Inevitably, it happens to all of us – we spill water all over our laptop, the cat pushes it off the desk, a virus eats away the memory. Sooner or later, your computer will have a meltdown.  My first computer meltdown happened in 2004.  I lost all my music and photographs, which was so sad.  Did I learn my lesson?  No.  I kept plodding along, hoping that my computer wouldn’t fry again.


Last month, I was g-chatting with my Dad when he said, “If you hadn’t backed up your computer, now would be a good time to do it.”  I took one look at my desktop and knew he was right – in addition to the personal things on my computer, I had my entire Operation Beautiful book just waiting to be eaten by a virus.


Introducing…. Carbonite!

Carbonite installs a small software program on your computer that works quietly in the background looking for new and changed files to back up. A green dot appears next to each file as it is backed up.  Orange dots mean the Carbonite system is going to back it up ASAP.


Carbonite is a little pricey – $55 a year – but I installed it and THAT WAS IT.  It automatically backs up my computer (and stores it online so I can access my data from anywhere).  Peace of mind is totally worth $55 to me.


I’ve been using Carbonite for 3 weeks, and I HIGHLY recommend it. 


Do you back up your computer?  How?  Got a great computer meltdown story to share?  Maybe your woes will motivate someone else to back up their data!



  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 2, 2009, 3:22 pm

    That’s a pretty good deal. I don’t back up my computer. I’m terrible.

  • Stacey November 2, 2009, 3:25 pm

    I, too, sadly had my computer breakdown one day out of NOWHERE and lose EVERYTHING! Photos, music, important documents just basically everything. Things that are important I keep a hard-copy of now, it’s a little tedious, but I can’t afford the extra $$$ to spend!

  • natalie November 2, 2009, 3:27 pm

    We have a mac and a back system with it. It backs up our data every time we are on the computer. It was expensive but WAY worth it. Before I had a mac, my entire computer froze and then blew up and I lost everything. That is sad stuff!! I’m so glad we have a back up!!

  • Danielle November 2, 2009, 3:30 pm

    Thank you for the reminder Caitlin! I’m going to do this tonight when I get home. If i lost all my pictures I would be devastated!

  • Ryan @ Greens for Good November 2, 2009, 3:31 pm

    I have both of my laptops backed up on an external hard drive using Mac’s backup program called Time Machine. It sounds similar to Carbonite, works quietly in the background whenever I connect to my hard drive, and reminds me when I haven’t backed up in a few days. Total peace of mind!

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) November 2, 2009, 3:34 pm

    My hard drive freaked out last year when I installed a new operating system on it. We tried every trick in the book to rescue it but it wouldn’t budge. It kept saying my password was wrong when I only had 1 password EVER to unlock my computer. Plus I had the Firevault turned on, which is this super duper protective thing that the Apple store guy said ‘even Nasa engineers can’t crack it open.’ I thought I lost everything! Then I went to the Apple store Genius Bar and the man fixed it up. I think it was top secret what he did because he had to go the back of the store haha.

    I went out IMMEDIATELY and bought a portable hard drive and back up my computer often now. I will never make that mistake again. EVERYONE should back up their computer. It’s worth it.

  • Mellissa November 2, 2009, 3:35 pm

    Please, please, please back up your computers! You can get a portable harddrive for under $100. I lost a big chunk of my MBA thesis, I nearly had a nervous breakdown! Thank goodness I had backed it up just a few days before and only ended up loosing 10 pages.

  • Leah @ L4L November 2, 2009, 3:38 pm

    My laptop was on the verge of crapping out earlier this year. It wouldn’t always start. I had to try multiple things to get it going. It was acting funny. One day, my BF was like, use my external harddrive to back up your stuff. I kept putting it off. Eventually, it got to the point where my laptop just wouldn’t turn on! I agonized over it for a week. Finally took it into best buy, bought a new RAM that literally lasted for an hour before it fried too. Luckily, in that hour that my computer was on, I had transferred everything over to the external harddrive. Thank god.

  • Amy (One Thousand Steps) November 2, 2009, 3:43 pm

    This reminds me of that Sex and the City episode when Carrie’s computer crashes and everyone keeps telling her she should have backed up her work – makes me laugh just thinking of it. 🙂

  • Julie November 2, 2009, 3:55 pm

    Wow I really like that, I might have to look into it at some point. I do have an external hard drive but hardly ever back my stuff up. Kind of stupid.

  • Chloe (Naturally Frugal) November 2, 2009, 4:00 pm

    So is it a program on your computer that is also linked to an outside source like the internet? What happens if your computer gets so badly damaged that it won’t turn on?

    • Caitlin November 2, 2009, 4:00 pm

      then you can use any computer to access your account and restore all your files to your new computer! its AWESOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMME.

  • Diana November 2, 2009, 4:14 pm

    That sounds interesting! Never heard of it, thanks for the heads-up!
    I do try to back up my stuff, not as often as I should. I have several external harddrives 🙂

  • mayct November 2, 2009, 4:24 pm

    I use, which is great. Just had to restore my files to a new computer and it worked like a charm. I think it is a service very similar to the one you just got. We also do a secondary backup to the apple ‘time machine.’

  • Katy @ These Beautiful Feet November 2, 2009, 4:28 pm

    Adam and I just bought an external hard drive! I had my computer crash on me last year and was so upset, only the third time it’s happened. One of our computers my senior year of HS, was ruined when our house flooded one weekend while we were out of town. Lost videos, pictures..stinks! If you all haven’t backed up..DO IT! 🙂

  • Becka @Studio222 Photography November 2, 2009, 5:21 pm

    We are all Apple so we have no worries of viruses and we use Time Machine (an apple program) that automatically backs up our computer to an external hard drive every 24 hours. LOVE IT.

  • Manda November 2, 2009, 5:23 pm

    good reminder! my moms computer was giving her signals of dying a couple weeks ago, so she backed up all her important files, thinking she would be ok. well the computer died, and she opted to buy a new one and just ‘dispose’ of the old one (i had told her to keep at least the hard drive, but she just told best buy to dispose of it). well when she went to restore her ‘files’ she had really only saved a copy of the applications word and excel. she is devastated. she also didn’t know that your email client (outlook express or entourage for example) saves your emails to your computer hard drive, not the web, so she lost all her important emails and addresses as well. its a great reminder to really know where all your important info is saved.

  • Stephanie November 2, 2009, 5:44 pm

    It is important to note that while this is a good first step, the best thing to do is to back up to an external hard drive.
    I have personal experience with computers crapping out, losing data, spending lots of money to try to recover the data.. and repeat!
    My husband (a programmer) has told me that while the transport of data is encrypted, the storage is most likely not encrypted, so it is only partially safe.
    As well as.. a federal court ruled last week that data stored on third party party servers is NOT under the protection of privacy. It can only be protected if its on your own personal computer/hard drive.
    ..Now I am going to go do a backup 😉

  • Melissa S. November 2, 2009, 6:06 pm

    that’s a good idea. i have a backup hard drive that i use to make sure everything doesn’t go poof! and i make sure to store all my pictures on an online account on snapfish.

  • Carrie H November 2, 2009, 6:24 pm

    Okay, now check this out:
    The debate is never gonna end, I guess. This person stopped to go to a deli, though it was for a banana, she said … At least the NYT printed the other side, though not on page 1.

  • Lee November 2, 2009, 6:43 pm

    It happened to me right after college and I lost everything.

    I have a really old Imac now that I don’t really use but it has a ton of music and pictures on it. I really need to back it all up.

  • Jenna November 2, 2009, 7:02 pm

    great idea!

  • Lex November 2, 2009, 7:04 pm

    The joys of living with a techhie bf is having oodles of space on backup servers.
    We have a whole bedroom dedicated to his servers… It’s called manland! 🙂 hehe

    Shamefully I do not backup my photos as often as I should :S

  • kilax November 2, 2009, 7:22 pm

    I back up to an external harddrive, and have been for about 5 years. I have prevented losing anything by doing this! I bought one for my sis, for the same reason, but she didn’t used it, and when her comp crashed she lost files. Duh. Sigh 🙂

  • Madeline @ GreensAndJeans November 2, 2009, 7:46 pm

    I have an external hard drive, but only because I have had the unfortunate experience of my hard drive crashing and losing everything!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 2, 2009, 7:59 pm

    A good chunk of my stuff is on the network hard-drive. But I also have a thumb drive for many other files. I need to get a portable hard-drive for the other stuff.

  • abby November 2, 2009, 9:46 pm

    BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER!!!! I was a senior in college, finishing my senior thesis, it was 4 weeks before I graduated and something happened to my computer…I had to wipe the whole thing and re-install everything. Luckily I received a LaCie external hard drive for xmas, and everything was all nicely backed up (it does it automatically via time machine on mac) . Without this, I would have lost my art portfolio (which landed me a job), my senior thesis, thousands of irreplaceable photos and my sanity.

  • Jolene ( November 2, 2009, 10:02 pm

    Oh no – I really need to do this. I totally have never backed up my computer!! Scary!! I will ask my hubby ASAP to help me do that.

  • Angie (Losing It and Loving It) November 2, 2009, 10:03 pm

    We back all of our computers up every night. I use Mozy for my main business computer and we use Windows Live One Care for the personal ones. So important!

  • Jacqueline November 2, 2009, 11:16 pm

    My husband installed Carbonite about 2 years ago and we absolutely love it. I have tons of pictures & music I can’t live without. I would recommend it to anyone, $55 is totally worth my sanity!

  • Nicole November 3, 2009, 2:54 am

    It is so funny that you brought this up yesterday because I went out and bought an external hard drive (1Tb) for both my computers yesterday! Same wavelength, I guess :). Yeah, I finally broke down and did it, and I am so glad that I did! My family had been bugging me about it too! I don’t know what I would do if I lost all of my race pics and travels of Europe!

  • megan November 3, 2009, 9:14 am

    I just bought an external hard drive over the weekend! 🙂

    Also, this made me laugh because Glenn Beck says the same thing about Carbonite – he’s always promoting it. I personally really like Glenn Beck, but it made me smile because I’m guessing from some previous “political” things you said that you are not a fan? Anyway – good advice! 🙂

    • Caitlin November 3, 2009, 9:15 am

      naw, me and Glenn probably wouldnt get along LOL

  • Angi November 3, 2009, 11:13 am

    I’m a computer geek, and yet, I don’t backup my computer. I have a 500 gigabyte drive that I can physically backup to – but I don’t. (However, one of my customers had fried his entire computer by installing a bad copy of Norton Systemworks. I couldn’t get it up and running, and had to reformat his entire system to get it functional again.)

  • Christine N November 3, 2009, 3:14 pm

    I do photography outside of my “day job”. I have two external hard drives that I run the Mac program Time Machine with so that everything is backed up at all times.

Healthy Tipping Point