Mon, 22 Mar 2010 CrashPlan review
CrashPlan’s online features and ease of use might convince you that it’s the only backup tool you’ll need
- Manufacturer: Code 42
- Pros: Back up local data to local, network or online locations; simple configuration
- Cons: Two-tier pricing system for additional features
- Min specs: Windows XP/Vista/7; Server 2000/2003/2008; Linux 2.6 Series kernel; OpenSolaris/Solaris 10; Mac OS X 10.4 or later; 1GB RAM; 1GHz+ CPU; 250MB drive space; 800x600 display
- Price: Free
- Star rating:
Psst. Want to hear about yet another backup tool with online storage? No – don’t run away yet. This one’s good. With so many different kinds of free and cheap online backup and storage tools making the rounds, a service needs some genuinely unique selling points to make it stand out. CrashPlan fits that category.
We discovered CrashPlan when we were looking at CrashPlan Pro – an industrial-strength, networked backup tool with both client and server components. It’s comprehensive and powerful – but too specialist and expensive to win the Mac gem tag.
CrashPlan is more than just a cut-down sibling of CrashPlan Pro. It’s easily installed and quickly scans your machine for documents to back up. Though cross-platform (there are Windows and Linux versions too) it’ll intelligently select the folders it thinks you need to save – but you can change that, of course.
Here’s the cool part. CrashPlan has one of the easiest-to-use destination selection dialogs we’ve seen in a backup tool. You can save to a local folder, a networked computer or, our favourite option, a ‘friend’. That means you can back up to the computer of someone else with a CrashPlan account. This free feature is one we haven’t seen in any other backup tool – and it’s ideal for team working.
CrashPlan+ is an upgrade that adds continuous, real-time backup, removes ads and provides priority customer support. If these are things that are important to you, this costs $60 (£38). You can also save to CrashPlan’s own servers at CrashPlan Central for $54 (£34) – $4.50 (£3) a month, which isn’t much for unlimited, secure backup. Most similar services impose hard limits on storage.