Carbonite Online Backup Review

Quite simply put, Carbonite is an online back up service that allows virtually unlimited space to back your computer up. The program that they provide their customer will select the most important files on your computer, including all your media files, and automatically back them up on their online servers. Their no-frills flat rate service plans start at a low $59 per year, and they have business plans available, too.

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Carbonite Pricing / Plans / Coupons

There are 2 ways to go with Carbonite. Home and Business. The home plan will allow the customer to back up a single computer for $59.00 per year. In their business plan there are two packages. A 250 GB plan costs $229 per year, but additional storage is available if you need it, and there is a 500 GB plan that allows for backup of Windows server 2003 and newer. They do have plans for non-profits also.

Carbonite Free Trial

For their home service they offer a 14 day free trial which we are testing even now. Business clients can expect a little more time to make up their minds, with 30 days, but their service will cost more than the home users will. To get started there isn’t a credit card or any other type of financial information needed, it’s as simple as entering your e-mail. And you will get a welcoming letter form Carbonite with links to their support and forums.

Carbonite Client Details / Top Features

The first thing we noticed right out of the package is the automation. Everything from file selection down to the scheduling of the uploads has been handled for you. Once you enter your e-mail you’ll get a download popup, download the file, then click on it, and the rest is automatic. Once installed you will be able to select the files you want backed up, the frequency, and time of the back up processes.

Initially, in order to keep the program from backing up a lot of files all at once and monopolizing all your bandwidth, the backup process may take a while…days in fact, depending on the amount of data you are backing up. But their website and other users assure us that once the process is finished initially, it’s fast and requires very little bandwidth for the uploads.

Carbonite Product Installation

During the installation you will get an option to select between an automatic or a custom set up. As we only wanted to back up certain portions of our HDD, we opted for the custom install. Here you will have the option of what gets backed up, when it’s backed up, and encryption if you want it. You will get a window with tips for the use of Carbonite, then the client will open up.

Carbonite Backup Process Overview

For your very first time the Carbonite client will take a long time to back up all the files on their recommended list. But the list is as complete as any person could want. Settings, photos, music, movies, and even other data on attached disk drives on the system were added to the backup, too. Although during the trial period the MP3’s and iTunes aren’t added by default. One thing that we liked was the ability to right click any file and add it into the queue. There are others that the client won’t back up, so check their website for a complete list of the files, it’s never safe to assume a certain file has been backed up, and it is easy to tell which files have been backed up.

Carbonite Restore Process Overview

The restore process can be handled in a couple of different ways. The client has a restore section that will allow you to take care of the entire process automatically, and can even choose which files to restore or if all the files need restored. You can also log on to their website and restore the files. At this point you won’t be able to restore files to a Mac from the backup of a PC, or visa versa, but they assure us that this feature is in the works.

Carbonite Sharing Capabilities

Since the service is provided on a per computer yearly basis, there is no file sharing on the home level unless you have a catastrophic event and need to restore the files to a new machine. For the business backups can be shared across your network. Syncing files won’t be available. But access to your files from anywhere you are.

Carbonite Privacy / Data Protection

At their data storage facilities they maintain round the clock security, and access to the servers is controlled by key cards. Your data is encrypted and unless you give them special permission, not even their employees have access to your data.

Carbonite Support Options

There is a help in their client, and support FAQ’a. There is also a community forum, that is quite active with the members. E-mail is available, and an instant chat for those that just can’t wait.

Carbonite Common Problems

It seems that the main problem that we have encountered was the slow uploading initially, but we can appreciate this feature at the same time. Anywhere access worked fine, as did the file restore processes.

Carbonite Versus The Competition

There are other cheaper services out there, but if you have an issue just remembering to do those all important backups, as we all do from time to time, then this is a great one for you. Like that QVC salesperson says, “Set it and forget it.” The cost/storage is comparable to other services when looked at on a space level, but the auto-pilot included in the client software impressed us.

Carbonite Company Information

This Boston Mass company formed in 2005 when the CEO’s family members experienced computer crashes wherein they lost a lot of personal data that couldn’t be recovered or replaced. They have 2 data centers, employ over 200 people, backed up over 100 billion files and recovered more than 7 billion.

Carbonite Product Conclusion

We like this one mainly for the automation. The price is good, and we have experienced no issues with the software. An excellent choice for those with short term memory issues, or even those who don’t want to have to pay attention to the mundane.