Top Nav

CrashPlan is a Quality Online Data Backup Solution

All hard drives fail at one point or another, and you need to make sure it’s backed up. As part of an effective data backup strategy, you need to have an offsite cloud storage option. Today, as part of our data backup series, I’ll show you CrashPlan. Here’s what it has to offer and how to use it.

Getting Started with CrashPlan

First, visit the CrashPlan site and download the CrashPlan free trial for your OS. CrashPlan is cross-platform. It works with Windows 32 and 64-bit versions, Linux, OS X and even Solaris. CrashPlan offers a variety of services at different prices. To find out more, check out its comparison chart.

Download Trial

For this review, I am using the CrashPlan+ Unlimited service and provides the following features.

  • Unlimited Online Storage
  • Real-Time Data Backup, Multiple Backup Sets, Onsite and Offsite Data Backup, Incremental and Differential Backups.
  • Web Restore Data Recovery
  • Guaranteed Restore
  • 448-bit File Encryption
  • An Ad Free User Interface and A lot More…

The initial backup of your computer is quite a time consuming over the web – this is true with any online backup service. But, Code 42 Software – the developers of CrashPlan, will send you an external hard drive for a fee. Then you back up your data to the external drive, send it to the company, and they will make it all available to you over the web.

Install the CrashPlan Backup Software. I’m installing the 64-bit version of Windows 7. Installation is a breeze following the wizard.

Install CrashPlan

After finishing the quick installer, CrashPlan starts up. First, create your free CrashPlan Account.

Create Account

After you create your account, CrashPlan immediately starts scanning your local user account. I was impressed that it went to work so quickly. Minimal setup and I’m already on the road to safe and secure online storage.

CrashPlan Scanning

If you want a set it and forget it approach to backup your local drive, just leave the default settings. While CrashPlan is scanning your system, click Start Backup.

I like to have control over the directories that are being backed up. If you’re like me, CrashPlan makes that easy too. Under Files click Change.

Change Backup Locations

Now you can navigate to the directories you want to be backed up by checking the folders you want. One of the grooviest features CrashPlan offers, that other services don’t, is it lets you back up connected external drives.

Select Directories

Another cool thing to consider is setting up multiple destinations. This lets you add other destinations like your friend’s computer data, other computers on your network, external drives and backup online to CrashPlan Central.

To backup a friend’s data to your CrashPlan, send them an email with your code. They will need to download CrashPlan too, then enter the code you send.

Destinations

I sent 8GB of Data to CrashPlan, and it took about a day to upload. I paused the backup though over the weekend to get other things done. Which by the way is an excellent feature? It lets you pause a backup, and when you resume, it picks up where it left off.

You can do this from the CrashPlan Taskbar Tray icon and select Sleep.

Pause or Sleep Backup

Here’s a look at where my backup is at after starting it two days ago, and pausing it periodically during the process all weekend. Just like with other online backup services, the first backup takes the longest.

Crashplan Central

CrashPlan also provides free mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. This gives you access to all of your important files on the go, and the ability to share them – making it more than just a backup service.

iOS FoldersPicture Options

While the CrashPlan app on an iPhone or iPod touch offers some usability, if you want to read your documents, it works much better on the iPad.

CrashPlan Recover Files iPad

There are also versions of the mobile app for Windows Phone and Android. You’ll have access to your important data virtually anywhere on some different mobile platforms.

Crashplan Android

Conclusion

Overall I’ve been happy with CrashPlan and the plethora of features it offers. I have to admit I’ve been a Carbonite user for the past two years. But CrashPlan’s ability to back up external drives is my favorite feature. I was sold on this feature alone. I no longer need to bypass Carbonite’s external drive backup restriction with SyncToy. With all of the extra features and solid encryption CrashPlan provides, at the same price – I’m making the switch.

Click here to download a free trial of Crashplan.

 

More Reading:

, ,

6 Responses to CrashPlan is a Quality Online Data Backup Solution

  1. Steve Krause June 25, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I’ve been a long time CrashPlan user ever since we bought it a work to backup our desktops globally. It works well and for the cost, simplicity and compatibility on all platforms you just can’t beat it.

  2. Jamr June 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Three words here to make CrashPlan work even better. Windows Home Server

  3. Brian June 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    Yes, would be cool if they had a version for Windows Home Server, but that is such a niche product. I have one (of course) but WHS 2011 is the last version of Home Server MS will release I expect. Especially since Windows 8 has an awesome feature called Storage Spaces…http://www.groovypost.com/howto/windows-8-storage-spaces/

    • Steve Krause June 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

      If I remember correctly, you can install CrashPlan on any windows OS including server. To CrashPlan, it’s billed by device not type of OS.

  4. Zu July 25, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Actually, CrashPlan seems to be suffering under the weight of its success. Backup speeds have dropped dramatically for many users over the past month or more, with no ETA for a fix for their customers. Complaints are visible once you log in to their support site. This isn’t a few day interruption, this is backup speeds dropping even as low as 100Kb/s and backups taking months or years.

    I’ve been a satisfied customer for a while, but with the recent degradation in service I am considering other companies. Readers should be aware.

    • Brian Burgess July 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      Interesting. I guess I haven’t had any speed issues with it personally.

Leave a Reply