Why I Didn’t Buy Norton Save and Restore

A while ago, I bought an iomega network drive so that I could backup the computers on my home network. I’m now trying to automate that process with some backup software for Windows XP. The first one I tried, Norton Save and Restore, from Symantec, was a disaster.

The problems started with the product web page. Browsing it with firefox gave me this message:

ERROR: LiveCode is not defined.

After downloading and installing the trial version of the software, I noticed a new program that must have come with Save and Restore called Norton Protection Center . This “protection” center was complaining that my computer didn’t have virus or firewall protection. I thought that was particularly odd because my computer is running Symantec Anti-Virus Corporate Edition and Client Firewall software. Since Norton Save and Restore also is sold by Symantec, you’d think they’d work together! Evidently not, according to Chris Breisch's post.

Additionally, all the Symantec products use something called Live Update for virus definition updates, product fixes, etc. Not surprisingly, when I ran Live Update from Norton Save and Restore, it didn’t show the anti-virus or firewall software, and when I ran it from the firewall or anti-virus programs, it didn’t show Save and Restore. So I had to run live update twice from two different programs to get all the updates for my Symantec software.

I figured I could live with these minor inconveniences, as long as the backups worked properly. And indeed, the first backup went fine. The only problem was the speed: it took over 12 hours to back up approximately 32 GB of data.

I then set up a schedule to do an incremental backup every day. During the next couple weeks I saw the backup event starting when it was supposed to, presumably backing up my data. However, when I finally checked the event log, I noticed that only the first few backups had succeeded. The rest had failed with this error:

Description: Error EC8F1C50: Cannot create file backup for job: File Backup. Error E4BC0012: An interaction with the catalog's database layer failed unexpectedly: sqlite3_step--5: database is locked.
Details: 0xE4BC0012
Source: Norton Save and Restore

So not only was the backup not working, but the only notification was in an obscure error log!

When I tried running a backup manually, I saw the same error. Following the “More Help on the Web” link told me to run live update.

When I tried to run Live Update (from Norton Save and Restore, of course), I received the message,

This update could not be installed.

There was no offer for further help.

At this point I gave up and tried to uninstall the software. Even that didn’t work right! Now every time I reboot, I got an error window saying:

A necessary file could not be loaded: NSC.

According to Symantec’s technical support, the only way to remove this error message is to uninstall all my Symantec products! The tech support guy even had the nerve to tell me that this wasn’t a bug, and refused to escalate it to the next level of support. I haven’t had the patience to uninstall and reinstall the anti-virus and firewall yet. If anyone has any suggestions for cleaning up this mess without doing that, please let me know!

I’m now evaluating Genie-Soft Backup Manager. So far it’s working great.


Norton Save and Restore was free (after rebate) at Staples a few weeks ago. I figured, how bad could it be? I installed it on Windows XP (SP2). I couldn't get it to backup to my DVD or CD burners. OK. Lets try backing up to a USB-attached hard drive... "Error EC8F1C50: Cannot create file backup for job: SYS02. Error E4BC0012: An interaction with the catalog's database layer failed unexpectedly: sqlite3_step--5: database is locked. Details: 0xE4BC0012 Source: Norton Save and Restore" Symantec's website was of little help. Live Update says the software is up to date, and their only other suggestion is to check the target drive for errors. I checked the drive. No errors. Norton Save and Restore is worth every penny I paid for it.

Posted by layer3geek on May 24, 2007 at 01:27 PM MDT #

I had exactly the same problems. Installed, did the first back up on an external USB drive. The second back up the errors: -Error EC8F1C50: Cannot create file backup for job: File Backup. --Error E4BC0012: An interaction with the catalog's database layer failed unexpectedly: sqlite3_step--5: database is locked.

Posted by Anna on July 21, 2007 at 07:27 AM MDT #

I get the same error: (Error EC8F1C50: Cannot create file backup for job: File Backup. Error E4BC0012: An interaction with the catalog's database layer failed unexpectedly: sqlite3_step--5: database is locked. Details: 0xE4BC0012) However, mine occurs in Ghost 12 running on Vista and while doing a File/Folder backup. The first one works fine. The subsequent "scheduled" ones all cause the error. The online "Chat" techs have me delete the catalog.dat file. This works only once to get the first backup to work, again, all scheduled ones fail. Three different techs all told me to do the same thing even though I told them that it doesn't work. They insisted that it was a rare event and that the problem would be cured if I just deleted the catalog.dat file one more time. Now I use Retrospect.

Posted by Michael on August 04, 2007 at 03:03 AM MDT #

Thanks for the insight. I have decided NOT to try Save and Restore, and probably any other symantec / Norton product if I can help it.

I was considering Acronis v 10. Any feedback?

Posted by Jim Leon on August 07, 2007 at 01:30 PM MDT #

How is your evaluation with Genie Backup Manager going? Please let me know as I am looking for a good backup solution at the moment and am studying reviews on Genie Backup Manager

Posted by Candice Manning on September 08, 2007 at 11:22 PM MDT #

I bought Norton Save and Restore about a year ago and was REALLY happy with it. Had it set up to do daily data backups and a weekly full system back up to a 3.5" disk in a USB enclosure. Worked right away and no major dramas. Even saved my bacon a few times when I corrupted some important files. Unfortunately, 2 things happened at about the same time so am not able to say conclusively which is trully to blame. Neither should have done this. I installed Norton 360 and around the same time, my USB connected hard disk was completely full. I then started getting the $%#$@$%#$@!!! error combination, "EC8F1C50: Cannot create file backup for job: File Backup. Error E4BC0012.." that others have mentioned.

As we speak I am reinstalling Norton 360 after downloading a tool from Norton called the Norton_Removal_Tool.exe (I kid you not). I've had to use this in the past when upgrading Norton products. It does a good job of fully cleaning Norton out of your system. I am hoping that installing Norton 360 followed by Norton Save and Restore will work better that installing 360 after Save and Restore.

Was googling the error codes to find if there was anything useful but sadly there isn't.

Not sure yet if I would never use Norton again, was happy with it and if reinstalling works, will continue with it. Have used Acronis True Image and that was a good product but did not use it for long periods . v10 was what I used and it did a bloody good job of imaging disk. A child could do it and it happily handled Linux disks.


Posted by Peter Stephens on September 12, 2007 at 12:02 AM MDT #

Woohooo! Reinstalling Norton 360 1st and then Norton Save and Restore fixed my problems but more importantly showed me the security of my system. My backups are password protected and I was not sure if I was going to have trouble accessing the old backups now that I had to reinstall Save and Restore. I have happilly verified that this works without any issue. There is a function to browse backups which mounts the backups as another drive and you can then view the stuff in there like in windows explorer. Hapilly my old data is still good which is the most important thing since the machine I am using this setup to backup is a laptop and this could conceivably be stolen and then this would be my only way back.

So I am sticking with the Norton Save and Restore. The error was a pain in the ar#e but reinstalling worked. Didn't like having to do that but there's a lot of compromises in life and in my opinion, better the devil you know....

good night everyone

Posted by Peter Stephens on September 12, 2007 at 12:48 AM MDT #

I've removed and reinstalled Norton Save and Restore at least a couple of times, but the "E4BC0012" error always comes back. Then Norton fails to do any backups. I am very disappointed with this product.

I don't find a single mention of the E4BC0012 error in Symantec Support site either.

I also maintain a relative's computer and found that their Norton Ghost also began failing after a few months. Even after removing it and reinstalling, Ghost still wouldn't do any backups.

Because of these two frustrating experiences I would never buy Norton Save and Restore or Norton Ghost again.

Posted by RK Dougan on October 13, 2007 at 06:11 AM MDT #

Since my previous post, I contacted Symantec Support via their live chat service. They were able to help me.

I was told the E4BC0012 error can be caused by a corrupt Symantec catalog.dat file. They advised me to stop the Norton Save & Restore service, delete the Symantec catalog.dat file, then reboot. My Norton Save & Restore works fine now.

(I recommend contacting Symantec Support to make sure you get the right solution for your OS and version of Norton).

So, while I'm still disappointed with the product, now when the error happens again I have a relatively quick fix (instead of reinstalling the entire product).

Posted by RK Dougan on October 14, 2007 at 10:18 AM MDT #

I just installed Norton 360. During the install process I was required to remove all other Norton products, including "Save and Restore". I figured that would not be a problem since Norton 360 advertizes having a "Backup and Restore" module. Two days later and Norton 360 seeme to be doing all it was advertized to do. Now to check its backup/restore functions... Suprise! Unless I missed something in my first two days playing with it, all 360 does is file/folder backups. The older "Save and Restore" did disk images as well. I need that functionality. ... not happy...

Fortunatly I made a disk image with "Save and Restore" before I uninstalled all the Norton products and installed 360, so I can "go back" in 20 minutes. I may try installing my old "Save and Restore" WITH 360 and see what that does...

Posted by Jim Byrne on January 14, 2008 at 09:41 AM MST #

I have also gotten the E4BC0012 error (with Norton S&R 2.0), but re-booting and re-running the backup seems to have worked, at least so far.

I had previously used v1.0 for over a year. My laptop harddrive died at one point, and I was totally relieved when my Norton S&R image backup saved my ass. Restored perfectly.

While 2.0 still doesn't appear to be perfect, I'm sticking with the "devil I know" (like the poster above :-) based on my earlier experience.

Posted by Michael on August 30, 2008 at 08:46 AM MDT #

Typical Symantec. They purchase really good products from other companies then do no further development. If they had not purchased GoBack, it would work with RAID1 arrays by now. If they had left Powerquest alone, Partition Magic would be much better. I have wasted untold hours on their "support chat" with these idiots only to be given the wrong information every single time. After purchasing Norton Save & Restore for 3 computers last year, I found that one with Highpoint RAID was not supported. A total waste of money. Their money back guarantee is useless, criminal actually. On other computers, they popped up a message asking if I would like to upgrade (FREE) my Norton System Works 2007 version to 2008 for the remainder of the subscription. Sure, why not? Because it sets your subscription status to EXPIRED, that's why not. I started a tech support dialogue in December 2007. They answered four months later, but nothing got solved. It is now September 2008 and e-mail tech support has gone into hiding again. ONE LAST RANT: they actually don't improve the software much from year to year, but they completely change the user interface to make it appear that something has been done. This means that I get to spend many, many more hours training people to use the "new" product after they had finally gotten used to the old one.

I hate them soo much (Homer Simpson, ca 1999)

Posted by Lawrence on September 01, 2008 at 05:18 AM MDT #


In order to install Norton System Works, you must first UNINSTALL any Norton Internet Security (antivirus or whatever). This is secret information you don't find out until too late. Then, after installing System Works, you get to install your internet security software again. Symantec products don't play well together ('cause they have different daddies), and uninstalling an old version is always incomplete. You have to continuously use the "kill all Symantec products" utility, thus murdering all you WinFax faxes.

Here's a question: if 2,000 people call every day about the same stupid Symantec problem, why not fix the problem? Of course, taht might cut into the $9.95 per call profit center.

Posted by Lawrence on September 01, 2008 at 05:28 AM MDT #

Norton Save and Restore 2 on a desktop that is wirelessly connected to internet and laptop.

The Norton Save and Restore 2 prevents communication from laptop to desktop. UninstLL Norton Save and Restore 2 and all is OK.

Anyone with this issue, let me know as the Norton Save and Restore 2 works OK.

Posted by Jimbo on September 04, 2008 at 12:49 AM MDT #

I'm not really a big fan of Symantec/Norton either due to these same kinds of major issues that creep up in their products, but at least for this E4BC0012 error, they do now have a solution that appears to work. Same as noted above, but officially from Symantec:


I think my problem was that my PC was in the middle of a backup when it crashed, corrupting the catalog. Good luck.

Posted by Peter on November 09, 2008 at 06:29 AM MST #

Because of comments in this forum (and others), I bought Acronis TrueImage 11 Home for backup in all computers that had previously been equipped with Norton Ghost or Norton Save & Restore. Acronis TrueImage has a similar interface, but none of the faults of Norton (Symantec) products. For one thing, you don't have to buy it over again every year. Acronis hasn't failed yet or popped up any meaningless error messages.

Posted by Lawrence on November 09, 2008 at 10:38 AM MST #

Norton products can be removed from the PC with the Norton removal tool

Download and run the Norton Removal Tool


Posted by guest on November 09, 2008 at 09:49 PM MST #

I purchased Save and Restore 2 years ago and immediately backed-up my hard drive. Did it work? I have no idea, Save and Restore can not open the file it created. Customer support? Don't make me laugh.

Posted by B on April 16, 2009 at 03:29 PM MDT #

Success at last!!

I have been plagued with similar probs as above as well as DLL errors whilst backing up. I tried reinstalling twice and then gave up completely for several months until I discovered this site. I used the Norton Removal Tool as suggested above:


I then installed NS+R for a third time. I have now successfully backed up everything I need. The only thing I think I may have done differently was not only leaving the Norton CD ROM in my PC throughout the initial installation (obviously!, but ALL restarts (two) including the Live Update process which was quite lengthy.

I also ensured disk performance monitors were on as Norton was telling me they were off when I tried to back up unsuccessfully after installations 1 and 2. This dtep was semi out of my depth but i found help from the Microsoft website:


You have to go into the DOS prompt via Run. Type in cmd into the Run which brings up the DOS black box. You then type in DISKPERF -Y make sure you include a space before the hyphen. This turns on Disk performance monitoring. If your PC already has monitoring turned on doing this won't change the setting to off.

Maybe Norton have fixed the bug via Live Update or I removed the disk too early on my first intallation or disk performance to ON is necessary for NS+R to work? When I did the second reinstall I only used the Uninstall option from Norton via Start / All Programs rather the the proper Norton removal tool from the internet. I wont know where the initial problem occured but all works well now for me.

Posted by Peter W on May 09, 2009 at 09:34 PM MDT #

Save and Restore is a waste of money!! Our PC continually let us know that it was backing up to the external hard drive - but when our hard disk crashed - guess what - all that data could be recovered. Typical Nortons. Have had so many issues with Nortons security software interfering with our programs and the "Save and Restore" backup software - we've now switched to Macs. Too bad we learned the lesson the hard way - losing 15 years of accumulated data.

Posted by teresa on May 21, 2009 at 05:42 AM MDT #

You guys are using XP. Some older XP computers are Fat 32 and you need to change them to NTFS so that they can handle large file addressing.

open my computer>right click c drive>properties. In the middle of the popup it will say FAT or NTFS.

Posted by chezzrob on July 09, 2009 at 10:18 PM MDT #

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Nick Solter is a software engineer and author living in Colorado.


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