CrashPlan is our favorite backup tool for Windows, for the Mac, and we've even shown you how to build a bulletproof backup solution with it. CrashPlan gives you the flexibility to back up any folders you select on your computer (or whole drives, if you prefer) to external hard drives, other computers on the same network, a friend's computer across the internet, or online to CrashPlan's own servers, where it's stored and encrypted to keep your data safe. The backup utility is set-it-and-forget-it, and it runs quietly in the background whenever you're away from your computer, or at specified times of day. It's smart enough to only do differentials and incrementals, and supports multiple backup destinations so you can back everything up at one time everywhere it needs to go. Restores are just as easy, and a few clicks drops all of your files right back where they should be. You even get access to your backup data on your mobile devices. If you have a ton of data to back up or restore, you can even have CrashPlan send an external hard drive to your house that you can back up to and use to seed your first backups or restore from, all without blowing past your ISP's bandwidth limitations. You can read more about CrashPlan's features here.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's Solutions section, which covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. He previously covered services and software for ExtremeTech.com.
It's been a long time since we last looked at online backup tools, so we figured it was time to take another look. Earlier this week we asked you which online backup services were the best: The ones that offered the most seamless and simple backups, fast and complete restores, easy-to-use backup clients, and of course, storage for your money. You responded with a number of options, but we only have room for your top five. Here they are, in no particular order:
There are a few common practices for configuring when backups occur. The most common option is on a fixed schedule, such as once a day, week, or month. The second, which we prefer, is to upload file changes whenever they're changed and saved, otherwise known as a continuous backup setting. Services only transfer the modified part of the file in this scenario, so as not to overburden your internet connection or take up unnecessary storage. A third way is simply to upload files manually. Some may appreciate this degree of control, but this method is only effective if you remember to regularly run the backup.
In addition to the 5 GB free option, OpenDrive has one consumer-grade plan called Personal Unlimited. It costs $9.95 /month and offers an unlimited amount of storage space for your backed up files. Prepay for one year at $99 to bring that down to $8.25 /month. You can add an additional computer for $9.95 extra /computer, up to three extras for a total of four.
If you think of video files and Cloud storage, your mind will probably jump to slow upload times and costly storage space. This doesn’t have to be the case. Whether you’re looking to share home movie files with family members or are making a slew of promotional videos for your latest client, there’s a backup provider that meets your individual video-related needs – and this list is a good place to start looking!
Bitcasa starts you off with 10GB for free, but $100/yr throws the floodgates open and gets you unlimited storage for anything you want to sync, share, or back up. Plus, you can connect as many computers or devices to your account as you choose, so you don't pay by the PC. It's client isn't quite as robust as some of the other tools here, but if you're more interested in a flat fee for unlimited space and you can handle the details of which files go where and when, it's a solid option. You can read more about Bitcasa's pricing here.