Vivek Agarwal’s Portal/Java Blog

An IBM Gold Consultant’s weblog about IBM, Lotus, WebSphere, J2EE, IT Processes, and other IT technologies

Mozy caused my Windows XP laptop to freeze during startup

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on March 14, 2009

Hey – no blogging for 5+ months and now 2 entries in a day!! Striking while the iron is hot.

You can never have enough backups – I am certainly a believer in that adage. My laptop backups consist of the following –

  • I manually create ghost images of my laptop onto an external USB hard drive once a month – these come in handy if the hard drive crashes or if Windows is corrupted. I keep the external hard drive at home.
  • I back up key folders on my laptop onto NAS storage at work using Robocopy – this is incredibly fast to backup large folders that only have small changes. And it is fast enough for large changes as well.
  • I back up my Outlook PST files using Retrospect onto NAS storage at work because of open file support.
  • I have recently started to back up Outlook PST files and other key folders using Mozy Home – in case you don’t know about Mozy, it is an EMC offering that provides secure, remote, online backups.

While I have never restored from Mozy, I certainly have had ocassion to use my other backups at various times. Mozy seems to be (to be verified) great insurance if things go horribly wrong!

Earlier this week, I suddenly had a problem with my laptop not rebooting cleanly. It sat on the black screen with the Windows logo and the blue progress bar forever. I tried giving it time (almost 20 minutes) but to no avail. I eventually rebooted into safe mode successfully, but even there Windows Explorer was taking a long time to open up. I ran chkdsk -f but that did not help me boot into normal mode.  I gave up pretty damn quickly and ended up just restoring my latest laptop image onto a spare Dell Latitude D830, and using a crossover cable between my two laptops to copy over the files (robocopy to the rescue to quickly sync over files). I was up and running on my spare laptop in ~4 hours.

But the next day, I installed a Windows update and had to reboot and to my dismay, I was stuck yet again on the reboot. After a little bit of digging, I finally tracked it down.

The previous week I had completed my inital Mozy backup that took almost a couple of weeks using the default backup sets recommended by Mozy. I then added a bunch of key folders to my backup sets, and one of those folders has a couple of hundred thousand+ files. I remembered that I had just added those folders to my backup sets on the day that my laptop froze on reboot, and I had another key data point that if I logged in using the local administrator account in safe mode, Windows Explorer would open up quickly where as it took 5+ minutes to open up using my domain account. I ended up editing my Mozy configuration such that I turned on the “don’t show restore menu in Windows Explorer” and the “don’t show the virtual drive in My Computer” options.  Once I did that and rebooted in normal mode, I was good to go! Obviously, the Mozy Home integration with Windows Explorer has some issues and/or limitations. For now, I am running without the restore menu and Mozy virtual drive, and I am good. I really do need to test out the Mozy restore to verify that works – a backup without a functional restore ain’t very useful! 🙂

3 Responses to “Mozy caused my Windows XP laptop to freeze during startup”

  1. Kalebarkab said

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  2. Thats very good to know… thanks

  3. consultants…

    […]Mozy caused my Windows XP laptop to freeze during startup « Vivek Agarwal’s Portal/Java Blog[…]…

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