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Tuesday November 1, 2011 5:43 pm

Carbonite 5.0 brings new backup plans, introduces local backups

Online backup provider Carbonite today announced the release of version 5.0 of its eponymous software, along with two new premium-level plans.

The new plans are HomePlus, which will run $99 per year, and HomePremier for $149. Both add local backup capability, for faster, full-system restoring from external drives connected to your PC. On top of that, the HomePremier edition adds a Courier service, which means Carbonite will ship a recovery disk in case of data loss. Carbonite continues to sell the Home version for $59 a year for one computer with unlimited storage.

Two brands get most of the mindshare when it comes to online backup: Mozy and Carbonite. For a long time, these were also the two major providers of "unlimited" storage backup, meaning no matter how much data your PC held, it would be stored and protected on the service's remote servers. Since Mozy discontinued its unlimited storage plan, Carbonite is the biggest name in this game, though there are other unlimited plays, such as the newer Backblaze.

We spoke last week with Carbonite's vice president of marketing, Tom Murray, and product manager Chris Petersen. "Data is valuable to people," said Murray, "but half of people surveyed say they would never be able to recover their photographs, the videos, the files that they have if anything happened to their computers. Yet 50 percent said they'd rather lose vacation for a whole year than lose all the information on their computer. Just within the last year, we have backed up over 100 billion files and restored over 7 billion files."

On the new offerings, Murray said, "We're offering two additional levels of data protection. Our existing customers have told us that backup to an external drive is important to them, and it's a functionality that we're pleased to bring to the Carbonite user base. Perhaps more noteworthy is that we're also introducing Mirror Image backup. With this, a dedicated external hard drive lets users perform a "bare metal" restore, in which we uniquely back up the operating system and applications as well as data. This way, you'll be able to get back up and running quickly."

You can try Carbonite out for yourself with a free 15-day trial version downloadable from carbonite.com. And be sure to look for a full review of Carbonite 5.0 in the coming weeks.

For more from Michael, follow him on Twitter @mikemuch.

This article, written by Michael Muchmore, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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