Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mozy review: It doesn't work

I tried out the free version of Mozy in the fall of 2007, having heard good things about it. It quickly backed up over a gig of data and I decided to sign up. From here it went bad. I knew the full upload was going to take a while, but based on how it worked during the free period, it looked like it should take 4-8 weeks to back up my 100G of data. It slowed down dramatically, in two senses:
  • The raw upload rate got a lot slower
  • It would regularly get "stuck" and have to be manually killed and restarted, sort of defeating the purpose of the whole background thing.
Further, it would regularly (many hours a day) use 100% of CPU, rendering the machine unusable. Changing the set of things to be backed up would always kick it into this state, and would take hours and hours to finish, meaning there was no easy way I could tweak the backup set to just backup the most important stuff first.

So, I contacted support. They were very friendly and encouraged me to upgrade to the latest and greatest client, which I did. They extended my membership by one month for free. But, none of these upgrades worked. I asked that they cancel my account and they instead kept suggesting I try other things. I tried several of them and nothing worked. At this point, several gigs of data had been backed up, but my machine was still almost unusable while a backup was running. So,
I decided to try a test restore. I went to their web UI, which took tens of minutes to load, and in the end gave me a "No backups found" error or a generic "An error has occurred" message. I again contacted support, and they replied "well, it works for me", which was singularly unuseful. I asked again to cancel, and again got the "well, upgrade to the new version". I gave up. Nine months later, the 100% CPU problems were still occurring, though with less frequency,
and it finally "finished" the backup. I tried another test restore, and it still didn't work. I gave up and turned off Mozy.

(A couple other things worthy of note: This was all on a MacBook Pro, and I lived in two different places during this time, with very vanilla network configuration, using two different ISPs, so I'm doubtful the problems were particular to my situation)

Then, this past fall, I got auto-renewed. I sent an email making it clear I wanted my money refunded and my service canceled in no uncertain terms. I canceled and they refunded all but $5 of my renewal fee. So, in the end:
  • The software was slow to the point of being unusable.
  • The software had a detrimental effect on my usual use of my machine
  • The restore functionality never worked
  • Despite multiple requests, they refused to cancel my account in the first place
  • On cancellation, they didn't even refund the full charge