Personal file backup advice should I use a cloud sevice
March 17, 2014 6:43 AM   Subscribe

I want to find out what is the best cloud services for backing up laptops and pc's. Should I go with the cloud, and in addition should I save my files to external hard-drives as well.I have a lot of photos primarily that I do not want to loose, I am using windows . Thanks for the help.
posted by Upon Further Review to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I'd do two things.

1. Go to the cloud. Find a service you like and upload there.

2. Burn photos onto CDs.

Now you have a belt and suspenders and no actual photos to deal with.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:46 AM on March 17, 2014

I use Crashplan and I'm quite happy with it - I like to prepare my backups under the assumption that my house will burn down tomorrow, taking all my stuff with it.

On the matter of externals: I do local backups too, because cloud backups will not save you from accidentally deleting something (they delete it on their remote copy too) and because if I just lose my laptop/HDD and don't suffer a whole-house-explosion, I'd like to be able to get back up and running a lot faster than ti'll take to download all those gigs over the Internet. But if you just want to make sure you don't lose stuff forever, cloud on its own is fine.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:46 AM on March 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'll second Crashplan. I've been using it for a few years and, while I've not needed to restore much from it, I've been happy with the service. Like Tomorrowful, I also keep local backups on a Networked Attached Storage (NAS) device for faster file recovery and increased redundancy. Prior to purchasing a NAS, I used USB drives for this.

If you're on a Mac, John Siracusa and Dan Benjamin discussed this on an early episode of their podcast, Hypercritical. Lots of good practical and theoretical discussion about backups.
posted by jeffch at 6:57 AM on March 17, 2014

I've been on Crashplan for over a year and I've been very happy.

I have a USB external hard drive that I back my entire system up to via Time Machine. With Crashplan, I back up all my non-replaceable files. Documents, photos, home video. I don't care about music or purchased media. That can all be replaced.

Initially it takes a while to back up everything. I just left my Mac on for a week and set it to never go to sleep. After a week or so everything was backed up and now it just takes a minute or two to back up the changes.

So the USB drive is there if my computer crashes and Crashplan is there if the house burns down. It took me less than an hour to set all this up and it's nice to have the peace of mind.
posted by bondcliff at 7:04 AM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

n'thing Crashplan. I managed my own backups for years but eventually realized I just don't have the time anymore. I use Crashplan for online backup and to a pair of external hard drives that I rotate between home and my office.

So far no problems.

Since I had a large amount of data to backup I paid for the seed service where they would send you an external hard drive, you backup to it and send it back, and then once they've loaded it onto their servers you start the online backup. There was a mixup sending the drive, I forget the details, but they quickly solved the problem and credited my account with three months of online service, all the while being very responsive and friendly. I was impressed.
posted by beowulf573 at 7:18 AM on March 17, 2014

Crashplan FTW. With the caveat that I've never had to recover anything from it.

I actually have a three tier system. I keep most of my daily working documents in dropbox, then I try to remember to back up to a local hard drive once a month, and then I have crashplan.

For me, this is a good balance of local, accessible, and always-on/automatic.
posted by mercredi at 7:29 AM on March 17, 2014

I guess we are all Crashplan fans.

I can't over emphasize how important having a recent off site backup is. If your loss is from theft, fire, or natural disaster, chances are your home backup is lost too. That's a few too many eggs in one basket for me. You might think that you'll just keep another backup drive in the office, but in reality, you'll likely stop keeping up to date on these backups. The best backup solutions require little ongoing effort.

There's not much harm in keeping other local copies of photos too. I'm OK with not having that immediately on hand, but if it makes you feel more secure, go ahead.
posted by advicepig at 8:44 AM on March 17, 2014

I manually copy my photos and music files up to Amazon S3. My documents directory is synched to Ubuntu One so it stays synched with the Cloud automatically. Dropbox or any number of other services would offer the same functionality. Also, I just saw an article this AM that Google Drive dropped its prices and is now insanely cheap.
posted by COD at 9:05 AM on March 17, 2014

Crashplan for sure. Check for promos and deals. Also - burning DVDs is so 90s. Get a cheap USB stick, copy all your pics over, and give it to a relative. Case closed.

(Crashplan is actually pretty smart. Say you upload all your pictures of the course of a few weeks/months - depending on your speed) If you ever re-organize your collection, it will automatically see which pictures have already been uploaded, and won't sync them again. That is, unless you change the actual picture. It will still say "xxx GB to backup" - but once it gets started, it will skip over any file you have already uploaded in the past)
posted by nostrada at 11:13 AM on March 17, 2014

yep, crashplan. been using them for 3-4 years now and not had problems except for one time i couldn't connect for 3 days because their servers were doing something. i complained and they gave me a month credit.

i also do a daily back up to an external hard drive because it's easier/quicker to pull a file from that if i pull a homer on a file i'm working on.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:42 PM on March 17, 2014

Crashplan plus external hard drives. You'd be best off to rotate one of the external drives to a friend/relative's house.
posted by cnc at 1:52 PM on March 17, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the advice, I'll be watching the price wars on backup plans for sure !
posted by Upon Further Review at 9:58 AM on March 18, 2014

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