The Tech-pert: Get 512 GB of Free Cloud Storage
You read the headline right: 512 gigabytes of free online storage. In the past I've written about services like SugarSync
and Windows Live SkyDrive, which give you 5GB and 25GB, respectively. But this is a whole new ballgame.
A new service called Backify
offers a free cloud-based backup service that comes with 512GB of storage. No strings attached, no significant limitations to speak of. Your last excuse for not making regular backups just went out the window.
Backify Livedrive employs a simple desktop client (available for Windows and Mac
) that lets you choose the files and folders you want to archive. You can schedule backups to occur only at designated times (like overnight, when you don't have to worry about sharing bandwidth
), or in real-time, uploading new and changed files the moment they're detected. You can also set up exceptions for certain kinds of files, a nice touch.
The Livedrive software also gives you detailed control over bandwidth settings (like how much it can use for uploads and downloads
) and which kinds of files should get priority. If you like, you can opt to encrypt all file transfers between your PC and your Livedrive account.
In short, the service is comparable to Carbonite or Mozy--but considerably less expensive. A free account includes one computer, anywhere access to your files (meaning you can sign into your Livedrive portal via any Web browser
), and even music/movie streaming to your mobile devices.
For $3 per month ($36 annually), Backify adds unlimited backup space for up to five PCs. And the $5/month account adds a Dropbox-style briefcase (with 512GB of its own storage
), plus support for syncing files between multiple PCs.
As I write this, I'm in the process of test-driving a free account, and so far everything's been smooth and simple. I do wish the client did a better job finding commonly used file types, like Outlook PSTs and Quicken data, but it's easy enough to add those manually.
The big concern with a service like this is stability. I've seen lots of cloud-storage companies come and go, so there's always a risk that Backify will up and vanish (though hopefully not without giving you ample time to retrieve your data, if necessary
Still, whether you opt for the free account or the one that costs $60 per year, there's rarely been a better deal on online storage.
Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for
over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently,
"How to Do Everything: Palm Pre." Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.