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Category: Online File Storage & Data Backup Sites (AKA Online Cloud Storage Services)
Website: http://www.carbonite.com

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Beware - all your files are NOT safe with Carbonite!
02 October 2013
Reviewer: Luke from USA

192 of 367 people found this review helpful

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I suspect that a lot of people using Carbonite have no idea that many of their files are NOT backed up. Carbonite doesn't mention it in their sales pitch, but when you read the fine print in the support pages you'll find that Carbonite will only back up certain file types. This policy is especially problematic for those of us that use atypical file types.

As a software engineer I have large directories full of source code that is extremely important to keep backed up. The problem is that Carbonite won't automatically backup any file types that it doesn't recognize! Also it ignores certain file types like movies or applications BY DESIGN. I work with hundreds of different file types, (some auto-generated), and the effort required to go around and specifically force individual files to be backed up is a nightmare. A backup system should backup ALL file types and only ignore the ones that we specifically tell it to ignore! Carbonite has it backwards!!

If you have a lot of home movies from your camcorder that you want backup you have to be really diligent to make sure that all the folders have avi/mov/mp4/3gp/m4v/ogg files setup for backup. If you forget one and your drive dies... BAM! - you just lost an irreplaceable movie that you thought was safe! I feel bad for all the people who've lost a drive and then tried to use Carbonite's backup procedure and found out the hard way that only some of their content was actually backed up.

Another issue I have is that you have to pay extra to backup external drives when most competitor online backup systems do this for free. Even internal drives aren't always safe. I have an internal drive that I sometimes bring to work, but Carbonite has a lame policy where if I don't bring it back and plug it in to my home computer within a month it will erase everything. The only option is the freeze the backup, but doing that would cause the rest of the computer to stop backing up so you're screwed either way.

And lastly, if you try to cancel for any reason, (you don't have a computer anymore, technical issues, etc), don't expect a refund. Even your shady local gym would refund you for the remaining membership, but not Carbonite!

One of Carbonite's slogans is "There are few things as precious as your files...
YOUR TIME IS ONE OF THEM.". Well Carbonite... TIME is what your draconian file type policy is wasting, therefore I'm switching a new backup provider! Another slogan is "Rest easy knowing your files are encrypted and backed up safely off site." That is an outright lie. How can I rest easy when there are so many ways to accidentally miss a file type or folder?

The good news is that there are lots of other online backup companies that don't exclude file types so it's entirely possible to have true peace of mind knowing that you can recover everything.

So to make a long story short... Carbonite has a massive policy document full of rules in tiny lawyer-speak print explaining why they think they know what you want backed up better than you.

If you need additional perspectives on this problem, see: https://getsatisfaction.com/carbonite/topics/warning_carbonite_ignores_file

In summary, I would not recommend Carbonite to a friend.

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