Review of Carbonite Online Backup
When it comes to the personal and business files that reside on your computer’s hard drive, there is little question that they need to be protected and this can be as easy as using an online backup company. Carbonite has been in the business of backing up both personal and business files since 2005 and has since become one of the leading names in the online backup industry.
Getting Started with Carbonite
Using Carbonite to back up all of the files on your computer is a simple, straightforward process. They offer a 15 day trial so you can test out the software before paying any money. This trial comes with absolutely no strings attached and all you need to get started is your e-mail address and selecting a password. While many other online backup companies will require a credit card to be on file for any type of free trial version, Carbonite requires none.
Once you have your e-mail and password and you accept the terms set forth by Carbonite, you then need to choose a nickname for your computer and designate what type of computer it is, such as desktop, laptop, or server. Then you can choose to have files backed up automatically or you can manually backup the files that you wish to start off with.
The initial backup can take some time, depending on the amount of files that you wish to have backed up. This means anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, but after that, all your files are backed up automatically while the program runs in the background. So, if you computer is on, files are being backed up.
After Carbonite has backed up your selected files they direct to a “What’s Next” page. This page is filled with all sorts of helpful tid-bits such as video tutorials that can help you get the most out of your Carbonite experience.
Once your 15-day trial is over, you can then opt to cancel the service and owe nothing or continue the service for only $59 for a complete year of unlimited online backup. The price is among the best in the industry, but it should be noted that the price only covers one computer. You can get additional computer coverage, but there will be an additional charge.
Tracking Files with Carbonite
Carbonite makes it easy to know what has and hasn’t been backed up file wise. They use a clear and simple coding system to let you know the status of all your files. If your files are backed up, Carbonite will let you know by marking your files and folders in Windows Explorer with a solid green dot. A solid orange dot is used to signify that a file is awaiting backup and a green dot with a white center means that there is a file that has some, not all, of the contents backed up.
Carbonite further makes tracking a breeze with their interactive ‘InfoCenter’ icon, which looks like a lock. Accessing this icon will tell you everything that is going on with your files. You can also do things like start a file restore, freeze or pause your backup, and even set your backup to a lower priority so that other applications can use your internet bandwidth first should it be limited. If that’s not easy enough for you, you can access the shadow drive that Carbonite sets up automatically within by using Windows Explorer.
Backing Up Files with Carbonite
Once you have completed your initial backup with Carbonite, it is easy to tell the system what to do going forward. You can use the ‘Set Options’ tab followed by the “Backup Schedule’ tab to conveniently convey your backup preferences. The first choice will be the one you will probably use as it is the automatic option and will allow you to go about your backup in a ‘hands-free’ approach as you will know that all files will be backed up as you work.
As your files are being backed up, you might expect for your machine to slow down drastically. However, most users find that Carbonite is hardly noticeable when backing up files. Again, the total backup time depends on your files and their sizes, but a good estimate is about half an hour to process and backup around 150 MB of various files.
Security Level of Carbonite Backup
Carbonite uses the exact same method as many of the big banks when it comes to protecting your backed up files. They use a method known as double encryption which scrambles up all of your files and then scrambles them up again. So, the end result is something that can’t be read unless it is first descrambled, which can’t happen unless someone, other than you, has the e-mail address and password to your account.
In other words, this means that there is no way that your files can be used if accessed by an outside source. If a hacker where to steal your files from Carbonite, which is highly unlikely, they would be stealing useless files that would not be able to be used for anything.
Resorting Files with Carbonite
When you need to restore a file, or all of your files, using Carbonite, the process is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. There are a couple of ways in which you can access your files for resorting and the preference ends up being a personal one since both work equally as well.
The first method you can use to restore files with Carbonite is by using the automatically created shadow drive in Windows Explorer. Here you can right-click and when the menu pops up, choose ‘Restore or Restore to.’ You can accomplish the same thing by accessing the InfoCenter icon. Once accessed, simply click on the let panel tab labeled ‘Restore.’
Once you are at this point with either method, you can then choose to conduct a full restore of you can pick and choose the files that you want to have restored. If you only want a handful of files to be restored, then you can choose to search for a specific file folder or individual file and once located, you can choose to have it, or them, restored. You can search in a number of different ways, including last modified date, file size, and even file date, which makes it very simple to locate specific files that you may need to immediately restore.
Once you are in the process of resorting your file, or files, Carbonite clearly keeps you apprised to what is going on. You will be presented with everything from progress, to time remaining, and even the opportunity to cancel the restore.
When your restore is complete, you will still have the opportunity to make sure it is what you want and once you do, you have to hit the ‘Verify’ tab. You will have the option of viewing the file, or files, that were restored and you can even print off a list if you desire to do so. The printed list is nice to have, as it will show you all the new locations of the files and file folders which were just restored.
If you do need to conduct a backup because of your computer crashing or being inaccessible due to any other type of loss, you will have to of course have a new computer and an internet connection. You will then have to download the Carbonite program onto your new computer so that you can access your account and use InfoCenter to help you facilitate your file restoration.
Help with Carbonite
Carbonite seems to be set up to be user friendly however, if you do run into trouble, you can call for additional guidance. Carbonite has a dedicated team of customer support staff members who can be accessed via a toll free phone number Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST and Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 4 pm EST.
If you need help outside of those hours, you can reach a customer support staff member via live chat on a 24/7 basis. Additionally, you can always try accessing one of their helpful video tutorials to get you through a rough patch.
Carbonite for Peace of Mind
There are several scenarios in which you could lose the personal and business files that reside on your computer’s hard drive. While a hard drive crash is the most likely problem you would encounter, you can’t rule out the unknown such as fire, flood, electrical surge, or even theft. When you use an online backup service like Carbonite, you are ensuring yourself total peace of mind as you will be able to work without ever having to fear that you may lose your files for good at any given point.
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