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Last week, we took a look at the idea of storing your files with an online service for easy off-site backup. I reviewed a few of the file storage services in my blog, and readers wrote to tell me about their favorites and/or their aggravations with various services. One thing I learned is that there are even more online file storage services out there than I thought. The largest number of votes seem to be for Mozy. Marc said, “when I read your item I immediately tried MediaMax but found it too slow, too cumbersome to use and encountered to many errors. Then I tried Mozy and they are really ‘doing the right thing’.”

However, Michael H. wrote to point me to his blog post titled “Everybody likes Mozy – except me” that discusses some of its drawbacks.

John K. recounted his bad experience with MediaMax: “I set up the account and selected a set of 300 files to upload … after 3 plus hours of uploading, it had said that it collected all the files… when I went to look for them / at them there were ZERO FILES!!! … I then tried ONE file … NOPE nothing doing … it said it uploaded but nope not there!!! Then I downloaded and installed ther SUPER DUPER UPLOADING / DOWNLOADING manager software .. After it installed the little 1.3 MB program brought my AMD 64 2.2 GHTZ machine to a screaming halt…. It couldn’t even open up the file directory … and then went non responsive…”

Eugenio C. said, “I use “Back Up for All” , a program that saves the files in folders in a compressed ZIP format. This program saves a lot of space in the backup copy while one can extract the files directly with any Zip routine, not needing the main program for this purpose.”

Brian B. said, “I don’t really have a need for on-line storage, so I don’t ever think I would pay anyone for it … I do use on-line storage to back up my photos now, and it’s none of the solutions that you mentioned. In fact, it’s might not even be one you know about. When I signed up for the Microsoft OneCare 2.0 beta, I thought I would just be testing a security solution. However, I was also asked if I wanted to test the on-line backup for my photos. It’s really easy to use; you just tell it which folders of pictures you want to back-up, and it does the rest.”

Patricia P. appreciates the necessity for off-site backup: “I lost everything I had saved for over 25 years when Hurricane Katrina and the flood destroyed our home in Chalmette Louisiana. I had always used Quicken for finances but had never used their web backup service. NOW I USE IT!”

Syd W. took a different approach: “The cheapest but dependable online service I have used is to have my own website in which to stash the files in a protected area. The monthly hosting fees are minimal for the security you get and the data is available from any place in the world, 24/7.”

Followup: FTP and SFTP
Several of you wrote in response to my mention of using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or Secure FTP (SFTP) for transferring files. You can set up an FTP site with Windows Internet Information Services (IIS) on XP Professional. There are instructions here.

A good SFTP server program for Windows is FTPShell. It’s relatively easy to install and configure. Good FTP client programs include WSFTP , CuteFTP and Filezilla. Some of these companies have FTP server programs, too.

Deb Shinder