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CrashPlan

A networked computer backup system

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Start backing up your files now BEFORE the horror story of how you lost all your digital photos

  • Feb 23, 2011
Rating:
+5
It's going to happen.  Hard drives fail, and when they fail you will lose data.  Computers have been around long enough that we can't pretend that hardware lasts forever.  By now, most everyone is aware of this fact, and some have even taken the first step to preventing data loss by using an external hard drive... but this still requires planning, scheduling, and evolving as storage needs increase and even home networks become more complex.  I've already reviewed SuperDuper for the Mac which is still the best local backup solution I've seen, but what if you still something more?

CrashPlan is an online backup service that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and lets you backup your files to other computers and/or their centralized "cloud" storage service.  For several months, I was using the free service which lets you backup your computers to one another so you can distribute the backups among several locations.  Once the software is installed, and the backup destinations are set, CrashPlan just runs in the background, constantly backing up your designated files to the computers you've tagged as destinations.  Once a computer has been backed up, you can also access data from that backup from any other computer that has access to that account.  This was really useful when upgrading the hard drive in @'s computer.  I created a backup from her laptop onto my computer, and then once the new hard drive was installed, I could just copy files back down from the backup.  The best part is that once you've set it up, you really don't have to think about it, and if for some reason a computer hasn't been backed up for a few days, it will even send you an email or twitter alert to notify you of that fact -- all of this as part of the free service.

However, as my storage needs increased (thanks to an adorably photogenic two year old daughter) and "my" computer network became more complex (thanks to me being the resident "Goto Tech guy" for my entire family), I decided it was time to move up to the paid service.  For $12/month, you can backup an UNLIMITED amount of data from 2-10 computers to their servers.  And if you pre-pay for 4 years of service, the price drops down to only $6/month.  For $6 worth of peace of mind, I can now backup my laptop, my desktop, my wif'e's computer, my sister's computer, my parents' computers, my media center and still have 3 slots available for additional computers down the line.  The next time I get a call that "my computer's hard drive is making a clicking noise", rather than waste a weekend trying to recover files off an uncooperative drive, I'll be able to log into my CrashPlan account and download the backups to a new drive.

Don't wait until you've "learned your lesson the hard way".  The price point is low enough and the automation software is advanced enough that there's no reason not have a backup solution in place.

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December 16, 2011
Disaster Recovery and Contingency Planning are always good to implement.
 
March 05, 2011
Some great points. Thanks for a very interesting and highly informative review.
 
March 01, 2011
Very helpful thank you very much!
 
February 24, 2011
I just signed up for the free account and am really digging it! I might just upgrade to the cloud service! Thanks for the helpful review!
 
February 24, 2011
Whoooa, kudos to you for being the go to tech guy for your entire family! Just my dad alone is driving me nuts with computer problems :P After a couple of close calls, I got him a back up disk, which is my route of backing stuff up as well. If ever I need to expand though, I'll remember CrashPlan. They sound super convenient. Thanks for sharing!
 
February 23, 2011
Sounds pretty neat. I have a couple of external hard drives that I back things up on regularly [almost], I've been doing that after I learned the hard way and lost half our honeymoon photos! This is especially important on our desktop computer that's like 8 years old and will croak any minute. ;)
 
February 23, 2011
Sounds like an excellent alternative to home backup although to be safe, I'd keep them in different locations! Considering how unstable the world is these days and also the rampant amount of hacking and computer crashes, the more copies around, the better :-) As I've always told friends, photos and memories can never be replicated so if you treasure and cherish them a lot, have as many copies as you can!
February 23, 2011
Great point. Even a single backup to CrashPlan relies on the hope that CrashPlan is reliable (which I certainly hope they are) -- but the software also still allows you to easily back up to your other computers as well as to your friends computers if they're willing to share some hard drive space. You just send them a code, and your data can be stored securely at your friend's place for free as well.
February 24, 2011
I wouldn't bet on companies. If Borders and Lehman can file for Chapter 11, then anyone can and will. The only safe way is to save a copy or two of your own, have someone else in another city or country keep another copy and then have one backup to CrashPlan. Afterall, with earthquakes and tsunamis, one never knows ;-) I know, it's getting a little hysterical but your baby is never ever going to be 1 or 2 or 3 again, so, that's the only way to be "safe", LOL
 
1
About the reviewer
Andrew ()
Ranked #24
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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