HOP Review: Back It Up With Carbonite [Giveaway]
Or, a History of My Relationship With Backing Up Data
Way back in 2008, a wise woman recommended that I use Carbonite to back up my computer after I whined about losing a bunch – a very painful bunch – of photos when an external hard drive crashed. I still remember the pangs of loss when I realized I had lost many of our pictures from Brady’s first Christmas. This is one of the only shots I have left:
I did start using Flickr after that to back up my photos after editing them. After another bout with lost data, I discovered that my backup service, Fabrik, was not an archiving service, so it only kept what was on my computer for 30 days in the past. Of course, by the time I realized what I was missing, 30 days was not enough time to go back. So I dropped Fabrik, switched from PC to Mac, and set up Time Machine.
And then more recently, as some of you may know, I started listening to Dr. Laura while I’m working. She advertises for Carbonite, and her little ditty about the service burrowed that piece of information further into my brain.
And then Carbonite emailed me and invited me to lunch with Tom Murray, their SVP of Marketing.
If that is not the universe telling me to try Carbonite, I don’t know what is.
So, on a balmy day in January, Jessica Gottlieb and I met Murray and a PR rep for lunch at a cafe in Sherman Oaks. We chatted about Carbonite, about being a parent, and about how awful it is when you lose your digital memories. It was pleasant enough. And then I went home and installed Carbonite on my computer.
And nothing happened.
Of course, once I got it set up – it’s a little less intuitive to set up on a Mac vs. a PC – Carbonite did, and continues to, back up everything I asked it to. But the fact that nothing happened is exactly what I want. I can’t tell you how well it restores data that is lost from a computer, because I haven’t lost anything since I installed it.
I’d really like to keep it that way, but I feel better knowing that I’ve got redundant services in place now to help me if I ever lose any important files again. With Flickr photo backups, my external hard drives (I have two, one just for photos and one for all data), and Carbonite backing everything up to the cloud, I think I’m covered. And it only took four years to get here.
Carbonite’s personal service works like this:
With a Home Premier account (which costs $59 per computer per year), you first install Carbonite on your computer. You run the initial backup and the service will copy of all of your files to a secured server. It takes a while to do the initial backup – the total time depends on how many files you have. You can select your own sets of files or Carbonite will automatically back up your documents & settings, photos, email, music, and videos. You can even have it backup the contents of one external hard drive!
You can then access your files from any computer or mobile device through Carbonite’s mobile app. That is an awesome feature!
And finally, if you lose anything (or everything), you can use Carbonite’s Restore Manager to download your lost files to the same place they used to be on your computer. As if nothing ever happened. Which I would rather have.
A word to the wise: as it turns out, most online backup services work the same way my old one did, and Carbonite does, too. That means that they only keep copies of your deleted files for 30 days after you delete them, and then they are indeed lost forever. So if you don’t discover that you had a power outage or a failed chip in an external hard drive until long after the damage is done, you are screwed, which is why it makes sense to have files stored in more than one place.
There is also a business product – Carbonite Business backs up unlimited computers, storage devices, and servers with two different price point plans.
You can try Carbonite for free for 15 days to check it out before you subscribe: sign up for it here.
Lucky for you, Carbonite has given me a free 1-year subscription to give away here (available to US residents only). Simply leave a comment and tell me what YOU lost when your computer crashed/transferred/died in a fire and you will be entered as long as you include your email address. I’ll take entries until 9:00 AM PST on July 16.Pin It