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What If?

What If?
by Gary Woods

I'm a backup fanatic. Every week I backup every piece of data in my house using Norton's Ghost and then I keep 3 weeks of those backups. But, the other day I started thinking about all the disasters we've had around here and what would happen if I lost all my data.

About that time another ad for Carbonite the online backup service came on the radio with their 15 days free offer so I decided to take the plunge. I downloaded the software and installed it. The configuration instantly identified everything in my My Documents folder including all my pictures and it also grabbed off all of my Settings, the Outlook files and all of my Quicken data. As somebody who has spent hours configuring software I was impressed with how easy and simple the setup was.

On the initial backup the program identified some 54 Gigabytes of data which needed to be uploaded not including all of my iTunes music and Movies. The music and movies would be another 50 Gigabytes and at an upload rate of 3 to 4 Gigabytes per day it would have taken 2 to 3 weeks of 24 hour a day uploading to get the initial backup completed.

After about 3 days of grinding away I started taking a careful look at what all was being backed up. Carbonite was backing up all of my iPad apps which took up a considerable amount of space then there were some Outlook backups which accounted for another 15 Gigabytes and after looking at everything I really didn't need I got the backup down to 24 Gigabytes.

In the middle of the whole process Apple arrived with their latest extravaganza and iCloud was announced. This online backup system will store all your contacts, calendar events, documents and everything you've purchased from the iTunes and App store. Then, for another $24.99 per year it will identify all the music from your own collection which you didn't purchase from iTunes and store that too. iCloud won't be here until the fall but at least I've got everything important backed up between Ghost and Carbonite and when the Apple service does arrive for about $7 per month between Carbonite and iCloud all my data will be safe.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc