First Look: Carbonite Online Backup for the Mac

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Get ready for yet another cloud-based backup offering for the Mac. The folks at Carbonite are now shipping a beta version for us Mac folks. Should we be excited? Well, let’s see…

After trying out their software, I can’t say that it does anything more useful than my current solution, Backblaze. In fact, I can say it is less useful. Read on for details on the positives and negatives.

Installation & Main UI

Installing Carbonite is pretty straightforward. You download the package from the Carbonite site and follow the standard install process. Once installed, Carbonite adds a menu item and System Preference Pane.

Main UICarbonite Primary UI

Within this screen, you can define if the Backup is Enabled, Disabled, or Paused. There is also a checkbox for using low-priority mode to conserve bandwidth. Honestly, I can’t tell if this is useful or not, as it took the app over 10 minutes just to calculate 100GB of data. Let’s say that from what I can tell, Carbonite is not speedy.

If you choose to disable Carbonite, this screen changes by adding an Uninstall button for quick and easy removal of the software.

Backup UI

What’s interesting here is that Carbonite works similarly to Mozy in terms of backing up specific data rather than just backing up all of your data like Backblaze or Time Machine. On the flip side, you can completely customize what you want to backup. However, you cannot specify applications or system folders.

Backup UICarbonite Backup UI

Restore UI

Carbonite can restore your files via this simple UI. Just select the files you want to restore and then specify the drive for restoration.

Restore UICarbonite Restore UI

It also has a restore wizard. So, if your drive fails and you need to restore to another Mac, you can simply walk through this wizard and wait patiently for your files to download.

Restore WizardCarbonite Restore Wizard

Summary

Carbonite has done a reasonable job providing a simple Mac client for users who want offsite backup. The product is easy to set up and is competitively priced. However…

If given the choice between Backblaze, Carbonite, or Mozy, the answer appears to be simple: Backblaze. For the money (each service is approximately $50/year), you get more coverage with Backblaze and more recovery options as well. Mozy is a great alternative if you want some free storage (2GB) and then decide to add more.

In the end, what Carbonite is offering for the Mac is decent. You get roughly a two-week trial, so if it fits your needs, then please give it a shot. If you’re a small office and have been running Carbonite on your Windows PCs, then to maintain consistency it makes sense to use Carbonite with your Macs.

However if you are looking at all of the options available to Mac users for online backup, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

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