software problem

    It takes FOREVER to upload. I ran my computer 24hrs a day for two months (over a 1T) and had only backed up 60GB of my 180GB of data. The mac client has some issues and even though my client said I had uploaded over 100GB, Mozy.com only had 60GB. I had to uninstall and reinstall the client because the auto update feature wasn’t working and it restarted my backup from scratch! 2 months of uploads gone! I then got a new computer, and used USB to transfer all of my data from my old computer to the new. Mozy claims that when you get a new computer you have to use Mozy to transfer your data to it. Unfortunately, this means that both your old and new computer are out of commission for weeks on end, instead of using USB which for me only takes 1 hour. They claim that this is the way their service is designed to work and they have no plans to change. So, in other words, if you never buy another computer, never have a harddrive failure, a software problem, never want to reinstall your OS, and never actually need your data to be backed up, then Mozy is great. But then again, isn’t that the point of Mozy?


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