Except that requires more time, CPU, and potentially quite a bit of extra space. Ideally, I would think most want to backup the data without having to spend more resources before, during, and after backup. And, then do the same in reverse when restoring.
I've had so many times where a backup came in real handy (I play around with my comp a lot as a techie so a lot of times I need to restore everything after I screw something up). System images are the way to go for sure! An image backup will back up everything (not just data, but all your programs 2) for you so all you'll have to do is reformat and restore.
I use symantc backup exec system recovery for my main computer (windows XP). I've been using window's backup tool on my windows 7 laptop, but haven't had to restore yet so my personal opinion on window's built in backup is reserved for now.
very weak in versioning. Only keeps the last 4 weeks. Idrive keeps up to 30 copies, only charging for the first file.
Jungle Disk(Rackspace) allows you to set the number of versions, or keep all of them. This is the best flexibility.
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Nothing comes remotely close to BackBlaze for value for money. I'm not affiliated to them in any way, I'm just very happy with them. There's no way I'd pay the huge costs of Jungle or iDrive for little extra benefit.
I have 600 GB of data to back up over the internet (i.e. off site). This data is growing with my trading videos, logs, screenshots, etc..
Backblaze: $4 per month per PC (unlimited data) Jungle Disk Personal: $89.25 per month (cost rises with data increases) iDrive Pro Family Pack 500 GB Limit: $15.95 per month. iDrive Pro Business 1000 GB Limit: $79.95 per month Carbonite: $5 per month. Good price, but it's dog slow
I only need the last 4 weeks because if I accidentally delete something, I usually know within that month. If I delete something and it's before that month I have my own internal backups taken care of by BackupPC to my local backup server. Internet backup (for me) is there as a last resort. For example fire, flood, backup server corruption and simultaneous failure of my main PC (unlikely).
My local backups take care of versioning for the past 3 years of data.
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Couple of things. I use online backups for exactly same reason. For me data loss is critical
Your pricing comparisons are very problematic. Either wrong or incomplete.
Jungle Disk: Totally incorrect. I use the Desktop Edition. It is $3/month plus storage with the first 5gb free. I retain all versions, backup once or twice a day, and my monthly billl is up to $4.15 a month. Far cry from what you quoted.
Idrive: You are correct, but most people might not need the family plan, and can use the regular plan which is only $5.95 for 500gb
Idrive Pro: Seems outrageous at the price for a 1000gb until you realize it is for 99 machines.
There are some other factors that need to be considered if you value your back. Geography.
Idrive is located in California, and they say there servers are Seismically protected, and I have no reason to doubt them, but the Japan mess demonstrated that there are differences in the protection
On JungleDisk, I store on Rackspace servers, and there servers are located up and down the central part of the US.
Even though I do significant back ups, I do the cloud for protection, and I want them to be geographically diverse.
It looks like IDrive for Windows is causing me some grief with extraordinary memory consumption (10GB).
Does anyone have any updated or recent reviews for a cloud service where I can purchase 500GB of storage and it supports 4GB files, with no exclusion on file type (videos, archives, etc).
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BigMike's scenario happened to me about two months ago - my hard drive went on my laptop.
My backup was to a simple external USB hard drive (but unfortunately the backup was about six months old - due to a move and just plain forgetting to backup again). Most of my important files were backed up but there were a few that weren't.
The most important thing I did prior to the hard drive crash that saved my behind was consistently backing up my emails to a Gmail account. All my incoming POP email also goes to my Gmail account and although inconvenient I bcc my Gmail account on all outgoing POP email. This activity saved me tons of time after my computer got back up to speed as it relates to finding old emails I needed going forward.
After the new hard drive was installed, it took a few days to get the computer back up to snuff. The only things I changed was backing up documents and emails more often to an external USB.
The crash was a pain (it was the first ever for me) but manageable.