Options for Backing Up Your Files

Are you backing up your desktop data regularly? It’s one of those important but not urgent tasks that many web workers postpone. Fortunately, a variety of solutions ranging from remote to local to hybrid make it easier than ever to backup your files.

Mozy logoBackup provider Mozy now offers a Mac client for remote desktop backup. You get 2 GB online storage for free and unlimited storage for about $5 a month. Previously, Mozy was only available for Windows machines and competes with Carbonite and Titanize in that space.

Mozy, Carbonite, and Titanize aren’t your only options for backing up your files, of course. Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service) can serve as a backup solution; there are a variety of tools built on top of it to help. On its own, or even with these utilities, it’s not as easy to use as something like Carbonite or Mozy.

MediaMax provides 25 GB of free online backup space, with a Windows-only beta backup client. Other virtual hard drives include DivShare, Box.net, Xdrive, Localhostr, MediaFire, and Dropboks. You can even make Gmail’s storage available as a virtual filesystem on your Windows machine. Unless these services offer a backup client like MediaMax, you’ll have to manage backups manually. That can be okay if you are mainly concerned with making sure you don’t lose irreplaceable files like photos and important working documents rather than making full and incremental backups of your entire hard drive.

Maybe you want local backup to your own hard disk. SuperDuper! creates a fully bootable backup disk for Macs. That requires an extra hard drive but if your drive crashes, you just plug in the new disk and go. Chronosync offers another local backup solution to Mac users. Windows users can choose from many local backup solutions, including Acronis, SyncBack, and Norton Ghost.

CrashPlan logoIf you want to do local and remote backups over a network of PCs and Macs, look into CrashPlan. This is like a friends-and-family plan for backups. My dad and I could backup our files to each other’s PCs, doing the first full backups locally by getting our laptops together on the same LAN, then running incremental backups over the Internet. What’s the benefit? You’re not handing off your data to some unknown data center you don’t trust, the full backups can run over a fast LAN connection, but you still get the additional security of remote backups. It also supports backup to CrashPlan Central, their data center.

What’s your backup plan? Share it in the comments.

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