On 8/27/13 I purchased the unlimited Zoolz offer I wrote you about here: http://theweeklygeek.com/2013/08/29/great-deal-on-off-site-cloud-backup-from-genie-9-with-zoolz/
As a reminder this is a Genie Cloud product and I really do like and use Genie products, just look at the side of the site here under “TWG’s Favorite Products”.
The install of the software on my test Windows 8 PC on 8/27/13 went perfectly smoothly. When configuring what to backup I was able to add mapped drives! Yeah! Many of the programs I have used to backup data, on site, PC to PC, PC to NAS, PC to Cloud do NOT allow mapped drives, it is their way of keeping people like you and me from mapping a server drive and backing it up. They want us to buy their “server” products, which are all much more expensive.
The selection of which files and folders and file types was easy and intuitive, adding or removing files and file types is easy and convenient. This is a major plus, especially when compared to Gillware (refer to that review). The interface is nice, easy and uncluttered. The settings allow a full and good range of options. There was a quick link get to “Help”, it is the “?” in the upper right corner of the dashboard. When you do find the “Help” it leads to a wiki but apparently not to a “forum”. It looks like questions though you cannot ask them, no biggie, you just have to use the old fashion email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By October 2nd the backups still had not completed, it was backing up at 1.2 to 1.4 Mbps. It does turn out that I backed up 945.31 GB of data. It took until December 17th to fully backup.
My internet connection was 12Mbps down and 1.5Mbps up.
On October 2nd I noticed that Zoolz had lost my mapped drives. I manually added them back, I also noticed that the program “freezes” on a file name with a percent of the file showing on the dashboard. I tried to “Stop / Start” the Zoolz service and program, this did not resolve the issue. A reboot of the computer did solve the issue. By October 15th it had happened three more times and the only way to resolve was a system reboot. I could not figure any reason, the computer was not going to sleep or hibernate. I could manually click on the “Run Now” button however it still stops at some point, sooner than later without finishing the backup.
On October 15th I sent support an email since I had not been able to keep the backup running to completion. On the 16th the dashboard showed “Working” but it was once again not backing up. At this time it showed “Pending files” as only 4, however on the 15th when I sent the email it showed over 20,000 files to be backed up. Another reboot and restart but this time the issue was the same, the system was not backing up even though the dashboard showed it was and the services were running.
On October 18th the situation had not changed, I rebooted again. Same issue! At this point it was backing up one of the mapped drives. I decided to navigate over to the drive through windows. Nope, no response. I leaned over and looked at the Windows Home Server, the power light was on, the fans were running, however I could not open my mapped drives. A quick check in the “Network” area same issue. I manually rebooted the WHS via the reset button. That did not resolve the backup issues, so I shut off the WHS through the power button and then turned it back on. Long of the short, the WHS main hard drive had crashed.
This meant that all my backup images of my computers that were stored there were gone. Yes, I admit, I did not have hardware RAID setup on this system. All that backup and data gone! Oh my, what should I do? All my pictures, videos, music, documents…Help! No, wait! I have a NAS that I backup my WHS to, all data was there, just the image of the PC’s were gone. So I needed to change the backup routine from the mapped drives being the WHS to the NAS.
On October 25th Zoolz had an update to their software, I installed it yet still had the same “hanging” issue. On October 29th there was another update available, Installed and rebooted the computer. Hey, it started working! The hang went away! Hip hip hurray, it only took 2 plus months!
My upload speeds were now showing between 47 and 608kbps on average day after day on the Zoolz dashboard. I ran several speed test on my internet connection and the results were about half of what I was paying for, but faster than what I was getting from the dashboard. To further test, I literally shut down all other equipment on my network, PC’s other switches, the security system, printers, everything. That only brought my upload speeds to the 400 to 600kbps according to the dashboard.
Inside the dashboard under “Settings” and then “Performance” you can select several choices, “Use Multithreaded upload” which eats more bandwidth but should speed up the backup. I let that run a week. No change whatsoever. I also made sure the connection was set to “Wired”, it also has choices for “Wireless” and “3G”.
I also selected “Enable Bandwidth Throttling” and played with that, making changes and leaving it for 3 days at a time between changes to see if that would help. Sometimes I would jump up to 1.2 to 1.3mbps upload but then the dashboard would drop back down again.
November 20th has arrived, the hanging returned. I was up to 810.52 GB of data uploaded but according to the dashboard I still had 22,656 files remaining. Hey, On October 15th I had only 20,000 and change to be backed up!
I “upgraded” my internet to the fastest I could, 18Mbps down and 2Mbps up on November 27th just to see if that would speed things up, it did not. I was now getting between 1.2 and 1.44Mbps uploads of my data according to the Zoolz dashboard.
December 10th Zoolz still had not finished backing up. The dashboard was also showing “58 days since last backup”. I thought it was supposed to be running constantly. So are my files 58 plus days old? Emails to Zoolz did not answer my question. As a matter of fact, the entire time I had been emailing back and forth with Zoolz support. It seems they do not read the emails because they plain old do / did not answer my questions. I would make direct statements then ask a direct question and the reply would be a vague generic answer that did not deal with the question.
On the 10th I decided I had better try a restore operation, after all the whole point of this test was to actually test the software. SO I began a restore but was baffled by the lack of way to choose a file. The next screen shows “It usually takes between (3-5 hours) for the files to start downloading, please wait…” Say what! I stopped the restore, went back through the dashboard. I had checked the “Cold Storage” box and waited and waited but nothing happened the first time. This time I clicked on the words “Cold Storage”, I did not select the checkbox. After a couple of seconds the box “expanded”, actually the screen changed and showed the upper level of files, i.e. the “C:”, “M:” and other mapped drives. Ok, now I get it, don’t click on the checkbox, click on the name. When you find the file you want to restore click in the checkbox.
So this time I navigated down to a power point file (PPS) that was a whopping 2.35mb, I chose to download it to a different location (my desktop). Guess what, the same “It usually takes between (3-5 hours) for the files to start downloading, please wait…” appeared. Whoa! Stand back! 3 to 5 hours for a 2.35mb file? I started the recovery at 12:41 pm, at 4:22pm the dashboard still showed “0% downloaded”. Finally at 5:14pm the download / recovery was complete. I tested the file, it ran fine, however, 4 ½ hours to recover one measly file!
On December 12th the emails were still going back and forth to get the backup to complete, I cleared the cache per Zoolz support email from the 11th. Now it showed the last backup was 60 days ago and currently 922.037 was backed up.
In the 17th at 7:23pm the dashboard showed “Protected”, Yeah! From August 27 to December 17th to backup 945.31GB of data.
The 16th Zoolz had requested the logs (for the 2nd time), however they were 28MB when compressed/zipped.
My overall impression is that the price was / is great for the storage you get. The features and ease of use are the best I have seen in quite a while.
My issues come with the system hanging and stopping the backups before it was complete and how tech support did not actually directly answer my questions.
So if you have a large amount of data to backup, have the time to back it up for the first run then to date, this is the Cloud backup program I could recommend. Let’s just hope your computer does not crash before the backup is complete.
Until we meet again, have a virus free week!