How DO you backup Windows XP?
June 30, 2008 7:56 AM   Subscribe

My mom and my brother are looking for a simple, solid online backup solution for their Windows XP computers. I know that there are sites like Carbonite, Mozy, and Crashplan. What I don't know is how good or simple any of these sites are or if there are others that are better that I just don't know about. Also, how heavily does the background services these site's software install impact system performance?
posted by Ikazuchi to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I signed up for Mozy recently and it's been spotty. At first their backend servers were on the fritz so I couldn't complete my upload and the restore file part of their website has been unavailable a fair number of times. The data did all get uploaded (58GB of it) though and it's super easy to use.
posted by zeoslap at 8:06 AM on June 30, 2008

The Mozy software doesn't impact day to day operation of the PC, I don't even notice it.
posted by zeoslap at 8:06 AM on June 30, 2008

I've used CrashPlan with great success for several months. I have used both the hosted backup servers and remote computers. It doesn't get much simpler than this.

I back up my important data to all computers (within the encrypted container), and the rest is replicated to the remote computer.

My mother's computer is always on, and my home computers back up to her's. In return, her computer sends it's data to my machine. (Both CrashPlan and JungleDisk send only the changes since the last backup.)

Only complaint is the price is a little high for the clients, but the hosting prices aren't that bad. I'm also using JungleDisk as an experiment, but it is not the easiest software to get set up.

Of course my Mac's are set up with TimeMachine with just the documents folder being backed up to CrashPlan and JungleDisk.

As far as impacts of the services, from my end I never even notice when they kick in, even while playing WoW or other online services. On my mother's she doesn't really see any performance impacts, but her 128kbps uplink gets saturated for a few minutes when she has some significant changes being uploaded.
posted by Hollowman at 8:08 AM on June 30, 2008

I used Mozy and found it easy to use. I just set it to backup overnight so I didn't have to deal with a performance hit.

It really saved my bacon when I tried to create a dual-boot environment and hosed all of our baby pictures.
posted by 4ster at 8:12 AM on June 30, 2008

Mozy is good - you hardly notice it. I happen to like Jungle Disk better. They store your data on Amazon's S3 service. It is dirt cheap, and your data will always be on Amazon's servers for your taking if Jungle Disk would happen to go away. They have a very good client on Windows that gives you network drive access as well as web access to your files from any where.
posted by jaythebull at 8:14 AM on June 30, 2008

My Mozy renewal is up in about 2 weeks, and I think I'm going to cancel before the auto-renewal for year #2. Mozy has been pretty good, meaning that there have been times when I've proactively gone to test restores, and received a "sorry, we're busy, can't get to your data" type of message. Their support worked to find a solution, but it became one of those "magically fixed itself" situations. Nobody could explain why it didn't work, and what made it work later. When the restores do work, every file I've looked for has been there, and every file I've restored has worked- except one: a text clipping. Mozy doesn't get the resource forks of Mac files, so in this case, the file restored without any text in it.

I have a 5 user license for CrashPlan Pro at work, and it's not perfect either. For some reason one of my servers that backs up to it looses connection, and the auto-reconnect doesn't work properly. I have to reboot the Virtual Machine that runs the CPP server for it to work, and then it's fine for another 2-5 days. Their support has been active, but hasn't yet solved it.
It's only this one server that has trouble. The other 3 machines back up to it just fine, and every restore I've tested has worked.
One other upside to Crashplan is that if you can get in the same LAN as your backup destination, you can do the initial backup in an afternoon, instead of the weeks to months that your first backup can take Mozy.

I'm moving to CrashPlan mainly for the price, and since their support has been good. $55 gets 1 year of Mozy, but I could buy 3 licenses for Crashplan for $60 forever, and have my data backed up in 2 offsite locations, and have 2 other family members covered the same way.

I've never noticed Crashplan running on my work laptop, or Mozy on my home machine.
posted by Steve3 at 8:20 AM on June 30, 2008

nthing Mozy not being perfect. I have 200+ gigs of mainly photos, but also other media files on an external hard drive, and have had a few problems which required emails back and forth with support. They credited me a few months fees without me asking, and it seems to be working ok now. I don't notice it when its running.
posted by chromatist at 8:33 AM on June 30, 2008

My parents used Carbonite and the restoration process failed for them. After contacting support several times, they gave up and copied everything back from CD.
posted by Gable Oak at 8:59 AM on June 30, 2008

I've used Mozy's free version for about 200MB of data for a long time. It's quite good for casual backup.
posted by Nelson at 9:44 AM on June 30, 2008

I quite like Mozy. The software is easy to use and configure the way I want it. I never notice it. It runs backups in the middle of the night and encrypts everything. (Well, the first backup of gigs of stuff took a week, but every service will take something like that. Even that was painless to the rest of my network.)

I've never had problems getting my files back, but I haven't had anything super catastrophic happen either. I've never had a reason to contact their customer service so I can't comment on it.
posted by Ookseer at 11:12 AM on June 30, 2008

On my computer I have two Mozy processes running all the time (Mozy backup and Mozy Stat) that take up about 50mg of memory. I don't really know what that jumps to when it starts the actual back up because I do that in the night but I suspect it shoots up. I don't notice any performance problems with that constant 50mg usage but it does seem like kind of a lot considering it's not doing much most of the time. You might want to check to see how much memory your Mom and brother have just to be sure.

Other than that, I like it. And I like the piece of mind knowing that I have an off site backup.
posted by gfrobe at 11:43 AM on June 30, 2008

I tried Mozy early on. I did a test restore and they handed me a garbage file back. I contacted support but was never able to get them to understand that they send me garbage. I'd steer clear of them.
posted by chairface at 12:34 PM on June 30, 2008

I'm currently trying out It doesn't do a whole backup every X days; instead it keeps a running backup of the files you specify. It only re-backs-up when things have changed, and it's ongoing. It runs in the background and doesn't eat up your computer's performance. It works on any platform.

The initial upload process is quite slow, however. Well, I specified 13 gigs to backup, and I'm a few days into it and only 5 gigs are complete. I'm not sure what the norm is there. 13 gigs is a lot and I'm just on a cable modem, and like I said, it runs in the background, so my metafilter surfing isn't slowed down.
posted by iguanapolitico at 4:02 PM on June 30, 2008

I'm currently using DropBox. I switched from BeInSync because it was unstable on all of the PCs I installed it on. (My wife was calling me about it in the middle of the day.) DropBox met most of my requrements.
  • 2.0 GB free
  • Syncs multiple PCs
  • Keeps multiple revisions of files
  • Syncs even with other PCs offline. (Syncs to server.)
  • Doesn't crash or slow the PC down.
  • Pretty simple to use.
  • My wife likes it.
It's still a beta product, but it's working for me. I wish they offered plans with more space, but that's in the works. They also won't let you change where the files are stored on your PC yet. (Also in the works.) You can only sync one folder at this time.

I sent a DropBox beta invite to the email address listed in your profile. Just ignore it if you don't think DropBox will work for you.

You may want to check out Syncplicity and SugarSync as well.

Good luck!
posted by braveterry at 7:40 PM on June 30, 2008

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