Friday Apr 20, 2007

Why I Didn’t Buy Genie Backup Manager

In my ongoing quest to find a decent backup solution for Windows XP, I evaluated Genie Backup Manager Home 7.0. Although it worked better than Norton Save and Restore, it had one major problem: speed. I expected the initial backup of my 23,000 files or so to be slow, and it was (about 8 hours). But I didn’t expect the incremental backups to be so excruciatingly slow. The first incremental backup, one day after the initial backup, ran for seven hours before I gave up and aborted it. And this run was to backup only the six files that had been modified since the initial backup! On to the next option: NTI Shadow.

Tuesday Apr 17, 2007

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.


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


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