Need the easiest cloud backup for Windows computers possible...
November 19, 2012 10:40 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good option for cloud auto-backup of a hard drive?

My father in law needs something he can use to backup his peripheral brain/laptop. Ideally, this should be like Time Machine, except he has a PC running Windows. He cannot handle anything that requires any maintenance, troubleshooting, etc. - the best option would be one that requires him to do nothing at all, so we can get it set up for him and then it will just automatically happen at pre-set intervals, as long as he's connected to the internet. Ideas? Thanks in advance.
posted by treehorn+bunny to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Crashplan is $3 a month for unlimited storage space. The only caveat is that the first backup is relatively slow, but the nightly deltas are pretty quick.
posted by Oktober at 10:47 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know a number of people who use Carbonite and think very highly of it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:55 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding CrashPlan. I've been using it for about 2 years now and it's been working smoothly for most of the time. It has unlimited storage and you can configure a lot of stuff on a folder / drive base if needed, unlike with other services I tested.

Two minor issues I encountered:
Rather slow upload speeds for a few weeks in late 2011 due to peering issues with my ISP and CrashPlans network provider which have since been fixed.
The software client is a bit sluggish, especially if you have a lot of individual backup sets defined, but once you have set it up you don't really have to use it anymore.
posted by starzero at 10:57 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

For me, Crashplan has been an insane pain in the ass to set up. I'm still trying to get synced with them and I've been with them for three months *and* I paid for the seed service. Of course my needs may be greater than your father-in-law's, but I highly recommend you seeing that first part through. After that it'll be smooth sailing. Their customer service has also been very responsive.
posted by phaedon at 11:14 PM on November 19, 2012

As usual I'm going to recommend BackBlaze, although the others mentioned are fine.

It doesn't need any configuration, but as with all online backup services it will take a while for the first backup to complete. I've given gift licences to non-techy family members and they seemed to work it out ok.
posted by samj at 2:42 AM on November 20, 2012

Nthing Crashplan. In addition to the low-cost cloud service, it allows you to back up to "friends" for free. So, for example, he could back up to your machine, and you could back up to his.
posted by eafarris at 6:01 AM on November 20, 2012

Another vote for crash plan. Cheap and easy.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:16 AM on November 20, 2012

I've been using BackBlaze, after seeing it mentioned here, for a few months and it has been great. I haven't had to, you know, use it because my computer died in a fire or anything, but I'm pleased with the service. I like that it's also backing up my external hd and it was super easy.
posted by upatree at 8:45 AM on November 20, 2012

Another vote for Backblaze.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:29 AM on November 20, 2012

I had of issues with crashplan, but I was using the free version that backs up files from one computer you own to another.

I've been using backblaze for a few years and it's great. $60 a year. They make a lot of investments in their technology that I appreciate.
posted by reddot at 10:44 AM on November 20, 2012

Backblaze left me high and dry without tech support for the better part of a week when my computer crashed. I jumped ship IMMEDIATELY after retrieving my data.

Also, their software (at least at the time, a couple years ago) was written by a complete imbecile. Accessing anything - even just opening the options dialog - required a minutes-long wait while it strolled casually through my filesystem, looking for changes. Tech Support repeatedly, consistently blamed me for this delay, stating "You're asking it to process a LOT of files!" (No, I'm not. I'm not asking it to process any files at all, and I don't think a little over a 100 GB is all that damn big.)

Carbonite is speedy, both in software response time (I can access a month-old single file version and initiate download in less time than Backblaze took to open it's fucking dialog box) and tech response time - I created a fake emergency and called it in, just to test, so I wouldn't discover the bad news when I could least afford it.

Carbonite >> Backblaze.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:14 PM on November 20, 2012

I can't speak to the other suggestions, but can personally recommend Carbonite. For a flat fee of $60 US per year the company offers unlimited backup. Once the initial looooooong backup is complete, it backs up automatically whenever the computer is idle. Your father-in-law will need to remember NOT to shut down his computer immediately after he finishes using it for the day, but otherwise he won't need to give it a thought.

I'm self-employed. In the past five years Carbonite has twice saved my bacon when the hard drive on two different computers crashed and burned. You can literally restore your files on a new computer or hard drive as they were on the old one.

Bonus: you can access files offsite via the Carbonite website and download them. Very handy!
posted by Schadenfreudian at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just wanted to mention that I'm in the process of trying both BackBlaze and CrashPlan (on a Mac) and I found that I preferred the CrashPlan interface because it didn't start doing anything until I initiated it and because it was very easy to select specific folders and/or files to backup (whereas BackBlaze seems more geared towards backing up everything by default). I checked into Carbonite but its unlimited data plan seemed to exclude video files unless you pay for a premium plan which is more expensive. I used to have JungleDisk but got tired of problems updating the (Mac) software.
posted by Dansaman at 12:05 AM on November 27, 2012

« Older The Princess Who Saved Herself   |   Thanksgiving weekend trip to Colorado Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.