At a Glance
- Multiple destinations
This online backup service is super-friendly and also offers local and peer-to-peer backup.
Backup is a task that seems mundane, right up to the moment you
realize you’ve just lost an entire hard drive’s worth of data. That
feeling of hopelessness is not something any of us enjoys, not to
mention the incredible waste of time that goes along with it. So
while it may not be as engaging as the hottest new game, there’s
really no substitute for a solid backup strategy—and that’s what
If “solid backup strategy” sounds like so much techno-babble,
let me elaborate: You can use CrashPlan to back your files up to
the cloud (i.e, a central server in a secure hosting facility
controlled by CrashPlan), to another hard-drive connected to your
computer, or to your friend’s computer via the Internet. You don’t
have to select just one backup destination: You can back up your
files locally, to the cloud and to your friend’s house, or even to
multiple friends’ places, all at once.
CrashPlan comes in several flavors. Even the basic,
free-of-charge one is fully functional: The only thing it can’t do
is back up to the cloud. For cloud backup, you’ll have to purchase
CrashPlan+, but the rates are very affordable: Unlimited backup for
just $3.00/month, plus a few other packages if your needs
If you’re more of a do-it-yourself type, CrashPlan’s “backup at
a friend’s” option might be the way to go. You get many of the
advantages of cloud backup (off-site, constant backup). You can
just buy a 500GB hard-drive and ask your friend to plug it into
their computer—voilá, do-it-yourself off-site backup.
If you’ve ever used an online backup solution, you may know that
the initial upload can take a very long time: Many of us have over
100GB of files slated for backup. CrashPlan has got you covered
there, too: If you live within the US (50 US States) or have an
Armed Forces PO, CrashPlan can ship a 1TB hard drive your way. You
will then connect it to your computer, fill it up with your data,
and just ship it back. They call it “seeding,” and it’s a huge
Even if you opt for the DIY approach and back up at a friend’s,
you can still connect a hard-drive locally, seed the backup, drive
it over to your friend’s house and connect it there for ongoing
off-site backup with CrashPlan.
If you live outside the US, seeding your files to the CrashPlan+
cloud is not an option. In that case, backup sets come in handy:
Rather than lump all of your files together and let the app upload
them in any random order, you can group your files into categories
such as “Documents”, “Photos” etc., according to their locations.
Each such group is called a “set,” and you can prioritize them. For
example, I chose to upload all of my documents first, and only then
start backing up my photos.
One of CrashPlan’s only drawbacks is that its interface is not
exactly fast. Switching between tabs causes a noticeable lag, and
saving configuration changes takes a moment. Still, a backup app is
mostly a “set it and forget it” affair, so after the initial
configuration you shouldn’t have to spend much time in the
CrashPlan has many other useful features, such as e-mail and Twitter
notifications, and data verification. The free version uses 128-bit
or a private data key that you generate; the paid version,
CrashPlan+, ups the Blowfish encryption to 448 bits.
CrashPlan (and its paid version, CrashPlan+) is a top-notch
backup service, which caters to just about every backup need and
keeps your files safe and secure.
Note: This software comes in 32-bit and 64-bit
versions. This is the 32-bit version. If your 64-bit PC is running
a 64-bit OS, please download the 64-bit