Here at, we’ve been reviewing online backup solutions for several years now. Now that CrashPlan has unexpectedly bowed out of the home backup race to focus on SMB users, there are three services in our opinion that really stand out at the moment as CrashPlan alternatives and home-based backup solutions: Backblaze, IDrive and Carbonite.

During this Carbonite review, we’ll run down the essentials of this unlimited backup provider to help you decide if it’s the best online backup service for you. We’ll be touching a range of features including the service’s simple set-and-forget approach backup, disaster recovery options, external drive backup and U.S.-based customer service.

We’ll also cover where Carbonite falls short, including backup and recovery speeds that will leave some users in the lurch. If you’re ready to give Carbonite a test run of your own, you can subscribe or sign up for a 15-day free trial by visiting Carbonite.  If you’d like to know more about the service first, keep reading.

Also, to find out how Carbonite stands up to the competition,  take advantage of our best cloud storage providers comparison tool. That will help you narrow down our full selection of online backup reviews to spare you some reading. Or, if you really, really hate reading, we also have a Carbonite video review, below.

Carbonite Review 2016 – Is It The Right Cloud Backup For You?

Strengths & Weaknesses


80% – Good

Carbonite is an online backup service, meaning it’s designed to provide disaster recovery for your computer. It’s not meant to reduce the amount of space taken up on your hard drive or provide device synchronization. For those features, you’ll want to consider one of our best cloud storage services like or Dropbox.

Alternatively, you could go with a backup service like IDrive, which provides both backup and storage capabilities. If you’d like to learn more about the differences between online backup and cloud storage, we have an article on that subject that happens to feature Carbonite.

Carbonite provides true unlimited storage, meaning there are no secret data caps and it doesn’t throttle data speeds. However, you can only backup one device or computer with a personal plan. Carbonite also lets you backup photos taken with your smartphone.

Carbonite includes most of the basic features we look for in a backup service, including:

  • Backup scheduling
  • Versioning (not for Macs)
  • At-rest encryption
  • Private encryption
  • Remote file access

In terms of file types, Carbonite can handle all common extensions that we could think of. We love that fact that the developers took advantage of its unlimited backup to offer automatic backup of all your files, which means all you really need to do is install the desktop client and let it run.

Take note, however, that automatic video backup is only available for Carbonite Plus and Prime subscribers. Carbonite Basic users will need to manually upload videos.

Carbonite also offers courier service to recover files, which is something most other backup services don’t give you.

A notable miss with Carbonite is that while it lets you backup your external hard drives, it doesn’t support backup to external hard drives. We didn’t ding the service too much for this, however, because unlimited backup doesn’t work well with capped external drives.

We were disappointed to learn (after being clued in by a reader in our comments section, below) that Carbonite has recently decided to discontinue its mirror-image backup feature, which was available for Plus and Premium subscribers. Carbonite claims that decision hinged on the fact that mirror-image backup doesn’t protect users from ransomware as well as file-based backup (due to versioning limitations). While that may be true, the value of mirror-image backup was never really about ransomware so much as quickly and completely recovering crashed hard drives. 

Given that mirror-image backup was one of the few reasons to recommend the pricey Carbonite Plus and Premium plans over Backblaze’s much cheaper services, the decision is a head-scratcher. If mirror-image backup is a feature you want, IDrive has you covered (although IDrive only offers 2TB and 5TB plans; there’s no unlimited option). 

We’ll talk more extensively about some of the features we’ve mentioned above throughout the remainder of this review and what they might mean for you, so be sure to keep on reading.


80% – Good

Most consumer backup services, especially those offering unlimited storage, only have one plan to choose from; Carbonite has three: Basic, Plus and Prime.

Price Plan
$ 59 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
$ 149 99yearly
Storage Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

Doesn't include external hard drives.

Includes external hard drive backup and automatic video backup.

Includes courier service.

Carbonite Plus ranks as Carbonite’s most popular plan because it supports external hard drive and automatic video backup, which Basic doesn’t.

The monthly cost for Carbonite Plus is a bit expensive, however, when compared to Backblaze, which has an annual subscription cost of only $50. Carbonite is offering a discounted price on its Plus plan at the moment, though, which brings it down to slightly more palatable $75.

Carbonite Prime customers get free courier recovery service, which costs $99 for Basic and Plus users (not including shipping). Unless you plan to perform regular full backups for some reason, it’s probably not worth the extra money.

With all three plans, you need to sign up for at least one year. If you sign up for two years, you can save an additional five percent. Three years will save you 10.

Of course, committing to a new backup service can be a daunting leap of faith, especially if your last backup provider (**cough** CrashPlan **cough**) dumped you unexpectedly. To help decide if it is the right service for your data, Carbonite lets you try the service out for 15 days with no commitment or credit card digits.  

Ease of Use

86% – Very Good

Carbonite has desktop clients for Windows and macOS, which you can download from the Carbonite website. Installation took us less than a minute.

Once installed, the client will walk you through the backup steps. “Step” is probably a more appropriate word, since unlike IDrive (or the now defunct CrashPlan), most of the process automated. That means you don’t have to spend inordinate amounts of time combing through system folders and files, tagging everything you want to save.  

We’ll walk you through the backup and restore process in more detail in the next segment. For now, we’ll just say that when it comes to ease of use, the only backup service that’s a match for Carbonite is Backblaze.

As files are backed up, Carbonite color codes them in your file system to let you know their status if you have the “show colored dots” option selected.

A green dot on a file means it’s been backed up, while a yellow dot means it’s scheduled for backup. A green dot on a folder means all files in that folder are backed up, while a half-green dot means only some are backed up.

There’s also a Carbonite taskbar icon that lets you check backup status, launch the client or open a handy file search and restore utility.

In addition to the desktop client, Carbonite also has a nicely designed web interface that lets you check your backup status, manage your account and get at your files from any browser.

Carbonite Mobile lets you do the same from your Android or iOS smartphone. The mobile interface is minimalistic in a good way. Meaning, you won’t spend 15 minutes trying to figure out how to locate computer files that you want access to.

Also, in addition to accessing stored files, you can use Carbonite Mobile to automatically backup any photos stored on your phone.

We would like for Carbonite Mobile to be able to backup any mobile file type rather than just photos. However, having unlimited storage space for your selfies isn’t a bad thing.

File Backup & Restoration

91% – Excellent

Once you’ve installed the Carbonite client and clicked the button to begin initial backup, the software will start locating and uploading your files. While that’s happening, a status bar will keep you informed of the progress made.  

We mentioned earlier that Carbonite doesn’t make you manage your backup plan at the most basic level. Instead, Carbonite intelligently backs up all files of certain types. This includes documents, pictures, music, email, financial data files, browser bookmarks and the file types created by commonly used programs.

Certain operating system files and temporary files aren’t backed up automatically. Carbonite maintains a list of file types not backed up on its website.

The first backup process can take some time. Once done, however, things will run much more smoothly going forward, even if you opt for continuous backup. That’s because Carbonite uses a method of file copying called “block level” or “delta” backup.

When changes occur to files, only the part of the file that changed actually gets copied rather than retransmitting the entire file. While continuous backup is recommended and seems to work without impacting system resources, if you prefer to schedule backups for when you’re not actively working, that’s an option, too.

You can either choose a time when backup starts or pick hours between which it doesn’t run.


Your files are backed up to data facilities that operate based on RAID 6 technology. This means that files are kept on multiple servers for redundancy so that if one server fails, there are still copies of your data elsewhere. Carbonite’s approach includes at least three copies of your backup set spread across 15 disk drives.

File restoration with Carbonite is pretty straightforward. Using the desktop application, you can choose to restore all or individual files.

If you choose to restore all files, Carbonite will open a restore manager which will ask if you’d like to restore them to their original locations or download everything to a single folder on your desktop.

Restoring specific files is advantageous if you need a file quickly and can’t wait for a full restore to complete. By clicking on this option, you’ll be redirected to the Carbonite website to locate the content your need.

Content is stored based on your device’s file system, so finding it should be a pretty quick process. If you’re having trouble, though, you can search based on filename, too. Once you’ve found what you want, click the checkmark beside the folder or file name and then click “download.”

Like many online backup and cloud storage services today, Carbonite supports file versioning, although not for Mac. Using versioning, you can restore past versions of files from before changes were made. This protects you against unwanted or accidental changes. Versioning also protects you against ransomware, which works by corrupting files.

Carbonite always keeps at least three versions of files regardless of age. Beyond that, versions are kept for up to three months. That includes one version for each of the previous seven days, one version for each of the previous three weeks and one version for each of the previous two months.

Deleted files are also kept for 30 days.

If you’re a Carbonite Prime customer living in the U.S., you also have the option of using a free (not including shipping) courier service to restore deleted files. If you’re a Basic or Plus subscriber, you can use the service but it will cost $99, which includes standard shipping.

Carbonite will send you an external device with your data on it, which you need to return within 30 days to avoid a $130 charge. Courier recovery is a nice add-on, but it’s free with IDrive through its IDrive Express service, which all subscribers get. IDrive Express is also available for initial backups, which the Carbonite courier service is not.  


46% – Poor

The initial backup process can be lengthy, taking hours, days or even weeks depending on how much data you have to backup. Some backup services run more quickly than others, however. Based our experience testing Carbonite, isn’t one of the fast ones.  

We performed upload and download tests using a 1GB zipped test folder. Tests were performed over a home WiFi network just outside of Boston, Massachusetts with Internet speeds of around 180 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up.

Here are our results:

 File Copy Time

Many of the more value-based online backup services tend to perform more slowly than more expensive options like, for example, CloudBerry Backup paired with Amazon S3. Still, Carbonite’s upload times are disappointing, far behind equally inexpensive backup solutions like Backblaze and IDrive. 

Though your initial upload will be slow, going forward files will backup much more quickly as Carbonite uses block-level copying. Getting over that initial hump can be a pain, though, which is why you’ll want to make absolutely certain you’ve picked the right backup service before committing.

Download times were less excruciating, but with180 Mbps download connect, we’d have expected.  

Security & Privacy Policy

89% – Very Good

Given that Carbonite backs up essentially everything of importance on your hard drive with its file selection process, including financial files, understanding the features that the company has in place to protect your data is critically important.

For starters, Carbonite encrypts all data stored on its servers using the AES protocol, which is the encryption methodology recommend by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Carbonite uses 128-bit AES encryption, which is has never been cracked as far as anyone knows.

Usually, Carbonite holds onto the encryption key for you. That lets the company reset your password in case you ever forget it. However, if you prefer, you can enable private encryption.

With private encryption on, Carbonite switches to 256-bit AES. The company will have no idea what you encryption key is, which means it can never decrypt your files, even under court order.

Private encryption also means that that Carbonite can never reset your password, so if you forget or lose it, you’ll be locked out of your data. If you do opt into private encryption, consider using a password manager to keep track of your login credentials.

While encryption keys may not be practically susceptible to brute-force cracking, weak passwords are. Carbonite has somewhat strong password requirements, but we recommend taking advantage of its two-factor authentication setting.

With two-factor authentication turned on, you’ll be asked to enter a unique security code when logging into your backup from an unfamiliar machine. This security code can be sent via text or received via phone call. The idea is that even if someone guesses or steals your password, they still won’t be able to login into your account.

While in transit, your files are further protected using transport-layer security (TLS), which should be a basic expectation for any cloud service.

Carbonite stores your files on servers secured in hardened data centers. Hardened data centers are server facilities designed to withstand disasters like earthquakes and fires, as well as physical and virtual attacks.

With Carbonite, that includes redundant power distribution unit (PDU) diversity, battery backup, on-site generators, climate control systems, 24/7 guard patrols, biometric scanners, electronic key cards and CCTV surveillance.

As far as privacy policies go, Carbonite’s is pretty straightforward, free from much of the suspicious caveats that plague many competitors’. In fact, we were so impressed with Carbonite’s privacy policy that we used it as example of what to look for in a privacy policy.

Carbonite’s privacy policy clearly indicates what types of information get collected, which includes account information for billing and some file metadata like file names, sizes and extensions.

Carbonite states that it uses this information to provide support and perform diagnostics.

It also states that it may use your information for marketing, but gives you a clear means of opting out of that possibility by emailing the company. Carbonite does on occasion share information with third parties, but only to support internal operations. It does not sell your information so that others may use it for their own marketing purposes.

Among the top consumer backup services, Carbonite seems to have the strongest approach to user privacy. This is backed by its voluntary adherence to two transatlantic data transfer frameworks, the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S. Safe Harbor Framework.

CompanyEU-U.S. Privacy ShieldSwiss-U.S. Safe HarborPrivacy Policy

Overall, your data should be in good hands with Carbonite, even without private encryption turned on.

Customer Service

91% – Excellent

Unlike Backblaze, Carbonite takes the rare step of providing telephone support to all customers, both personal and business. Telephone support isn’t offered 24 hours a day, but is available seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 p.m. EST.

Carbonite claims to have over 200 agents, all of whom are located in Lewiston, Maine, meaning you won’t be dealing with offshore support. Business and escalation agents all hold Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Certifications, too.

Email support is available, too, and Carbonite states response times generally come within 24 hours. To test that statement, we fired off some test questions to Carbonite. Responses came with within six hours, which is good. Even better, they were well written and thorough.

Carbonite’s support network has actually won 48 awards over the past four years at the time of this writing. These include several Stevie Awards:

  • 2016/2017 Gold for Contact Center of the Year
  • 2017 Gold for Customer Service Complaints Team of the Year
  • 2016 Gold for Customer Service Department
  • 2016 Gold for Best Use of Technology in Customer Service
  • 2016 Gold for Front-Line Customer Service Professional
  • 2016 Gold for Contact Center Professional
  • 2016 Gold for Back-Office Contact Center Professional

While we’re not quite sure what all of these awards mean, the list is pretty impressive.

If you prefer to figure things out on your own, Carbonite also provides a searchable knowledgebase. You’ll find articles on getting started, troubleshooting and FAQs. Carbonite also has a video library for visual learners. Overall, we were pretty pleased with the depth of content and quality of the articles.

The Verdict

Carbonite Home excels in many ways that we would want a home backup service to excel. It requires little setup, backs up most file types, backs up external drives, keeps previous file versions and lets you backup as much data as you want.

However, upload times are so slow that, depending on how much data you have to backup, you could be looking at months for your initial backup to complete. While its low cost might lead users to signup anyway,  Backblaze ($50 a year) or IDrive ($52 a year) are both cheaper and faster. 

We would also love to see Carbonite offer a family plan that with discounted pricing on backup for multiple computers, and we’d like to see smartphone backup that covers more than just photos. However, if you’re looking for a simple solution for your home computer and you either have little data to backup or a lot of patience, ”Carbonite” will get the job done.

Of course, we’re always open to differing opinions. If you’d like to chime in on Carbonite or have any questions about the service you didn’t find covered above, feel free to hit us up in the comments below. Thank you for reading and feel free to browse any of our other online backup reviews if Carbonite isn’t quite what you’re looking for.   


Carbonite Features
Free Storage
Free Trial15 Days
  • windows
  • mac
PriceStarts from $ Array per month
Mobile Access
Mobile Apps
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android
Free External HD Backup
Continuous Backup
Incremental Backup
Backup Scheduling
Bare Metal Backup
Exclude File Extensions for Backup
Network Drives
Bandwidth throttling
Web Access
HIPAA Compliant
File Size LimitUnlimited GB
Included Machines1
File Sharing
Multiple Accounts
Share Photo Albums
Music Streaming
Folder Collaboration
Outlook Backup
Local Encryption256-bit
Server Side Encryption256-bit
Keeps deleted files30
File Versioning90

Carbonite Review

An easy to use, fast provider of unlimited backup

Offering ease of use and unlimited backup for one device, Carbonite is without a doubt one of's favorite online backup providers. However, slow backup speeds are a big a concern.
Starts from$ 5 00monthly
Visit Carbonite

41 thoughts on “Carbonite”

  1. So, based on a couple of reviews I’ve read throughout the web and in some forums I decided to give Carbonite a try. First, let me tell you that I have no experience in the backup field I just felt that storing files on an external hard drive couldn’t be enough.

    I have heard some Carbonite commercial, I think it was on a radio show or something like that, and that was when I heard the word online backup for the first time. I couldn’t really believe the ‘unlimited’ claim so I wanted to try it out. By now means do I have a lot of data, a couple of photos and videos that I cannot afford to lose.
    The software was very easy to use, though I must admit I was a little baffled by the setup procedure: did it really select all my files I wanted to backup? Which files are excluded? Then the backup felt really slow, I have no idea what’s fast and what’s slow but it took a couple weeks until everything finally had been transferred. Now they tell me that this is normal – but who knows?

    That’s why I can only give Carbonite 3 stars out of 5.

    1. I am a long-time Carbonite user and need to let everyone know that over the years their servers have degraded to the point that you are no longer sure your information is getting backed up.

      Billing is also an issue – and potentially a criminal issue. This last renewal someone at carbonite decide I need another $799 worth of storage and ordered for me without any sort of confirmation. Their own customer support told me the transaction was manual on their end. It took two weeks to get a refund from them and I got hit with $120 in overdraft fees before I could cover their fraudulent charge. I’m now working with my bank to see if criminal charges should be pursued against them.

      So, bottom line, I would not recommend Carbonite to anyone and will not be renewing my subscription when it expires. It’s really a sham, they had a chance but couldn’t handle their explosive growth to the point the company should just close their doors before they get in any more trouble.

    2. Turns out Carbonite does not back up the hard drive. I never keep anything on the hard drive. Everything is on removable flash drives. I wasted my money. one star.

  2. A Carbonite user here. It’s quite hard to judge a product if you’re not that knowledgable about backup and data storage in general so I can just tell you my experience of how this product feels. Thank god my hard drive are still running smoothly and I have not needed Carbonite yet to restore my files. I see my subscription as some kind of fire insurance for example: you’re glad you have if you need it but if you don’t you don’t want to think about it either.

    Carbonite is extremely easy to use. I have heard backblaze is even more easy but I ended up with Carbonite because it appealed to me more and my situation: I have 50GB of files so actually I don’t need an unlimited online backup but I took your advice and planned for a bit more to come in future. Also, as far as pricing goes there is almost no difference if I take a 50GB plan with Mozy or an unlimited plan with Carbonite. So Carbonite it is.

    Somewhere I’ve read that online backup takes a very long time, and, boy, they were right. It seemed like it took month until my files were uploaded – but I don’t know if that’s normal or not. My internet is fast so it shouldn’t be that – but when I contacted their support they just told be to be patient. Mhhh, okay, I am patient but waiting months until my backup completes? What if my hard drive fails now? Thanks to this is site I now know that I should do a file backup on an external hard drive first and then start my internet backup.

    Now a couple of months passed and I just wanted to look for some Carbonite reviews to see what other people think, and I found this site. I think if you need unlimited online backup carbonite might be a good choice but because of their lack of interest in support I can only give them 3 stars.

    1. Thank you for your review John!
      I agree that online backup can be slow at times. The initial backup can probably be very long, owing to the big amount of data on your computer all waiting to be uploaded at once.

      Though if you feel your internet is way faster than that, one of the reasons for the slow speed could be that Carbonite, itself, throttles your backup speed, as mentioned in the article above. It limits the maximum speed to 2 mbps (until you upload 200 GB in a month), while the average speed is lesser than that of Backblaze and Crashplan. You can check them out if speed is an issue for you.

      Of course there are fruits at the end of path of the strenuous initial backup, you have all your data backed up and subsequent backups will probably be much smaller and faster!

  3. Hi – I just wanted to leave feedback for the carbonite backup program. I purchased the version where I can also backup external hard drives and upgraded for an additional computer (the standard plan only comes with one). I initially thought backup was difficult but the wizard made it pretty easy to get started. As previous reviewers stated the initial backup can take a looooong time so be patient. Once it is done they are much faster and you can really enjoy Carbonite running in the background. I’m not very technical so I appreciate the ease of use of that program though I feel it could run faster at times.

    I have tested Mozy before but I was a little overwhelmed by the features and option so I thought before paying for it I’d rather try out a different service and I’m glad I did.

  4. I’m currently in the process of restoring my files after a hard drive failure, and Carbonite’s claim of having a simple restore process is far from the truth in my case. What I thought would be a simple task is now in it’s second week, with no resolution in sight. My problem, restoring the files so that I could use them, has been escalated to level three support, and I’m now waiting to see if my files can be retrieved and restored on my computer. While the customer service personnel are courteous, they are not very knowledgeable when it comes to explaining why I’m having this problem, and at this point in the process, they’re implying that it may have been caused by the failing hard drive, which makes no sense to me. After a quick search on the net, I noticed that I’m not alone when it comes to this type of “restore” problem, which further erodes my confidence in this product. All I can say is “Buyer beware.” In the future I will invest in an external drive and use the Apple time capsule as my primary backup system.

  5. I’ve used Carbonite for approximately 3 years now with anywhere from 1-3 computers subscribed at a time and have experienced several things good and bad:
    1. The initial backup took a month.
    2. The Carbonite interface software has failed at least 5 times. Reloading it fixed the issue 3 times. I had to call support 2 times and have them remotely “take over” my computer to fix the issue.
    3. When I’ve had to call support, it has taken no less than 45 minutes to get through.
    4. When I needed to restore files it takes a VERY long time to download them back to your computer… I lost 15 gigs of picture files a month ago and I’m still trying to recover them! If my calculations are correct I have 3 months to go!!!! Absolutely unacceptable for a service that I’ve been loyal to for 3 years with 1-3 computers subscribed at any given time.
    5. Carbonite is, however, extremely easy to use when it is working and has never seemed to slow my computer down.

  6. I’ve been a Carbonite customer for several years. Recently I began to develop problems with my hard drive, so I wiped it clean and asked Carbonite to restore the files. I found out two things. First, it’s not an archiving service. I had pictures on my hard drive that I took off to clear up space, thinking they were on the Carbonite drive. But Carbonite deletes files from your backup if it can’t find them on your hard drive after a certain period of time (30 days, I think). So they’re not there. And second, the restore process takes forever and may not work at all. I am on a chat line with customer service right now trying to get my files restored after my old computer bit the dust. The first two tries failed – I got a message that said, “Restore cancelled.” I’ve been in the queue for 35 minutes so far and am #2 with an expected wait time of 23 minutes. Judge for yourself.

  7. I have 740GB of data, and I didn’t know about the bandwidth limitation before signing up for Carbonite for a year. My first 200 GB of data uploaded in about 3 weeks, then it slowed to a crawl. When I realized why and that it would never speed up, (without paying $230 a year for the business plan) I calculated that it would take nearly a year and a half to finish my initial upload. That pretty much makes Carbonite useless for me. If you have less than 200GB, or maybe 250 or 300 GB, it’s fine. Their mobile app is great, and the ability to access your files from any computer is very nice, but many of their competitors offer it as well. I have a few friends who have used Carbonite for years, and they like it, but for me, with my amount of data, it’s not acceptable.

    1. So what have you decided to use? I need to have many gigs of digital images that I want to upload to Carbonite. I actually used an ethernet cable between my router on my computer thinking it would speed up and I have told my computer not to go to sleep and turned off the Bluetooth. I don’t know if I should also turn off the wireless, but I did change the network order what is accessed first by the computer so it is the ethernet as first. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Also I was told if his image is over 4 MB they have to be uploaded manually?

  8. I ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT RECOMMEND CARBONITE!!! The mirror image backup not only failed to restore my hard drive, IT CAUSED THE DAMAGE. I purchased a new external hard drive to make this backup. It finished after several hours and I shut down my computer. My computer started to boot from this external drive the very next time it was powered on and corrupted my C drive. I eventually had to take my computer to Best Buy ($199) to run a recovery of my hard drive because it could not be restored from the mirror image. Many of the drivers were either missing or corrupted and the HP drivers would not install properly. The only option was to restore my hard drive to the factory settings. It took me several days and many telephone calls to reinstall all my software, data, and recover my personal settings. CARBONITE COULD NOT HELP ME. They do agree that the computer should not have booted from the mirror image but told me that is was caused by the hardware configuration in my new HP ENVY h8-1440t computer. They offered me a two month extension on my subscription which I did not accept. My offer to Carbonite is to respond to these comments and I will post them along with my review on the Internet.

    PS: I invited Carbonite to respond to my comments but they did not and I am not surprised. Bottom Line: CARBONITE MADE A CLAIM THAT WAS FALSE BUT, WORSE YET, ACTUALLY CAUSED THE PROBLEM!!!!!

    1. Actually, this was not the fault of Carbonite. Abslolutely not. I’ve noticed the last decade or so a lot of occurrences where laptop manufacturers set the BIOS to try to boot up from USB connected devices if they are found. When people forget for example USB sticks in their laptops, they call support cause their computer is not starting up. This is because no operating system was found on the USB device and it stops there. Smarter implementations don’t stop there but continue searching for other boot devices. The easy fix is to disconnect the USB device and the computer reverts back to booting from the hard drive/SSD drive in the computer.

      The issue was in your case that you didn’t know better. You were not aware of this. That you were not aware of this is not necessarily a fault of your own. Computers are complicated and general users just can’t be expected to know every available setting or feature and how they work. When you create a mirror, your system disk that is bootable is now copied exactly on to the USB external drive. You then restarted your computer and the BIOS’s settings were to prioritize USB connected media and so the computer loads that mirrored copy up. Windows on the mirrored copy then proceeds to start various programs and initializes drivers, but all the settings and configurations are expecting a drive in the computer. Things go awry pretty quickly from there which was unlucky for you as in some cases nothing would happen while in others something like this. Where is the blame? Good question. The device manufacturers for not setting a standard or for changing this from what was once default without proper warning? This setting is a security issue for us in the IT business as anyone can just connect a USB stick quickly, start up or restart a machine and insert malware, steal data or anything else they want (almost like in the movies). This is why we implement full disk encryption these days, or any security minded company with good IT administration.

      But at the end of the day, Carbonite is not really at fault. Granted they can have a warning or some line of text to remove the drive but this is a setting that’s not in their control and it’s still just random what laptops do this and as such they can’t be blamed for something that’s completely out of their control and nowhere close to be an expected standard setting.

  9. Your customer service is horrible! I tried a chat to resolve an issue and was on chat for 40 mins. and did not resolve the issue. It was determined I needed a technician…I waited 20 mins. for a tech. and couldn’t wait any longer…I’m on the phone now waiting for someone to talk to…so far I’ve been on hold 20 mins. Who has time for this? You need to hire more people! Pretty sure I’ll be looking for another back up service when my subscription expires.

  10. I’m using Firefox 24.0 and I am unable to select your review options so I will put them here in text:

    Ease-of-use 5 stars – very easy to use, easy to add videos and other files

    Performance 1 star – throttling ruins it for me since my backup is 375GB or so (I’m backing up audio recordings and my music videos that go with them)

    Support 5 stars – they were quick to get back to me and tell me they could do nothing

    Software 3 stars – would be nice if they had a simple and advanced view

    Overall 3 stars – I have no choice but to cancel because it’s almost been 10 months and my backup has not completed

  11. I signed up for Carbonite on March 26th. I have about 500 gigabytes of photos on my computer. Eight months later Carbonite still had not completed the backup with only slightly over half of it completed. I had written Carbonite on a few occasions complaining about it and did not receive a satisfactory response. At one point I asked for a refund and was told that Carbonite did not give refunds. Finally I uninstalled Carbonite and I am now looking for a more reliable backup service.

  12. Like any warranty service, which is what this essentially is, it looks great until you have to use it. I thought it was copying both my C and D drives and now, after THREE DAYS of retrieving backups, none of my D drive files appeared and the ones that have are so contorted in appearance that it’s pretty much a total aggravation. Save yourself the money and buy some external hard drives. That’s what I’m doing from now on.

  13. Backing up the files is a snap, restoring the files specially to a new one is not very intuitive and there should be better ways to do it. Like synching up the files with a local restore (much faster). The SW has hiccupped a couple of times for no reason and caused full back-ups again, which we know by now it is very slow even with a superfast Internet connection and computer. Lately (new sw?) it is causing terrible slow downs in my PC. I have a fairly fast i7 system, SSD drive, etc but now if I am working in an app (Internet Explorer, 3DS Max, File Explorer, etc) that requires file access, the software will hang sometimes or be very, very slow responding to the file access request. I have tried some of their “fixes” but no luck so far. Support? What Support. My backups are about 182 GB and if I hit 200 GB I don’t want to think how much slower it is going to be. I am to the point of letting this subscription expire (UGH!! I just renewed) and figure out a better way to safe keep my files offline.

  14. Had you asked me about Carbonite when I owned my XP, I would have said glorious things about it. After I upgraded to W7, I encountered more problems than ever before. My computer stopped responding so frequently that I almost took an axe to the thing out of sheer frustration. I had to reboot constantly. It happened in every program including my web browsers. At the time, I did not realize the stop-responding problem was due to Carbonite until my subscription expired. After several weeks after it expired my computer was humming like a baby with no glitches! No more problems with stop-responding! During the restoration process after I switched over to a new computer with W7, Carbonite not only duplicated the files but triplicated them! I had more data on my new computer than imaginable. It would not complete the restoration process and would need to start all over again, hence creating triplicates. (Yet most of the files ‘were’ restored.) I don’t think I will ever use Carbonite again. My little external drive has done just fine and has not caused any slow down or stop-responding.

  15. Service is slow, takes forever to back up or restore files. And try to cancel a subscription. They somehow renewed a subscription using a cancelled credit card from Capital One. Just charged it to the new card. After numerous emails we still haven’t resolved the problem. Will contact Attorney General’s office next. Do yourself a favor and buy an external drive for backup.

  16. I used Carbonite for creating a mirror image locally and for remote backup of files. The remote backup of files seems to work fine, although I have never tried to do a restore. I can access my files remotely so at least I know that they are there. After many months of using the Carbonite mirror image software and it generate messages saying that my image was up-to-date, I began getting error messages and finally it shut down altogether. I then contact Carbonite support, which admitted that FOR A COMPUTER UPGRADED TO WINDOWS 8.1, CARBONITE’S MIRROR IMAGE PRODUCT DOES NOT WORK. I have been contacting them repeatedly for months and they have no forecast of when this product will be fixed. Now I am questioning whether I can believe anything that they say.

  17. Some time ago I signed up with Carbonite. I had two large files. One was pictures and the other was documents of various subjects. All in all I had 3,000 files and I had a backup of all of them, with the pictures being the most important. I had photos of my kids when they were learning to walk and all through their lives. Now my youngest boy is 45 years old! So you can see how I had so many photos.
    I will sum this up as short as I can. I had the occasion of a hard drive failure and their was no way to retrieve files and photos from the hard drive. I thought that I was in the clear because I had Carbonite. I attempted to retrieve what I could [there was nothing] and I found that the backup was blank! I called Carbonite and they checked the backup. The conclusion from Carbonite was that there was a backup but the backup files were blank! I asked what I had done wrong. They said, “you did nothing wrong, the system failed] All was gone. What did Carbonite do? Nothing, Money back like the ads proclaimed. Nothing and that is still like yesterday to me when I heard, “The system failed.”

  18. Have had nothing but computer problems since Carbonite Online Backup techs installed an “update” to their software a few months ago.
    Carbonite now causes program lock-ups, slow PC performance, system freezes, blue screen, shutdown or startup problems, and installation errors.
    Their customer support is abysmal…basically telling me oh well…so sorry.
    They Screw up Your computer, do nothing to resolve the problem and then tell you sorry…no refunds

    1. Videos are not backed up here. Also when you retrieve your info you get double and triple your files back which takes several days to download, then your computer runs very slowly while you clean out all the duplicate files.

  19. My wife’s Vista home tower crashed. (Please do not laugh at me ’cause she was in Vista: All she does is MS Word docs and PowerPoint presentations and email – and all was well … ) After determining it was a boot disk failure, I went out and bought her a new Windows 10-already-loaded desktop – with a bunch of RAM. Not only has Carbonite been helpful and QUICKLY accessible on the phone, but when I told them that I HAVE to get my wife’s .pst file with CONTACTS and old email downloaded ASAP, they went online with me, took control of my machine, and set it all up. YES – it is taking more than 24 hours to restore … but as I watch the “restore” screen and play with the new machine, ALL OUR DATA AND DOCS are comin’ back to us. Would I like the “complete restore” to take an hour or two? OF COURSE. But I expect this all to restore tomorrow morning, and wel will be back to business.

  20. We contracted the crypto virus and it corrupted a large number of files that represented thousands of “man” hours. If not for the sequential backup of Carbonite we would have been just about out of business. The best $$ I’ve ever spent. Anyone that doesn’t use this service that has essential files that cannot be lost is either insane or not aware of the product

  21. I have been a Carbonite customer for many years, and they have consistently manged to screw things up. I would NOT recommend this service, not for anybody. It does not work as advertised.
    Most of the posts above have noted the extremely low speed, so all I’ll do is add my confirmation to that. It crawls at best, on a good day, going downhill, with the wind behind it…. The rest of the time, it is just painfully slow.
    A couple of times over the years I have been able to restore files that were corrupted, deleted, overwritten, or otherwise lost, and that has been useful. From that point of view, it has worked, but only partially, and painfully slowly.
    However, now that I need to do a complete restore for the first time (hard disk crash), I have discovered that there is nothing “complete” about it! There are numerous files missing from the “backup”, which is not actually a backup at all! I have now learned that Carbonite does NOT actually backup your files in the sense that you and I use the term “backup”, nor in the sense that IT professionals use it. Instead, Carbonite just stores some of your files temporarily, provided that you do not lose them….
    Unbelievably, if you have a file in your backup and then you happen to lose the original from your own disk, Carbonite will then delete the backup! Yes, read that again: That really is how it works.
    If you backup a file to Carbonite, and you keep the original on your disk, then Carbonite also keeps the “backup”. But if for some reason the original file disappears from your own disk, after 30 days Carbonite will remove that file from your “backup” on their storage! I simply cannot fathom such a stupid backup strategy: What purpose does a backup serve if the backup copy is DELIBERATELY deleted when the original “protected” file is lost? In what twisted, mangled, distorted usage of the word “backup” does that make sense?
    When I asked them about this, they told me “Read the fine print: it’s in the agreement you signed”. When I asked how a backup that doesn’t actually backup anything could be legally marketed as a backup service, they said “Read the fine print: it’s in the agreement you signed”. When I threatened to expose their misleading advertising, and report them to the advertising standards authority for advertising their product as “backup” when it is not a backup at all, they said I should “Read the fine print: it’s in the agreement you signed”. That`s the best I could get out of them. It seems to be their standard response to all complaints about their product not working the way any sane individual would expect when they see the word “backup”.
    Now that I am restoring my “complete backup”, I have come across yet another major insanity issue: When you start your restore, you get the option to select which files you want to prioritize, so they get restored first. Nice feature. But once it actually starts restoring YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE PRIORITY! If you suddenly need to restore a specific file urgently, there is no way, nothing at all you can do, to get that one back sooner. In fact, when you select that additional file that you need right now, unbelievably it gets tagged on to the END of the line, and will be the very last file to get restored. Given then aforementioned extreeeeemly slow product, it could therefore be days, or weeks, or months before you see that urgent file….
    Right now, the “restore manager” window of Carbonite is proudly proclaiming that it will be able to complete this task for me “in a few days”. It has been running for a week so far, and has managed to complete a whopping 18% of the restore in that time. At this rate, it should be done in about a month and a half…. but considering that Carbonite only keeps your files for 30 days, it looks like they will screw me over yet again by deleting the part of my “backup” that has not yet been restored at the end of 30 days, and if I complain about that additional idiocy, doubtless they will then tell me to “Read the fine print: it’s in the agreement you signed”.

    Bottom line: Do not waste your money on this product. It does not do what it claims to do, it is extremely slow, it is very stupidly designed, and it will not give you back what you thought it had backed up, because it never did actually do a “backup” at all. And if you read the fine print, you’ll find that there really is nothing at all that you can do about it: they totally wash their hands of any responsibility for your data…

  22. Totally agree with the “not as advertised” and that they wash their hands of it. Tonight I went to restore my system after a blue screen, taking it for repairs,at a reputable repair shop, and the data was wiped out and the OS had to be reinstalled. They told me it was good I had cloud backup-WRONG. When I went to restore, I learned that I was no longer an active member. Not only that, they had purged all my data. Nothing left. I received no renewal notices, warnings about a forthcoming complete purge, nothing. I save all my emails just for situations like this. I asked them how on Earth this could happen, especially from a company who claims to sell the peace of mind that supposedly comes with cloud “backup” and there’s no trace of them ever communicating with me that my account was about to expire. I asked them how they can just carelessly let customers’ acounts expire (wouldn’t you think they would care just from a customer retention perspective alone?) I also asked how they could unconscionably purge data without notification. Both of these types of notifications should happen MULTIPLE times, one would think, from a company selling security. They were cold and uncaring, offered no remedy and only an apology when I said they seemed cold and uncaring. I chatted with a supervisor, same result and no attempts whatsoever to keep me as a customer.

  23. Carbonite does not backup anything in the user’s “AppData/LocalLow” directory. I therefore lost two years of mapping work that I created using Google Earth, as Google Earth stores its user files in AppData/LocalLow. Multiple support calls with Carbonite confirm that there is absolutely no way to back up anything in LocalLow. I don’t know what other valuable files might be here, but the only way to save them is to use a different product.

  24. I have been with Carbonite since the mid 2000s. I went into it to retrive some old photos and found that info only goes back to 2011. I wrote and asked what’s up with that. Here is the partial answer:

    Carbonite: Hello Ginger and thank you for contacting Carbonite Customer Care.
    I’m a Technical Support Professional, and I’ll be happy to assist you!
    So long as those files from the year previous to 2011 are on your computer, they would still be in our backup server. If they are not, they have most likely been purged via our data retention policy. My apologies for any uncertainty. Carbonite is intended to be a backup solution rather than a data archiving solution. This means that deleted files would be removed from your backup 30 days after they are deleted, per our retention policy.

    As long as your backed up files remain present on your computer, we’ll keep them backed up for the entire duration of your active subscription.

    Me: That is their answer. So all those photos that I had placed on Carbonite are purged. The documents don’t necessarily matter but the photos do. I paid their yearly subscriptions for over 5 years for nothing. I ask what determined that all my files were purged in 2011. Haven’t heard back.

    So, if you don’t keep the data on your computer, they will be purged. Too bad; so sad.

  25. Carbonite’s pitch is that your backup would be simple, automatic, don’t-have-to-think-about-it. I have found out, however, that if for some reason your files aren’t backed up, Carbonite won’t alert you for 14 days! Yes, that means you could get hit with ransomware today and find out none of the work, photos, whatever you’ve done over the past 2 weeks could be recovered. That’s insane. I want to be notified if even ONE DAY of files did not back up.

    Carbonite told me there’s no option or setting to change this. They said if I’m concerned, I should log in and check every day to make sure my files are backed up. Unbelievable.

    We are all so busy, we do not need one more thing to remember or log into EVERY DAY. The whole point of automatic online back up is to have peace of mind and to put it out of your mind. If I have to worry about this and log in every day, I might as well do a manual backup.

    This is complete mission failure, in my view.

  26. Carbonite is ending support for the Mirror Image feature on October 15, 2018. Starting October 16, 2017, Carbonite will remove the Mirror Image feature from Plus and Prime accounts on a rolling basis, upon renewal. Mirror Image will be removed from all remaining accounts on the end-of-support date of October 15, 2018.

    I would invite users to share their feedback about this decision with Carbonite. Personally, I have had to use Mirror Image to recover a crashed HD – and it worked fine. Despite what Carbonite says, terminating it appears to be a play to get more money – even if we have pre-paid for a subscription (that includes this service) well beyond October 2018. While the T&C’s may technically allow them to do this, and while it’s good they have given plenty of advanced notice, it is nevertheless ammo to consider other backup services.

    1. And by the way, while you can recover an entire crashed HD over the WAN – that’s just it – it’s over the WAN (i.e. LONG restore time). With Mirror Image, you can rebuild the HD locally, then use the incremental in the cloud to “catch up”. Mirror Image is a useful feature. Too bad Carbonite is eliminating it.

  27. I am very unhappy with Carbonite, and even moreso with the local yokel computer repairman, Husky Logic, here on Grand Island, NY, who got me into this. Its very simple. When my computer broke down, Carbonite had only backed up 7gb of the over 300 gb of lost data. I would have lost practically everything were it not for another resource in place.

  28. I am very unhappy with Carbonite.
    I have a personal laptop and external drIve backed up.
    The external drive ‘died’. I hadn’t used the laptop for a while. Got the ‘we are going to delete all files as you’ve not synced for 30 days’ message. I confirmed not to delete. No reply. Two web mail requests. No reply. Tweet. No reply. Called. Can’t help until someone can log in to my laptop.
    Carbonite has deleted every single digital file and photo I have saved for about 20 years (old docs were scanned on a while ago).
    No photos of family members who have passed away. Nothing left.
    I am devastated.
    That 30 day policy is a huge risk for users.
    What if you go on holidays? Get really sick for a while. Have an emergency etc and don’t think to log in your computer for 30 days. Call call your backup provider due to all the other priorities in life at that point in time?
    Too bad.

  29. Carbonite

    Customer since 2009, in 8 years, I never had any worries, except the day I lost my data and wished, normally recovering object of the service paid for 8 years.

    This is where you really discover an inefficient backup service and incompetent customer service.

    I spend the 4 nights (jet lag obliges) with the technical service:
    – Restoring my 300GB to 60-100KB / s, more than a month to restore => convoluted response from customer service but it’s like that for everyone,
    – Impossibility to access data because I use special characters (é, è, …), incredible in France => Customer service response it is not normal to archive files with special characters,
    – Old files are restored more than one year => Answer, you save files that do not need: exe, dll, … I have some tools but to say that a backup service does not work well by saving unsupported file formats,
    – More than 3700 files randomly distributed in directories have not been restored, I ask the customer service how to do, and they tell me to restore them individually by hand from the website,

    I paid 8 years of backup service at home, for one hand not to get my files, have directories full of old files to re-trill and lost evenings with incompetnt technical service

    Just avoid, run away. Hoping you do not make the same mistake as me.


  30. Just testing Carbonite and Backblaze.
    Carbonite is WAY too slow. There is no chance to see your backup speed, but for testing pusposes I deleted a 40 MB file and tried to restore it. 10 Minutes. It took 10 MINUTES to rstore that file…
    The only good thing is that files can be restored to the place where they were saved before. But that’s it. Backblaze is way faster. And cheaper.

  31. Very unprofessional. Our charity has been using Carbonite for years. This is the first time we needed to get our files, as our computer broke. This is Friday, December 29. We have been told we need to wait until January 2 for them to even get started to find out if they even have the files we wanted backed up.

  32. For me (on a Mac), Carbonite was horrible. I tried switching to Carbonite after Crashplan, which I’d used for years, discontinued their “for home” offering (and Crashplan actually suggested Carbonite). The backup is very slow — it struggled for two weeks and never quite finished backing up the last 20GB of files, although I have a decent (10Mbps upload) connection at home and a very fast one (>100Mbps upload) at work. What was a deal-breaker for me, though, was that the Carbonite upload daemon was using 90-100% of one of my CPU cores *at all times*. Their support told me that this was normal (!!) and would continue even after the initial backup. They suggested the problem was that my 2016 Macbook Pro was not powerful enough because it only had 2 cores (although they had assured me that Carbonite anyway can only use a single core!). Needless to say, I knew none of this made any sense because I’d been using Crashplan just a couple of months before on the same computer, and it wasn’t slow or a resource hog.

    So I don’t know, maybe Carbonite is better on Windows. Or maybe there is an issue with my computer that their support failed to find. But in any case, this wasn’t OK for me. If anyone else has the same problem, the alternative I found is Backblaze; I’ve been using it for just 5 days and it’s already a much better experience (it just finished backing up all 200GB of my files, which Carbonite was struggling for weeks with).

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Carbonite Review

An easy to use, fast provider of unlimited backup

Offering ease of use and unlimited backup for one device, Carbonite is without a doubt one of's favorite online backup providers. However, slow backup speeds are a big a concern.
Starts from$ 5 00monthly
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