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Trouble with Norton 360 V2 backup
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.Message Edited by janneman on 04-16-2008 01:07 PMMessage Edited by janneman on 04-16-2008 01:10 PMMessage Edited by janneman on 04-16-2008 01:11 PM