Carbonite Backup Issues – Check Your Back-ups

I’ve been using Carbonite as an online backup solution for a couple of years now and wrote a review of Carbonite back in 2009. All has been working well with it, to the extent that I had virtually forgotten about it. Whenever my computer is switched on and connected to the internet, it just automatically and transparently sends the files that I want backed up to the Carbonite servers. Should I ever need them they’ll be there in the cloud waiting for me and better still, with their remote access features I can access any of my files from any computer  through a web-browser or through an iOS app on my iPad. The perfect solution for offsite backup and retrieval.

Although, saying that, my back-up hit 100GB back in October 2010 and is now closer to 200GB so I dread the day that anything happens and I need to download it all… I say ‘dread they day’, but with that amount of data and the fairly poor broadband speed we have here I should say ‘dread the month’ as that’s how long it will take to get it all back.

However, a few weeks ago I noticed that all wasn’t well with Carbonite. It seemed to be stuck so I investigated further. Sure enough, none of my recently created or modified files had been backed up. I tried to access my files on the Carbonite servers and couldn’t get remote access either. I followed all of the trouble-shooting articles on their website. These basically involved disabling Carbonite, uninstalling it, reinstsalling it and re-enabling it, but this didn’t work. Time to contact Carbonite

My first e-mail was answered within 24 hours and before long, the remote access was working again. I never quite found out what the problem was, but the fact that it was now working was enough for me. My back-up was still stalled though. I continued to e-mail Carbonite about it and have to say that it took a while to get any real response. I had a couple of e-mails telling me to do the uninstall and re-install procedure that I had already done and they also asked for some log files. I did this a couple more times, sent them the log files and continued to e-mail them but then it all went quiet. I tried contacting them via the Live Chat on their website but that never worked. I posted to Twitter and was told that my support ticket had been elevated to senior support and that someone would contact me ‘shortly’, but I didn’t hear anything.

Maybe I was being too impatient, but I am paying for the service and my back-up wasn’t working so I wanted to get it sorted as soon as possible. Especially seeing as during this time I was still creating new files which needed to be uploaded so a backlog of files awaiting backup was building up.

Eventually a senior support representative did contact me and arranged a convenient time to phone me. At last, I was getting somewhere. The support representative did call me at exactly the specified time and he was very polite and helpful on the phone. I granted him remote access to my computer, he had a look around (under my watchful eye!) and concluded that there was indeed something odd going on and that he would send a few things to their engineers. That sounded promising, but I envisaged a bit of a wait whilst the engineers got to the bottom of it.

I was presently surprised therefore when about 24 hours later Carbonite support e-mailed me back saying that the engineers had looked into the problem and had released a new version of their software that would hopefully solve it. I had to uninstall and reinstall to get the latest version and see what happened. Maybe if you use Carbonite you might want to do this as well as you may no longer have the latest version.

Unfortunately it didn’t work for me so I arranged another time for a support call where the representative once again took control of my computer. He took a few files from my computer so that he could run them through a utility at their end to update various records relating to my backup on their servers. He then sent them back to me the next day so that I could reinstall them into the correct directory. I was then asked to leave it for a up to a week to see if the backup resumed.. A whole week? I was beginning to think they were giving me the run-around, but sure enough a few days later after  leaving my computer on 24/7 the back-up did indeed resume and now seems to be working again. Unfortunately by now there was a 15GB backlog which will probably mean I need to leave the computer running day and night for a couple of weeks in order for it to catch up.

All in all, once I’d been elevated to senior support and actually got to talk to people, the support was good and they fixed my problems, so that’s another thumbs up for Carbonite. There was a week or so though where getting hold of them or getting any response was difficult, during which time I was not only frustrated but started loosing some faith in them – I think they could improve things here a little. They did give me an extra 2 months free on top of my subscription though for the inconvenience.

When these things are working, all is good, but do please remember to check your back-ups, both local and offsite from time to time, just to make sure all is as it should be. They work so well most of the time that it is easy to take them for granted and forget about them, so a little check now and then can keep your mind at peace.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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