Online File Storage Reviews
Updated January 2005
Experts agree that all computer owners should use some kind of backup solution to protect against data loss or corruption. Online file storage is one option, allowing users to store their most important files on a secure remote server. Network Computing magazine provides a thorough analysis of top file-storage solutions on the Internet, basing their picks on ease of use, file sharing, speed and functionality. PC Today and PC Magazine also provide helpful comparisons on several Web storage sites. PC Magazine offers a detailed review of eighteen backup systems, including online storage, backup on optical media (CD's and DVD's) and backup to a second internal or external hard drive. Smart Computing magazine offers a very current listing of the best free online services, offering one choice in the area of online file storage. Consumer Reports magazine has not yet covered online file storage.
For ordinary consumers, online file-storage sites can be a good alternative to backups on CDs, DVDs or additional hard drives that are subject to damage and require physical storage. They provide solutions to folks who want to make backup copies of important documents, exchange files with friends and family members, or store data that would take up too much space on their hard drive, such as music, photo and video files. Most of these services work for all computer platforms. Online storage is not a replacement for traditional backup systems, but a secondary protection against unforeseen issues such as fire, theft or damage.
Some reviewers like Connected ($15/month for 2 GB). Experts like its quick speed, scheduling flexibility and its 'Data Protector', which keeps ten historical versions of files for ninety days. PC Magazine appreciates that Connected keeps the latest versions of popular software programs on its servers, saving your storage space for important data. Despite the praise, PC Magazine prefers IBackup to Connected because the "basic backup operations weren't quite as intuitive."
Ease of use is a common touchstone in reviews. While many online services such as Connected, SwapDrive and Xdrive do a perfectly good job of securely storing your backed-up data, features and functionality differ along with price. Xdrive, for example, has been around since 1999, and while reviewers say it accurately and securely stores your data, its interface and features lag a bit behind IBackup. Xdrive, however, is cheaper than IBackup, and if you have several gigabytes of data to store, the cost difference is significant. The bottom line? IBackup is easier, faster and more intuitive, but Xdrive is also effective and less expensive.
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* Pricing information is approximate as of the time this report was written and is based on observed market selling prices and/or list prices. Actual selling prices may differ.