MyPC Backup is the online, automated backup service that I use and recommend. This is the program that protects my own files and folders, and I have set it up for lots of my clients. In this post I will go over the features, costs, and how it works.
Full disclosure: I use MyPC Backup for my own backups, and I also have an affiliate arrangement with them. That means that when you purchase it, I make a commission. The cost to you is the same whether you buy through my link or directly from the company.
If you have been reading my blog or listening to my podcasts for any length of time, you know that I constantly stress the importance of having your data backed up offsite – away from your computer. If you only have a backup on a local external drive, you are risking losing both your original AND your backup if you have a fire, flood, or theft. Also, your backup process needs to be completely automated – if you have to remember to do it, it won’t get done consistently.
That’s where MyPC Backup comes in. When it’s running on your computer, all of your important files are backed up safely offsite, every day, and you don’t even have to think about it.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of this online backup service.
When I first checked it out, I was a little put off by the somewhat “aggressive” sales techniques. When you have your paid account first set up, there are multiple other upgrade options available for you to purchase. For most people, these things aren’t really necessary – they include options such as hourly backup (instead of the standard once a day) and increased backup speed (mine happens overnight so I really don’t care how slow it works). I just clicked “No thanks” on a couple of pages that listed these options. They can always be added on later if needed.
I was also a little annoyed that the full pricing schedule was not published up front on their site. This means you have to sign up for an account (free) in order to see the pricing. Not sure I understand the reasoning behind this, since their pricing is very competitive with other online backup services, but that’s how they do it.
One thing I like about this service is that you can set up your account right off the bat without any charges. This initiates a small “sampling” backup so that you can see how it works, and you can visually observe that it will work successfully on your computer. When talking to my clients about the importance of an online backup service, I sometimes find it helpful to get them to take “baby steps” in that direction. Setting up an account without any obligation or payment is a good feature.
As far as the specific features, I like the fact that they offer the option of unlimited online backup for your computer’s hard drive. Practically speaking, most people are fine with the basic “Home” package that gives 75gb of storage space – I find that many of my clients will probably never fill up that much space with their standard documents and photos. But for those people that have hundreds of gigabytes of PDF files, high-res photos, or other files stored on their computer, it’s nice to know that you can have unlimited storage space if you need it (and it’s not even much more expensive).
I have also been pleasantly surprised when dealing with their customer service. I haven’t actually had any real problems related to my online backup, but I have had a few occasions to contact them with some questions. In every case, I have gotten a response in a relatively short period of time (within a couple of hours in most cases). If you have an absolute emergency, you can pay an extra $10 and move to the front of the line for them to handle it immediately (fortunately I have not had a need to use that option).
Online backup pricing:
Many of the clients I deal with are home users. For most people, the standard backup set includes Documents, Pictures, and anything stored on the desktop. These are the items that MyPC Backup includes in the default backup if you don’t change anything. You might need to backup other items as well, including music, videos, website Favorites, email, etc.
If your total file size to be backed up is less than 75gb, you will be fine with the basic “Home” package. This gives you 75gb of storage space and will automatically back up your files and folders every day (you can set it to happen at the time you prefer – the computer just needs to be turned on). If you want to just go month to month, this package is $6.95 per month. You can definitely save a chunk of money by paying annually (and not have to bother with that bill each month). If you pay annually, it comes out to $4.95 per month ($59.42 annually). You can save a little more if you get 2 years up front.
NOTE: the above pricing reflects the current discount that is being offered by MyPC Backup. I don’t know how long they plan to continue to offer that discounted price. To get current pricing, you need to set up a free online backup account.
Using MyPC Backup:
Using this service is pretty easy. They make the account setup and usage simple so that just about anyone can do it. Here’s how to set it up:
(If possible, use Internet Explorer for the following process – that’s what I have seen to be the most successful,)
1. Go to the website (click here) to set up your account. All you need to enter are your name, email, and the password you want to use.
2. As soon as you click the “Sign up” button to create your account, you will get the notification that the program is ready to download and install. Click to give it permission to run. You don’t have to watch out for any sneaky checkboxes or stuff like that.
3. When the program runs, the first thing you have to do is sign in with your email and the password you just created, and click Next:
4. After you have logged in, the program will offer you the choice of what to back up. By default, it will back up Documents, Pictures, and Desktop. For many users, that covers everything you need. If you have files or folders stored in other places (such as an older version of Outlook for your email, or perhaps your iTunes music collection), you need to click on the “Custom” backup selection and tell it what you want to back up specifically. If you have trouble with this, I can help you with it – just contact me.
5. At this point, the program begins running and it is actually doing your first “sample” backup. However – THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE BACKUP. If you stop at this point, most of your files will not be backed up.
6. On the web page, look for the “Upgrade” button and click it:
7. On the next screen, choose which package you want (75gb, 250gb, or Unlimited). You can also decide if you want to pay monthly, every 6 months, yearly, or every two years. I do it annually just so I don’t have to bother with another monthly bill, but you should do whatever is best for your situation.
8. Fill in your contact and credit card information, and you’re done. As I mentioned earlier, there are a few screens that will display other optional upgrades – you can decide if you need those things or not.
From this point, you don’t have to worry about losing your important files. You will get a little window from MyPC Backup that pops up each day to advise you that all of your files have been backed up safely. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s nice to not have to remember to do this!
A couple of items to note:
– After you have upgraded and the first “real” (meaning complete) backup starts, it will probably take a while. In fact, it may take several days or even a week or more. That’s because this first time it has to back up ALL of your stuff. After it gets the first backup done, subsequent backups only have to grab new files or files that you have changed – so they don’t take much time at all. This is true of any automatic online backup service.
– If you should ever need to access the files that are backed up online, all you have to do is log into your account and click on whatever file you need. You can do this from any computer that has an internet connection.