Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Set up your own system and backed up files will be kept as long as you keep them. It's totally in your control.
We've been using Carbonite for a few years and I've recently learned that Carbonite only keeps one's deleted files for 30 days. Going through my photo files, I was devastated to discover that some were missing and that I could only guess that I had inadvertently deleted them while cleaning up duplicates. Sadly, it was well past 30 days when I made the discovery and so Carbonite recovery was no help. Is there another storage system that keeps files indefinitely? Even if deleted from the computer?
In this excerpt from Answercast #55, I look at a case where deleted files have been lost in an online backup service.
Yes, there is. It's a storage system that you set up yourself!
If you set up your own backups using say, Macrium Reflect, back up to your own external hard drives - and keep those backups according to some kind of a schedule that you set yourself. Then absolutely, you can keep them as long as you like.
Files backed up are kept as long as you keep the backups of those files. It's totally in your control. There won't be any surprises by limits like whatever this 30 day deleted file limit is.
To be fair to Carbonite, it totally makes sense that they would have such a limit. The fact that they even have the 30-day period is a great one.
I think that's pretty useful in the sense that, "Oops I deleted a file. Gosh, I can get it back!"
Usually, you find that out within 30 days. Heck, usually you find it out within 30 minutes. So, I don't want to slam Carbonite on this. I think that's a very neat feature that they're providing. 30 days is pretty reasonable because, when you think about it, you delete a lot of files over time. That would imply that Carbonite would have to store a tremendous amount of data for all of their users indefinitely, regardless of what their storage plan was.
So, I'm OK with Carbonite having done this. There may be other online services that will, I don't know, somehow pay attention to your backup files and let you keep them longer. But in all honesty, I really don't expect it.
I don't expect other online services to be much better than this. I think what Carbonite has been giving, as I said, is already pretty darned good.
That's why I say it's time to take control of your own backups. It's time to take control of what it is you save because that way you get to set the rules. You get to decide how long things get kept.
For example, in my case, I can go back to a backup of my machine from three years ago if I want to. That's just the way I kind of, sort of keep these things. It's not every backup I've taken for the intervening three years, but once a year, I save a snapshot and I save that forever.
That's on purpose. That's so that, you know, random things happen! Maybe I do need something that I don't have anymore that I did have three years ago.
So, ultimately, I strongly recommend that you move to your own backup system. Invest in a couple of external hard drives and start keeping the backups longer to protect yourself from these kinds of things.
You can do that in addition to Carbonite.
Carbonite is a fine online backup service. It's an approach to getting what we call "offsite storage" to many of your important files. But obviously, it can't store everything and that would be what you would keep your own backups for.
Finally, I have to comment on the fact that you are deleting duplicate files.
I really understand the desire to delete duplicate files, if you're running out of space. Very often duplicate deletion has the potential for actually recovering a fair amount of free space.
The fact is, though, I have seen it go wrong much more often than I've seen it go right. That's scary. Normally, it's system files that end up getting hurt, but this is a clear case of (if you really suspect that this was over-aggressive duplicate file cleaning going on) you've deleted some important stuff that, unfortunately, you may not be able to recover.
Deleting duplicate files, like I said, while it's nice, it's also typically not the best way to get disk space back. Usually, there are other things that are more productive and more useful to get disk space back. So I rarely point people at duplicate file deletion as a way to manage their disk space.
But as I mentioned, go to your own backup service. Set up your own backups
so you can keep things forever. And once you do that, many of the other issues
that you're facing here kind of, sort of become moot.
Next from Answercast 55 - Why does my computer sound like it's running away sometimes?
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