Carbonite Online Backup

Everybody who knows me a little bit will admit it: I am a lazy person. Because I am so lazy I work in the IT industry, dreaming about automating all those boring tasks. Of course, automating tasks is hard work, but I don’t want to think about that.

One of the problems I wanted to automate for a very long time is making backups of my PC. I know that it is very important to backup my files, and usually after tweaking my backup system I backup every X days. But after a while I loose interest, and days become weeks, and weeks become months,…

Media choice is another problem with backups, as the amount of data I have is growing exponentially. Back in the MS-DOS days, all important data fitted on e few floppy disks. As I started my studies and got involved in Jong Nederland I produced more documents and changed to ZIP disks for my backup. When I started ripping MP3 files, I was forced to change to CD’s and DVD’s. And now that I am creating my own video’s I need even more than that. I thought about buying a USB hard disk, but the thought of spending a lot of money for a medium that will be outdated within two years kept me from going to the store.

And then I found Carbonite Online Backup. Carbonite is a little application that will automatically backup my files to a server on the internet, without any user interaction. The best part of Carbonite is its price: $5 per month for unlimited storage!!! So for only $5 per month I can sit back and relax, knowing that my files are safe, and I won’t have to worry about running out of space in the future.

I quickly downloaded and installed the demo version (15 days free), which promptly began to upload data. Now there was a little problem, as our broadband connection is ADSL, and the A stands for Asynchronous meaning that you can download at high speeds, but have less bandwidth available for uploading. It took me two days to get all my files to the Carbonite server.

When checking what files were present on the Carbonite server, I noticed that there was a lot of crap. In the installation procedure, I had selected that I wanted to backup My Documents and the Desktop, which Carbonite had interpreted as being the whole Documents and settings folder, including cached files, etc. I tweaked the settings a little bit, and was able to reduce the backed up volume by one third. I also added some other files such as my ActiveWords database and my Trillian preferences (both installed under Program Files).

I’ve got the whole system up and running for some weeks now, and am very happy with it. My backups are always up-to-date and I don’t have to think about copying files anymore.

The only problem I have found is my mailbox. As I typically have e-mail open during the whole day, the inbox file changes continuously. Besides that, the file is rather big, taking a while to upload. The result is that this particular file is hardly ever backed up. I am still looking for a solution, possibly using another tool to create a local copy and adding this copy to Carbonite.

In short: Carbonite is a very good product giving great value for its money.

Jeroen Sangers @jeroensangers