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Free Online Backup Services Compared

Dec 7th, 2009 by Atelier | 0

It is quite common for people to own multiple devices and it is difficult to ensure files are properly syncronised and backed up. A possible scenario is trying to keep data accessed easily across a desktop at home, personal laptop or netbook, office workstation and perhaps a smart phone or work issued laptop.

So for those who don’t want to read my random babbling and frustrations, scroll down to the end to see the table of various online backup services compared.

For me, I actively use a MacBook, iPhone and Dell desktop running windows XP at work. That’s excluding the many other Macs around used casually for internet surfing, iTunes streaming and fiddling with.

In the last few years, I’ve been upgrading the hard drives approximately every 1 to 2 years and each time, the capacity increases about double. The MacBook came with 80 gb which was replaced with a 250 gb and now 500 gb hard drive.

With each digital camera upgrade, my photo file sizes have increased as a result of a greater number of pixels quickly filling up all that space.

So it seems like after all the increase in storage, I’m still running out of space. While I am trying to figure out a better backup system, from an external drive running time machine backups from the Macs running leopard and cloning for the older Macs, I came across dropbox.com.

It’s a free service with options to pay for more storage space beyond the free 2 gb. A software is installed on the most often used computers. Any files stored in a special folder will be automatically synced to the dropbox.com server and accessible by the other computers when online. It can also be accessed from any computer with an internet access though their website.

It’s not going to backup my entire almost full 500 gb hard drive but it’ll be a useful tool to keep track of my work related files. As I often lose my flash drives, I starting emailing files back and forth which was a little clumsy. I eventually used the Air Sharing app on my iPhone by Avatron. It allows easy access from my office windows box to copy files to my iPhone and once home onto my MacBook.

However, this process results in confusing versions and files scattered everywhere. So the idea of using this service to keep my often used files backed up and in sync was great. Moreover, there will be no possibility of losing data and flash drives which could have great implications for sensitive data. For example projects in progress that have yet to be realised or private and confidential client data.

After a bit of googling, here’s the summary of some of the available free online storage.

I have not tried all the different products listed above so if you’ve tried any of the services, please leave some comments and share your views.

dropbox.com box.net mozy.com humyo.com wuala.com zumodrive.com spideroak.com
Free Storage 2 gb 1 gb 2 gb 5 + 5 gb media 1 gb 1 gb 2 gb
Size Limits 25 mb files
Windows Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mac Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Linux Yes Yes Yes
iPhone Yes Yes Yes
Web access Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
File Versioning Yes Yes Yes Yes
Undelete Yes (30 Days) Yes Yes Yes
Others Grid network iTunes, iPhoto integration

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