Carbonite Versus Mozy

Category: Backup

Which online backup service is best? I'm convinced that I need to back up my hard drive, but not sure which backup service to use. Have you done a comparison of pricing and features for both Mozy and Carbonite? If so, do you have any recommendations?

Carbonite or Mozy: Which Online Backup is Best?

Many online backup services are available, but the two leaders in the industry are Carbonite and Mozy. In many ways they are quite similar, but each has its own strong points. Here is a comparison of their similarities and differences.

Let's start with storage and pricing. Unlimited storage was once a feature of both Carbonite and Mozy. But in 2010, Mozy did away with its unlimited storage option. Mozy now sells 50 GB of storage for $5.99/month or 125 GB for $9.99/month. The cheaper option is limited to one computer while the larger storage allowance can be shared among three computers. Add $2/month to either plan for each additional 20 GB you want. You get one month free with a one-year commitment and three months free with a two-year plan.
Carbonite Versus Mozy

Carbonite still offers unlimited storage for a flat $59 per year; $109 for two years; or $139 for three years. Carbonite does not offer any free storage, just a 15-day free trial, while Mozy provides 2 GB free of charge indefinitely.

Security is tight on both Carbonite and Mozy. Your data is encrypted locally using Blowfish encryption before it is transmitted over 128-bit SSL encrypted connections. The RAID-6 storage facilities are said to be 36 million times more reliable than a single hard drive.

Online Backup Software: Features

You can access Carbonite or Mozy via their respective proprietary client programs or via any Web browser. The latter option is typically used from public terminals, while the client software on your personal computer provides enhanced file management features.

Carbonite has a very intuitive backup program which tags your files with small colored dots to show which ones have been backed up. Carbonite, by default, excludes certain types of files from online backup; these include video files, files larger than 4 GB, system and temp files. However, you can change Carbonite's settings to include any of these file types in a backup.

The Mozy interface provides more granular control over what is backed up, and when, and seems to be preferred by power users for this reason. Mozy also offers "2x protection" which backs up files to a local hard drive of your choice while an online backup is going on. In fact, the local backup will finish up long before the online backup.

Carbonite will not back up external hard drives. Mozy will, but there is one odd caveat. If an external hard drive is disconnected during a Mozy backup, its files stored on Mozy will be deleted after 30 days.

Mozy also offers a DVD restoration option that Carbonite lacks. It could take days or weeks to restore several hundred gigabytes of data over an Internet connection. But Mozy will mail your backup files to you on DVDs so you can restore them faster.

What About Customer Support?

Carbonite has a US-based call center in Lewiston Maine, at which customers can reach a live human representative. I called and was connected to a polite rep in under a minute. Live chat is also available, as well as a Remote Assistance option, which enables a Carbonite rep to temporarily see your screen and control your computer. Home and Home Office customers can reach live support weekdays from 9am - 5pm (EST). Carbonite Small Business customers have expanded hours, from 8am - Midnight, every day.

I found the customer support options for Mozy a bit lacking by comparison. Clicking the Support tab on the Mozy home page takes you to a page offering FAQs, an online knowledge base, video tutorials and a user forum. There was no obvious way to contact a human for phone, chat, or remote assistance. To be fair, there is a tiny "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page, which reveals a customer service number for MozyPro subscribers only.

The edge goes to Carbonite for affordable, easily understood pricing, and customer service. Mozy is a bit more flexible in backup and restore features , and does offer the 2GB free option. If neither of these advantages breaks the tie for you, give both services a try to see which works best for you.

Do you use Mozy, Carbonite, or another online backup service? Post a comment and tell me which one you like best.

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Most recent comments on "Carbonite Versus Mozy"

Posted by:

04 Oct 2011

Seems like allot of money to waste on backup when you can just buy your own external drive and use a program like Syncbackpro to accomplish this task.

Posted by:

Stephen McDonald
04 Oct 2011

I use Acronis online backup and find it very user and pocket friendly at under $50 per year. I have browsed through the help area however and failed to see a personal contact listing. The techs seem to comment in the actual forums. I would like a clearer indication of what has already been uploaded to the backup but a graying of the colour of the icon seems to indicate that backup of that file is not yet finished

Posted by:

John Bradford
04 Oct 2011

I've used, and still use, Carbonite. Its unlimited storage and low price are helpful.
However, I found that I'd deleted my C drive about a year ago and needed to restore everything (thank goodness I had backup). But Carbonite were not helpful. I really could not get them to understand that if the restore took as long as was suggested, their backup would start deleting my files before they were restored. I had several worrying days over that.
Also, it turned out that they had not backed up my audio, photo and video files. they said they did not, by default. They did not tell me that when I signed up, and I was unaware of it. I think they should tell new subscribers in large letters "WE DO NOT BACK UP AUDIO, PHOTO, VIDEO files unless you opt in! I wasted a lot of time with them asking why these files were not restored, they simply didn't answer me, so several more worrying weeks over that. Fortunately, I had some backed up elsewhere and I was able to recover others with disk recovery software, so I don't think I lost anything. But I was very upset with Carbonite and vert nearly didn't renew (and won't, as soon as something better turns up)

Posted by:

04 Oct 2011

I have had Carbonite for about two years. When I first installed it, my computer was still on dial-up. It took forever to back anything up, and never finished. But once I signed on to DSL, my files were were backed up in less than a day.

I've never had to test Carbonite (knock on wood), so I can't testify as to how long it takes to get my files back, but I can see that everything is continuously backed up so that I don't have to worry about it. The price is right for me.

Posted by:

04 Oct 2011

In my personal opinion, the money you spend monthly for some online back up service is better spent on an external drive. This does have it's disadvantages (fire, flooding, etc). However I think the money spent on an external drive for backup's is well worth the investment when compared to the monthly charges these companies charge.

For the money you save, you could also purchase a fireproof safe (many are under $100 and keep your external drive stored there).

Posted by:

Jay Gerard
04 Oct 2011

I use iDrive. Didn't try Mozy. I did try to install Carbonite, but -- for reasons that I do not recall -- I could not install it. Also tried Norton's online
backup, but ran into a problem which their tech people could not solve. I gave up on Norton when I didn't hear back from them. So far, iDrive does the job. Tech support has been OK.

Posted by:

Lee McIntyre
04 Oct 2011

I have used Carbonite almost since its inception.

I recommend you think of "cloud" backups (such as Mozy and Carbonite) as your SECOND-TIER backups. They're to protect you against the catastrophes of fire, flood, and theft of your computer or hard drive.

Your FIRST-TIER backups should be to an on-site external hard drive. These protect you against the much-more likely threats of hard drive failure or human error, when you accidentally write over a critical file.

Mozy, as mentioned, can handle both off-site backups and on-site backups. But if your preference is Carbonite, this is not an issue. There are many free backup programs you can use to administer your local backups. Either of the two services mentioned in the article can then handle your off-site backups.

One caveat that applies to any Internet-based backup service, but particularly to Carbonite: When creating your first backup, you will probably be sending huge amounts of data over an Internet connection that is slow compared to your local USB or Firewire connection. Expect your first backup to take a VERY long time. When I consolidated the contents of two old computers into one new computer, it took over SIX WEEKS to complete the backup of about 200 GB of data.

That very long time was due to two factors: First, Internet connections are relatively slow compared to local connections. Second, and more important, although Carbonite offers "unlimited" backups, the software intentionally throttles back your allotted backup speed once your back up reaches a certain size (I believe it's 100 GB). This causes backups to proceed very slowly.

I'm not sure if the company is still admitting this, but back when Carbonite was new, their founder freely admitted that this intentional slow-down of large backup projects was a way to be able to LIMIT backup sizes, even while they advertised UNLIMITED backups.

Even now, with my large backup completed, it can take six or seven hours just to back up my large Outlook.pst file.

This makes your LOCAL backup all the more important.

To summarize:

At just $59 per year per computer (less, if you have accounts for more than one computer and/or buy in periods longer than one year), I'm happy to use Carbonite as my second-tier backup against catastrophic loss, but I realize that its slowness of backup (and recovery, by the way), doesn't make it a suitable choice to be my ONLY backup.

By the way, there's also an industrial-strength version of Carbonite ("Carbonite Business") that will back up from your external drives ("Carbonite Home," the version under discussion here, backs up only internal drives), allows backups from multiple computers, and doesn't slow to a crawl for large backups. For me, however, its price is prohibitively high, at $229 per year for 250 GB of storage.

Posted by:

04 Oct 2011

During a free trial try of Carbonite, my computer committed electronic hari-kari (and I didn't even know it was depressed!). However, because of the Carbonite backup, I was able to restore my most valuable files on my new computer. You bet I signed up for three years!

The initial run of the backup does take days and days, but after that it is fast and seamless.
Carbonite is easy to set up, easy to use and runs in the background. You won't regret at least trying it out. I am sold on it.

Posted by:

Frances Tyler
04 Oct 2011

I have used Carbonite for two years. Have had to use them to move all my files to a new computer when the old one crashed. Everything worked well and all files downloaded correctly except the email files did not download. I called and a support person walked me through the process. The only problem I have had was because I did not notify them I would be using a different computer than the registered one. We got that fixed and I am a happy camper.
I am very pleased with Carbonite and will continue to use thier product.

Posted by:

04 Oct 2011

I use Carbonite and have no experience with any other backup service. I am generally happy with the Carbonite service but would like to have Carbonite backup from my external HD so I can reduce the size of my files on the internal HD. I consider this a big shortcomimg and will reexamine this service when my 2 yr. subscription is about up.

Posted by:

Gerald Altman
05 Oct 2011

I have been using Carbonite for several years (one computer only), and I have been very satisfied. This was especially true when a bit more than a year ago, I suddenly lost a major part of My Documents. But a few minutes later, Carbonite made it look like it never happened. I am not acquainted with Mozy, so that I cannot judge it. I am sticking with Carbonite.

Posted by:

Morning Star
05 Oct 2011

I started using Carbonite when both offered unlimited data storage, though I did try Mozy for a brief period of time. I prefer Carbonite for ease of use. But - there is a catch to the unlimited storage, which I became aware of after I had Windows 7 installed on my computer. I had quite a large backup that I'd accumulated gradually. After the upgrade, I found that I had to start over with my back up and learned that Carbonite will throttle you back if you have a large amount to back up. I have about 400G, and after a certain point, the backup rate slows to about 1G a day, which will mean that it will take well over six months for my backup to be complete. The transfer rate is posted in their knowledge base.

Posted by:

05 Oct 2011

It's a no brainer, Carbonite all the way. Mozy prices sound like a rip off. I just got one backed up. I used Paragon and a 1 TB external hard drive. It cost me 50 bucks for however many years I use it which will be at least 5.

Posted by:

Andrew Duncan-Jones
05 Oct 2011

I use both (belt and braces), as well as 2 local back-ups (so I don't use Mozy's local and don't know it). Both seem to me good (I am a very small user, just with very valuable data - my students' work).

When I had to use Carbonite in what one might loosely - or perhaps I mean precisely - a disaster-type situation, it worked immaculately, and I cannot thank them enough.

Posted by:

10 Oct 2011

Both of them don't have the unlimited file archiving feature. I am using SOS Online Backup (http://www.sosonlinebackup), to backup multiple Pcs.

Posted by:

Michael Horowitz
21 Oct 2011

Both services have a fatal flaw: if you delete a file by accident from your computer, they will delete the backup of that file after 30 days. This explains the hard drive issue raised in the article.

Posted by:

Jeff Smith
22 Nov 2011

I'm currently using Carbonite on a Laptop and a PC. I have a new Desktop coming. I don't copy Videos and my biggest resource is Mp3s. I can't justify spending $180 a year on backups. Although between business and pleasure I don't backup my own systems. I enjoy the convenience of getting backed-up eveytime I use a computer. I feel Mozy will save me allot of money. Yet I'll still look into SOS and a few others.

Posted by:

Jack Agnew
21 Aug 2012

Your article stated that Carbonite does not back up external hard drives. They have an upgrade option that now does that. I just signed up for it.

I also have found their support to be exceptional. They often use software where I can allow them remote control of my computer. The speeds up solving the problem dramatically.

Posted by:

29 Apr 2013



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