"Back up your PC."
CrashPlan is yet another backup provider for individual and collective users. The market of backup service providers has become overcrowded which is actually a good thing for customers. We get plenty of alternatives, and can choose whatever suits us better. However, it makes the decision a lengthy process of comparing and evaluating. Let us see what makes CrashPlan a good option because there are a number of features that make this product stand out.
CrashPlan adds up a social integration allowing users backup their data to their friends’ computers. This is something we have not experienced with other providers, yet. Moreover, CrashPlan adds some serious encryption for your data, appealing to privacy and security maniacs. It allows adding continuous backup, to pause backup, to create a local backup, or backup to the cloud. Overall, CrashPlan seems to be a very capable alternative to more expensive services.
CrashPlan offers a 30-day trial with 10GB online storage. Their prices are quite competitive, with a very lucrative unlimited plan for $49.99 per year for one PC, including support for network and external devices. CrashPlan also offers a Family Unlimited Plan for $120 per year. This plan allows 2-10 computers and unlimited storage. CrashPlan has a desktop application that allows users to manage their backups and settings.
Installation is quick and simple, no bundled items and unwanted toolbars. Once installed, the application suggests the new user creates an account right there in the application. This is very much appreciated because users do not need to go to the website to register a new account. You do everything from one application. One more good point is that CrashPlan evaluates password strength, a feature that will appeal to the security minded.
Requirements: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Server 2003/2008/2012 and 1GHz+ CPU, 1GB+ memory, 250MB+ free drive space. CrashPlan auto-updates to the latest version automatically.
By default, CrashPlan backs up your Home/User folder. This may be unnecessary or even undesirable for many users. It seems logical to give users the choice without any default options. However, changing the folder to back up is easy enough.
The dashboard is intuitive and attractive. The Start Backup button is clearly visible. All features, options and windows are self-descriptive, so there really is no learning curve.
The left panel displays Backup, Restore, Settings, History and Destinations, as well as Friends module. The system tray icon is a convenient way to show the dashboard, sleep or shut down the program. We could not find any Help button. There are FAQs on the company’s website, though. CrashPlan does not integrate with Windows Explorer, unlike such providers as SkyDrive or Carbonite.
- Availability and affordability of unlimited plan if compared to competitors.
- The possibility to backup network and external drives.
- The possibility to create local backups.
- Continuous backup.
- Scheduled backup.
- Selective backup.
- The possibility to backup to cloud, or your friends’ PCs.
- Encryption of backed up data. Your friends will not be able to view your files without your password.
- No Windows Explorer integration.
- No file sharing.
- No convenient search for the backup set.
As we previously mentioned, the number of competitors is quite overwhelming. They offer different sets of features and advantages, and come at various prices: SOS Online Backup, Carbonite, Mozy, Acronis TrueImage, DropBox, SugarSync, Humyo.
CrashPlan offers a rich plethora of features to backup both individual computers and multiple family computers. We were especially impressed with the possibility to back up to friends’ machines. The unlimited yearly $50 plan seems a viable alternative. We also found its multi-device compatibility a very useful feature. There is no file sharing option and multiple PCs backup plans are quite expensive, though. Encryption of backups is a very valuable addition to the service. Overall, we would recommend this provider as a reliable backup and restore option for individual PCs.
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