05-06-2012 05:42 PM
Final entry/addendum to my problems with Norton 360 Backup...
An attempt to backup as usual failed due to running out of space on my external hard drive. I only have one backup set, so I could not delete it, so instead, I tried to delete all the backed-up files from my existing one. This process was INCREDIBLY SLOW. Had I allowed it to run to its end, it would have taken nearly FOUR DAYS of 24/7 runtime to accomplish it.
Refusing to follow the advice to simply "reformat my destination drive and start over," I went with someone else's suggestion to search for my "N360_BACKUP file" and delete it. I was taken aback, because while I knew of an N360_BACKUP FOLDER, I knew of no such "file." I searched anyway and discovered that while indeed no such file existed, one of my other external hard drives (I have 8 of them) ALSO had an N360_BACKUP folder on it, a near duplicate of the one I found where I expected to find it - on my designated destination drive. I could not find any setting in my program that would account for this, so I just shrugged and deleted BOTH folders.
I ran backup again, expecting Norton to re-create the N360_BACKUP folder and do a whole new backup, based on the backup set I had defined. I got an error message, indicating that I had insufficient space! Checking my destination drive, it was nearly empty, as I had deleted the N360_BACKUP folder. There was no NEW folder created either. On a perverse hunch, I ran a search for "N360_BACKUP" once again and found that Norton HAD INDEED recreated N360_BACKUP, but on that other "doppelgänger" destination drive that I had never told it to do. And indeed, there was insufficient space on that drive. There were no settings in backup to account for this. Norton was refusing to back up to the destination I was specifying and instead trying to back up to a destination I had NOT specified.
In desperation, I re-deleted the newly - and erroneously - recreated N360_BACKUP folder. Then I dismounted ALL my external hard drives (yanked out the USB hubs) and rebooted the computer. When I went to Norton Backup, I discovered - as I should - that my destination drive as designated in my backup set was not present. Then I remounted my external drives. (Long ago, I set it up so all my external drives would have fixed drive letter designations, so no matter which ones were mounted or not mounted at any given time, every drive always would be assigned the same drive letter.) As expected, Norton saw my destination drive and all looked peachy.
I ran backup.... THIS TIME all seemed to work properly. The N360_BACKUP folder was recreated in its proper location. And there were no spurious duplicate occurrences of the N360_BACKUP folder anywhere else. The backup took a few hours and at the end, it was deemed by Norton as "successful."
As a final test - just for kicks, I grabbed a few files out of my backup and did a file restore operation to my desktop. The restore operation was successful.
SO.... My backup is now working properly again. I STILL don't know why it wasn't in the first place. As far as I can tell, it started when Norton 360 pushed the upgrade from version 5.x to the new version 6.x at me. I NEVER had this or any other problem with any previous Norton 360, and I have been using Norton 360 since version ONE!
SO... For now, PROBLEM SOLVED!!! But my confidence is shaken. I am still strongly considering dumping Norton 360. At the very least, I may disable backup and seek another backup solution.
I am attracted to the concept of the uncompressed separate file backup, where "backing up" consists of just copying your files to another drive at the end of the day. In this setup, all your files are still accessible even if you lose not only your main drive, but you have no backup program from which to read and restore them. All you need to do is grab them and pull them over. It is clumsy and low-tech, but once set up, it is easy and reliable under the worst scenarios.
Or I guess I could simply use something like Norton Ghost. The problem with Ghost, though, is that it is not Ghost as I remember it from its pre-Symantec days. Ghost Was a command-line product back then and much simpler and more elegant. ALL IT DID was clone your drive! You set it up so that every night while you sleep, your entire drive "ghosted" self - imaged onto another local drive - or better - a network drive residing in some other physical location. If the worst happened... Your machine's C:\ drive ate itself.... Someone came in and stole your machine.... Or your house or business burned down, toasting your machine.... You always had that image, never more than 24-hours-old - from which you could restore your complete drive onto a different machine. Easy, neat, safe, secure, automatic and DEAD RELIABLE! From what I have seen and heard, today's Ghost is a far cry from being that easy and reliable. I challenge someone to convince me otherwise!
Final note... I am NOT interested in any suggestions to try backing up to the so-called "cloud." One, it's too slow. Two, it's too insecure. Three, what happens when the host of your "cloud" backup goes belly up and turns off their servers without so much as "Thank you, Ma'am"? This last scenario has happened! People have lost data because the company they trusted became financially insolvent and there was no one left even to sue!
Lastly, thanks to the Patriot Act, if you hand your data over to a third party, you may just as well send off another copy to the US Department of Justice. Most corporate entities, if asked for their clients' data by the government on the thinnest pretext of "national security," will just turn it over. The Patriot Act enables the government to get subpoenas and warrants on the vaguest, broadest, thinnest grounds - or even NO grounds at all beyond generalized "suspicion." In most EUAs these days, there are clauses essentially saying that by agreeing to use their service, you are consenting to surrender your data - on demand - to government agents.
But as long as I maintain custody over my own data, the government would at least have to fight harder to get it. In the case of individuals' persons, property and papers - including computer data - the Fourth Amendment still more-or-less applies. The bottom line is that "Cloud" computing makes it easier for the government to stomp its jack boots over my rights and my freedoms, and I won't willingly participate in that. It's that simple.
05-06-2012 11:10 PM
Sorry I used the word file by mistake once -- if you look at my other posts I referred to the "folder" several times and in the posted image it's obviously a folder. Anyway I'm glad you got it worked out. I have some vague feeling from surfing around a lot on this that Norton may have memorized the location of your folder(s) which is why it kept trying to go to a place you didn't want it to. It may(?) have been a simpler solution to uninstall 360 altogether and then reinstall. However a tech person would need to weigh in on that -- they seem to ignore this board -- what's with that? Seems like a powerful way to help a lot of people if there is a common problem.