Being bored and an insomniac, I happened to come across a late-night commercial for a service called Carbonite. It claims to automatically back up all my data so if something happens (or as they say "Before disaster strikes") my data is all protected. I just can't really get my mind around what the service is. I have a few gigabytes of photos and documents stored on my PC and I am worried that it will die on me one day and I will be left without copies. Should I use this service? Will disaster strike me? Did I leave the oven on? Why is the number 42 important? The suspense is killing me!
— Freaked out non-geek
Dear Freaked out,
Don't Panic and find your towel! I too have been entertained by late-night cable commercials! As with most services which make money off of preventing disasters (looking at you Norton, see bottom of post for bonus video), Carbonite has some terrifying movie-trailer-esque commercials:
You ask a great question, though, because I've been seeing the company name everywhere. Carbonite is a web service that claims to "automatically and securely back up the irreplaceable contents of your computer" for the yearly cost starting at $72. It works for PC and Mac users, but the setup is slightly different depending on your operating system. To find out if I think you — and other readers like you — need it, we'll have to ask some questions.
First off, check over our basic guide to backups to see what you have, what you want to save, and what other options are available. I would also suggest checking out the Carbonite website and and trying the demos to see if it fits your lifestyle. We use Carbonite at our office in Northampton because we found it fits our overall needs quite well, but your milage may vary.
Everyone's backup needs are unique. I, like you, have a LOT of data that I want to back up on a regular basis. If you are worried about your photos, you can use programs like Picasa. Once you have your photos figured out you can firgure out your overall backup plan.
Always plan to back up your data, not matter which method you pick! Anyone who has ever lost their hard drive or even a few files can tell you it's a devastating experience. If you have problems with setting up a backup plan or installing and settting up your backup software, whatever it is, contact us and we can help!
Bonus Video: Norton Antivirus 2010 Commercial