B&R Free Advanced Backup -scheduled backup fails, no notice - Official response

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by Remo_253, Jan 7, 2011.

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  1. Remo_253

    Remo_253 Registered Member

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    I'm posting this as an FYI for everyone. I had an issue with the B&R backup failing and no notice being given to the user. This left them thinking they had backups when in fact, for a period of a couple weeks, the daily backups were failing.

    I'll let the thread speak for itself regarding Paragon's response to my Support Request. Below are the significant exchanges in chronological order starting with my first post on 12/10. I've added emphasis to some of the exchange.
    *****************************************************************
    ME: I'm helping a friend setup a backup solution. I setup B&R Free Advanced, did a full image, then scheduled incrementals on a daily basis, all of this going to an external USB drive.

    Recently Windows 7 "lost" the external drive. I fixed that for her then checked on the backups. The last file date on the external drive was 11/22, the day the drive stopped functioning. I then looked at the log file for B&R, expecting to see a "failed" note for the backups from 11/22 to yesterday.

    Instead it shows "successful"! Under "Type Of Operation" it says "virtual".

    What the heck is going on?! Of what use is a "virtual" backup if it's never written to disk? If the backup media is not available I would expect the program to provide some alert so the user knows there's a problem.

    She previously used Acronis and had that setup to email her the status of each operation. So when it failed, and it did too often, she'd at least know it.

    She's an author so daily, bullet proof, backups are an absolute requirement.

    We were trying out the free version of B&R before making a purchase. This issue tells me we need to continue looking for a solution. Before doing so however I wanted to understand what's happening.

    Paragon: The fact is that scheduled operations do not have virtual mode. They are performed physically only. The manual operations are performed in vitual mode and only then physically.

    Could you please send me some technical information so I can find out the reason of such behavior?
    1. Please supply some technical details:
    - open Start\Programs\Accessories\System Tools\System Information;
    - choose the "Save" option in the "File" menu (or "Action" menu under Windows 2000),
    enter the "File name" and set the field "Save as type" to "System Information File (*.NFO)";
    - send us the saved file
    - specify the full version of your Special Editions copy (Help->About)

    2. Please find four LOG files: "PWLOG.TXT", "STUBACT.LOG", "BioNTlog.TXT" and "CDB.LOG" and send them to us. These files will appear in the folder where the executable file is located. For Windows version, they will appear in the "\Program" subfolder of the program's installation folder
    (usually "C:\Program Files\Paragon Software\Paragon Backup & Recovery 2010 Free Advanced (English)\Program")

    3. Please provide a screen shot of Windows Disk Manager tool:
    * right-click on 'My computer' and choose 'Manage';
    * select 'Disk Management' in 'Storage';
    * maximize the window;
    * click 'PrintScreen' key on the keyboard to capture the screen into the Windows Clipboard;
    * use any graphical editor (Windows Paint, for instance) to paste the image and save it as JPG, GIF or PNG file;
    * attach saved image to your reply.
    Please note: In case there is no "My computer" pictogram on your desktop, you can run Windows Disk Manager via "diskmgmt.msc" command in 'Start'->'Run'

    Thank you in advance for this information.

    ME:Here are the files you requested. The "About" info is "Version 2010, Build 10444 (14.07.10) Free". In my original message I mentioned the problem manifested itself when her external drive was not being seen by Windows. That happened again. She left for vacation on 12/12. When she returned a few days ago and reconnected her laptop to the docking station the external drive was again "gone" in Windows. I had her turn it off and restart it tonight and that solved that issue.

    However, if I'm reading the log files you asked for correctly, Paragon was again doing "backups" in virtual mode and not producing any errors. The previous problem took place between 11/22 to 11/29.

    So you'll probably see the same issue between dates 11/22 to 11/29 and 12/11 to today, 12/28.

    Paragon: According to the log file (stubact.log) and according to your words backup operations failed during the two periods:
    - from 11/22 till 11/29
    - from 12/11 till 12/28.

    If you take a look at the log file you will notice that the physical backup operations dated 21.11.2010 20:14:14 and 11.12.2010 20:14:11 failed with the error codes 0x11025 and 0x11020. These error codes means that the program lost the connection with the external hard drive during the operation.
    0x11025 - Unable to write file - the program tried to write data but could not find the external hard drive.
    0x11020 - Unable to read file - the program tried to read data but could not find the external hard drive.

    So the external hard drive where lost during the backup operation and of course all other backups which should take place after this loose failed too.

    Both of these error code can be seen during the backup operation - we show these errors to customers in the special pop-up window during the operation.

    There is an option in our programs to send email notifications about all operations (if you choose all operations when setup the email notification). But Backup & Recovery 2010 Free Advanced does not have this option. This option is available in the full (paid) versions.

    If you do not want to purchase full version and setup email notification then I advise you to carefully view the progress of the backup operation and if the operation fails with the same error codes check the connection of the external drive.

    ME: Thanks for the reply, however I don't think it addresses the most important aspect of the issue.

    "...we show these errors to customers in the special pop-up window during the operation."

    One of the reasons for scheduling a backup in the first place is so the user doesn't have to be present. If the user happens to be present when the backup initially fails then they will see that pop-up, otherwise not.

    Why wouldn't subsequent backups generate an error? Instead they show as virtual and successful. Quoting from your initial response, "The fact is that scheduled operations do not have virtual mode. They are performed physically only." That is apparently not true.

    You mention that email notification is available in the paid version. So had we been using the paid version she would have seen one email on 11/21 indicating "failure", then, assuming that failure isn't addressed, subsequent emails indicating "successful". So she checks her email on 11/23 and sees a "failure" note followed by a "successful" note. A common response to that might be "Well, the last one was successful so I don't need to investigate the failure".

    So I still have a situation where a scheduled backup is performed virtually, labeled "successful", with no indication to the user that no backup is actually being made.
    *************************************************************

    My last note was on 12/31, I've had no response to it as of this morning, 1/7.
     
  2. Remo_253

    Remo_253 Registered Member

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    Posts:
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    Yesterday, 1/14/11, I received a reply. I'm continuing to discuss this with them and will update this thread with the final result.
     
  3. Remo_253

    Remo_253 Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    This is an update on my continuing conversation with Paragon support.

    I've had a number of back and forths in which support explains why the program did what it did. What's lacking is any recognition that there is a gap in their process.

    On the 20th I posted this as part of my response:

    "Your most recent reply did not address the main issue, virtual operations showing as successful, with no indication that backups are not being performed. I understand an error was given in a popup when the first failure occurred. If however the user is not present to see that popup subsequent failures do not give any hint to the user that no backups are being done. That is the main issue I'd like you to address."

    The response:

    "When you open log file in the program (using the program interface - "View Log Files" option) you will be able to see both virtual and physical operations.
    Every physical operation goes after virtual operation. For scheduled operation (like yours) you will see two virtual operations and then one physical (committed) operation if you choose the date and time on the left.
    If a scheduled operation is completed successfully (was performed physically) then if you choose the date/time on the left you will see the following information - please take a look at the attached screenshot (Me: a jpg of the log file was included showing virtual and physical operations marked as successful).
    So if you choose date/time on the left and see only virtual operation (no matter whether it is successful or not) it means that this operation was not performed physically."


    This reply completely ignores the fact that NO FAILURE NOTIFICATION IS GIVEN TO THE USER.

    I've sent a reply specifically asking "... Is there any recognition on your part this is a HUGE gap in the design that should be addressed??"

    I'll post the response.
     
  4. Remo_253

    Remo_253 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Posts:
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    Re: B&R Free - scheduled backup fails, no notice - INCREDIBLE final Official response

    If you haven't read through all the above, here's the short version.

    - Scheduled backup fails because Windows "lost" the external drive.
    - B&R gives popup message on first failure of the scheduled event. The user wasn't present so didn't see the popup.
    - For about 2 weeks the daily scheduled event continues to fail and no notice is given to the user beyond that initial popup on the first failure.
    - Issue of no notification submitted to Paragon Support.

    There have been quite a few exchanges with Paragon Support providing log files, screen shots, etc. There seems to be a lack of understanding as to why this is an issue. The last exchange is below, including an incredible statement from Paragon.

    ***************************************************************
    In my last note to Paragon I asked ""... Is there any recognition on your part this is a HUGE gap in the design that should be addressed??""

    The response:

    "OK, I understand what you're talking about. Yes, I understand that this is a gap.
    Actually there is no need to check logs each time, you can simply take a look at the content on the storage hard drive to find out was the backup created on not.

    Also I think you need to understand that the program will work correctly only when hardware works correctly. If the hard drive is become lost by Windows then there is a problem with this hard drive. And of course we can not think of every possible failure.

    OK, I will write a letter about this non-notification about failures to the developers,
    but I can not be sure that they will implement this "feature". :eek:

    My last response:

    "Actually there is no need to check logs each time, you can simply take a look at the content on the storage hard drive to find out was the backup created on not."

    My point is the user should not be required to check up on the program if they have scheduled the backup process. This should be a "set it and forget it" situation. The program shouldn't require the user to babysit it to make sure it's working. It should notify the user of each and every failure of a scheduled event.


    "If the hard drive is become lost by Windows then there is a problem with this hard drive. And of course we can not think of every possible failure."

    There are a multitude of ways a backup could fail. You don't need to anticipate them, just notify the user if there is a failure, for any reason.

    "....but I can not be sure that they will implement this "feature"..."

    Wow. This is the comment that shows you really aren't understanding the issue. You consider a backup program notifying a user of a backup failure a "Feature". It's not, it's a basic requirement for a program of this sort. This is not just any software program, this is something people are supposed to be able to depend on for recovering from a disaster. It's supposed to be bulletproof, absolutely rock solid. If it's not it's useless. The very last thing you want is for a user to actually NEED that backup and find it's been failing and not notifying them. That will leave you with a very pissed off user. One that's going to complain about the uselessness of your program loud and long to anyone that will listen.
     
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