Instead of mucking around with removable media, Crashplan offers up a distinct alternative. Banking on ubiquitous high-speed Internet access and more than one computer per household, this service allows you to back up your entire computer to as many discreet locations as you can manage. This includes Crashplan's servers, a second PC of yours, or even your friend's computer.
Designed for PCs and Macs, Crashplan's backups are encrypted before they're sent out. The backup process runs effortlessly in the background over a high-speed network, but we wouldn't recommend it to anyone still on a dial-up modem. The simple and intuitive interface makes preference changes easy, whether you're adding or dropping files from the backup process or choosing a new backup location.
The benefit of off-site safety and security could potentially save you thousands of dollars, as anyone who has had to salvage a fire-damaged hard drive knows. Crashplan charges 10 cents per gigabyte per month to use their servers, but the company discourages this option. Given the ever-dropping cost of memory and storage drives, Crashplan may not be the wave of the future, but it's nice to have a choice for backing up essential files other than shelling out for yet another hard drive.