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Who's got your back(up)?


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Online backup solutions: a review


Of all the tasks that occupy a computer's processing time, none has greater potential to leap from mundane service to critical function than the backup process. In the past, backup procedures (whether implemented for personal or corporate use) were mostly physical and involved regular copy sessions to a separate floppy disk, tape, or CD-R/DVD-R. In recent years, the falling price of hard drive storage has made external hard drive-based backups a practical solution for certain personal or small business uses.


The growing prevalence and rising speed of broadband, coupled with the aforementioned drop in storage costs, has allowed companies that specialize in online backup solutions to extend these services to a great range of clientele. Unlike physical backup solutions, online systems have the advantage of requiring no additional hardware and usually have a small software footprint as well, in terms of program size or memory requirements.


Once installed, the user assigns the program a set of files to automatically back up to a remote server location monitored and owned by whichever company is providing the service. Alternatively, the user can choose to manually back up files on a personally determined schedule, rather than relying on automatic scheduling. Although online backup services aren't a new concept as such, it's only in the relatively recent past that the cost of such services and the number of people potentially equipped to take advantage of them have reached critical mass. We've taken four online backup providers for a test drive, and provided our results below.


The services

We evaluated the following programs:



Mozy Online


Iron Mountain's Connected Backup/PC service

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I use Xdrive because I get 50 GB free as an AOL customer.


One of the features that they didn't mention is the one I use most.


They have an Auto Copy feature that monitors changes to your My Documents and My Pictures folders and will upload changes to the files and folders to the Xdrive online storage automatically when you're online.


There is no file compression and you can access your account and the files from any computer.


Since I have a DSL high speed connection, the only way I know it's working is the upload icon that appears when it's uploading files.


You just have to make certain that you're storing your important pictures and files in a folder in the My Pictures or My Documents folder and have the Auto Copy feature turned on for those Windows folders.


I just spent a week scanning in photographs that I didn't want to lose in case of a natural disaster and the Xdrive Auto Copy save me hours of work.

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Thanks for sharing it. It's definitely a useful article.


I always try to backup to a second hard drive, CD/DVDs and online storage..... and I try to backup finished movies to camcorder tapes too.


I'm a bit paranoid about losing data to hard drive crashes, unreadable CD/DVDs, or natural disasters. With my luck, all three would happen at the same time. LOL Hopefully, online storage would save my precious files and memories.


And if something happens to me, my family knows the sign in name and password to that online account. They aren't 'into' computers, but do know how to surf the net. :rolleyes:

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