If you’ve never performed a backup of your hard drive, then you’re risking potential disaster if it fails or that “on” switch simply doesn’t work one day for some reason. We all come-up with poor excuses for not doing so – our external drive is full, we don’t have time, we simply forgot etc. but CrashPlan is an application that definitely leaves no room for excuses. These are some of the ways you can backup with CrashPlan:
- Online Encrypted and unlimited size hard drive backups online for a modest fee
- PC/Mac Backup your hard drive to another PC or Mac and vice versa
- External Drive Backups performed in real time to USB and Firewire drives
- Friends You can even select a friend over the net to backup your files to
Best of all, not only does it work across platforms and is free but using CrashPlan couldn’t be simpler. I setup CrashPlan on a Mac and within a minute, a backup of my entire hard drive was being performed to my USB drive. Note that the program is only free for personal use (they’ve got a special CrashPlan Pro for companies) although it is supported by a few ads.
At the moment, it costs around $5 a month to backup 50GB online which isn’t bad at all considering you’ll never have to worry about remembering to backup again. The program also encrypts data before a backup is performed online which should ensure your security. The disadvantage however is that online backups can take ages – just a few GB could take 9 or 10 hours but once you’ve performed the initial backup, updates should be a lot quicker.
Offline backups are pretty quick however. CrashPlan estimated that it would take around 5 hours to backup 60GB of my hard drive which wasn’t bad. Every step of the way, it explains clearly what is happening and what will happen next. The only complaint I’d make is that it should have detected that my external hard drive was not big enough to backup my hard drive. It simply goes straight into the backup and only informed me that the disk is full only when it reached that stage.
Many users report on forums that support for CrashPlan is excellent and I like the way that the developers seem very transparent in what they offer. They provide a nice pros and cons breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of using CrashPlan compared to Time Machine for example.
Easy to use, fast and lightweight and highly flexible. CrashPlan ensures that one way or the other, you should never have to worry about forgetting to perform a backup again.