04-16-2008 05:00 AM - edited 04-16-2008 05:11 AM
On the advice of Symantec customer support (to resolve an unrelated issue), I upgraded from N360 V1 to V2 yesterday. Now I'm struggling to get the N360 backup feature to work for me the way it did in V1. Is it broken or am I missing something? Is anybody successfully using the product the way I'm trying to use it?
What I want to do seems straightforward. I just want 5 folders backed up to "secure online storage". I don't remember any problem setting this up in N360 V1. I went to backup settings, unchecked all the "categories" (pictures, documents, music etc) and used add a folder to specify the folders that I wanted backed up. I was able to double check that things were set up correctly by clicking Added Files and Folders - yes, there were the 5 folders that I had selected and the sizes made sense.
I should not have had to recreate my backup settings for V2 because, as the removal tool told me, there is a program called BackupSet.exe to save and restore settings. Except, although the tool went through the motions, created the file it was supposed to and behaved exactly the way the instructions said it would, I still ended up with default settings.
Not to worry, it's only 5 folders after all, let's just go to backup settings and set things up same as before. Only, before I get a chance to uncheck the categories, the software has already gone off on a chase for files to back up ("Norton 360 is searching your system for files to back up"). In my case, that chase takes 3 hours to complete. Is that because I have 7 million files on two 750 GB hard drives? If you try to cancel, it still takes the 3 hours and then cancels. If you don't cancel and you give it the 3 hours it takes, you can finally click add a folder. Strangely, adding a folder causes the "pictures" and "office documents" checkboxes, which I had previously unchecked, to become checked again. Is that because there were pictures and documents in the folder that I just added? Leaving these checkboxes checked would cause all pictures and documents from my entire system to be backed up. So I uncheck them again. Only, it turns out that unchecking them excludes pictures and documents also from the folders that I added...
Summarising, there are 2 problems that make backup unusable in V2:
(1) I can't backup selected folders only because if, as is likely, a selected folder contains files of type picture or document, N360 V2 will (a) either backup the selected folders, plus all pictures and documents from the entire system, or (b) backup the selected folders, minus pictures and documents.
(2) Intolerable delays in the backup settings GUI. And not just the first time. The help file warns that the initial setup may take "a few minutes" (... Norton 360 counts the number of files that may need to be backed up and records the types and sizes of those files. This process usually takes no more than a few minutes the first time you run a backup). Does 3 hours still count as "a few minutes"? And the delay happens not only the first time. Having specified my 5 folders to be backed up, I save settings, run a first backup (which, as mentioned above, doesn't backup the files that I want) and close the GUI. When I go back in and click other, the GUI is hung for 35 minutes (*) even though there are only a few hundred files in the 5 selected folders. I used filemon (a sysinternals tool) to find out what it's doing during these 35 minutes. Even though all 5 selected folders are on the C: drive, I can see it recursing through folders on other drives (**). It seems to start a full scan of all hard drives every time I open the backup setting dialog. Why scan my entire system when all I want backed is those 5 folders on the C drive?
And let me add a 3rd problem:
(3) Resources. CPU utilisation during those 35 minutes varies, but between them, the two ccSvcHst process (one owned by the user, the other owned by system) consume up to 80% or 90% CPU (***) for extended periods of time. That's on a dual core machine, i.e. each process eats one whole CPU. Memory usage is pretty stratospheric as well: 950 MB of virtual memory between the 2 processes. And this memory is not released. Several hours later, without any N360 dialog open, without any N360 background activity going on, the two ccSvcHst processes are still using 950 MB between them.
I wish I could agree with a statement I read in this other thread according to which N360 V2 is less intrusive than V1. Maybe I'm overgeneralising but I think I can see a trend here: take as much control as possible out of the user's hands. In the case of backup, that means deciding for the user what you think they want backed up. I resent being told what I want backed up. And that's not just because of the high CPU and the memory leak. The software is trying to do too much...
(*) That was yesterday. I repeated the exercise today. After I clicked other, it took 50 minutes for the GUI to respond. And even after those 50 minutes, the two ccSvcHst processes continued running in the background, consuming 80% CPU between them for another 40 minutes. Their combined VM size peaked at 1.4 GB. It's now gone down to 1.2 GB. Filemon showed ccSvcHst (the one running as localsystem) continuing to work its way through my 2nd 750 GB hard drive. I suppose things came to rest only on completion of a full system scan.
(**) You might think that what I observed was a full system scan running at the same time. I'm pretty sure this isn't what I saw. Before I opened the N360 dialog, both ccSvcHst processes were quiescent, not using any CPU or I/O. It was definitely opening the backup settings dialog that triggered the full system scan.
(***) High CPU utilisation may not be problem by itself. It's OK if the process involved runs at low priority, or if it's a background activity that runs when the machine is idle. But the machine was not idle - I was trying to get some work done - and it became very unresponsive.
04-16-2008 07:29 AM
Yes the program searches for files every time when configuring backup. I have 80 GB disk but it took no more than 3 minutes until "searching for files" completes. I recommend you to wait untill searching for files is done, then configure your backup, and next time just use "Backup Files Now" from the main screen to prevent file searching. I've tried to reproduce your issue, you are right. Backup automatically adds not only the needed document and pictures, but all of them. This is the way the program works, the idea is to backup all imortant files, so users can be sure that their information is protected. I'm sure this is inconvenient for the advanced user and I hope this will change in version 3.0.
It's true - the software is trying to do too much :)
04-16-2008 02:31 PM
OK, once I get my backup configured correctly I can just use "backup files now".
But I'm not sure I can get my backup configured correctly. Are you confirming problem (1) in my original post? If so, that's not just "inconvenient for the advanced user". Rather, it makes online backup unusable.
The ability to backup all files in selected folders is a must-have if you're going to use online backup. What I'm trying to do is the same as the user in this thread and I suppose it's the typical use case for N360 online backup. I want to backup only some financial and legal documents that I can't afford to lose. They are sitting in 5 folders totalling a few 100 MB. It's mostly word and excel documents, plus jpg files (scanned documents). If problem (1) of my original post is real, then I can't backup just my 5 folders without also backing up all documents and jpg files on the entire system - i.e. forget online backup because in my case, we're talking at least 100 GB.
Remember that online backup worked perfectly for me in N360 V1. It's only V2 that broke it. Am I really going to have to wait until V3 maybe fixes a flaw introduced by V2? Online backup is the only reason I bought N360. Can't V2 be fixed so it works again the way V1 did? It doesn't seem like a big change. Consider again how V1 worked: I unchecked all the categories (documents, pictures, music etc). Then I used "add a folder" to specify my 5 folders. Result: backup all files in my 5 folders. V2 works the same, with one crucial difference: "add a folder" has the curious side effect that it checks the documents and pictures checkboxes again, presumably because the folder just added includes some documents and pictures. Is this meant to be a feature? Or is it a bug? I cannot think what good it does to man or beast, geek or dummy. Remove this side-effect and the world makes sense again. If the idea is to "backup all important files", as you say, I fail to see how this feature/side-effect/bug helps. If you want all picture and document files backed up, you just leave the picture and document categories checked
Or am I missing something? If problem (1) of my original post is real, I find it hard to see how anybody out there can be using online backup. Who else is using online backup, what do they use it for and how does it work for them?
04-17-2008 01:36 AM - edited 04-17-2008 01:39 AM
I confirm your problem (1), I did the same thing on my PC, backup selects all pictures and documents. This is not a bug, this is the way the program works. I've already complained about this but I was adviced to ucheck unneeded files manually (or use "Exclude from backup" option), as I can remember. There is still a way to backup only the folders you want. Select them, right click, then use Send To: Compressed (Zipped) folder. Now you have a single archive, you can add it to backup and Norton 360 won't add additional files.
04-17-2008 11:58 AM
Aren't we playing with words here? Here we have something that worked in V1, V2 breaks it and it's not a bug? There would be room for discussion if there was a use case for the change that was made between V1 and V2. But I can't think of a use case, nor can you. In other words, a change was made that serves no known purpose and that breaks one of the headline features of the product. If that's not a bug, I don't know what is.
Have a look at http://www.symantec.com/norton360. There you'll find a 10 line product description. It includes these words: "... making it easy to automatically back up and restore files locally or to a secured online storage service". If these are the words used in a 10 line product description, you'll agree with me that I have a right to expect automated on-line backup to work.
Am I exaggerating when I say that automated on-line backup is broken in V2? My assertion is based on two assumptions: -1- if you're doing online backup, you're not going to backup all documents & pictures because that would take you beyond your online storage capacity. You're going to backup essential financial, legal, medical documents -2- those essential documents are sitting in a few folders. If these 2 assumptions are true for you, you'll find that online backup is broken in V2 because you can't backup selected folders without also backing up all documents & pictures.
Looking at the workarounds that you suggest:
(1) Exclude files manually? I'd have to exclude tens of thousands of files. And next time I backup, won't I need to exclude the new files that weren't there last time?
(2) Zip the files? But what about the automation that features so prominently in the product description? Instead of an automated process, I would need to run regular manual backups and remember to update my zip files first.
Why should I accept to lose functionality that worked when I first bought the product and that is advertised as one of its main features?
04-17-2008 01:01 PM
04-18-2008 04:26 PM
More fun & games. Come full circle now. As you suggested, I went back to V1. Guess what... my original problem - the one that caused me to upgrade to V2 in the first place - came back...
Remember, I upgraded to V2 for a reason. Somehow my Norton 360 V1 had got itself in a state whereby, every time it completes some background activity, ccSvcHst goes into an endless loop, using up one whole CPU and slowly leaking memory until, many hours later, the system runs out of virtual memory, ccSvcHst crashes, gets restarted by the OS and things go back to normal until the next background activity. When I reported this problem, I was told to uninstall and reinstall the product. That's how I ended up with V2, which thankfully resolves the issue.
So where do I go from here? I can't use V1 because of the problem I just described. V2 "generally works" but its online backup is broken.
PS - I can reconfirm everything I said in my original post. V1 has none of the problems that I mentioned. With V1, configuring backup on my system takes 3 minutes and the result is correct. With V2, it takes 3 hours, leaves a 1 GB memory leak and the result is wrong.
04-19-2008 01:33 PM
I flat will not use 360's Backup. I use Norton Save and Restore.
360's backup is one of the klunkier backups I've seen.
The absolutely worst thing about it is, as you noted, that it INSISTS upon scanning the computer for files to back up even if one just wants to change the settings. Many of us complained about this in beta testing, but it didn't do any good.
04-19-2008 06:02 PM
Glad to see I'm not the only one. I was upgraded by support when V1 killed my PC, and since then haven't been able to do a backup because:
a. the Explorer right click option isn't available in x64
b. I don't have 4 days to manually unclick every file it selects for me. Please tell me anyone in the world who really wants to backup the picture C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Help Viewer\1.0\help.jpg. Something tells me the developers don't eat their own dogfood
So apart from wasting my subscription, my 25GB of online space that I pay money for, and a old copy of Save and Restore that wouldn't work with Vista, WHY AM I giving Symantec over £100 a year????
This isn't even basic functionality. Without it it's questionable whether you can even use the word "Backup" in the product description.