CrashPlan Is A Cross-Platform Backup Solution With Some Clever Options

CrashPlan – Download the Best Free Backup Software!.jpg

A while ago, a reader (Boba Fett to be exact – I guess intergalactic bounty hunters need to back their stuff up too) suggested that amongst the other backup providers that I mention, I should talk about CrashPlan.

Since I know better than to cross the Fett (look what happened to Han), that’s exactly what I will do.

Cross Platform

Being a Mac dude, I appreciate when companies don’t just make software for Windows (though I understand when they do). I was pretty impressed that CrashPlan made their client not just for Windows and Mac, but for Linux and Open Solaris too.

Handles Both Local (For Free!) And Online Backup

One of the decisions people usually make when they think about backing up their computer (if they think about it at all) is whether to back up to an external drive, or whether to back up online.

CrashPlan handles both. The free CrashPlan software will let you automatically back up your stuff to an external USB drive or even to another computer.

The “other computer” part is kind of interesting. Chris over at Solo Technology has taken a clever approach using this.

Now, most of the computers I and family members own tend to have way more hard drive space than we need, so now we’re all hosting each other’s backups.

Here’s what I’ve got setup so far:

  • My laptop backs up to my home machine. The backups are fast when both are on at home on the local network. Normally I wouldn’t want backups to be so close to where the machine is at night, but the “key” data on the laptop is also in DropBox so this is acceptable for now (until my little web of backups grows).
  • My Home machine backs up to my mother’s machine – 700 miles away.
  • Mother backs up to my home machine.
  • Father backs up to my home machine.
  • Wife is still on Mozy.

As I work on other family member machines I’ll be adding them to the “mesh” as well and continue to aim for geographically diverse options.

It, of course, has an Online Backup service called CrashPlan Central. If you just want to back up one computer it is $4.50/month, or if you want to do the unlimited family thing, it is $8.33/month. If you buy multiple years at once there is a discount.

Get The Party Started

As I’ve written about before, one of the problems with online backup is that the initial backup can take forever to transfer that stuff up to the cloud.

CrashPlan has a pretty clever option where for $125, they’ll send you a 1 TB drive. You can back up your stuff to the drive and mail it back, and they will restore it to your online account in one shot. More details about that here.

“I’m Big On Twitter”

Aside from Boba’s recommendation, I have seen a number of great comments about CrashPlan on Twitter. You can check out a search to see what people say about it.

All in all, CrashPlan looks like a good option if you want to do both offline and online backup. If you have any thoughts/comments/reviews of it, leave a message in the comments!

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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