Carbonite Online Backup review
This review was updated on the 15/07/2011 after a group test of 13 popular online backup and file syncing services
Carbonite's online backup service offers unlimited storage space for one PC – subject to how much your broadband connection can cope with, of course. It can't upload individual files of more than 4GB, though, or content from external drives or network locations.
The default settings back up all documents, pictures, emails, settings, music, spreadsheets and presentations, but leave out system files, program files and videos. If that's not right for you - for example, our 140GB music collection made for a daunting initial backup - you can opt for a custom setup.
The custom setup options are a little limited, though. If you don't want all of Carbonite’s suggested folders, you must start with nothing in your backup. The setup process also allows you to configure a daily or weekly backup schedule instead of having backups running continuously in the background.
Rather than using a dedicated file manager, Carbonite uses a right-click option in Windows Explorer to add files and folders to the backup, which works extremely elegantly. Backed up and pending files are indicated by little dots, making it easy to check their status at a glance.
The Carbonite application is used to restore files, with the ability to search by full or partial name, or open a wizard to restore all files. Access to backed up files also comes via the Carbonite virtual drive that appears in (My) Computer. However you restore your files, you'll be able to access older versions and deleted files that are up to 30 days old.
Backups are also available via the Carbonite web interface. It can display thumbnails and has an image viewer, but other media files and documents are simply downloaded. There are apps for Android, Blackberry and iOS for accessing files and playing and previewing media files. However, they can't share files with other people.
Carbonite is the cheapest unlimited backup service we've reviewed and it's very easy to use. If all you want is simple and secure backups, it's perfect. However, for extra features such as file sharing, LiveDrive Backup is the way to go.
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