On March 21st, I received an email from BT informing me that BT Digital Vault was closing in May, but that backup would still be possible via BT Cloud, with options for both web uploads of data and automatic backups from one or more devices.
That evening, I downloaded the BT Cloud client application and configured it to backup all of my areas to a device called STEVE-LAPTOP - I had approximately 28 GB worth of data to backup in 55,000 files, varying in size from 1KB to 500MB. I left the backup running continuously (using an Ethernet connection to my hub rather than the wireless link to try and get maximum throughput) until early April (the Cloud system was unavailable for a few days around the weekend of March 23rd), by which point it had backed up much of the data to the Cloud. The larger files, though (i.e. those above about 25MB) were not backed up, even though the client displayed the message ‘Backup Complete’. The process was obviously still running, for if I made a change to any of the files it had already backed up, a new version was uploaded to the Cloud and it showed in the ‘Date Uploaded’ view, but despite leaving it running for a couple of days, none of the missing files were backed up. The web application and the client highlighted this, as the numbers for Pictures, Videos, Music and Documents were the same across both, but in the Other section, the client total was about 300 higher than the web total.
The total cloud space used showed at just over 5 Gb, 1/6th of the size of the data that should have been backed up.
Thinking that there may be a problem with the client, I uninstalled it and downloaded it again from the BT account page, only to hit the problem that I couldn’t reuse the same device name when I ran the installation. I went on to the BT forums and found that others had hit this same problem, so, reluctantly, I created another device (STEVE-PC), chose the folders and left it running to do the backup. For some reason this backup didn’t start at all (the client just gave the message ‘Backup Complete’), so I repeated the process (i.e. deinstalled and reinstalled) and this time chose a device name of STEVES FILES. This did then begin to backup my files. While this was going on, I also used the web upload to ensure I had at least an initial backup of my files. What was most noticeable about this was the speed of upload – via the web interface, even the largest files of over 400MB only took a few seconds to upload, whereas from the client, files of 100KB would take around a minute to upload.
I again left the backup running for several days, and although progress was slow, it was steady, until suddenly it came to an almost complete halt – over a period of 12 hours, it backed up four .jpg files of no more than 100KB in total. I placed a call with the 0800 number for the BT Cloud team hoping for advice as to what the problem might be, but as I wasn’t by my computer at the time, they couldn’t help as they needed to access my computer before they could do anything.
I couldn’t call them when I was at home with the computer, as it was after the helpline closed at 9 pm, and as the automatic backup was doing nothing at all now, I decided once again to deinstall the software, knowing that at least I had the main files backed up via the web upload interface. At the same time, I deleted the devices from the cloud that had stalled and were no longer linked to the backup client, as well as emptying the files in Trash. Finally, I reinstalled the software, chose a new device name (as the original device had been deleted, I decided to call it STEVE-LAPTOP again), but instead of telling it to backup all of my files, I chose a few small folders this time to see if they would be backed up. However, the backup didn’t appear to run at all, and when I checked several hours later, no files had been backed up to this device.
The situation over the last couple of days has been, if anything, even more bizarre. I rang the 0800 number after 8pm on Tuesday 16th, and spoke to a lady on the helpdesk. She was able to access my computer and see what was there – the BT Cloud web page showed ‘Web Uploads’ and the device name I had most recently chosen, STEVE-LAPTOP, but on the client application page, it showed ‘Web Uploads’, my new device name, STEVE-LAPTOP, and also my old device name, STEVES FILES. She said she needed to speak to the technical team, and arranged to call me back again at 7 pm on Wednesday 17th, which she did – unfortunately, she explained that the technical team weren’t there at that time, and she needed to contact me earlier in the day.
I had switched my laptop on in readiness for the call on the 17th, as I assumed she would once again want to access it to view the setup. The client backup, which had done nothing the previous evening, now began to back up my files, and I left it running. When I went back to check again three hours later, there was a message on the screen (from the client) which read:
The device STEVE-LAPTOP was deleted from BT Cloud. You will be logged out
I hit OK to the message, at which point the client began the 5-step reinstallation again, forcing me to choose yet another new name, as STEVE-LAPTOP hadn’t physically been deleted, and was still visible from the web page, along with the 40 or so files that had been backed up prior to the client deciding it had been deleted. The reinstallation also told me STEVES FILES was one of my devices, so I don’t know if it was storing this information in cache memory rather than accessing the current web page?
The situation now is that I have a single device on the web (called STEVES AREAS this time – I opted for a completely new name in case the old names are stored in cache memory at all) and it is backing up in the background. How far it will get is the key question – it’s fair to say that I don’t have a great deal of confidence that it will complete the task and give me a guaranteed backup of my data.
Has anybody else experienced anything like this?
Has anybody else experienced anything like this? Not to quite that extent.
As you have noted, lots of people (including me) have hit the problem of not being able to reuse an existing device name.
The original version of the client software went absurdly slowly for me.
That seems to be largely fixed now: very small files are still slower than they should be but no longer disasterous. Larger files are using around 10Mb or even a bit more of my 17Mb upload; not excellent but not too bad.
I haven't noticed any files missing: as they don't provide any convenient general interface to what is in the cloud it is difficult to be sure. At least some of my large files (some >100Mb) got through fine.
BT Cloud is just a mirror, with very imperfect support for deleted files and no support for historic versions of changed files. For that reason alone I wouldn't trust it as a full backup solution.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I did know that it was a mirror rather than a backup (although I didn't know that until I read it on another thread) so I also keep a backup to an external hard drive. It's the ability to access the files from any other computer which made me opt for Digital Vault in the first place, and that's why I want to be able to use Cloud.