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Carbonite Online Backup Review


tansqrx

This is in response to a question from http://forums.xisto.com/Remove-Bad-Sectors20&start=20 where a member asks about Carbonite (https://www.carbonite.com/). My response got quite long so I decided to start my own topic.

I tried Jungle Disk (https://www.jungledisk.com/) first because I heard about it on a podcast. Jungle Disk is a software interface to the Amazon S3 servers (https://aws.amazon.com/s3/) which is basically open storage. You can store anything on S3 (backups, web pages, and anything else you can think of) and pay for the bandwidth plus a small fee per gigabyte. My basic backup is 100+ Gb so I quickly started to run into higher than expected fees from Amazon S3. I believe if you had a smaller backup footprint (< 10Gb), S3 may be more economical than Carbonite but I am not in that category. Jungle Disk is a great frontend, itâs just that S3 became expensive.

After getting hit with 10+ dollars a month with S3, I tried Carbonite (https://www.carbonite.com/) which I heard about on a national US radio show. The deal is unlimited storage for around 60 USD a year. I tried the free trial (no credit information needed, you just have to create an account) and ran it for about three weeks. I was happy with it and bought a yearâs subscription. The downside to the trial is no music, executables, or pictures are backed up.

After purchasing the full package, I was a little leery of the install process. I donât want to call it intrusive but you can tell a lot of device drivers were installed. Carbonite is closely coupled with the Windows desktop so I am always cautious of software that integrates that deeply with my system. The upshot to this is the client software is rock solid and I canât remember a single crash or freeze on my system due to Carbonite. Carbonite is also fast and unobtrusive once you have it fully configured. I rarely even notice it is running.

The install process will add a mapped drive into My Computer with its own icon. Another indicator is every file marked for backup has an overlay to its icon in the form of a small circle in the lower right corner. If the icon is green then the file has been backed up, yellow means itâs in the queue. A tray icon runs all the time in the background and you have the option of disabling backup if you need the extra bandwidth.

All data written to the Web is encrypted but you have the option of managing your own encryption key. I opted for managing my own key and during the install process Carbonite had me save a small data file that contained the key. It is clearly explained that backing up the key through Carbonite is not a good idea because you will not be able to access it without the key you donât have. In light of this I have the key backed up in multiple locations on my external USB hard drive and physical CDs.

One downside to the service is the upstream bandwidth. The website states that a typical residential upload connection is inherently limited and the backup speed and time will be dependent on this. I found this to be twisting the truth a bit because I can easily get 150 Kbit/sec, but the Carbonite upload would max out at around 25 kbit/s. It shouldnât be surprising that an unlimited storage solution would limit you in some way so I donât see this as a deal breaker. It took well over a month to fully backup my massive 100+ Gb cache of files. Just remember to select your most important files first and then move onto your music and movie collection.

I admittedly have limited knowledge of all the online backup services but I find it hard to believe there is something better than Carbonite. The main downside is the bandwidth but the main positive of being a solid reliable piece of software far outweighs this. I give Carbonite my recommendation and encourage others to at least try it. If you do decide to purchase you can enter the promotion code âRushâ into the order form and get an extra month free. I suppose my biggest recommendation for Carbonite is this, my one year contract is about to expire and I will not hesitate to renew my subscription.


Atomic0

I would say having to backup an entire hard disk online would be a severe drain on both time and bandwidth. With the Windows Live Mesh service currently in preview, I backed up my documents online to supplement my Norton Ghost backup to my second hard disk. Forunately, I could recover all my lost documents when my main boot drive failed unexpectedly and had to be shipped back to Seagate for warranty claim.I might try Carbonite out with the free trial.


tansqrx

You can certainly tell that I am in the top tier of people who backup. I like the corporate best practice policy of keeping a copy of critical data off site. This means that even if my house burned down or someone stole my computer, I still have the data which is much more valuable than the computer.P.S. I was listening to the TWIT podcast and Carbonite is now an advertiser there as well. Their promotional code is “twit” which will give you two free months with a paid membership. Take it or leave it but I always like a deal.


toby

This is very high quantity, I'm not sure many people would pick this over a hard disk. I have smaller (Mozy) online backups plus an external hard drive, what makes this better?


tansqrx

It sounds like you are doing exactly what I am, a local and remote backup. This is mostly for all of the users here who don’t even know what a backup is.


iGuest

Carbonite and Windows Live MeshCarbonite Online Backup Review

Anyone tried to combine Carbonite and Windows Live Mesh? I'm keeping my desktop and laptop syncronized with Live Mesh. I've got more data than the Mesh will allow so I primarily use it to sync and not store. I been thinking of then using Carbonite to back up the files on the desktop so that I have a third copy of my file.

 Anyone see any problems with that? I suppose I could make a local external disk image. Try the combo and restore from that if there is any problem.

Thoughts, Thanks.

Steven


iGuest

Carbonite customer service is LousyCarbonite Online Backup ReviewHere is what I sent Carbonite two weeks ago, and what I received back form them. I ahve not heard anything from them since even after I contacted the Presedent himself. In my opinion the customer support here is non-existant and I don't thik David (CEO) gives a ****! I know I will be moving on and WILL NOT RECOMMEND this service to anyone.David,I have been reluctant to contact you because I know you are a busy man and I wanted to try to get help thru your normal channels before escalating this to you. I have tried and tried now to get things resolved, but I have just been amazed that no one will seem to address these issues with me. I will give you the case number (############) so you can pull your tickets there to see the history, but then give you my questions so it may be more clear.1. Slow backup – I have been a customer for nearly 2 years now and at one point I had all my files backed up. I then upgraded to a new 1TB disk and in the process of this upgrade Carbonite thought I had a new system or something and started ALL over again backing up my files. So I figured maybe I did something wrong and would just live with it as it was making good time backing up the files. But then it hit a wall and was only backing up 1-2gig a WEEK and that was unacceptable.2. Can’t contact – So with the slow issue I tried to file a ticket using the tool and I waited for a week after hearing nothing and tried again. At that point it told me the last message had not been sent and to try again which I did, and another week or maybe month went by before I tried again. Well I figured it was not going to send it so I went to the web and contacted someone. They looked and said that everything was fine and nothing could be done to speed things up. But nothing was done to correct anything!! No fix to the issue of contact. Well fine I went on my way, but it was still crawling so I contacted again and someone did something because it went sailing along for a couple of weeks till it again died in the water. I again contacted the web interface and was told that all is normal it was just over 200gb so it would be slow now. GREAT!! Do you know how long it will take to backup a 1TB disk at 2gb a WEEK? I did get a response from Maxwell however and I was very please that he at least explained the details of your policy to make things slow. Mind you I at one time had this all backed up, but now I am only about 490gb backed up. Please remember that number of 490gb for a minute. Also remember that I only use my system about 2-3 hours max a day the the rest of the time 24×7 it is on and I have an excellent cable connection with very good bandwidth.3. Lost data – So now it is the end of September and it has been many months since this all started. I went on vacation with that 490gb of data safely tucked away on your servers, and low and behold when I came back from vacation I had a whopping 170gb of files. I did nothing to the system since I was not here, but where did they go? Following up on the ticket once again I asked where my files went? They told me to send the log files so I tried the tool and told them I did not think it would work. It did not after I tried 2-3 time to send them that way. I contacted them again to say I was not able to send them that way and if they would tell me where they were I would just attach them to an email and send so they sent me instructions on how to do that. After a couple of tries I finally got them sent but heard nothing for several days. So I again sent a message to ask if they had received them and had a chance to examine them to answer my questions. The response I received today was unbelievable!! Nothing is wrong!! Everything is fine!! And did not address a single issue.So as you can see no one has addressed my questions much for more than to say, all is well and things are just slow. Can you answer my questions?Where are my files? Will it always be this slow? If so then I surely will need to find another backup service since It will be impossible for you to keep up. My biggest question though is, how do you expect customers to react to customer service like this? I am at the end of my rope. I like your software, and system idea, but it needs to work!! And when it does not, then I need support and not just glossed over. I have sent several customers your way, but I am reluctant to send any more since I do not recommend poor products. That reflects badly not only on you guys, but ME in particular. Kim Komando swears by you guys, but I am sure thinking about taking my story to her too for her opinion. Can you tell I am pissed?As I say, all I really want is to be helped. I hope that you will take this seriously and get me that help. Let me know what you need from me.Thanks,RonHello Ron and thank you for your e-mail.David Friend, our CEO, has asked me to assist you.Thank you for your note and for explaining your situation. I see that your account is listed under xxxxx I will have one of our Senior Support technicians contact you to determine why the files are no longer in your backup.Sincerely,RosanneCarbonite 


iGuest

Carbonite change and lost backupsCarbonite Online Backup Review

I really like Carbonite, but got quite frustrated recently. At some point in time, you could choose to backup "extra" file format, like "avi" and "wmv". I do take videos of my kids & other stuff, and I want them to be backed up. Since I offload my photos on a regular basis, worst case scenario the backup of the new videos takes a day.

 It seems that Carbonite changes recently (last year). I had >150 GB of data back up, now I'm back <90 GB? I found that the backup of ALL my VIDEOS got LOST! I need to manually specify which files to back up... And when a new videos comes, I need to manually specify the video files. (Oh, maybe it's also related to the fact that I changed from 2x250GB Raid0 to 2x500GB Raid 0 that the backup was lost).

Anyways, for me Carbonite is no longer "set it & forget it", and I seriously consider moving away from it. I just need to find an adequate replacement - or maybe the software will be updated with all the complaints...

 Steve

-reply by Steve B

iGuest

I Agree with Ron Eberhart, Carbonite has a great idea, but falls far behind in customer service, I played email tag with multiple representatives, having to tell my story over everytime, it took about 2 weeks and 10 or so emails to get the answer I was looking for, and in the end they did NOT answer my question or apologize for the WRONG information their reps were telling me, they just enabled the remote file access feature for me, I found out by logging into my account that the feature was enabled after all my emails. YES UPLOAD is SLOOOOOOOOWWWW, rediculous slow, I can upload about 5-6 GB a day to ftp or file hosting sites, Carbonite restricts the upload speed to about 20-25 kbs, SUX!, I have uploaded 784 MB in about 12 hours so far today, If I could find a better file host I would use them   I have been looking at http://www.livedrive.com/; anyone heard anything about this site?

-reply by Paul

iGuest

Agree with Paul and Ron.  I've had Carbonite for a couple years, and been happy. But recently crossed the 200GB threshold. They claim my upload speed is now 100kbps.  I'm seeing more like 10-15 kpbs. It's painsfully slow. Does anyone have a better option for online backup of large drives?  Does mozy throttle down speeds the same way?  It's crazy.  I'd happily pay more for higher backup rate (just for the convenience of it all), but Carbonite won't even let you do that. 


iGuest

Changing Windows PlatformsCarbonite Online Backup Review

My concern is that I now have XP as my platform. If I back up files from XP and later I have to change to a new computer with Windows 7, will the backed up files on Carbonite transfer all the files to the new computer? What happens to programs that are no longer supported by Windows 7 platform?

 

Bill

 


iGuest

Carbonite limits the speed which you send data to themCarbonite Online Backup Review

Although Carbonite allows for virtually unlimited storage, the caveat is, they limit the speed in which you can send them data.  The beauty of this is, in effect, your storage is limited merely by the fact that the upload is soooo slow.

Some will say its your Internet connection that is the weak link, perhaps thats the case if you are still using a dialup service, but odds are, its Carbonite.

I'm not saying Carbonite isn't a service some should subscribe to, I'm just not saying its the silver bullet and you might consider a multi-tiered approach.

I for one, push data to Live Mesh 2011 (you get 5GB free) and its really quick.  Then in turn, I sync my other larger files above and beyond that 5GB to an external drive which I also keep on my hard drive (in this case a laptop).  I then use Carbonite to back all of those sources up as I think the Carbonite subscription fee is fairly inexpensive.

Overall, what I dislike is, it just takes too long to upload my files to Carbonite so I need to leave my laptop on at night and right now I'm in an initial backup stage on a new laptop and even though I have a fiber based Internet service with speeds approaching 100MB on a sustained basis, this service seems to creep along <sigh>.


iGuest

After seeing Carbonite advertised on TV, I decided to give it a try tonight on my Macbook Pro.   My wife and I are both looking for a quick and easy solution.   iBackup is too spendy for the amount of data we need to backup.   Carbonite seemed reasonable given it was unlimited and if you kept it under 200G, things moved along nicely.

I was plenty pleased with the interface.   It was easy enough and seemed to work. I use MRTG to graph my bandwith here at home and am seeing about 17-25kbs upload as my backup is being sent up. At that rate, I could have backed it up to any other FTP host much quicker. When important files are being added all the time to our computers, I can't wait a week for it all to get there.   I actually went Googling "carbonite slow upload" and found this site. I figured I didn't have something on the firewall configured properly or something because I can NOT explain the upload speed being slower than YELLOW snot.

After reading the above posts, I am not going to be continuing with Carbonite.   If the upload speed issue was resolved, I'd love it and be happy. But hearing someone have to go through THAT degree of customer service disgrace, getting nowhere, being told "all is fine" with NO resolution...That is absolutely unacceptable in business.     I will be checking back here - perhaps we can all jump on the same boat if someone finds something reasonable that simply "works".

-reply by Marcus

iGuest

Carbonite is slow but worth itCarbonite Online Backup Review

I subscribed to Carbonite after paying $300 to recover data from the second external drive to crash on me in six months. It was a necessary evil, since years of work, photo, fonts and other resources were stored on that drive, and I kept on running into brick walls to remind me, "Oh yeah, that file was stored on my toasted drive...). So I bit the bullet and payed for the data recovery, putting all the files onto yet another external drive (for the record, NEVER by a Western Digital drive! Mine was one of many the recovery service has had to restore, and the mangled corpse of mine wound up being a "donor" of parts for somebody else's WD drive which had mechanical failure). So I finally heeded my finance's long-running, nagging advice and hooked up with Carbonite, which came highly recommended by the data recovery guys and several other tech-savvy friends. That was on June 24. The download and installation was fast and easy, as was getting it set-up and running... And running... And running... Three weeks later, my status shows that Carbonite has 28% of my files backed up (62.7 GB done, 156 GB to go). I'm relieved to see that this seems to be par for the course. But it doesn't seem to be that much of a drain on my system, and I'm more than willing to put up with a month of uploading to ward off the possibility of all losing my files again, and happy that the program is pretty much self-maintaining about backing up my new files as I go. So to sum up my short story running long: Yes, Carbonite is slow if you have many gigabytes of data to back up, but the security and ease of use is priceless. *BTW, if you live in the Sacramento area and need data recovery, the guys at Konicom are awesome: http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/

-reply by miaxara


iGuest

If you are frustrated now, just wait....Carbonite Online Backup Review

You think it's frustrating to complete your backup? Just wait until you need the backed up info. I had to restore a drive recently and found it less aggravating to restore a 6 month old disk image than wait for Carbonite to restore my files.

-reply by George


iGuest

Replying to tansqrxI would have to disagree that there is nothing better than Carbonite. https://www.absorb.com/ will actually send out a little box that controls all of your remote backups. Not only is that way more secure than opening up ports on your network to push updates, its another local copy of your data. That way if you have a local issue with hardware failure you can download your data locally without having to handle a huge online download for days.

-reply by Commander


iGuest

Carbonite has a great idea, but falls far behind in customer service, I played email tag with multiple representatives, having to tell my story over everytime, it took about 2 weeks and 10 or so emails to get the answer I was looking for, and in the end they did NOT answer my question or apologize for the WRONG information their reps were telling me, they just enabled the remote file access feature for me.



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