Mozy online backup for Mac doesn’t work

Mozy for Mac would get this far with my backup, and then just hang there. Annoying.

I’m bummed, and annoyed.

For a while I’d been looking for a Mac-friendly, reasonably priced, reliable online backup service that offered simple restore functionality, scheduled backups, and a few other features. I thought I’d found that in Mozy, which I’ve been using for the last few months, at a cost of $4.95/month.

For the first couple of months, it worked fine. Then, not so fine. The service gradually assumed a passive-aggressive attitude toward my Macbook. It wouldn’t conduct backups as scheduled. When I manually initiated a backup, it would appear to start the process, but then never actually execute the backup. Well, sometimes it did — at unpredictable times. Nothing I did seemed to influence whether or not Mozy would do a backup. The service had an inscrutable mind of its own.

Mozy for Mac is in beta, so I figured there would be glitches. The first couple of times I contacted Mozy support, they instructed me to uninstall and reinstall the software. Over the last couple of months I must have done that nearly a dozen times. No real improvement.

I started losing patience last week, and told Mozy support I’d be quitting the service and blogging about why. I wanted to give them one last chance to come through. I was told, “There’s an upgrade coming that should fix this for you.” That upgrade came through last Friday. I went through the reinstall process again — twice. Same problem.

I give up.

I tried, I really did. But Mozy really let me down. I’m canceling my account today. And they’d better give me a refund for the last couple of months, for trying to work with them for so long. Honestly, I just don’t get the impression that they’re serious about serving the Mac market. Their loss.

So now I’m looking for a new Mac-friendly, reasonably priced, reliable and flexible online backup service. Got any recommendations? Please comment below. Thanks.

UPDATE: Here’s what the head of Mozy customer support had to say in response to my post and cancelation order…

I just got this e-mail:

Amy,

I read your blog post today about your experience with Mozy. As the Manager of the Mozy Support Team, I apologize for the frustrating experience you’ve had. I can assure you that we are committed to improving the MacMozy service.

After reading your blog post, I discussed the issue with my team and our Mac engineers. The root cause of the problem that we’re running into is tied directly to Apple’s Spotlight Search feature, which is simply not responding consistently to Mozy’s search requests. Our Mac engineers are working right now to circumvent the bug in Apple’s spotlight program, but in the meantime, you can force quit the Spotlight service in Activity Monitor or reboot your machine.

I’ve taken the liberty to refund the last two months of subscription charges on your account. Your feedback and patience is very helpful to us as we prepare to bring MacMozy out of beta. Amy, are you willing to give Mozy another chance?

Thank you
David Dreyer
Support Operations Manager
Mozy, Inc.

In all fairness, that’s an appropriate response and a good attempt to retain my business. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to find a new offsite backup solution. As far as I’m concerned, rebooting and quitting spotlight are not good options for me. I want automated backup that just works — I schedule it, it runs, and I don’t have to take any extra steps to make it happen.

So again: Any good suggestions of Mac-friendly remote backup that actually works?

18 thoughts on Mozy online backup for Mac doesn’t work

  1. I also tried Mozy and had little success! I am also cancelling soon since it has never once successfully backed up. I tried contacting them, but they were no help.

    Anyway, with the new Leopard install on my mac I’m thinking of just using Time Machine with my external hard drive. The only problem is that it only backs up when you have the hard drive plugged in, and with my macbook being portable and such, this is inconvenient. I’ve heard of a program called SuperDuper though, if you do have an external hard drive.

  2. I too experienced the same problem. At the time I thought it was a good idea for online backup but just like you I experienced the same issues. My primary means of regular backup is with Superduper on my Mac. I haven’t gotten Leopard yet but Time Machine does look good, especially for those Uh oh moment but I like Superduper because it allows me to make a bootable backup in case of an emergency and it’s very easy. When I’m not using the drive I save it to fireproof box. I’m currently looking at some new online services not for my whole drive to as a remote location to store current projects and other created information.

  3. I too use an extrenal hard drive to create a complete bootable backup of my hard drive — but I believe very strongly in the value of offsite backup for critical file. In case my house gets struck by a meteor or something.

    – Amy Gahran

  4. Amy: I’m the CEO of Carbonite. We been testing Carbonite Online Backup for Mac and the public beta will be starting within a couple of months. Our Mac front end was designed by a well-known Mac development house that does a lot of work for Apple, so they really know the Mac environment. The testing has been going great. The beta program will be free, of course. If you or your readers would like to participate in the beta program, just send and email to beta@carbonite.com and we’ll notify as soon as the beta program officially starts.

    Regards,

    Dave Friend

    CEO, Carbonite, Inc.

    CEO, Carbonite, Inc.
    Carbonite Online Backup

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  6. Amy,

    Thank you for posting about this. I have had the same misadventure with Mozy on my Mac, almost precisely as you described it, and now I’m bummed and annoyed too. It worked fine for several weeks, then it worked intermittently at unexpected times, and now when I try to initiate the backup process manually it doesn’t even start anymore. The program never gives me an error message, however; it even reminds me daily that more than 7 days have passed since I performed my last backup!

    Like you, I use an external hard drive for backup, but also believe strongly in the value of remote backup in case meteors should strike. So I too am now seeking a suitable substitute service that is mac-friendly. The only contenders I’m aware of are:

    (i) Backjack (www.backjack.com – $17.50 per month for 4 GB, with more space available for higher fees);

    (ii) Macbackups (www.macbackups.com – pricing equivalent to Backjack);

    (iii) Apple’s .mac service (10 GB storage on “iDisk” for $100 per year, 20 GB for $150, and 30GB for $200 per year – http://www.mac.com/1/mac_faq.html#data_preservation);

    (iv) Omnidrive (http://www.omnidrive.com/products/ – $40 per year for 10 GB, $100 for 25 GB, and $200 for 50 GB); and

    (v) Adrive (http://www.adrive.com/products – free storage).

    I haven’t tried any of these other services, nor have I really investigated their features or reputations yet, so I can’t offer you further information. Just from a quick look at their websites, it doesn’t seem to me like Omnidrive or Adrive offer incremental backup.

    Matt

  7. I have managed to complete a backup but cannot use the restore files function. Support has told me to uninstall and install which I have done countless times to no avail. I was hopefull that they would get it together but after six months or so I am giving up on Mozy.

  8. I’ve had similar Mac Mozy issues. I used to be a PC mozy user and was really happy. Switched to Mac and it worked at first, but then it sort of took a mind of its own. I’m not sure what it is doing except just streaming lots of data to Mozy for no apparent reason (all the while saying Mozy is not-responding). I kill the process and it does it again. Support tells me to reinstall. I do it. No difference. Support said they are coming out with a new version here around the first of the year, so let’s hope that addresses the issues. I know this is technically a beta, but these updates ought to be coming out a little quicker.

    Also, saw the comment re: Carbonite and that sounds promising as well. I used Carbonite for PC for a year as well and was happy. Only had switched to Mozy PC at the end of my year since (1) I knew I was getting a Mac and Mozy had a Mac client and (2) Mozy had some additional control that Carbonite lacked.

    I’m also an Amazon S3 user, .mac user, and soon-to-be SuperDuper user. Each has its merits. There is no be-all end-all in backup yet.

  9. I cancelled my Mozy Unlimited service after a week. Tech support was very responsive – but Mozy kept dropping the connection. I was willing to suffer some pain to put the initial backup in place, something that I knew would do in chunks because of the size, but, given the problems I was having, I would not have been able to do the subsequent incremental backups, so what’s the point?

    For now, I’ll say with my Maxtor One Touch.

  10. I’m having the same problem. If Spotlight is truly at fault, I wonder if a cron job that periodically restarts the Spotlight service would be a viable workaround?

  11. I share your pain. MozyMac has absolutely trashed the performance of my machine. For $4.95/month, I guess I’m getting what I paid for, which is to say not much.

  12. It sounds like you’re no longer interested in Mozy, but I thought I’d note that I used to have this problem, to the extent that I’d have to run “sudo killall Mozybackup” about twice a week. But with the newest version (0.9.0.0) that problem has vanished. I still have several gripes, but it’s good to see that the Mozy development team is making improvements.

  13. Amy,

    This is a follow-up to my December 15, 2007 post, in which I described how Mozy for Mac had stopped working for me. Since then at the advice of Mozy customer support, who have been reasonably responsive, I upgraded to version 0.9.0.0. That was several weeks ago, and Mozy for Mac has been working for me without a hitch since. It has been backing up my new and revised files smoothly, and, as an ongoing test, I also have restored different individual files from the Mozy server on different occasions, and that too has gone smoothly each time.

    So I must supplement my earlier report to say that I am now a satisfied Mozy-for-Mac customer, and I’d recommend version 0.9.0.0 to any Mac user. Of course, that’s with the caveat that I had the problems with an earlier version that I previously reported. In light of the fact that Mozy says its software for Mac is still Beta, I suppose the prior malfunction is more excusable than it would have been otherwise.

    Matt

  14. I cancelled my Mozy Unlimited service after 8 months. For many of the reasons listed above but mostly because:

    1. The application was a resource hog, I mean 80 MB of RAM!!
    2. Backups where unpredictable
    3. Feels like a half-baked Mac app
    4. When I would try to look through my directory structure to find the directories I wanted backed up it took *forever* to read the directories because it keeps trying to calculate folder sizes. This was one of the most annoying “features”

    I’m not looking for another solution. Mozy is a great concept / idea, but they need to hire better Mac developers.

  15. I use the free version, since I don’t wanna upload hundreds of Gig’s anyways.
    I had a problam, what seems to be the same like your’s – Mozy seemd to search like forever and then didn’t seem to respond to my actions… I never could tell if it works or not. I reinstalld it, than it was good like for 2 uploads… CPU usage went – god knows where and it got hot (the bigger battery usage was actually my trigger to do something about it)

    -> I added added Mozy manually to my firewall list and now it seems to work just fine…

    OSX 10.5.7

  16. I think Moby should be commended for the letter and refund they sent you, at least. You’re right, their product doesn’t work (I just tried it, it won’t even run on my new Mac), but politeness to one’s customers seems to be a dying art.

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