If you’ve been meaning to set up an automatic backup program on your computer, but you’ve been putting it off and putting it off, now’s as good a time as any to download and install CrashPlan.
With the free version of CrashPlan, you only need an external hard drive (or a large thumb drive if you don’t have that much stuff to backup.) Like any free account, you have to give CrashPlan your email address, so you will get some occasional promotional emails. But considering everything CrashPlan does, it’s well worth that small cost.
After installing CrashPlan, you’ll need to do an initial setup. This means creating a backup set (all of the files and folders you’d like included in your backup.) And you’ll need to make sure CrashPlan recognizes your external hard drive so it can be used as your backup destination.
For me, the best part about CrashPlan is the ability to backup to their cloud space (it’s kind of like an external hard drive in outer space that nobody else can access.) This upgrade to CrashPlan Unlimited starts at about 60 dollars a year (which can be divvied up into five dollar a month payments.)
On my laptop, I have CrashPlan Unlimited configured to run two different backup sets between the hours of 1:00 and 6:00 in the morning. One backup set sends everything in my Documents folder to the CrashPlan cloud. The other backup set sends everything on my computer to an external hard drive. (Yes, I am that paranoid about losing my data, so this two-pronged approach helps me sleep at night.)
If you decide to go with CrashPlan Unlimited, keep your cloud backup set relatively light (20 gigs or less.) If you try to send all of your media files (videos and MP3s) to the cloud, your initial backup will time out, you’ll get an error message and you’ll have to start over. (Obviously, I’ve tried this.)