Backing up your files is something that everyone should do as a precaution, but limited storage space often discourages people from doing so...

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Overall score:87%


Carbonite Online PC Backup

Price as reviewed:


Backing up your files is something that everyone should do as a precaution, but limited storage space or having to sort through a mountain of CDs often discourages people from doing so.

This is where Carbonite’s Online PC Backup steps in to offer a solution. For a small monthly fee you can assign folders to be copied onto a server, where they are encrypted. The software automatically checks for new files every time you connect to the internet, backing them up automatically, meaning the only real effort you need to put in is in the installation.

It only takes a few minutes to install and a handy, if bizarre, tutorial guides you through the program. With a cable or DSL connection, there’s a backup allowance of approximately 2GB per day and a 10-15GB restoring limit, but total storage space is unlimited. The initial upload of files takes a couple of days to appear on the main server (although a larger upload can take longer), but subsequent uploads transfer faster. Once files have been uploaded, their status can be checked by a small coloured dot assigned to each file icon or folder.

A virtual drive is created within your My Computer folder, allowing you to view which files are backed-up and the options to retrieve them. Retrieval is easy; you simply click on the file you need and ask that it be restored. Carbonite then works discreetly in the background, notifying you when it has finished. Speeds of transfer will obviously vary depending on connection type, but through a standard DSL connection a few minutes was all it took for a set of 40 photographs to appear back on one of our laptops.

In use, the software proves to be a fantastic back-up solution, but it’s not without its niggles. Firstly, deleted files only remain on Carbonite’s server for a month, which, admittedly is not a huge issue in itself, but potentially problematic if you were to delete something unknowingly. The software also doesn’t support versioning, so any files saved with modifications would not appear so on the server.

For the price, however, the software is effective and very simple to use – something Carbonite relentlessly reminds you of. It works in the background with hardly any ongoing effort on the user’s part and is a good alternative to investing in external media for your back-up needs. Though only available for Windows at the moment, a Mac version is set to be released soon.