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When it comes to being a help desk technician, my heart breaks when I get the calls where on the other end of the line I hear “my computer crashed.” I ask the obvious question: when was your last backup? And whether it was for a big Fortune 50 company or my current job working with nonprofits the answer is often “I’m supposed to back up?”

That’s when I give one of my favorite sayings, “Backups are like car insurance. You hate dealing with it, but you’re glad it’s there when you need it.”

The trick is to make backups something that you don’t have to think about. And for me, I use a program called CrashPlan from Code42.

I was introduced to CrashPlan through a coworker of mine. I’ve always been conscious of the need to backup due to computer or operating system failure; I’ve been through a few too many hard drive crashes not to have learned that lesson. But living (until our move a few years ago) in tornado ally in a mobile home, made me painfully aware of the need to have an off-site backup.

Now that I live in a rural location, I also wanted a backup that would run during a specific set of hours. For some reason the Carbonite that I used when we first moved down here really didn’t play nicely with those specifications. I found it used to much bandwidth by not honoring the timeframe, and so I cancelled it about two years ago. The thought, though, that I was running multiple computers without an easy off-site backup program nagged at me. What if…? What if…?

So I was pleased to find CrashPlan. It installed well on our four computers (from Windows XP to Win 7 Professional, laptop and desktop). I set them all up to backup during the appropriate amount of time.  I receive email reminders when I forget to leave my computer on showing how may days it had been since the last backup, and weekly I receive status updates.

CrashPlan is not by any means the only backup utility out there; however, it is one of the better priced, if not the best priced, and the options for backing up are unparalleled. If you need an easy backup process, check it out at