Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's Solutions section, which covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. He previously covered services and software for ExtremeTech.com.

Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's Solutions section, which covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. He previously covered services and software for ExtremeTech.com.
Among the free programs we tested, Aomei Backupper Standard wins primarily because it has the most features, including imaging, file backup, disk cloning, and plain file syncing, plus multiple scheduling options (see our full review). Sure, its bitmapped interface may be retro, but the layout and workflow are intuitive. And though it’s on the slower side for backing up sets of files, it’s the fastest software we’ve tested so far for backing up full disks and partitions. Its CPU usage during backup is also commendably light.

Online backup services scan your hard drive for files worthy of protecting, encrypt them for security, and send them up to the company's online servers. Once your files are uploaded, you can access and restore your data from anywhere. Though there's some overlap, online backup services shouldn't be confused with cloud storage and file syncing services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SugarSync. Those services do store files in the cloud, but they aren't designed to automatically protect all important documents and media files, let alone system files. Their strategy is generally to sync just one folder with all its subfolders to the cloud, and in some cases, to offer online collaborative document editing. Many backup services offer folder-syncing capabilities, but few syncing services offer full-scale backup functionality.


Carbonite's lowest tier plan, Safe Basic, runs $6.00 /month ($71.99 /year). There are two higher tiers available as well, called Safe Plus and Safe Prime, and run $9.34 /month ($111.99 /year) and $12.50 /month ($149.99 /year), respectively. Each tier is a bit cheaper if two or three years is paid upfront. Plus, they each have a few extras over the base service like external hard drive and mirror image support.

In addition to the 5 GB free option, OpenDrive has one consumer-grade plan called Personal Unlimited. It costs $9.95 /month and offers an unlimited amount of storage space for your backed up files. Prepay for one year at $99 to bring that down to $8.25 /month. You can add an additional computer for $9.95 extra /computer, up to three extras for a total of four.
The next page will show a list of all Google products associated with your account whose data can be backed up. All of them will be selected by default, so make sure to unselect all and select only youtube. An easy way would be to untick the "Select All" button at the top which will unselect all items. Then scroll down and check the "YouTube" option.

Carbonite is online backup only, so it doesn't really work well for local backups or backups to external drives. You'll still have to handle that yourself. You can try Carbonite for free for 15 days, but after that you'll need to pay up $60/yr to back up one computer with their Home plan, $100/yr to back up one computer with their Home Plus plan, and $150/ur to back up one computer with their Home Premium plan. You can read more about Carbonite's plans and pricing here.

We all know that we should back up our video files on a regular basis and how disruptive and even devastating it can be to lose our entire library of video content. Even with the best of intentions, hard drives can break or we can fall out of the routine of saving our footage in the cloud. Luckily, any video files uploaded in the past to YouTube can easily be salvaged by the channel owner as the site keeps a copy of all your uploaded video content. There are two ways of retrieving these files either #1) go to video manager and download the MP4 although you can only download 2 videos per hour this way or #2) download the entire archive. We show you both options in this week’s Creators Tip.


FTP and SMB/AFP: Backing up to other computers or NAS boxes on your network or in remote locations (say, your parent’s house) is another way of physically safeguarding your data with an offsite, or at least physically discrete copy. FTP can be used for offsite, while SMB (Windows and most OS’s) and AFP (Apple) are good for other PCs or NAS on your local network.
Backblaze earned praise from many of you for being easy to set up, even for non-technical people. It's built for people who want to get their data backed up, without being forced to search for error codes and cryptic status messages whenever something goes wrong. To that point, Backblaze backs up just about everything on your system. You get some control over what's backed up and what isn't, but the point is to be fast, easy, and hands-off, so everything on your system—documents, music, video, external drives you have plugged in, just about anything. Instead of telling what they do back up, Backblaze actually has a special page dedicated to what they don't back up instead. Backblaze offers unlimited storage for your backed up data, and while by default it only backs up files smaller than 4GB, you can bump that up if you need to. Like other online backup services, it runs in the background, backing up your data all the time (or when you schedule it to, if you prefer), and your data is encrypted so only you have access to it. It supports Windows and OS X, and is smart enough to de-dupe data, do incremental backups, and keep backup processes low on system resources. You can read more about Backblaze's features here.
Real time: Real-time backup means that files are backed up whenever they change, usually upon creation or save. It’s also called mirroring and is handy for keeping an immediately available copy of rapidly changing data sets. For less volatile data sets, the payoff doesn’t compensate for the drain on system resources. Instead, scheduling should be used.
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