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Web Site: http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/online-backup/
OS: Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7
Cost $4.95/month or $49.95/year for 250 GB
Reviewer's View: Overall this a fine backup choice. It provides a generous amount of space for a fair price. They could do a better job of defining how to get started, and the web site recovery could be better integrated with the desktop software, but after you get going, it's a very straight-forward process.

There's a lot to like about backing up to the cloud. I've got two external drives I use for backups, but I've been thinking it would be good to have a cloud solution too. After all, it's not that far-fetched that an electrical spike could wipe out my computer and backups in one horrible step. With a backup in the cloud, you're always covered. If you can get past security/privacy concerns, having a backup offsite on somebody else's servers actually makes a lot of sense.

Acronis Online Backup is one of many options, but for $4.95 per month or $49.95 a year for a generous 250GB of space, it's an excellent choice. Getting started could be confusing for the non-technical user, but once you've got it going, it runs automatically. When it's time to restore files, it's a simple, straight-forward process.

Getting Started

You start by registering, after which Acronis sends you an email with a link for entering your payment information. Once you're registered, you can access your account page where you download the backup program. This is a Windows-only product, so if you are using Mac or Linux, you'll need to look elsewhere. After you register, you get a link to your account page, but it isn't inherently obvious if it's your first time there how to get started. It's part of the overall web site, and I wasn't sure if I should start on the Account page or another page. There is large 'Recover my data' button, but there is no correspondingly large 'Download software to get started' button and there really should be.

What you'll find (eventually), is a link to download the software. It's there in the middle of the page, but to be honest it took me a while to find it and realize that was starting point. Once I did, I simply clicked the link and downloaded the software. After that it was a straight-forward set up process.

Selecting Files to Backup

After you complete the installation and launch the software for the first time, you are prompted to name your computer. It uses your computer's default name as the default. You can also encrypt the name if you wish, but if you lose the key, you're on your own. Next, you pick the files you want to back up. It chooses, My Documents automatically, but you can choose any disk, folder or file you want, or you can select broad categories like finance or music and Acronis backs up these files based on the extensions for you automatically regardless of the location. It doesn't appear to give you a total number of MB for the selected files until after the process is complete, and it would be useful to know this up front before you start the back up.

Once you select the files, you can schedule a time to back up every day automatically. The default is Noon. Data transfer speed was only around 2 mbits per second on my computer, which seemed a bit slow to me. It would have been nice if the progress bar indicated how many megabytes had been transferred of the total number. Once the back up is complete (that progress bar is as good as useless--it's much faster than the progress box tells you), you see a graphical view of the online back up. You can view your backed up files through the desktop client (or in the event of disaster) on the web site.

Acronis wisely includes an option for removing your files from online storage, which is nice should you ever decide to cancel your account.

Running Recovery

I tested the file recovery and it worked flawlessly from the desktop client, letting me choose any folder or allowing me to create a new folder on the fly. When using the web client, it's worth mentioning that it does not support Chrome. When you download files from the web site, Acronis sends you a WinZip archive with the files you are recovering. I would have preferred it at least had an option to use the Backup/Recovery software to place the files in correct directories. This could get awkward if you have to do a full recovery from online.

Aside from the pain of getting started and my issues with the web site file recovery utility, I found the Acronis Online Backup to be an excellent option and it's one I would consider for my personal use in the future. It's reasonably priced, gives you a decent amount of backup space for the money and it's simple to operate. Best of all it gives you peace of mind, that if disaster strikes, you will always have a copy of your most precious data files stashed in the cloud and ready to recover.

Nice review - I also found getting started to be a bit clunky, but overall a great online backup tool. The fact that it integrates so nicely with other Acronis products is a major bonus (if you use their other products)

I found your post very interesting! Decided to upgrade to the latest version of Acronis True image 2010 and then discovered the facility to back up on line "cloud". I decided to go for this option as it seems sensible to keep on line system back ups as opposed to storing them in external hard drives (as now). Did this ok! But I had two problems:-

1) Could not easily find a way of transferring an existing Acronis system back up from external drive to "on line" where I now have 250gb storage

2) So I started to create new backup of system on line. This started but it was so slow! I t told me it would take 4-5 days! (back up to ext HD only takes 30 minutes). Size of file is approx 8gb (System only). I have broadband. My upload speed is 372 kbps (download speed 17953 kbps) tested today

I therefore abandoned the idea as I cannot wait that long and have work to do!

I like the interface. It seems fairly straightforward to use. (I am not a computer whizz) I saw your posting on the Acronis website and that influenced me! Hence I joined this forum

Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks for your time

Planostar:
I would ignore the estimates and leave it alone and see what happens. As I wrote, I found it a little slow as well, but it was much faster than the progress bar indicated it would be. Why not start your backup before you finish working for the day and see if it backs up successfully over night. Let me know how it goes.

Ron

Your first backup may take some time, but after that, daily backups are quick. Like Ron said, start it after work & see what happens - maybe start on a Friday or long weekend. It's worth the wait

Thanks to both of you for your advice
Will try again tonight after work and will let you know how it goes

Onlinebackups is right - the initial speed of your backup might be slower than expected when using online backup for the first time. here is KB article for more details http://kb.acronis.com/content/7963

P.S. Feel free to ask any questions concerning Acronis products - would love to be of help

You can backup your files online, but why not store your files online from the beginning?

The cloud has become a lot more powerful with Cloud Storage and Cloud IT Solution 5.0. It is far more than just storage or backup. Not only you can backup files to the cloud, you can also move your entire file server, FTP server, email server, web server and backup system to the cloud. You can create sub-users and sub-groups; you can set different user roles; share different folders to different users with different permissions. For a small business, Cloud-based storage, backup, sharing and Cloud IT Solution can save you a lot of cost, while offering better, more secure and reliable services that can be accessed from anywhere.

DriveHQ.com is one of the first few companies offering such cloud based services. It is now offering the version 5.0 Cloud Storage and Cloud IT Solution. For more info, please visit: http://www.drivehq.com/. DriveHQ basic service is also free.