Carbonite Review

Offering ease of use and unlimited backup for one device, Carbonite could be of's favorite online backup providers. However, massively slow backup speeds are a major concern. Read our full Carbonite review for the details.

By Aleksander HougenEditor
— Last Updated:
Starts from $ 600 per month for Unlimited GB

Carbonite is an easy-to-use online backup provider with great security, privacy and customer support. Although it’s a bit spare on features, Carbonite offers unlimited storage for a single computer for a reasonable price. Unfortunately, speeds are terrible, and you don’t get a whole lot of control over the backup process. Keep reading this Carbonite review to learn more.

Depending on what plan you go for, you can backup your computer, external hard drives and servers. Setting up your backup and restoring your files is incredibly easy to do and requires little effort on the user’s part. That said, this also makes the cloud backup process very rigid, with little in the way of customization. 

The speed, especially for downloads, is also terrible, so if you require quick access to the files that you backup to cloud storage, Carbonite probably isn’t the service for you. 

If these drawbacks sound like dealbreakers to you, be sure to check out our list of the best online backup and best cloud storage services to find an alternative that suits you. If you’re not clear on the difference between these two categories, you can read our guide to cloud storage vs online backup.

Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Easy to use
  • Unlimited storage space
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Great security & privacy


  • No manual backup
  • Sparse features
  • Very basic user interface
  • Doesn’t offer a lot of control
  • Terrible download speed

Alternatives for Carbonite

  1. 1
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • Yes but not on Basic plan (all other plans) External Drive Backup
    • Yes but only on Safe Backup Pro plan NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    Unlimited GB
    $ 600
  2. 2
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    Unlimited GB
    $ 458
    Save 24 %
  3. 3
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    5 GB - 12.5 TB
    $ 579
  4. 4
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
  5. 5
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    10 GB
    $ 400


60 % – Fair

Carbonite is not a backup solution that focuses on providing a wealth of features. The client is fairly bare bones without too many bells and whistles, which is great from an ease-of-use perspective but perhaps less so if you’re looking for backup software with a lot of functionality. That said, the necessities are there, so basic users will probably be more than satisfied.

The client is available on both Windows and Mac, but not Linux. If you’re looking for a backup service for the latter, check out our list of the best online backup for Linux. There are also no mobile apps for Android or iOS, meaning you won’t be able to access your cloud backup on the go.


Carbonite supports both continuous and scheduled backups, and you can set the client to exclude certain hours of the day. This is useful if you don’t want it to gobble up your bandwidth at a certain time when you know you will need it.

Other Features

Backups are performed using a block-level algorithm, which means that Carbonite won’t waste time and resources reuploading entire files when only parts of them have been changed.

Unfortunately, there’s no multithreading, meaning that the client will only upload one file at a time. There’s also no hybrid backup support, so your only choice is to upload your files exclusively to Carbonite’s data centers. If these are features you’re looking for, you can consider Zoolz Home Backup instead.

There’s also no proper throttling included in Carbonite. There is a setting called “reduce Carbonite’s internet usage,” but it doesn’t let you decide how much bandwidth the application is allowed to use.

Carbonite supports versioning, letting you retrieve older versions of files you’ve changed. However, this feature isn’t unlimited; only the 12 most recent versions of your files are kept on the server. Files you delete from your computer are retained for 30 days, but they are removed after that period.


There’s a courier recovery service, which means that — for a fee –Carbonite will mail you an external hard drive with your data, provided that you’re located in the U.S.


Carbonite does not have an option for image-based backups, so you can’t create a copy of your entire system using the service. Both IDrive and Acronis support this feature, so head over to our Acronis True Image and IDrive reviews to learn more about these, if you’re looking for a way to backup an image of your entire system.

There is also no mobile backup functionality with Carbonite. If this is something you’re looking for, we can recommend Degoo, which makes it onto our list of the best online backup for mobile, despite it having many issues when it comes to backing up your computer.

Carbonite Features Overview

  • Backup

    • Backup Scheduler
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • Image-Based Backup
    • Yes but not on Basic plan (all other plans) External Drive Backup
    • Yes but only on Safe Backup Pro plan NAS Backup
    • Yes but only on Server plans Server Backup
    • Hybrid Backup
    • Mobile Device Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Unlimited Devices
    • Speed Throttling
    • Block-Level File Copying
    • Multithreaded Backup
  • Restore

    • Courier Recovery Service
    • Browser Access
    • Mobile App Access
    • Versioning
    • Deleted File Retention
  • Security

    • Private Encryption
    • At-Rest Encryption
    • In-Transit Encryption
    • AES 256-bit Encryption Protocol
    • Two-Factor Authentication
    • Hardened Data Centers
    • Proxy Server Settings
    • Yes but only on Safe Pro and Server plans HIPPA Compliant
  • Support

    • 24/7 Support
    • Live Chat Support
    • Telephone Support
    • Email Support
    • User Forum
    • Knowledgebase
  • Misc

    • File Sharing
    • Device Sync
    • 15 Free Trial


85 % – Very Good

The Carbonite pricing structure is somewhat complex, with multiple plans all providing different levels of functionality. That said, the prices themselves are reasonable, offering unlimited storage at a similar price to that of other providers, such as Backblaze (read our Backblaze vs Carbonite comparison).

Carbonite Safe Basic
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 6.00/ month
$71.99 billed every year
Carbonite Safe Plus
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 9.33/ month
$111.99 billed every year
Carbonite Safe Prime
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 12.50/ month
$149.99 billed every year
Carbonite Safe Backup Pro
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 24.00/ month
$287.99 billed every year
Carbonite Safe Server Backup
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 50.00/ month
$599.99 billed every year
Carbonite Safe Server Backup Ultimate
  • Unlimited GB Storage
1-year plan $ 83.33/ month
$999.99 billed every year

The standard version of the backup service, called Carbonite Safe, has three separate tiers: Basic, Plus and Prime. All the plans are billed for one year at a time, so we are including the monthly prices only to make it easier to compare Carbonite’s pricing to other services.

The Basic tier is the cheapest, costing $6 per month or $71.99 per year. With this tier, you get unlimited storage for a single computer, but it doesn’t have all of the extra features included in the more expensive tiers.

Next up is the Plus tier, which also includes unlimited storage for one computer, but it gives you the option to backup external hard drives and automatically select video files for upload. This plan will run you $9.34 per month or $111.99 per year.

Finally, the Prime tier includes everything you get with the Plus tier, but it also gives you a discount on the courier delivery service. This would normally run you $99.99 each time you have an external hard drive shipped to you, but drops to just $9.99 for Prime users, which is extraordinarily cheap when compared to other providers like IDrive that offer the same service.


For all three of these tiers, you can add additional licenses if you need to backup more than one computer, but there’s no discount for your second or third license.

The next plan is Carbonite Safe Backup Pro, which has a price tag of $24 per month or $287.99 per year. Instead of offering unlimited storage, this version of Carbonite lets you backup up to 25 computers and comes with 250GB of storage space by default. If you require more space, you can purchase more at a price of $99 per 100GB of extra online storage per year.


Carbonite Server Backup

Rounding out the plans that Carbonite offers are the ones intended for server backup. These are called Carbonite Safe Server Backup and Carbonite Safe Server Backup Ultimate. The former costs $50 per month or $599.99 per year, and it lets you backup one server and up to 25 computers, with 500GB of storage included by default.

Meanwhile, the Ultimate server plan lets you perform backups on an unlimited number of servers and up to 25 computers, and it comes with the same 500GB of included storage space. 

Like with the Carbonite Safe Backup Pro plan, you can purchase additional storage for the server plans at $99 per 100GB per year. In addition, the server plans also let you upgrade your encryption from 128-bit to 256-bit.


If you’re willing to sign up for more than one year, Carbonite offers a five-percent discount if you pay for two years up front, and 10 percent if you commit to a full three years.

Although there’s no free version of Carbonite available, the company does offer a 15-day trial of the Basic tier so that you can try it out before committing to spending any of your money on the service.

As mentioned at the beginning of this section, we think these prices are pretty reasonable. However, we’re not big fans of parceling out the features like this, especially for arbitrarily chosen functionality, such as the automatic video uploads.

Ease of Use

100 % – Excellent

It’s very clear that ease of use and simplicity were the primary concerns when Carbonite was being designed. The client is incredibly simple, so using Carbonite to backup and restore your data is a very straightforward process. 

The Carbonite client essentially boils down to just three panels: one for your backup, one for restoring your files and one for your online backup settings.

The first panel, called “status,” shows you how many files you currently have backed up and their total size. There are several links to the web dashboard, including to your account information and a detailed overview of your files.


By clicking on “settings & controls” in the status panel, you’re brought to the settings where you can change the schedule of your backup. There are a small number of other options located here, as well, such as pausing your backup, reducing Carbonite’s internet usage and disabling the colored dots on files and folders marked for storage.


Although it’s minor, one thing we found quite annoying is that there is no way to completely shut down the Carbonite application, short of manually killing the process in the task manager. You can minimize it to the system tray, but there’s no way to actually close the client.


In addition to the client, Carbonite creates a virtual drive on your computer called “Carbonite Backup Drive,” which you’ll be able to see in the “this PC” section of file explorer. Here, you can see your backed up and pending files, as well as restore them or remove them from your cloud backup entirely.


The web interface is similarly basic. The front page lists each computer you’ve added to Carbonite, as well as information about how many files have been backed up and their total size.


For each computer, you can click on a button labelled “view my files” to bring up a tree structure of everything you’ve uploaded to the cloud backup from that device.


Along the left-hand side of the dashboard are various menus for account management, including payment options and history, subscription information and support.

File Backup & Restoration

75 % – Good

One of Carbonite’s greatest strengths is how easy it is to perform backups and restores. Although the service doesn’t provide a whole lot in terms of control over the process, users looking for a streamlined and simple system will get exactly what they’re looking for.


Using Carbonite to backup your files is incredibly easy. Once you’ve installed and set up the application, all you need to do is find the files you want to upload in the file explorer, right-click them and select “back this up” under “Carbonite” in the context menu.


There are some notable limitations to Carbonite’s backup. First, there’s a long list of file types that can’t be backed up, and files that start with certain special characters are also ineligible. Somewhat annoyingly, if you’re on the Basic plan and want to upload a folder full of video files, you’ll have to select each file individually, rather than just right-clicking the whole folder.


There’s also no way to set Carbonite to only do backups manually, meaning you’re forced to set a schedule or enable continuous backup. This probably isn’t a big deal for most users, especially since you can set “exclusion times,” during which the upload won’t run. However, it’s still an annoyance if you like to exercise as much control as possible over the process.


Restoring your files is also simple. Provided you let Carbonite manage your encryption keys, there are two ways you can go about it. The first is through the client itself, which is the only way to restore your file if you opted for private encryption. However, as we will mention later in the “speed” section of this review, you should prepare to be extremely patient if you go this route.

To start your restore, simply click the blue button — labelled “get my files back” — in the middle of the main panel of the Carbonite app. This will give you two options. The first is “choose files,” which unsurprisingly lets you pick and choose individual files to restore. The second option is “get all of my files,” which will download everything you have backed up with the software.


The “choose files” option will take you to the web dashboard, which will function only if you upload your private key to Carbonite. We’ll cover that process later in this section.


Once you click on “get all of my files,” you’ll see a new window where you’ll need to click the button that says “let’s get started.”


Now Carbonite will show you a restore summary telling you how many files it’s about to download and their total size. If you want to download your files to a different location than where they originated, then you need to select the link saying “view details.” You can then choose what drive you want to restore and if you want to change the destination of the backed up files.


Next Carbonite will ask you to match the Windows user account from the time of backup to the one you’re currently logged in with. Once you click “continue,” you’ll be back at the restore summary you saw earlier.


Once you’re ready to restore, click on the button that says “start getting my files back” and the download will begin.


Circling back to restoring via your web browser, this process is perhaps even simpler. All you need to do is log in to your Carbonite dashboard via the website, click the button that says “get my files back” and then choose whether you want to download the files or have an external hard drive mailed to you.


Once again, you get to decide whether you want to download all of your files or pick and choose what files you want to restore. In order to not be redirected to the client, you need to choose that you want to select only some files, rather than the option for a full restore.


This will bring you to an overview of your files, and from here all you need to do is select the files you want to restore and click “download.”



60 % – Fair

Speed is a critical factor for backup services, especially when performing an initial backup, because these are often quite large. As you’ll see from our results, Carbonite’s speeds are acceptable — if a bit on the slow side — when it comes to performing your actual backup. However, if you’re hoping to have quick access to your files after that, then you’re out of luck.

To upload and download a 3.51GB test folder, we used a stable fiber connection with an upload and download speed of 50 Mbps. This means that, in theory, both the upload and download could finish in as little as 10 minutes. If we’re more realistic with our expectations, we’d like to see both operations finish in about 15 to 20 minutes.

Our tests were performed in Oslo, Norway, which means that we’re quite far away from Carbonite’s data centers in the U.S., so users located in North America should see somewhat better results.

 First Attempt:Second Attempt:Average:

As you can see from the results above, Carbonite’s upload speed is within the range we expected, if slightly on the slower end. However, the download was almost shockingly slow.

It’s important to note that there are two ways you can restore your backed up files: either through the Carbonite client itself or via the website. When attempting to restore our files through the client, the speed was downright awful, estimating a completion time of around six hours.

Because of this, we opted for the web browser restore instead, which is how we got the results listed above. While a lot faster than the dedicated client, the speed still wasn’t great, coming in at around double our expectation.

Another problem with this is that the option to restore your files via a web browser is available only if you let Carbonite handle your encryption key, which means you’re left with a choice between privacy and speed.


100 % – Excellent

By its very nature, backed-up data often consists of critical or even sensitive files, which makes data protection and security a crucial aspect of any backup service. Carbonite does well here, offering private and strong encryption, as well as two-factor authentication and hardened data centers.

Carbonite uses SSL to protect your data while it’s in transit, which means it’s protected from things like man-in-the-middle attacks

When sitting on the server, your files are encrypted using AES 128-bit, which — although not as strong as AES 256-bit — is still more than capable of keeping your information out of the wrong hands. If you opt for one of the server plans, AES 256-bit encryption is also available.


When you install Carbonite, you’re given the option of managing your encryption key yourself or trusting Carbonite to do it for you. If you choose to do it yourself, your encryption is entirely private, meaning Carbonite wouldn’t be able to decrypt your files even if it wanted to. If all this terminology confuses you, be sure to read our description of encryption for a crash course.


As mentioned, Carbonite also lets you set up two-factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security to make sure that no one can access your files by obtaining just your password.


As for the actual data centers, Carbonite goes a long way to ensure that everything stored on them is safe and secure. Measures are taken to prevent data loss in the event of a disaster, such as on-site generators for backup power and climate control. Physical security is also top-notch, featuring biometric scanners, CCTV and 24/7 monitoring.


87 % – Very Good

For backup services, security and privacy are pretty much two sides of the same coin. Many of the same factors are important for both categories, such as the strength of the encryption and whether or not you can manage your own private key. As mentioned, Carbonite does well with these things, plus it also maintains a solid privacy policy and complies with regulations like GDPR.

As we mentioned briefly in the previous section, Carbonite gives you the option of managing your own encryption key. If you do, Carbonite won’t be able to hand over your files, even if the authorities order it to. 

However, this also means that, if you misplace the key or forget your password, you’ll lose access to your data. To avoid this happening, you can check out our list of the best password managers.

In terms of official regulations, Carbonite complies with the GDPR in Europe, and if you sign up for the Safe Pro plan or one of the Server plans, it also complies with HIPAA in the U.S.


Unfortunately, Carbonite’s data centers are located in the U.S., which is a country infamous for its awful digital privacy laws, including legislation like the PATRIOT Act. The U.S. also participates in covert programs like PRISM, as well as intelligence-sharing organizations, such as the Five Eyes

Ultimately, though, most cloud backup services host some or all of their data in the U.S. However, if you’re looking for one that doesn’t, we recommend Acronis True Image, which lets you choose between a variety of storage locations.

When it comes to its privacy policy, Carbonite is clear about what information it gathers on its users and how it uses this data. It’s pretty standard stuff, with it collecting the information you enter when you register your account (your name and contact info), payment information, as well as certain device information and usage statistics related to how you’re using the software.


Carbonite shares this data only with third-party partners that help it provide its services, as well as with the authorities, if required to do so by law. In addition, the privacy policy states clearly that your data is never sold. 

We did some research and couldn’t find any evidence of a privacy scandal involving Carbonite, which is more than you can say about a lot of tech companies.

Customer Service

85 % – Very Good

Cloud backup services are entrusted with potentially sensitive and critical data, so it’s important that they provide adequate customer support in the event of a problem. Carbonite knocks it out of the park here, with support available over the phone as well as through email and chat.

Reaching out to the Carbonite support department is easy. You can either fill out the detailed support form, or you can contact them via chat or phone, if you’re within the opening hours. 

If you prefer talking to the support team in real time, you have to do so between 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. EST on Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. EST on Saturdays, and 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST on Sundays.


We sent the Carbonite support department an email to test how long it took them to get back to us. Despite this review being written in the middle of a global pandemic (which Carbonite warns could lead to increased support response times), we got a reply within 24 hours, which is more than adequate. Unfortunately, we had to email them a few times before we got a response to our actual question.


Although there’s no official user forum, there is an extensive and searchable knowledgebase that should be sufficient to help you with most basic problems that you may encounter.

The Verdict

That’s it for our Carbonite review. All in all, Carbonite is a good cloud backup service for users looking for a simple way to secure their data without the need for a host of advanced features. Security, privacy and customer service are all great, but the speed — especially for downloads — leaves a lot to be desired.

If all you’re looking for is a quick and easy way to backup your files, then Carbonite is a decent option, provided you don’t need quick access to your files once they’re backed up. However, for more advanced users who prefer a greater degree of control over the process, Carbonite won’t have what they’re looking for (check out our Carbonite alternatives list).

If you’d like to learn more about how Carbonite’s cloud backup stacks up to the competition, be sure to read our IDrive vs Carbonite comparison.

What did you think of our review? Do you agree that Carbonite is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a streamlined backup solution with unlimited cloud storage, but that it will leave a lot to be desired for power users? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

Carbonite FAQ

  • Is Carbonite Backup Safe?

    Yes, Carbonite boasts excellent security and privacy, owing to its solid encryption and it giving users the ability to manage their own private key.

  • Is Carbonite Any Good?

    If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to backup files and don’t care too much about speed, then yes.

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91 thoughts on “Carbonite”

  1. So, based on a couple of reviews I’ve read throughout the web and in some forums I decided to give Carbonite a try. First, let me tell you that I have no experience in the backup field I just felt that storing files on an external hard drive couldn’t be enough.

    I have heard some Carbonite commercial, I think it was on a radio show or something like that, and that was when I heard the word online backup for the first time. I couldn’t really believe the ‘unlimited’ claim so I wanted to try it out. By now means do I have a lot of data, a couple of photos and videos that I cannot afford to lose.
    The software was very easy to use, though I must admit I was a little baffled by the setup procedure: did it really select all my files I wanted to backup? Which files are excluded? Then the backup felt really slow, I have no idea what’s fast and what’s slow but it took a couple weeks until everything finally had been transferred. Now they tell me that this is normal – but who knows?

    That’s why I can only give Carbonite 3 stars out of 5.

    1. I am a long-time Carbonite user and need to let everyone know that over the years their servers have degraded to the point that you are no longer sure your information is getting backed up.

      Billing is also an issue – and potentially a criminal issue. This last renewal someone at carbonite decide I need another $799 worth of storage and ordered for me without any sort of confirmation. Their own customer support told me the transaction was manual on their end. It took two weeks to get a refund from them and I got hit with $120 in overdraft fees before I could cover their fraudulent charge. I’m now working with my bank to see if criminal charges should be pursued against them.

      So, bottom line, I would not recommend Carbonite to anyone and will not be renewing my subscription when it expires. It’s really a sham, they had a chance but couldn’t handle their explosive growth to the point the company should just close their doors before they get in any more trouble.

      1. They auto-renewed me after I had canceled and sent the notice to an old expired email address. They got away with one cyle before I caught the second one on my credit card. SCAMMERS stay away

    2. Turns out Carbonite does not back up the hard drive. I never keep anything on the hard drive. Everything is on removable flash drives. I wasted my money. one star.

      1. It states in the review that external drives are not backed up on the lowest tier plan. You’re a bit foolish keeping everything on flash drives anyway – they’re nowhere near as reliable as hard drives. You should be saving to the hard drive and backing up to flash media if you feel you need to have a copy on a more transportable device.

    3. I found out today that Carbonite only backs up one internal drive and defaults to C:. I have not figured out how to change that but no matter- goodbye Carbonite.

      1. Right click on the drive in Windows Explorer and the context menu has a CARBONITE menu.

  2. A Carbonite user here. It’s quite hard to judge a product if you’re not that knowledgable about backup and data storage in general so I can just tell you my experience of how this product feels. Thank god my hard drive are still running smoothly and I have not needed Carbonite yet to restore my files. I see my subscription as some kind of fire insurance for example: you’re glad you have if you need it but if you don’t you don’t want to think about it either.

    Carbonite is extremely easy to use. I have heard backblaze is even more easy but I ended up with Carbonite because it appealed to me more and my situation: I have 50GB of files so actually I don’t need an unlimited online backup but I took your advice and planned for a bit more to come in future. Also, as far as pricing goes there is almost no difference if I take a 50GB plan with Mozy or an unlimited plan with Carbonite. So Carbonite it is.

    Somewhere I’ve read that online backup takes a very long time, and, boy, they were right. It seemed like it took month until my files were uploaded – but I don’t know if that’s normal or not. My internet is fast so it shouldn’t be that – but when I contacted their support they just told be to be patient. Mhhh, okay, I am patient but waiting months until my backup completes? What if my hard drive fails now? Thanks to this is site I now know that I should do a file backup on an external hard drive first and then start my internet backup.

    Now a couple of months passed and I just wanted to look for some Carbonite reviews to see what other people think, and I found this site. I think if you need unlimited online backup carbonite might be a good choice but because of their lack of interest in support I can only give them 3 stars.

    1. Thank you for your review John!
      I agree that online backup can be slow at times. The initial backup can probably be very long, owing to the big amount of data on your computer all waiting to be uploaded at once.

      Though if you feel your internet is way faster than that, one of the reasons for the slow speed could be that Carbonite, itself, throttles your backup speed, as mentioned in the article above. It limits the maximum speed to 2 mbps (until you upload 200 GB in a month), while the average speed is lesser than that of Backblaze and Crashplan. You can check them out if speed is an issue for you.

      Of course there are fruits at the end of path of the strenuous initial backup, you have all your data backed up and subsequent backups will probably be much smaller and faster!

  3. Hi – I just wanted to leave feedback for the carbonite backup program. I purchased the version where I can also backup external hard drives and upgraded for an additional computer (the standard plan only comes with one). I initially thought backup was difficult but the wizard made it pretty easy to get started. As previous reviewers stated the initial backup can take a looooong time so be patient. Once it is done they are much faster and you can really enjoy Carbonite running in the background. I’m not very technical so I appreciate the ease of use of that program though I feel it could run faster at times.

    I have tested Mozy before but I was a little overwhelmed by the features and option so I thought before paying for it I’d rather try out a different service and I’m glad I did.

  4. I’m currently in the process of restoring my files after a hard drive failure, and Carbonite’s claim of having a simple restore process is far from the truth in my case. What I thought would be a simple task is now in it’s second week, with no resolution in sight. My problem, restoring the files so that I could use them, has been escalated to level three support, and I’m now waiting to see if my files can be retrieved and restored on my computer. While the customer service personnel are courteous, they are not very knowledgeable when it comes to explaining why I’m having this problem, and at this point in the process, they’re implying that it may have been caused by the failing hard drive, which makes no sense to me. After a quick search on the net, I noticed that I’m not alone when it comes to this type of “restore” problem, which further erodes my confidence in this product. All I can say is “Buyer beware.” In the future I will invest in an external drive and use the Apple time capsule as my primary backup system.

  5. I’ve used Carbonite for approximately 3 years now with anywhere from 1-3 computers subscribed at a time and have experienced several things good and bad:
    1. The initial backup took a month.
    2. The Carbonite interface software has failed at least 5 times. Reloading it fixed the issue 3 times. I had to call support 2 times and have them remotely “take over” my computer to fix the issue.
    3. When I’ve had to call support, it has taken no less than 45 minutes to get through.
    4. When I needed to restore files it takes a VERY long time to download them back to your computer… I lost 15 gigs of picture files a month ago and I’m still trying to recover them! If my calculations are correct I have 3 months to go!!!! Absolutely unacceptable for a service that I’ve been loyal to for 3 years with 1-3 computers subscribed at any given time.
    5. Carbonite is, however, extremely easy to use when it is working and has never seemed to slow my computer down.

  6. I’ve been a Carbonite customer for several years. Recently I began to develop problems with my hard drive, so I wiped it clean and asked Carbonite to restore the files. I found out two things. First, it’s not an archiving service. I had pictures on my hard drive that I took off to clear up space, thinking they were on the Carbonite drive. But Carbonite deletes files from your backup if it can’t find them on your hard drive after a certain period of time (30 days, I think). So they’re not there. And second, the restore process takes forever and may not work at all. I am on a chat line with customer service right now trying to get my files restored after my old computer bit the dust. The first two tries failed – I got a message that said, “Restore cancelled.” I’ve been in the queue for 35 minutes so far and am #2 with an expected wait time of 23 minutes. Judge for yourself.

  7. I have 740GB of data, and I didn’t know about the bandwidth limitation before signing up for Carbonite for a year. My first 200 GB of data uploaded in about 3 weeks, then it slowed to a crawl. When I realized why and that it would never speed up, (without paying $230 a year for the business plan) I calculated that it would take nearly a year and a half to finish my initial upload. That pretty much makes Carbonite useless for me. If you have less than 200GB, or maybe 250 or 300 GB, it’s fine. Their mobile app is great, and the ability to access your files from any computer is very nice, but many of their competitors offer it as well. I have a few friends who have used Carbonite for years, and they like it, but for me, with my amount of data, it’s not acceptable.

    1. So what have you decided to use? I need to have many gigs of digital images that I want to upload to Carbonite. I actually used an ethernet cable between my router on my computer thinking it would speed up and I have told my computer not to go to sleep and turned off the Bluetooth. I don’t know if I should also turn off the wireless, but I did change the network order what is accessed first by the computer so it is the ethernet as first. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Also I was told if his image is over 4 MB they have to be uploaded manually?

  8. I ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT RECOMMEND CARBONITE!!! The mirror image backup not only failed to restore my hard drive, IT CAUSED THE DAMAGE. I purchased a new external hard drive to make this backup. It finished after several hours and I shut down my computer. My computer started to boot from this external drive the very next time it was powered on and corrupted my C drive. I eventually had to take my computer to Best Buy ($199) to run a recovery of my hard drive because it could not be restored from the mirror image. Many of the drivers were either missing or corrupted and the HP drivers would not install properly. The only option was to restore my hard drive to the factory settings. It took me several days and many telephone calls to reinstall all my software, data, and recover my personal settings. CARBONITE COULD NOT HELP ME. They do agree that the computer should not have booted from the mirror image but told me that is was caused by the hardware configuration in my new HP ENVY h8-1440t computer. They offered me a two month extension on my subscription which I did not accept. My offer to Carbonite is to respond to these comments and I will post them along with my review on the Internet.

    PS: I invited Carbonite to respond to my comments but they did not and I am not surprised. Bottom Line: CARBONITE MADE A CLAIM THAT WAS FALSE BUT, WORSE YET, ACTUALLY CAUSED THE PROBLEM!!!!!

    1. Actually, this was not the fault of Carbonite. Abslolutely not. I’ve noticed the last decade or so a lot of occurrences where laptop manufacturers set the BIOS to try to boot up from USB connected devices if they are found. When people forget for example USB sticks in their laptops, they call support cause their computer is not starting up. This is because no operating system was found on the USB device and it stops there. Smarter implementations don’t stop there but continue searching for other boot devices. The easy fix is to disconnect the USB device and the computer reverts back to booting from the hard drive/SSD drive in the computer.

      The issue was in your case that you didn’t know better. You were not aware of this. That you were not aware of this is not necessarily a fault of your own. Computers are complicated and general users just can’t be expected to know every available setting or feature and how they work. When you create a mirror, your system disk that is bootable is now copied exactly on to the USB external drive. You then restarted your computer and the BIOS’s settings were to prioritize USB connected media and so the computer loads that mirrored copy up. Windows on the mirrored copy then proceeds to start various programs and initializes drivers, but all the settings and configurations are expecting a drive in the computer. Things go awry pretty quickly from there which was unlucky for you as in some cases nothing would happen while in others something like this. Where is the blame? Good question. The device manufacturers for not setting a standard or for changing this from what was once default without proper warning? This setting is a security issue for us in the IT business as anyone can just connect a USB stick quickly, start up or restart a machine and insert malware, steal data or anything else they want (almost like in the movies). This is why we implement full disk encryption these days, or any security minded company with good IT administration.

      But at the end of the day, Carbonite is not really at fault. Granted they can have a warning or some line of text to remove the drive but this is a setting that’s not in their control and it’s still just random what laptops do this and as such they can’t be blamed for something that’s completely out of their control and nowhere close to be an expected standard setting.

  9. Your customer service is horrible! I tried a chat to resolve an issue and was on chat for 40 mins. and did not resolve the issue. It was determined I needed a technician…I waited 20 mins. for a tech. and couldn’t wait any longer…I’m on the phone now waiting for someone to talk to…so far I’ve been on hold 20 mins. Who has time for this? You need to hire more people! Pretty sure I’ll be looking for another back up service when my subscription expires.

  10. I’m using Firefox 24.0 and I am unable to select your review options so I will put them here in text:

    Ease-of-use 5 stars – very easy to use, easy to add videos and other files

    Performance 1 star – throttling ruins it for me since my backup is 375GB or so (I’m backing up audio recordings and my music videos that go with them)

    Support 5 stars – they were quick to get back to me and tell me they could do nothing

    Software 3 stars – would be nice if they had a simple and advanced view

    Overall 3 stars – I have no choice but to cancel because it’s almost been 10 months and my backup has not completed

  11. I signed up for Carbonite on March 26th. I have about 500 gigabytes of photos on my computer. Eight months later Carbonite still had not completed the backup with only slightly over half of it completed. I had written Carbonite on a few occasions complaining about it and did not receive a satisfactory response. At one point I asked for a refund and was told that Carbonite did not give refunds. Finally I uninstalled Carbonite and I am now looking for a more reliable backup service.

  12. Like any warranty service, which is what this essentially is, it looks great until you have to use it. I thought it was copying both my C and D drives and now, after THREE DAYS of retrieving backups, none of my D drive files appeared and the ones that have are so contorted in appearance that it’s pretty much a total aggravation. Save yourself the money and buy some external hard drives. That’s what I’m doing from now on.

  13. Backing up the files is a snap, restoring the files specially to a new one is not very intuitive and there should be better ways to do it. Like synching up the files with a local restore (much faster). The SW has hiccupped a couple of times for no reason and caused full back-ups again, which we know by now it is very slow even with a superfast Internet connection and computer. Lately (new sw?) it is causing terrible slow downs in my PC. I have a fairly fast i7 system, SSD drive, etc but now if I am working in an app (Internet Explorer, 3DS Max, File Explorer, etc) that requires file access, the software will hang sometimes or be very, very slow responding to the file access request. I have tried some of their “fixes” but no luck so far. Support? What Support. My backups are about 182 GB and if I hit 200 GB I don’t want to think how much slower it is going to be. I am to the point of letting this subscription expire (UGH!! I just renewed) and figure out a better way to safe keep my files offline.

  14. Had you asked me about Carbonite when I owned my XP, I would have said glorious things about it. After I upgraded to W7, I encountered more problems than ever before. My computer stopped responding so frequently that I almost took an axe to the thing out of sheer frustration. I had to reboot constantly. It happened in every program including my web browsers. At the time, I did not realize the stop-responding problem was due to Carbonite until my subscription expired. After several weeks after it expired my computer was humming like a baby with no glitches! No more problems with stop-responding! During the restoration process after I switched over to a new computer with W7, Carbonite not only duplicated the files but triplicated them! I had more data on my new computer than imaginable. It would not complete the restoration process and would need to start all over again, hence creating triplicates. (Yet most of the files ‘were’ restored.) I don’t think I will ever use Carbonite again. My little external drive has done just fine and has not caused any slow down or stop-responding.

  15. Service is slow, takes forever to back up or restore files. And try to cancel a subscription. They somehow renewed a subscription using a cancelled credit card from Capital One. Just charged it to the new card. After numerous emails we still haven’t resolved the problem. Will contact Attorney General’s office next. Do yourself a favor and buy an external drive for backup.

  16. I used Carbonite for creating a mirror image locally and for remote backup of files. The remote backup of files seems to work fine, although I have never tried to do a restore. I can access my files remotely so at least I know that they are there. After many months of using the Carbonite mirror image software and it generate messages saying that my image was up-to-date, I began getting error messages and finally it shut down altogether. I then contact Carbonite support, which admitted that FOR A COMPUTER UPGRADED TO WINDOWS 8.1, CARBONITE’S MIRROR IMAGE PRODUCT DOES NOT WORK. I have been contacting them repeatedly for months and they have no forecast of when this product will be fixed. Now I am questioning whether I can believe anything that they say.

  17. Some time ago I signed up with Carbonite. I had two large files. One was pictures and the other was documents of various subjects. All in all I had 3,000 files and I had a backup of all of them, with the pictures being the most important. I had photos of my kids when they were learning to walk and all through their lives. Now my youngest boy is 45 years old! So you can see how I had so many photos.
    I will sum this up as short as I can. I had the occasion of a hard drive failure and their was no way to retrieve files and photos from the hard drive. I thought that I was in the clear because I had Carbonite. I attempted to retrieve what I could [there was nothing] and I found that the backup was blank! I called Carbonite and they checked the backup. The conclusion from Carbonite was that there was a backup but the backup files were blank! I asked what I had done wrong. They said, “you did nothing wrong, the system failed] All was gone. What did Carbonite do? Nothing, Money back like the ads proclaimed. Nothing and that is still like yesterday to me when I heard, “The system failed.”

  18. Have had nothing but computer problems since Carbonite Online Backup techs installed an “update” to their software a few months ago.
    Carbonite now causes program lock-ups, slow PC performance, system freezes, blue screen, shutdown or startup problems, and installation errors.
    Their customer support is abysmal…basically telling me oh well…so sorry.
    They Screw up Your computer, do nothing to resolve the problem and then tell you sorry…no refunds

    1. Videos are not backed up here. Also when you retrieve your info you get double and triple your files back which takes several days to download, then your computer runs very slowly while you clean out all the duplicate files.

  19. My wife’s Vista home tower crashed. (Please do not laugh at me ’cause she was in Vista: All she does is MS Word docs and PowerPoint presentations and email – and all was well … ) After determining it was a boot disk failure, I went out and bought her a new Windows 10-already-loaded desktop – with a bunch of RAM. Not only has Carbonite been helpful and QUICKLY accessible on the phone, but when I told them that I HAVE to get my wife’s .pst file with CONTACTS and old email downloaded ASAP, they went online with me, took control of my machine, and set it all up. YES – it is taking more than 24 hours to restore … but as I watch the “restore” screen and play with the new machine, ALL OUR DATA AND DOCS are comin’ back to us. Would I like the “complete restore” to take an hour or two? OF COURSE. But I expect this all to restore tomorrow morning, and wel will be back to business.

  20. We contracted the crypto virus and it corrupted a large number of files that represented thousands of “man” hours. If not for the sequential backup of Carbonite we would have been just about out of business. The best $$ I’ve ever spent. Anyone that doesn’t use this service that has essential files that cannot be lost is either insane or not aware of the product

  21. I have been a Carbonite customer for many years, and they have consistently manged to screw things up. I would NOT recommend this service, not for anybody. It does not work as advertised.
    Most of the posts above have noted the extremely low speed, so all I’ll do is add my confirmation to that. It crawls at best, on a good day, going downhill, with the wind behind it…. The rest of the time, it is just painfully slow.
    A couple of times over the years I have been able to restore files that were corrupted, deleted, overwritten, or otherwise lost, and that has been useful. From that point of view, it has worked, but only partially, and painfully slowly.
    However, now that I need to do a complete restore for the first time (hard disk crash), I have discovered that there is nothing “complete” about it! There are numerous files missing from the “backup”, which is not actually a backup at all! I have now learned that Carbonite does NOT actually backup your files in the sense that you and I use the term “backup”, nor in the sense that IT professionals use it. Instead, Carbonite just stores some of your files temporarily, provided that you do not lose them….
    Unbelievably, if you have a file in your backup and then you happen to lose the original from your own disk, Carbonite will then delete the backup! Yes, read that again: That really is how it works.
    If you backup a file to Carbonite, and you keep the original on your disk, then Carbonite also keeps the “backup”. But if for some reason the original file disappears from your own disk, after 30 days Carbonite will remove that file from your “backup” on their storage! I simply cannot fathom such a stupid backup strategy: What purpose does a backup serve if the backup copy is DELIBERATELY deleted when the original “protected” file is lost? In what twisted, mangled, distorted usage of the word “backup” does that make sense?
    When I asked them about this, they told me “Read the fine print: it’s in the agreement you signed”. When I asked how a backup that doesn’t actually backup anything could be legally marketed as a backup service, they said “Read the fine print: it’s in the agreement you signed”. When I threatened to expose their misleading advertising, and report them to the advertising standards authority for advertising their product as “backup” when it is not a backup at all, they said I should “Read the fine print: it’s in the agreement you signed”. That`s the best I could get out of them. It seems to be their standard response to all complaints about their product not working the way any sane individual would expect when they see the word “backup”.
    Now that I am restoring my “complete backup”, I have come across yet another major insanity issue: When you start your restore, you get the option to select which files you want to prioritize, so they get restored first. Nice feature. But once it actually starts restoring YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE PRIORITY! If you suddenly need to restore a specific file urgently, there is no way, nothing at all you can do, to get that one back sooner. In fact, when you select that additional file that you need right now, unbelievably it gets tagged on to the END of the line, and will be the very last file to get restored. Given then aforementioned extreeeeemly slow product, it could therefore be days, or weeks, or months before you see that urgent file….
    Right now, the “restore manager” window of Carbonite is proudly proclaiming that it will be able to complete this task for me “in a few days”. It has been running for a week so far, and has managed to complete a whopping 18% of the restore in that time. At this rate, it should be done in about a month and a half…. but considering that Carbonite only keeps your files for 30 days, it looks like they will screw me over yet again by deleting the part of my “backup” that has not yet been restored at the end of 30 days, and if I complain about that additional idiocy, doubtless they will then tell me to “Read the fine print: it’s in the agreement you signed”.

    Bottom line: Do not waste your money on this product. It does not do what it claims to do, it is extremely slow, it is very stupidly designed, and it will not give you back what you thought it had backed up, because it never did actually do a “backup” at all. And if you read the fine print, you’ll find that there really is nothing at all that you can do about it: they totally wash their hands of any responsibility for your data…

  22. Totally agree with the “not as advertised” and that they wash their hands of it. Tonight I went to restore my system after a blue screen, taking it for repairs,at a reputable repair shop, and the data was wiped out and the OS had to be reinstalled. They told me it was good I had cloud backup-WRONG. When I went to restore, I learned that I was no longer an active member. Not only that, they had purged all my data. Nothing left. I received no renewal notices, warnings about a forthcoming complete purge, nothing. I save all my emails just for situations like this. I asked them how on Earth this could happen, especially from a company who claims to sell the peace of mind that supposedly comes with cloud “backup” and there’s no trace of them ever communicating with me that my account was about to expire. I asked them how they can just carelessly let customers’ acounts expire (wouldn’t you think they would care just from a customer retention perspective alone?) I also asked how they could unconscionably purge data without notification. Both of these types of notifications should happen MULTIPLE times, one would think, from a company selling security. They were cold and uncaring, offered no remedy and only an apology when I said they seemed cold and uncaring. I chatted with a supervisor, same result and no attempts whatsoever to keep me as a customer.

  23. Carbonite does not backup anything in the user’s “AppData/LocalLow” directory. I therefore lost two years of mapping work that I created using Google Earth, as Google Earth stores its user files in AppData/LocalLow. Multiple support calls with Carbonite confirm that there is absolutely no way to back up anything in LocalLow. I don’t know what other valuable files might be here, but the only way to save them is to use a different product.

  24. I have been with Carbonite since the mid 2000s. I went into it to retrive some old photos and found that info only goes back to 2011. I wrote and asked what’s up with that. Here is the partial answer:

    Carbonite: Hello Ginger and thank you for contacting Carbonite Customer Care.
    I’m a Technical Support Professional, and I’ll be happy to assist you!
    So long as those files from the year previous to 2011 are on your computer, they would still be in our backup server. If they are not, they have most likely been purged via our data retention policy. My apologies for any uncertainty. Carbonite is intended to be a backup solution rather than a data archiving solution. This means that deleted files would be removed from your backup 30 days after they are deleted, per our retention policy.

    As long as your backed up files remain present on your computer, we’ll keep them backed up for the entire duration of your active subscription.

    Me: That is their answer. So all those photos that I had placed on Carbonite are purged. The documents don’t necessarily matter but the photos do. I paid their yearly subscriptions for over 5 years for nothing. I ask what determined that all my files were purged in 2011. Haven’t heard back.

    So, if you don’t keep the data on your computer, they will be purged. Too bad; so sad.

  25. Carbonite’s pitch is that your backup would be simple, automatic, don’t-have-to-think-about-it. I have found out, however, that if for some reason your files aren’t backed up, Carbonite won’t alert you for 14 days! Yes, that means you could get hit with ransomware today and find out none of the work, photos, whatever you’ve done over the past 2 weeks could be recovered. That’s insane. I want to be notified if even ONE DAY of files did not back up.

    Carbonite told me there’s no option or setting to change this. They said if I’m concerned, I should log in and check every day to make sure my files are backed up. Unbelievable.

    We are all so busy, we do not need one more thing to remember or log into EVERY DAY. The whole point of automatic online back up is to have peace of mind and to put it out of your mind. If I have to worry about this and log in every day, I might as well do a manual backup.

    This is complete mission failure, in my view.

  26. Carbonite is ending support for the Mirror Image feature on October 15, 2018. Starting October 16, 2017, Carbonite will remove the Mirror Image feature from Plus and Prime accounts on a rolling basis, upon renewal. Mirror Image will be removed from all remaining accounts on the end-of-support date of October 15, 2018.

    I would invite users to share their feedback about this decision with Carbonite. Personally, I have had to use Mirror Image to recover a crashed HD – and it worked fine. Despite what Carbonite says, terminating it appears to be a play to get more money – even if we have pre-paid for a subscription (that includes this service) well beyond October 2018. While the T&C’s may technically allow them to do this, and while it’s good they have given plenty of advanced notice, it is nevertheless ammo to consider other backup services.

    1. And by the way, while you can recover an entire crashed HD over the WAN – that’s just it – it’s over the WAN (i.e. LONG restore time). With Mirror Image, you can rebuild the HD locally, then use the incremental in the cloud to “catch up”. Mirror Image is a useful feature. Too bad Carbonite is eliminating it.

  27. I am very unhappy with Carbonite, and even moreso with the local yokel computer repairman, Husky Logic, here on Grand Island, NY, who got me into this. Its very simple. When my computer broke down, Carbonite had only backed up 7gb of the over 300 gb of lost data. I would have lost practically everything were it not for another resource in place.

  28. I am very unhappy with Carbonite.
    I have a personal laptop and external drIve backed up.
    The external drive ‘died’. I hadn’t used the laptop for a while. Got the ‘we are going to delete all files as you’ve not synced for 30 days’ message. I confirmed not to delete. No reply. Two web mail requests. No reply. Tweet. No reply. Called. Can’t help until someone can log in to my laptop.
    Carbonite has deleted every single digital file and photo I have saved for about 20 years (old docs were scanned on a while ago).
    No photos of family members who have passed away. Nothing left.
    I am devastated.
    That 30 day policy is a huge risk for users.
    What if you go on holidays? Get really sick for a while. Have an emergency etc and don’t think to log in your computer for 30 days. Call call your backup provider due to all the other priorities in life at that point in time?
    Too bad.

    1. I uninstall Carbonite during periods where I was unable to meet all the stringent 30 day requirements. I left Carbonite uninstalled for 1 yr., then reinstalled and all the data was still present. It seems that if you don’t have Carbonite installed, Carbonite is not able to verify any disconnections, syncing or other conditions that would violate the 30 day rule. At least, that is my guess. BTW… make certain that all the 30 day requirements are met BEFORE you uninstall. And, yes… that is a nuisance.

      Unfortunately, this company is not friendly about the 30 day rule “stuff” like they use to be when I started using them about 10+ yrs. ago.

  29. Carbonite

    Customer since 2009, in 8 years, I never had any worries, except the day I lost my data and wished, normally recovering object of the service paid for 8 years.

    This is where you really discover an inefficient backup service and incompetent customer service.

    I spend the 4 nights (jet lag obliges) with the technical service:
    – Restoring my 300GB to 60-100KB / s, more than a month to restore => convoluted response from customer service but it’s like that for everyone,
    – Impossibility to access data because I use special characters (é, è, …), incredible in France => Customer service response it is not normal to archive files with special characters,
    – Old files are restored more than one year => Answer, you save files that do not need: exe, dll, … I have some tools but to say that a backup service does not work well by saving unsupported file formats,
    – More than 3700 files randomly distributed in directories have not been restored, I ask the customer service how to do, and they tell me to restore them individually by hand from the website,

    I paid 8 years of backup service at home, for one hand not to get my files, have directories full of old files to re-trill and lost evenings with incompetnt technical service

    Just avoid, run away. Hoping you do not make the same mistake as me.


  30. Just testing Carbonite and Backblaze.
    Carbonite is WAY too slow. There is no chance to see your backup speed, but for testing pusposes I deleted a 40 MB file and tried to restore it. 10 Minutes. It took 10 MINUTES to rstore that file…
    The only good thing is that files can be restored to the place where they were saved before. But that’s it. Backblaze is way faster. And cheaper.

  31. Very unprofessional. Our charity has been using Carbonite for years. This is the first time we needed to get our files, as our computer broke. This is Friday, December 29. We have been told we need to wait until January 2 for them to even get started to find out if they even have the files we wanted backed up.

  32. For me (on a Mac), Carbonite was horrible. I tried switching to Carbonite after Crashplan, which I’d used for years, discontinued their “for home” offering (and Crashplan actually suggested Carbonite). The backup is very slow — it struggled for two weeks and never quite finished backing up the last 20GB of files, although I have a decent (10Mbps upload) connection at home and a very fast one (>100Mbps upload) at work. What was a deal-breaker for me, though, was that the Carbonite upload daemon was using 90-100% of one of my CPU cores *at all times*. Their support told me that this was normal (!!) and would continue even after the initial backup. They suggested the problem was that my 2016 Macbook Pro was not powerful enough because it only had 2 cores (although they had assured me that Carbonite anyway can only use a single core!). Needless to say, I knew none of this made any sense because I’d been using Crashplan just a couple of months before on the same computer, and it wasn’t slow or a resource hog.

    So I don’t know, maybe Carbonite is better on Windows. Or maybe there is an issue with my computer that their support failed to find. But in any case, this wasn’t OK for me. If anyone else has the same problem, the alternative I found is Backblaze; I’ve been using it for just 5 days and it’s already a much better experience (it just finished backing up all 200GB of my files, which Carbonite was struggling for weeks with).

    1. Carbonite on mac uses 1 core, it is what’s referred to as “single threaded”. (at least the old version, 1.x)

      What can become complicated is that MacOS uses its software to distribute the load across the CPU, and the resource monitor uses 100% usage to indicate that all of one core is being used up.

      If you had 8 cores, you could see a program that is “multi-threaded” use 800% in theory. I don’t understand why Apple chooses to display it this way because I consider that confusing.

      In any case, the speed of your CPU, aka “Clock speed” matters way more to single threaded processes than having multiple cores does. Unfortunately, laptops, because they are laptops, do not have high clock speeds in their CPU, because they aren’t expected to run CPU intensive tasks, or assume that anything you run will be multi-threaded, which isn’t always the case. A backup is always going to be an intensive task that you are asking your computer to do.

      This is especially apparent on older apple computers with old Core2Duo cpus who have enormous backups (>200GB) but don’t leave their computer on long enough and then the backup doesn’t complete in a timely manner. Maybe backblaze is multi-threaded, but I have no idea about that.

  33. Carbonite’s unlimited data storage is NOT UNLIMITED. At least, it is not in practical terms.

    What Carbonite does is created “check files” (for lack of a better phrase) that are intended to get larger the more data you upload (…within a short period of time). Once you hit anywhere from 1.5T to 3T of data you will see data uploads go to a crawl then fail (…especially if you attempt to upload that within the first few weeks or month – but, this is not the case if you upload over many years).

    The reason data uploads fail (or slow) is because Carbonite “check files” are created and enlarged every hour-ish (once you hit about 1.0T). And, the “check files” alone will take an hour to upload. At which point, a larger “check file” is recreated – again. In essence, you get caught in an endless loop with no data being uploaded because of too large “check files” (…which are hidden files/directories no less).
    – Note: These “check files” also get smaller over an extended time if you stop/slow uploading data for storage.

    How much data you can upload depends upon the speed of your data service provider. Therefore, Carbonite can claim it is your service provider that is limiting the upload rather than the fact that Carbonite is intentionally creating too large of “check files” for uploads to be completed.

    Overall, Carbonite is a good relatively expensive data storage provider so long as you do not actually use storage beyond a scope they see as reasonable… and … you have a fast internet service provider. My estimates is that Carbonite runs at 40%-60% of your service providers upload speed. And, you simply can not upload large amounts of data initially but will require years to get data saved once you hit the 1.5T – 3.0T data amount range.

    Bottom line, until the term “unlimited” actually means unlimited … there are better (less expensive) options for cloud storage.

    1. 1.5-3TB is excessive, and is outside of the original scope of what the software was designed to handle (20-200GB)

      There are other factors such as:
      1. How fast is your CPU/RAM/Hard Drive
      2. How long are you leaving the machine on for and how many files have changed since the last interval
      3. Is this 3TB of 20 files or 3TB AND 3 million files? If it’s the former, it should be fairly fast on recent (<5 years) hardware, if it's the latter, it will not run great, period.

      Like, this is one of the reasons why Carbonite doesn't back up stuff like temporary or system files, because it just adds more and more stuff to the database that it needs to double check and making sure it's backing up correctly.

      tl;dr: you have a backup that falls within something like the top 0.01% of backup sizes for that product leve.

  34. In my experience Carbonite gets bogged down with the uploading of data, to the point the number of files for backup only increases. When the list is auto refreshed, all c:\ drive files get priority, so files on my 2nd HDD will never be backed up. Interested to read Joe’s explanation of this issue, as Carbonite don’t admit any link on their part to a slow backup speed. After 5 days of only backing up 14Mb of data I tried iDrive and uploaded 700Gb of data in 5 days, same internet connection.
    It also show a Status of “All Your Files are Safely Backed Up” but look in Settings and it told me 12,000 files are waiting to be backed up – and the programme has been idle for 45 minutes.
    If you have very limited data to backup it may work but an unlimited backup that is this slow, is not capable of delivering it’s promise. I would strongly recommend looking elsewhere for a provider.

  35. The Carbonite program is a memory/CPU hog. The only reasonable way to use it is to delay backups until after midnight. Otherwise, your computer slows to a crawl and becomes essentially unusable.
    I have had to use the recovery service only once, thankfully. To restore my approximately 1 TB of data, their system had to transmit for weeks. If you have a spare computer, you should recover to that one and reload what you need to get your primary computer functional again.
    To recover a single file that has been corrupted is an impossible task. If you have 30,000 to 40,000 files backed up, you have to manually scroll through the list of all files in order to find the one you are looking for. And page refresh is agonizingly slow. I used that feature once and never went back.
    Carbonite serves a valuable function in the event your house burns down and everything is lost. Otherwise, it’s faster and cheaper to archive to a 2-TB or 3-TB backup hard drive connected to your computer.
    Carbonite renews your service automatically, but they don’t tell you that they have raised the price. Their promotional material, including the advertisements on this site as I write this, still claims to offer service at $5.00 per month (I originally paid $59.99 per year). My renewal for “basic” service was billed at $71.99. That’s a shady business practice in my opinion.
    Once my current subscription expires, I will be on the hunt for something better.

  36. I was on an auto-renew for Carbonite every two years for a home plan. 120 days into my second two year plan, Carbonite stopped offering mobile back-up. When I called to request a partial refund on my last two years to stop service early and switch to Idrive, I was told that Carbonite Mobile was a free service and was not what I was paying for. I explained that the combination of mobile back-up and computer back-up is what drew me to use Carbonite over its competitors to begin with. They refused to offer the refund, saying I was beyond the 30 day refund period. I explained that the decision to cancel mobile back-up was made 120 days after my last payment, so how could I have cancelled on time? They didn’t seem to care. Nice company – holding my data hostage to collect another year of payments. Would never recommend to anyone.

  37. I thought Carbonite was backing up all of my files. According to tech support, it wasn’t backing up any of them. Details below.

    I have been using Carbonite for several years. From time to time, I got an email telling me that there are vast numbers of files backed up. I had never received a notice about any problems.

    If you’ve used Carbonite, you know that there’s an icon to indicate when a backup is pending. I’ve noticed many files “pending”. But hey, there were lots of green icons for “backed up”.

    Anyhow, one day, Windows notified me that my hard drive was dying. “No problem” I thought. I’ll just log into my Carbonite account and download onto a new hard drive. This is when the surprises began.

    It turns out, there were tens of thousands of files “pending”–including several years of family photos. I called tech support. First, they told me it was bandwidth. After this was ruled out, they changed the story. According to tech support, my account only backs up the C: drive.

    So, if you happen to use an SSD for program files and a standard HD for data, guess what? None of your data will be backed up.

    I asked why the files showed as “pending” if they were never going to be backed up. Apparently, my software was out of date. But, I had never been asked or told to update it.

    Curiously, the FAQ page on the Carbonite sales page says the most basic account will back up “all the files on one PC”. When challenged on this point, tech support sent me to a link somewhere else on the site that states that only one hard drive will be backed up, and that non-compliant users will be notified that they need to change (I was never notified).

    I don’t want to suggest that you can’t back up your files with Carbonite. But if you do, you’d better keep a really close eye on them, forever. (I did keep a close eye on mine in the beginning. But, it seemed like a waste of time after a while.) For me, this defeats the purpose of a “set it and forget it” backup. And, I can’t help but feel mislead by the website.

  38. Found out today – almost by accident – that Carbonite is discontinuing their hard drive back up service. Obviously, they have a right to do that. The “but” is that I asked for a credit or refund for the remaining months that we prepaid (i.e. May of 2019 for my wife and November of 2019 for me) and yep they have refused to provide a credit or refund. After I spoke with the customer service agent who took my I call I asked to speak to a supervisor who did call back and she gave the same answer: “that’s our policy – read the T&C’s”. Would love to have an in person w/ someone in the “C” suite. What kind of company is this?

    1. Thanks for the note, Jeff. We’ll look into that and update the article.

    2. According to the Carbonite website, external drive backup is still supported. Carbonite support also denied the company was dropping it.

      1. The user is confused. They’re dropping Mirror Image. They’re not dropping external hard drive backup.

  39. Purchased a couple of years ago for my Mac
    Warning Warning Warning
    It would not update, so I got another program for backup. But I cannot open the preference panel to uninstall the program.
    So when I’m working in any other program, The RENEW CARBONITE window pops up and takes over. What ever I am typing just goes away. I have to click on the program I am using to continue typing. VERY ANNOYING
    Not good for students, businesses, or people who type a lot.
    I have watched their videos and looked at their webpages but I cannot delete the program.

  40. Long-time Carbonite user (silly me!), and after upgrading to a new notebook, I just discovered yet another huge failure with this product: It modifies your Windows Power Plan without telling you, so that your notebook will NEVER sleep. I found a hidden article on their website, which says: “the installer automatically changes the power settings of your Windows computer for the initial backup so that your computer remains on when the computer is plugged into a power source.” That’s not true. it changed it so that it will not sleep, EVER, regardless of whether it is running on power or on battery. Which caused the computer to wake up and carry on running when it was inside my backpack! I shut the lid, since I had Windows set to put the computer into sleep mode when I close do that: the computer appeared to go to sleep (the screen went black, hard disk stopped), I put it in the backpack, but it then “woke up” again, and carried on running, inside the backpack! Thus overheating wildly, before thermal protection kicked in and shut it down. Fortunately! If not, Carbonite would be buying me a new computer round about now… I noticed that the backpack was getting very warm, so opened it to find an inferno inside the Notebook compartment. After the computer cooled down, I started it up again, and eventually found the problem: Carbonite’s hidden setting that cannot be changed, and prevents the computer from actually sleeping, even when it seems to be.

    The article also says: “After the initial backup is complete, Carbonite will automatically change the power settings of your computer back to the way they were.” That is also not true! Even after the initial backup had completed (which took about three MONTHS! Yes, months….), Carbonite did not change the settings back again: they are still there. There is a profile on my computer now, called “Carbonite Backup” that cannot be deleted, and cannot be de-selected, or changed. Every time I select either the “Balanced” or ” High performance” profiles, it immediately changes back to “Carbonite” as soon as I take the focus off that setting window to another window. There is no setting in the Registry that can fix this, there is no method for removing that prfile, or even for adjusting it: whatever changes I make to that profile (such as telling it to ALWAYS sleep when the lid is closed) are totally ignored, and the computer refuses to sleep. I have tried everything, including contacting Carbonite support, but they don’t even bother acknowledging my e-mails: I assume because they know it is broken and don’t know how to fix it!


    It does not work as advertised, or as claimed by the manufacturer.

    Caveat Emptor.

  41. Hi all,
    When Carbonite discontinued their mirroring back-up, I cancelled my many years’ subscription with a year of service remaining. Carbonite refused to refund the prepaid year. So not only did they change the services I paid for, they refused to refund the payment for the mirroring service I pay for. I strongly discourage anyone from using Carbonite.

  42. Just testing Carbonite and Backblaze.
    Carbonite is WAY too slow. There is no chance to see your backup speed, but for testing pusposes I deleted a 40 MB file and tried to restore it. 10 Minutes. It took 10 MINUTES to rstore that file…
    The only good thing is that files can be restored to the place where they were saved before. But that’s it. Backblaze is way faster. And cheaper.

  43. Carbonite Warning!!
    It took me 3 months to backup my 1Tb external drie on carbonite running it sometime 24hrs a day. What wasnt explained – until it happened- was that… one day I plugged in my external drive and the computer without my knowledge assigned it a different drive letter. I discovered this some 2 hours later and manually changed it back. However the complete backup I had made (taking 3 months!) had disappeared!! So be warned, when it works the interface etc are nice. It is slow! If your computer assigns your external drive a different letter – even temporarily- the previous backup of that drive will be LOST. It doenst keep it for the stated 30 days! Its gone! Not suitable for business travellers using an external drive where sometimes random drive letters are assigned to external drives when the computer if started.

  44. Carbonite is super slow… like 2-3 day behind. So if I have a hard drive fail… I will loose 2-3 days of work!!

  45. I just got off the phone after a SUPER frustrating conversation with Carbonite. Here I am, a year after purchasing a subscription, and my hard drive is still not backed up. I don’t leave my computer on 24/7, but it is on all day and into the evening, and I still am not backed up. They wouldn’t refund me for the year either.

  46. I have used Mozy Backup for many years. It was a very good product. Today I have been forced to switch to Carbonite. Carbonite can’t backup the “ProgramData” folder of my Windows 7 system. Carbonite is completey useless for me.

  47. AVOID CARBONITE AT ALL COSTS!!! Over the past month, I have had the worst customer service experience with Carbonite via Mozy, which they own. Earlier this year, I noticed Mozy returning a “red dot” on my Mac, but when I clicked “backup now” it would appear to be running a backup, so I figured it was just because my computer was not always connected to the internet. In May, I received a notification that all users would be migrated to Carbonite “over the next several months.” I never received ANY additional message from Carbonite, and backups were saying the last successful one was in May! Finally in November I decided to take action. I emailed support about the fact that I had not been able to backup for several months, and their response was that this error was a known issue and “we do not yet have an estimated time as to when the update will come out with this fix,” but that if they ever found a solution, they would email me! 😀 Amazing! When I responded that this was unacceptable since it meant the ONLY feature of the software was disabled, they said they “placed you on the list to be migrated to Carbonite”. (Wasn’t I already on that list, as of May?) The resulting email from Carbonite said that in 30 days my software would be automatically updated. I asked if it could be done sooner and was told that no, I had to wait 30 more days to have a backup. Guess what? After 30 days, NOTHING HAPPENED. I reached out to both Mozy AND Carbonite support this time. Carbonite support never responded, except to say they received my request. Mozy support said “it should be all set and running for you soon”. That was the last straw. I set up Backblaze, uninstalled Mozy, and in less than 24 hours ALL of my files were backed up, almost like they’re supposed to be! Now, when I reached out to Mozy to request a refund, I was told “the most recent renewal is outside of our refund policy”, despite the fact that I purchased two years of service for $209.79 on December 29, 2017 and received just under 5 months of backups during that time. All I can say is… steer clear!! Backblaze is a great (and less expensive!) alternative and seems to be doing a fantastic job!

  48. Carbonite is the worst piece of crap ever. I have had to uninstall and reinstall countless times. Anything that goes wrong, that is the solution they give you. It f***ing takes forever. Now I can’t even get it to reinstall. Waste of my time and money, I really miss CrashPlan except they were the idiots that recommended Carbonite 🙁

  49. I’ve been a Carbonite reseller for several years. I’m now moving away from Carbonite after a client experienced an issue with the program on several Windows 10 computers. Downloaded files, and files saved locally from email attachments, were not getting automatically backed up. These same files couldn’t be manually added to the backup as the Carbonite context menu was missing on these files And that is the only way to manually add files to the backup.
    Carbonite was unable to resolve the issue.

    1. If the context menu was missing from these files, likely they were getting marked as “system” or “temporary” files, which Carbonite hard-ignores. You’ll have to clear the flag from the files to get carbonite to see them, or stop using whatever program you’re using to download attachments that’s marking this as those file attributes.

  50. I have been using Carbonite for a few years. One thing that has always aggravated me; it doesn’t back up videos….or didn’t. Now I see they do 1 TB of back up; easily enough to back up all my videos, but they have never informed me of this. So can I back up my videos now? I’ve tried to contact them, and all I get is a plethora of articles. I’m not a college professor, so just for the fact that they are so unhelpful, I’m off. I feel very put out by them….Grrrr!

  51. Just off the telephone with their customer service department. If I could send them a survey of how I was handled by Tushi and Stephen F. it would be an “F”. I cancelled my account several years ago and just discovered they were still billing me for an unused account. They could see that I was billed for an unused account and wanted me to tell them the account number on the old credit card used. Bottom line is they would not refund my money. DO NOT USE THEM. THEY ARE NOT A REPUTABLE COMPANY. THEIR PLAN IS TO MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO REFUND MONEY WHEN THEY MAKE A MISTAKE.

  52. Not recommended! If you have OneDrive files in your backup list it will just hang. They don’t publicise this or give any online help on the matter but will own up to it if you take the time to call customer support.

  53. I used to love the IDEA of carbonite. Now that I’m in a customer relations nightmare with them…not so much. They auto charged me from an account I set up SIX years ago. I did not want it now, and they gave me no advance notice of the charge. Because I am moving none of my information is the same so they are even sending emails to old accounts. Their service people are sending me obtuse unproductive emails to my phone without giving me the refund I have been asking for. Because I’m in the middle of moving I do not have the credit card receipt to fight the charge that way. Carbonite has negated 6 years of happy service with this piss poor handling of my customer service needs.

  54. I am an unwilling migratee from MozyHome.

    I have one pc with 2 internal drives. Carbonite thinks that’s 2 computers and that I need a business account. Carbonite does not offer a local backup.

    Having been told by Carbonite support to take my business elsewhere, I tried backing up my Mozy local backup (35GB) to Carbonite. Not only did it take 8 days, it turned out that the Carbonite backup was missing 2,000 files and 0.2GB of data were missing, despite its software saying the backup was complete.

    So no local backup, and an online backup that cannot be relied on.

      1. Been using Carbonite for 10 years on my MacBook Air. Recently upgraded my Mac and did a restore to it. While it took a couple of days to restore, everything went smooth. Thanks Carbonite – I highly recommend it.

  55. I was forced onto Carbonite after Crashplan shut down, but I was willing to give it a shot. The #1 problem for me is that it’s too aggressive, backing up files while I’m using them! Crashplan had an option for this and Carbonite’s VSS is supposed to prevent it, but it doesn’t relly work. It’s screwed me up many times. For example, I’ll be working on a report in Word, go to save, and get an error that the file is in use elsewhere (stupid Carbonite!!). What finally made me write this comment is that I created a folder, added some things to it, and then went back to rename the folder, only to get an error that it’s in use (stupid Carbonite is already backing it up!). This happens all the time. It’s gotten to the point where I’m constantly strategizing how long to turn off Carbonite, which sort-of defeats the purpose. It interupts my productivity, sucks up bandwidth, and frankly, I’ve only used it once or twice to find a previous version of a file. That was nice, but I’m not sure it’s worth all the disruption (plus the annual cost). Before paying another year, I try out the old external drive and DVDs again.

  56. I was with Mozy server backup which was sold to Carbonite. For many years, I never had a problem with Mozy and they are tech support was open 24/7. With Carbonite, I continually have errors. I just got another one and found that their business server tech support is closed!

  57. I have Carbonite and just had a drive fail on me. I started the restore process through the software, which finds all my files, but the download speed is 1mbps or less.
    Carbonite says they take full advantage of your internet speed. I have the fastest connection from Comcast, with speeds between 200 and 400 mbps.

    So I opted for the courier drive solution. When requesting that, they don’t tell you to uninstall Carbonite from your computer, but you need to do that. I found out after I waited three days for a tracking number and called to see what was going on.

    On the restore drive they sent was all my files, but there was a fairly major problem. When downloading the files, Carbonite preserves the save and creation dates, but on the restore drive, all files will have a creation and saved date of when they were written to the drive. So when you have, say 750 GB of files (like I do) spanning about 20 years (like I do) none of them will have the proper save date.

    That is unacceptable. I found a program called “file date corrector” that mines date data from the meta tags inside files… if they have them. That’s one solution, but misses a lot of files.

    So now I’m downloading it all again… 1 mbps. I also bought an NAS with RAID drives, and I will find a different cloud backup solution as soon as I get my data back… in about three weeks.

  58. Relying on metadata, which windows often loses anyways, is not a good way to keep track of your files, and really isn’t what file metadata was meant for. It was meant for at a glance checking the modification/creation date on files, you should be employing a good organized file structure instead.

    You’re giving a bad review to carbonite for how windows works, which is unfair.

  59. I don’t care a thing about ‘ease’ of use. What I do care about is security of my back and ease of restoring lost files and Carbonite gets an F in that regard. Many years of using Carbonite and the one time I need them they fail! I used my file a week ago and it is lost forever. Backup my a**. Crummy a** way of doing business. Even they could not find it!!! From now on I do my own multiple backups from my desk to a hard drive right here. Then I will know where the files are!!

  60. After years of paying for Carbonite, the 2nd time I needed the backup – when I upgraded my computer – all of the data did not appear. It lost a portion of my data. I called the company, asked for tech support. They were unable to help. I cancelled my subscription. To date — more than 2 months later, I am receiving daily pop-ups on my screen saying “there’s a problem with your Carbonite.” So, I called and cancelled again — five days ago. The popups and email have not stopped. I do not recommend this service. I wasted hundreds of dollars, then when I needed my data, Carbonite could not recover it.

  61. Early impressions. On Carbonite’s recommendation we purchased an annual subscription to Safe Core to backup our small office NAS device. The user interface is terrible for this type of use, one has to select each folder individually. The backup stalled several times, and the “solution” was to uninstall and reinstall the software. The first “complete” backup (about 80 GB) took 5 full days, on a fast broadband connection. Now that it finally completed, I find that about half of the selected folders didn’t back up, though the local program indicates that they were. This service is a clown show, and if you are planning to use it for what we did, don’t.

  62. Terrible program. Subscribed in October of 2019. As of June 30, 2020 it has still not completed the backup of my files. In fact, it hasn’t even started on two of the drives. The SSD is 500GB, and the other internal magnetic drive is 1TB. So in eight months, it hasn’t been able to update 1.5TB of files. Then I have two much larger drives attached to this machine too.

    Now Carbonite has started using 100% CPU all the time.

    I have cancelled my account. Too bad I’m not getting the money back for the remaining months, or really for the whole thing since apparently it’s a useless pile of trash.

  63. Very slow to download your files.
    They always interop you when you are working in something else.
    Their cancellation policy is awful.
    Cannot cancel my subscription. This is terrible.
    I will have to delete them with my American Express card.

  64. I was on the support phone for 1 1/2 hours today trying to help a friend resolve a problem. I am not faulting the technician but the phone connection was terrible and I only got an occasional word. I realize the techs are working from home due to the pandemic but I think the company has provided a terrible audio connection. By the way, I talked to two techs and both connections were just as bad. I just gave up on the first one. The second tech was very helpful but the overall experience was very irritating. I have been a Carbonite customer myself for many years and was quite disappointed. My friend’s subscription is up in two weeks and I don’t think he is going to renew.

  65. I am most frustrated with Caronite and the manner in which they make it possible to restore files. The plan I have is Carbonite Safe Prime – One Year. I was happy to find that the files that I needed to recover were there and appeared to be in good order but recovering those files has been the most awkward and frustrating computer experience ever. I was limited to how many files could be recovered at a time then in the middle of a restore I was timed out and yes, it was very slow. Will be looking for a more efficient program that will not only backup efficiently but restore efficiently as well.

  66. Bad Customer Service
    Last year on November 15 I received email that my CC is expired and needed to update my CC for uninterrupted service. I went ahead and changed my CC. On November 18 of last year Carbonite charged to my both CC. I didn’t notice until now when I sat down to do my taxes that they have charged me twice. On September 1 of this year I went on Carbonite website and initiated chat session. I checked box to email my chat transcript. I had chat with person name Harrison. My case # 0598067. I asked my over payment should be refunded. Harrison tried to convince me to leave my over payment as is and turned off my auto debit so won’t get charged again. Since I was already charged twice last year, I don’t trust them so I repeatedly asked for the refund. He wrote back someone from the refund department will contact me within 2 – 3 days. I have not received call and I also did not receive transcript in my email. Don’t trust this compnay.

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