Mozy Backup + Reinstalling Windows = FAIL

Filed Under Geek | 2009-07-07, 02:12

Mozy Failboat
So I need to reinstall Windows. It happens, Windows gets “dirty” and sometimes I just need a format and reinstall to feel clean again. The same way one might feel on Sunday morning after a weekend bender. But like a good computer user, I’ve got offsite backups (in addition to that RAID array) that go to But before I jumped into a “nuke and pave” I figured I should check and make sure you don’t need to do anything special with Mozy because I remember that it took months to originally backup my 400gb of files. So I jumped onto’s support chat and quickly found out that I would have to re-upload the 400gb of files. There is apparently no way to tell Mozy that a fresh install of windows should be treated as the same backup set. I can’t imagine what they’re using to uniquely identify machines, but apparently it’s not a harddrive serial number + your user account, which would make sense in my book. So I guess it’s time to start hunting for a new offsite backup solution.

If you want to read the ridiculous conversation I had with support, I’ve included it in full below for your amusement:

You are now chatting with ‘Sunil’

Sunil: Welcome to Mozy Live Support. May I have your account email address please?

Ed: Hi Sunil, my email address is [REDACTED]

Sunil: Thanks. Are you dealing with an issue you’ve previously talked to us about or is this a new issue?

Ed: this is a new issue

Sunil: Could please explain me in detail the issue so that I can help you?

Ed: I have a computer that I need to reinstall windows on

Sunil: Ok.

Ed: this computer has a secondary drive that I use to store important files. This drive is backed up to Mozy

Sunil: Ok.

Ed: I want to make sure I don’t have to reupload all of the files after reinstalling windows
Ed: what do I need to do to make sure Mozy recognizes that this is a pre-existing backup when it’s running on a new install of Windows?

Sunil: Ed, unfortunately it is not possible but you need to restore the files after reassociating Mozy to your newly installed operating system.
Sunil: Mozy will consider this computer as a new computer if you upgrade or reinstall operating system.
Sunil: There is a method to replace the machine or to re associate Mozy after reinstallation of operating system.
Sunil: You may refer this link given above to know how to perform a replacement of machine to associate Mozy again.

Ed: so I have to reupload the 400gbs of data I have backed up to Mozy?

Sunil: Yes. You may have to restore the files and then re upload the files in this case.

Ed: so I have to download 400gb of files to replace the original files on my local drive, and then reupload the 400gb files I just downloaded from Mozy back to MOzy?

Sunil: Yes. You may have to replace the machine and associate Mozy to your newly installed Operating system computer and then Restore the old files doing a web restore logging in your account.
Sunil: After retrieving the old files you may start a new fresh backup to upload files.
Sunil: Is there any thing else I could assist you with Mozy?

Ed: Do you realize how ridiculous this is?
Sunil: I can understand your frustration Ed. It is because at any time of reinstallation of operating Mozy will cant detect your machine as the old.
Sunil: It’s security feature is set like that way.

Ed: and there is no functionality to tell Mozy that this is in fact the same backup set?

Sunil: If you really want to retrieve the old backup set, it is possible.
Sunil: You may just login to your Mozy home account.
Sunil: and then click on restore files.
Sunil: Then, click choose file to restore.
Sunil: Now select the date of your last backup by choosing bold color dates.
Sunil: Here you will get the option to view your old back up sets.

Ed: I have all of my backed up data on my local drive, you guys have all of my backed up data on your servers. I shouldn’t have to download my own data and then give it back to you when it already exists in both places.

Sunil: Since you are reinstalling your operating system your old data and backup data can remain in our server for only 30 days. However, when you reassociate Mozy you can restore only the important files uploaded before.

Ed: I don’t need to restore any files since I already have all of them on my drive

Sunil: Ok.

Ed: I am reinstalling my operating system on a harddrive that is not backed up by Mozy
Ed: I am not changing the secondary (slave) harddrive that is backed up to Mozy
Ed: I don’t need to upload those files to Mozy because they already exist there
Ed: I should just be able to change a config file or setting somewhere that tells mozy this is the same backup set, just on a fresh install of windows

Sunil: At any time you are installing or upgrading your windows Operating system you are loosing the old backup set and Mozy installed config files.

Ed: I can save the mozy installed config files, just tell me which ones I need to save


Ed: will this work if I put the conf.dat file back in the MozyHome folder on a fresh install of windows?

Sunil: Ed, if you are reinstalling the operating system Mozy will not be able to detect your machine as the old computer. It will consider it as a new computer. Please refer the link given below to know more about this:

Ed: how can I force it to recognize it as the same computer? What information does it use to uniquely identify the computer?

Sunil: It is not possible and Mozy will not have that feature if you are upgrading your operating system or using a new computer etc.,
Sunil: Please refer the link mentioned above to replace the machine after reinstalling your operating system.

Ed: Thanks for the information, I’ll start looking for alternative backup solutions