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How to Find and Use an Online Backup Service

March 25, 2009

in data storage and recovery,Internet,online computing

by Tina Gasperson

It’s important to keep your important computer files backed up, because almost inevitably your hard drive will fail and all the data on it will be gone forever. In fact, if you can back up your documents, photos, and videos in more than one location, you’ll be doubly safe. Archive CDs and DVDs only last for just so long and can be lost or broken, so having a “backup backup” online might be the solution you need. Fortunately there are many online backup services you can take advantage of. I recommend that you look for a service that has been around for a while and has a good reputation. One such service is

Mozy is inexpensive at only $4.95 per month for unlimited backups, and it provides a free backup service for those of us who need less than 2 GB of space. Once you’ve created an account with Mozy, download the software and install it, and then when you visit your folders and files will show up there. You select which files and/or folders you want to back up. Mozy automatically uploads them, and then continuously checks for changes in the files and folders, keeping a fresh copy on its servers that you can download at any time to a logged in computer. This means that if your current computer “dies,” you can still get your files from another system.

To “restore” your backed up files to another system, download and install the Mozy software onto your computer. Log in using your regular email and password. Mozy will see that you’re using a different computer, and will walk you through the steps to replace your old machine with this new one and replace the lost files.

Another similar service is IDrive, which also offers 2 GB of storage for free, uses a downloadable software application and a Web interface, and allows uses to restore backed up files to a new system in the event of a system failure.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.