|At a glance
|Decho MozyHome () [Website]
Consumer-focused backup service with “unlimited” and free options.
|• Ease of setup
• 2 GB free account
• Supports 2 computers on Free account
• Several support options
|• No Hard Drive Shipping restore option
• Initial file selection too inclusive for Free account users
MozyHome is a simple solution to a problem many of us have: what do you do when all your data safeguards fail? It’s a scary thought. As hard drives grow larger and larger, it has become common to allocate an older computer to handle the family music and photos. Or perhaps you realized it was a bad idea to have data on independent drives, so you bought a RAIDed DAS/NAS solution and have been using that.
No matter how much time you’ve spent disaster-proofing your data though, MozyHome provides elegant secondary, off-site storage for when the worst happens and all your data is seemingly lost to the nether.
Mozy is produced by Dechu Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of EMC. EMC’s name is not really known beyond the massive data centers of large banks, government, and other enterprise installations, but with EMC’s stewardship, Mozy has become a leading online backup solution, hitting 1 million customers in 2009. Mozy has several product offerings:
- MozyFree – a 2 GB free edition of MozyHome. It can support two machines on one account.
- MozyHome – Unlimited Data Storage, $4.95/month/computer, 5 computers maximum. Year and two-year subscriptions provide one and three-month discounts, respectively.
- MozyPro – Adds business-level features, like central account billing and management.
- MozyPro for Servers – Made for server environments and can handle Exchange and SQL server backups.
Mozy recently added its 2xProtect product for Windows users, which automatically backs up files locally to an external drive in addition to Mozy’s data cloud.
MozyHome supports Windows 7, 2000, XP, and Vista (32 & 64 bit), as well as Mac OS X 10.6, 10.5, & 10.4. The screenshots in the gallery below are from the MacOS client, which has yet to be updated to the “2.0” release. This release has increased general speed and lowered processing overhead associated with the “military-grade” encryption. Platform differences otherwise are minimal, with the natural exception of user interface changes.
Installation is fairly straightforward. MozyHome selects a pre-determined set of folders based on platform and programs installed. It will handle locked files, like PST files, and show you the amount of space you are currently using.
I would like to see MozyFree shrink its default file selection. It selected my photos, music, video, and document directories by default. These selections blew right past the imposed 2 GB limit, and I had to spend about 15 minutes going through and deselecting items to back up. That said, the selection process is easy, and I had little issue using the interface.
MozyHome offers several restore options. The recommended option for both supported platforms is to restore via the client interface. This gives you access to revision information, along with being the most user-friendly.
Windows users get one additional option over Mac users in the form of a Virtual Drive, which acts like an attached hard drive to access your backed-up files. You may also download your data from the web or order DVDs. Pro users will be disappointed to find no option to order a USB hard drive, which makes restoring a large amount of data time-consuming and laborious.
If you decide to move your account to a different system, or have to reload your OS, transferring your data can be a chore. As can been seen here in the Mozy Docs, Mac users will receive a DMG of their files when doing a web restore, even if they have moved to a Windows platform. Windows users may or may not receive a .exe file, depending on if any of your file names are over 255 characters.
On either platform, if you have a file over 2 GB in size, your file will be compressed using LZMA, resulting in a file openable by the popular 7-zip file archiver. Mozy recommends a DVD restore when you decide to change platforms, but for users actually using the “unlimited” part of the service, this will be tedious and time-consuming. I would urge Decho/EMC to rework their web restore strategy to use a cross-platform file type.
MozyHome lets the user pick to use their encryption key, or the user.
Mozy provides good tips and instructions throughout the process.
MozyHome picks a number of folders that it deems need to be backed up by default. The initial scan can take quite some time because of these choices.
MozyFree really needs to scale back its initial scan since its default selection choices are prime targets for big data hogs.
Mozy’s interface is fairly intuitive for selecting backup entries.
Mozy’s interface for restoration is equally simple to use.
Web-based restores are hampered by Mozy’s strange choices for archive file types, but the interface is simple to use.
Access, Support, Security
Accessing backed-up files is done via the client interface or the web interface. Mozy does not offer any specific applications for mobile devices.
Support is available to paid users via e-mail and live chat. Pro users get phone support. The online documentation is well written and thorough, and should cover most questions a typical user might have.
Files are encrypted utilizing “military-grade” encryption before being transferred over a SSL encrypted connection. MozyHome allows you to either use your own personal encryption key, or will provide a randomly generated 448-bit encryption key, depending on your preference.