“ Mozy online backup solution, software and website „
I recently wrote a review on "Second Copy" exploring how I use this tool to get all of my data in one place and then use it to do backups. If you haven't read the article let me give you the jist of how important backups are in one word - VERY.
If you have things such as family pictures, school work or anything else that you don't want to loose you MUST do backups of some description. Believe me computers do fail, they do get dropped accidentally, they do have drinks dropped on them, hard disks do crash and they do get stolen. In my previous article I mentioned how I backup to a large USB device. This is all well and good and generally I try and remember to keep this somewhere safe away from the computer. As the recent awful pictures of flooding on the news showed though is it really safe enough to just backup your data to a locally connected device? Unless you are really disciplined at unplugging the backup device and keeping it in a different location then the answer has to be no.
At one time it was a technical dream to be able to somehow store backup data somewhere else. Now though with the power of remote file server "farms" with almost unlimited amounts of disk space and more importantly the speed at which people connect to the Internet it is now very possible. In the days of dial-up internet to backup a few GB's of data would have taken an age. Now the backups can be completed in a few hours. This is how Mozy works, one of a number of sites on the internet offering to look after your backup data for you. Let me make one thing clear however - a site like Mozy will backup your "data". It wont replace any other methods of backup you may have in place to recover the operating system itself. In other words if your system failed you need to get Windows back up and running by whatever method and then restore your actual data.
When you arrive at mozy.hom you have the choice of MozyHome and MozyPro. This review refers to the home version. This again splits into two different versions - MozyHome "Free" (which allows you to store up to 2GB of backups) and "Unlimited" ($4.95 a month but cheaper if you sign up to a longer period). The software and system used is exactly the same for both.
The first thing you must do is sign up. This is easy enough and pretty much just involves giving your e-mail address and a password. When complete you receive a link in your e-mail to activate your account and download the Mozy software that needs to be installed on your computer. The software is currently available for both Windows and Mac machines. The web site doesn't actually refer to Windows 7 (Just 2000, XP and Vista) but from my experience it does work fine on this flavour of Windows. I haven't tested the software on a Mac but the web site says it will run on Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5.
Once you have downloaded the client (less than 10MB in size) the installation is easy enough with a simple wizard only really asking where you want to install the software. At the end you can run the MozyHome configuration Wizard which is the key thing.
With this you first enter your account username and password (that you created on the web site). You now have to choose an encryption method which in fairness might just frighten a few people who don't quite understand what it means -
MozyHome's 448-bit Blowfish key (recommended)
Own personnel 256-bit AES key
Basically most people should have no reason not to choose the recommended MozyHome option. The only reason I can think of using the second option is some people may have data that is very private and they don't trust Mozy or that the system could be hacked or whatever. Basically if you choose the second option you will enter a key phrase. As the system will advise you - twice - if you loose this key you would not be able to restore you data if it was lost and needed to be restored.
The next option is to decide what you want to backup. Mozy gives you the option to select some "Backup Sets". What these are pre-selected groupings of documents and files. This is useful for people (i.e. most) who end up putting documents all over the place not just in "My Documents" but in folders on the desktop etc. For instance choosing "Photos and Images" will make sure all files with extensions such as .BMP .JPG etc. are backed up. "Music" will make sure all .MP3 files are backed up. Other options include simply "My Documents" which is just everything in that folder. Other options include things people may forget such as Internet Explorer and Firefox Favourites. You can also manually select individual files and folders but this is better done using the "Expert Mode" later on. Selecting any of the options is just a case of ticking or un-ticking the relevant backup set. At this point you are shown what percentage of your free 2GB quota you have used up. If over the limit you need to remove some items or click the link to visit Mozy to pay for the unlimited version.
A bandwidth test is then performed to make sure how fast your internet connection is to perform remote backups. If you have broadband this should pass, I have not tried it on a slow dial-up connection.
You can then choose how you want to perform the backups, balancing how much processing you want your computer to do based on a slider between "Faster Computer" and "Quicker backups". Mozy recommend setting this to 3/4 speed. Based on this information you will get an estimate of how long your initial backup will take.
You are now ready to start your first backup or can choose to go into "Expert Mode" or allow the first backup to run when the computer isn't being used (i.e. "idle"). A this point its worth noting the first backup may take hours or days depending on the amount of data you have. However after the first backup presumably only changes are backed up so these can take seconds or minutes. Before giving information on the backup process itself let me run you through "Expert Mode".
Plenty in here to fine tune the previous options if you feel the need -
"File System" - In here you can select individual files and folders and be a lot more granular than just selecting from the pre-created backup sets.
"Options" - You can set various scheduling options such as only backup if the computer CPU is running at a certain % and schedule to run at a very specific time. It also allows you to "throttle" how much of your internet connection is to be used for backups. You can also set a time to throttle so that backups get full use during the night but not much when you are online during day time hours for instance.
"History" - Shows what has been backed up and when.
"Restore" - I will cover this later.
When the backup is actually running moving the mouse over the icon shows brief information on what is actually going on. Double clicking on it shows more detailed information including the current status of encoding and transferring the files in the backup. While dong the backups I haven't notice any real hit while using my system but as mentioned previously you can adjust the system to give you better performance while reducing the speed of the backups.
Optional pop up boxes will say when the backup is complete, if you are over quota or how many days you have gone by without a successful backup.
The bit you hope you never have to use - Restore
So what happens if you do actually loose your data somehow? After all as good as a backup system is it's no good if the restore is hard to use or worse still doesn't work. With Mozy you can restore either using the Mozy software installed on your computer, using Windows explorer Mozy add-ins or via the Mozy website.
Using the installed client you just choose restore. You then have two options. You can either just restore one of the predefined sets - such as "Music" or "Spreadsheets and Databases" or you can pan down to individual files or folders you want to restore. This can be as simple as restoring to there original folder. You also have the option to change the destination folder to something other than its original location and overwrite or rename the restored file so you can have different versions of a restored document on your computer.
The second option is also done on the computer with the Mozy client installed via the normal Windows explorer. A new "drive" along with your usual C etc. called "MozyHome Remote Backup" is available and you can pan to the file or folder and just choose restore. You can also use time to pick different versions of a particular file. The final option also using explorer is "Right-Click Restore" so can right click on an existing file or folder to go to a previous version.
The other option is via the a "Web restore" via the mozy.com website With this method you choose the files and folders you need to restore and the system well then send you an e-mail when the restored "package" is ready. This is a link to a ZIP file you download that contains all of the files you want to restore. As well as being useful for backups this is also handy if you need a file that is normally stored on your computer but you need it somewhere else.
Overall the different restore options cover most eventualities and are very powerful. Its worth remembering though that however long it took to backup its going to take that time to restore it back if needed (i.e. hours/days).
So is 2GB of free backup space going to be enough? Well that's down to you and how well you housekeep your files and documents and try and keep the size of your files down (see my review on NX PowerLite if you have large Microsoft office documents).
If not you have two options - pay for more space with the "Unlimited" plan or refer people to use Mozy. With unlimited you can pay monthly, yearly (1 month free) or 2 yearly (3 months free). Paying monthly is $4.95 a month (or roughly £3.50). Is it worth it? Well only you know what you can afford to loose.
The second option (and I presume best if you don't want to pay) is to use referrals. With this method if you get somebody else to sign up and run a backup with Mozy you get an extra 256MB (sometimes 512MB during promotions) added to your quota. The online referrals section allows you to send people a link to do this and also shows who has signed up to increase your quota.
In conclusion then and taking Mozy away for one second please make sure you do some sort of backup. If you are looking for a solution that requires no extra hardware and stores your backups at a remote location I can recommended Mozy. I haven't tried any other providers as yet but so far Mozy has delivered on both backups and restores. Obviously try and use the free service if possible and refer people if needed. If not its up to you to decide whether its a price worth paying compared to loosing your data.
--- What Is It? ---
Online backup software that is totally automated and backs up changed files only after initial full backup.
--- What Does It Offer? ---
Total protection for your files.
--- Why Do I Need It? ---
Ever had 'the blue screen of doom'? had a laptop stolen? dropped a laptop? or anything else that causes loss of valuable information. Then you'll know the tears and frustration only too well. Mozy wipes away the tears with it's hassel free backup software that sits happily in the background backing up whilst you work without nagging you.
The software is easy and free to download and asks you initially to select what you want to backup which can be everything from the whole computer to just photos, just e-mails etc. Once setup Mozy will simply sit in the background and back up any new or changed files via their secure software online and keep your backup up to date without you doing anything.
--- What Does It Cost? ---
Just $4.95 per month for their Home unlimited package which is UNLIMITED space.
The Pro account for businesses charges on a per GB and per server basis which tailors pricing to your businesses needs.
This $4.95 per month gets you backup that uses 128-bit SSL encryption and 448-bit Blowfish encryption.
If the worst happens you can either download your backup from your account online or order recovery DVDs that arrive in a few days to restore your computer with.
--- Summary ---
This is essential off-site data protection software that really does hit the mark, it saves even the slightest detail, making sure you're always backed up. The hassel free software makes backing up idiot proof and helps ease troubled businesses to create full proof data recovery plans for a very reasonable charge.
Still unsure? get a FREE 2gb account now - http://bit.ly/a9Dyv - link to join the site, use the code SAVE10 at the checkout (if you decide to use a paid subscription to save 10%)
Trust Mozy to back it up easily, safely and securely!