Pat Drummond :: life & technology

June 29, 2011

SpiderOak not ready for Public use

SpiderOak ( as a backup and sync tool using cloud storage which gives you 2GB free cloud storage. But it should come with a warning (or get fixed). The software on my Win7 system caused havoc on my hard drive. (The following is from memory.)

First I disabled Dropbox so there wouldn't be any conflicts. Dropbox does the same job but requires all your files to be under the "My Dropbox" folder. I was told in an internet newsletter that SpiderOak offered better security - passwords and encryption are all done before files are uploaded.

I installed the SpiderOak software on the Windows 7 computer. I set it up to backup 6 website folders. The folders all had the same name, and all appeared in the SpiderOak cloud storage called "website". Well, I had expected SpiderOak to mirror my folder tree (d:\AAA\website). So I edited the backup settings to the parent folders to give a unique and descriptive name in the cloud storage. There was very little feedback to indicate if the backup was working or if it was finished, which seems an important indicator to leave out.

Then I noticed many files were missing in the cloud storage. After much searching, I found an option that had been checked to NOT backup older files. I cleared the setting and again had trouble determining if/when the files had been backed up.

I was going to setup the "Sync" function next, to mirror the cloud folders to another computer. But for some reason I tried the download function instead. By the time I realized it was taking a long time and cancelled it, SpiderOak had copied hundreds of files from the cloud right back into computer #1, but many of them went into the WRONG sub-folder with the SAME name. In other words, files backed up from d:\AAA\website were downloaded into d:\BBB\website, resulting in extra files but also over-writing existing files! I had a huge mess to clean up since I use a lot of sub-folders with the same name. The only good news is that I "mirror" websites daily on an external drive. But folders where I simply copy updated files was more tedious - I had to inspect every file as well as remove the added ones. Even with recent backups, it took me 2 hours to clean up the mess.

When I went to the website to report this, all I found was a forum. Hope it is monitored by people who can figure out how on earth this happened.

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