It’s important to make backups, but there aren’t many free services that offer unlimited space for them. Suppose you and a friend simply agree to hold each other’s backups at your homes. You have to backup to DVDs or, worse, CD-Rs, and meet to exchange the disks. In the past, I’ve shown you how to synchronize your files across all your own computers, but today, I’ll show you how to backup computer files abd make free onsite or offsite backups, with CrashPlan. CrashPlan just recently became free for personal use and is available for Windows, Mac, and even various flavors of Linux.
Your automated backups can go to multiple destinations, including other computers you use, or even friends’ computers. Backing up to locations other than CrashPlan’s servers is free, and you can be notified of completed backups by either email or Twitter.
In order to have a friend backup to your PC, you must give that friend a short authorization code. You can do this with multiple friends, as you’re only limited by your available disk space. Your backups are stored securely and must be unlocked with your CrashPlan password (you may also use a different password for added security).
By default, your My Documents folder is selected for the backup. You may wish to add or remove folders from the backup if you have a size concern. I like how there is an option to show hidden files which may otherwise get left out of the backup.
This program is fast. On a high-speed connection, it only took an hour to backup 23GB. Keep in mind that this is between two PCs on the same home network, but moving that much data in such a short time is still impressive.
Restoring files from a backup to any computer is as simple as backing them up in the first place. Restored files and folders will be moved to the appropriate place on the file system you’re currently using.
I found CrashPlan simple, quick, and easy to use, and highly recommend it to anyone needing a backup solution. For extra features or business use, a paid upgrade is available, although the free solution will work just fine for most. I intend on convincing my brother to trade disk space with me for a backup arrangement. How will you use CrashPlan, or can you share any alternative solution on how to backup computer files? Let’s see “˜em in the comments.
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