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Carbonite Review

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These are the latest posts about Carbonite here on Cloud Storage Buzz.
  • Carbonite Review – How Does It Work And What Makes It Unique? Opening a cloud computing account has many advantages for the home and business user. You can use the cloud for document storage and for sharing documents with colleagues no matter where they are in the world. Some cloud services allow you to backup your computer, or your company’s computers, to prevent data loss if the system ...
  • Carbonite vs. IDrive Promos There are not a lot of cloud backup offers available these days to save money but the two that are currently offering deals are Carbonite and IDrive. These two services in some ways have been going head to head since Rush Limbaugh ticked off people, which he tends to do, with his comments about Sandra ...
  • CrashPlan vs. Carbonite Overview An overview of what service wins in each category. Feature Carbonite CrashPlan Tied Backup Speed Pricing Operating System and Desktop Client Local Backup Support Mobile Apps and Backup File Sync Backup to Friend Ease of Use Totals 3 4 1 Winner CrashPlan Sign Up forCarbonite Sign Up forCrashPlan This comparison post was originally published on September 6, 2012. Since then there has been a number of changes to both Carbonite and CrashPlan so I have updated ...

Carbonite at a Glance

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3.37 avg. rating (67% score) - 93 votes

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3.75 / 5 stars


  • 15 Day Trial: $Free

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Personal Plus Plan

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Carbonite Pro Plans


  • Support for Windows and Mac
  • Easy sign-up
  • Easy download and set up
  • Unlimited backup storage space
  • Free trial with unlimited space
  • Backs up locked and open files
  • Fast
  • Will recover old versions of files
  • Data encryption
  • Private encryption key
  • Continuous backups
  • HomePlus and HomePremier plans support external hard drives
  • Available in eight languages
  • iPhone application now available
  • Offers web access to files
  • External hard drive backup
  • Backup photos automatically


  • Must purchase by the year, no month to month is available.
  • Does not distinguish between certain files such as gif, jpg, etc. Does not understand all are picture files.
  • Does not backup video files by default.
  • Throttles data. 35GB ‚Äì 200GB at 512 kbps. 200GB+ at 100 kbps Bandwidth Throttle removed Nov 2013.

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Full Carbonite Review

Carbonite Home Page

Carbonite was founded in 2005 and began as a photo backup utility in 2006 at Staples, since then they have evolved to be one of the top online backup services available. With so many changes with the Carbonite service over the past year or it was time for to take a new look at this well established backup service.

Carbonite has a large customer base, making this company one of the more established among cloud backup providers. One of the world’s top-favorite cloud backup services, and for good reason.

All of its backup plans are unlimited and come with a lot of features, putting Carbonite online backup near the top of my list of unlimited cloud backup plans.

After saving any changes, you are encouraged to begin the initial backup. Many customers may opt to schedule this for a period of low activity but, for a company with no prior solution in place, it would make sense to begin this as soon as possible. Assuming the default option is chosen, the user is immediately taken to the Monitor tab, which is efficient and clean.

Backups are organized from newest to oldest, with status information located to the right of each entry. More detail is available in the adjacent Report tab, which would appeal to those wishing to audit their backups for legal reasons or quality control.

The Carbonite app lets you do the same for iOS and Android mobile apps. Accessing stored files and automatic backup for all photos stored on your phone.

How Long Does Carbonite Keep Deleted Files?

Carbonite regularly keeps at least three versions of files regardless of time. 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.

Using file versioning, you can recover past versions of files from before changes were made. This protects you from unwanted or accidental changes. Versioning is also very useful against ransomware, which works by corrupting files.

How Do I Restore My Files from Carbonite?

Restore options are also direct. Two levels of granularity are available to the user: Bare Metal and Files/Folders. For application-specific backups, individual options are provided. Bare Metal restore requires the creation of a Windows PE bootable image that can be installed on a CD, DVD, or flash drive. Files and folders information can be scanned across your backups, which will make the retrieval of deleted files much easier. For desktops, the new feature called Restore Flow makes recovering very easy. It acts like a switch that will put your system in restore or backup mode. In the backup process, your system remains in a continuous backup state. By switching to restore mode, you can get all of your files back the way they were since the last backup. It doesn’t get much simpler for users.


After visiting the Carbonite website and creating an account you can download the Carbonite installed for your computer system. Once downloaded simply opening the setup file Carbonite will begin the client installation. For my trial installation, I moved the setup to the Windows 8 desktop and started the installation from there. Once the setup starts you will need to give the setup permission to continue and then follow the installation wizard.

The first step is the acceptance of the terms of service. You will want to take some time to read the terms but for my simple testing, I sped through it. Once the terms of service are accepted the client will continue installation and the next option you will need to do is give your computer a nickname so you can easily identify it.

The next step is to choose your backup settings. You can select automatic settings or advanced settings. For most people, the automatic settings are probably satisfactory, but if you want more control over your backup or if you are on Windows and want to set a private encryption key, you will want to select the advanced backup settings. Setting up Carbonite is essentially complete at this point with a walkthrough of what files will and will not be backed up initially.

Installation is simple and straightforward for the majority of computer users and should pose no issues for most people. I did a short screencast of my Carbonite installation on Windows 8. It took roughly 2 minutes.

Backing Up

Your initial backup starts as soon as your installation is complete. You can open the Carbonite InfoCenter and check what files are pending for backup. The automatic settings make it easy to start backing up your files quickly and easily. There are some important points to know about what files Carbonite backs up. This was mentioned in the installation tour but needs to be highlighted. Certain file types are not automatically included in the backup including video files, executable files, files larger than 4GB and files that are located on external hard drives. There are three versions of Carbonite Home backup, Home, HomePlus, and HomePremier. Each plan comes with more features. HomePlus automatically backs up music files and files on an external hard drive. HomePremier adds automatic backup of video files to the list of additional features from HomePlus.

Carbonite offers unlimited storage but after you backup 200GB your upload speed is throttled to 100 kbps. If you have a large backup it can take a significantly longer time to complete your initial upload and to complete subsequent uploads.

Carbonite also restricts the automatic file size to 4GB. Files larger than 4GB can be included in a backup but need to be selected manually. It is important to know about these limits to select the appropriate Carbonite subscription.

Carbonite has a feature called status dots that allow you to see the status of your folder and file backup on Windows as little dots in your file explorer. This is a handy feature but if you prefer you can also turn the dots off in settings.


You have several options to restore your data from Carbonite. You can use the Carbonite Backup virtual drive to browse your backed up files and restore directly from there. You can also select the restore tab in the Carbonite InfoCenter to search for files to restore, select certain folders or do a complete restore. You can also do a restore via the Carbonite web portal.

You can also restore previous versions of files. Carbonite keeps up to 12 previous versions of files up to two months old. If you delete a file Carbonite keeps files in your backup for 30 days. Your restore speed will partially depend on your download speed. Carbonite can restore data at 10 Mbps or roughly as much as 100GB per day. Depending on your Internet service provider you may or may not be able to download that amount per day.


Other Features

Web Portal – Carbonite allows you to access your files by any web browser once you login. You can browse you backup, restore files and share files to your Facebook account if you like. The web portal is a very convenient way to access your files if you are not at your computer.

Mirror Image – Carbonite offers a local backup option with Mirror Image. It is only available for HomePlus and HomePremier subscribers and allows you to make a local backup of your computer. This feature alone could make HomePlus and HomePremier worth the extra money to purchase.

Mobile Access – The newest version of the Carbonite mobile app has improved from just merely offering access to your file to allowing you to backup your photos and video from your mobile device. There is a more complete review of the Android app available here if you would like more information.

Currents File Sync – Carbonite Labs has released Currents a file synchronization application that syncs files between your computers and mobile devices automatically. This feature is still in beta but does show promise.

Support – Carbonite offers support through live chat, remote assistance, phone and email support. It is important to note that Carbonite phone support us based in the United States and open 7 days a week, 8:30am – 9pm Eastern time. The Carbonite website also has a large knowledge base and video tutorials.


Carbonite has continued to improve its online backup offering over the last few years to include local backup, mobile backup and lately file synchronization. While limits in file selection and bandwidth do limit Carbonite somewhat they are still an excellent choice for backing up your computer files.

Carbonite Offer Code

To take advantage of our special Carbonite offer code simply click the link below. The special subscription price will be automatically applied.

Carbonite Screenshots

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More Carbonite Reviews

PC Mag ★★★☆☆ 

Unlimited online storage and a simple setup are feathers in Carbonite’s cap, but I still ran into difficulty when it came to restoring files.
PC Mag

Expert Reviews ★★★★☆ 

Carbonite’s great if you need a simple online backup service for one PC, but it doesn’t provide many extra features beyond mobile access.
Expert Reviews

Laptop Mag ★★★½☆ 

This online backup service makes it easy to send all of your crucial files to the cloud with a single click.
Laptop Mag

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25 Responses to Carbonite Review

  1. Terry says:

    I was reading a review on Carbonite and read that if a file name has spaces or special characters in it, you cannot remotely access the file. Contacted Carbonite and found out that this was the case…if a file name has spaces or special characters, you cannot access the file remotely. Just an FYI…

    • John Tucker says:

      I had not heard of that issue but I wonder if other services have that problem as well. Might have to test a few out and see what happens. Surprised a space would cause problems since so many people have spaces in file names. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Sara says:

    Thank you so much for having this review and offer code. I was looking everywhere to try and save some money on my Carbonite subscription but none of the codes I found elsewhere worked. Clicked yours and it came up right away with the discount when it loaded the Carbonite website. Thanks again!

  3. Icumply says:

    Carbonite, in its filing, wrote that it was founded in 2005, and that it has yet to make a profit. Losses have risen from $17.4 million in 2008 to $25.8 million in 2010, but losses for the first six months of 2011 declined 29 percent from the same period of 2010 to $10.1 million.

    You can read about it at:;jsessionid=zHKDrpTa0QmLOtqM689i-g**.ecappj03

    I fear that they may rise their prices

    • John Tucker says:

      Thanks for that article. It is certainly a possibility that Carbonite could raise their rates. They did raise them slightly earlier this year.

      Certainly running a cloud backup service is expensive, but it is possible to be profitable. Backblaze stated that they are profitable and cash flow positive. I believe I read that CrashPlan is as well. If those two can be why can’t Carbonite be at over 1 million customers?

  4. Dan Smith says:

    I have just finished testing Carbonite, Backblaze, and Mozy…

    My biggest beef with Carbonite is that it will restore deleted files; which is great when you accidentally deleted one and need to get it back, but not great when you need to restore an entire folder or drive. How it works is that all files you deleted in the last 30 days will always be restored. Imagine if you just re-organized, or deleted a bunch of old files on your hard drive, Carbonite does a backup, then your hard drive crashed and you need to restore your files. You would have a mess of files to sort through, trying to remember was this old? did I delete it already?

    For this reason, I went with Mozy – which can show you exactly what files were on your hard drive at any restore point in the last 30 days – and let your restore just those files.

    Since I mentioned BackBlaze – i’ll just say that I did not choose them based on their restore method. To download files, you need to request the files you want to download, wait for their servers to compress them into one zip file, then download that file. I prefer both Carbonite and Mozy’s method of restore over this. I didn’t even get around to determining if it can restore to any point in time, without deleted files.

  5. Carbonite User says:

    I have used Carbonite for years and thank God, I have never had a hard drive crash, yet. My one complaint is it takes a long time to get a full backup loaded into their storage.

  6. Bill says:

    I have used Carbonite for about a year, and then learned that it is strictly a back-up service, rather than an online storage/archiving service. Files deleted from the computer will after a while also disappear from the Carbonite back-up. This for me is sufficient of a drawback to look out for another service (I’m checking out Memopal at the moment).

    • John says:

      This is how the majority of services work actually. As storage gets cheaper perhaps we will see more services offering archiving service.

  7. Ian says:

    Trying it :)

    I dual boot into Windows and Linux. The Ext2fs.sys driver from gives Windows a kernel mode file system driver to read Ext2 and Ext3 partitions – they appear exactly like any other drive in Windows – so I can read/write to the Linux partitions from Windows (and of course can read/write the Windows ones in Linux). Very useful.

    But Carbonite refused to have anything to do with them. So I asked their tech support who (finally) told me the awful truth: it’s deliberately limited to those two file systems. They cannot or will not tell me WHY, despite repeated invitations to do so. There are clearly no technical reasons – if it can work with something as primitive as FAT, it should work with anything.

    So now, with more effort than should be necessary because NTFS is missing some useful features, I have Linux use NTFS for its /home partition (i.e. all the user’s files).

    (Oh, I had to ask about the Mac version. Apparently “Of the default available File Systems in Mac OS X 10.5, Carbonite supports all of the Mac OS Extended variations, but not the FAT filesystem.” What that means, I’m not quite sure as the Apple site doesn’t exactly consider ‘which file systems will it work with?’ to be a question worth answering either.)

  8. Ian says:

    The Windows version will also only backup partitions formatted as FAT32 or NTFS. (If anyone can find this info on their website, I will be impressed.) Presumably the Mac version will do HFS Plus, but I have no idea if it will do any others, including UFS or indeed the two the Windows version will. (Again, if you can find this info on their website…)

    Why it should care about which file system I want to use, I don’t know. (If it will work with FAT, it should work with anything!)

    I also don’t know why it insists it will only work with file systems considered too poor for Carbonite to use itself. (See their blog – – when they asked Microsoft why NTFS kept crashing for them, they were told it wasn’t designed to have large numbers of files on it!)

    I have it, I like it, but this still grates.

    • John says:

      I did not know that it only supports FAT32 and NTFS. How do you find that out? I suppose that is the majority of Windows computers but I can see how that would be annoying.

      Thanks for that information. I am sure it will be useful for someone.

  9. Chris says:

    A HUGE ‘CON’ to this product is that it STILL does NOT support external drives. Many of my most important files are stored on my 4 external hard drives. Product is useless to me without this support. Suggest you point this out in your cons list.

  10. John says:

    I updated the review to reflect a price increase and the new Mac support. Let me know if I missed anything.

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