I've tried another option for consumers too befuddled, or too lazy, to back up their computer files. Clickfree sells backup drives and DVDs that make it brain-dead simple to preserve the photos, music, and video that clog our home PCs.
Clickfree saves the files locally, unlike the online service Backblaze that offers a similarly simple backup. Both use software that automatically finds the precious cargo and targets the files for copying. Users don't have to go through the tedious task of picking out folders and files for a safety net.
In testing, the Clickfree software lives up to its name. Plug in the media and it starts the process.
The backup lands on either a hard drive ($160 for 160 Gigabytes) or writable DVDs ($10 for a package of three that holds about 13 GB). Plug the drive in, or slide a disk into a DVD writer, and the Clickfree does its thing. Most users won't have to do anything. If they want to conserve drive space, they can customize which files get backed up.
The hard drive finds 350 different file types, including documents. The disks come in packages that target photos, music, or documents. Consumers do have to calculate how much backup space they need. One of music DVDs, for example, should hold about 1,000 tracks.
Both the disk drive and DVDs now work on Windows PCs. Mac versions are promised.
In some ways, Clickfree is easier than Backblaze, which requires a quick download and installation of software. Clickfree also completes the initial backup much more quickly. Backblaze can take weeks for a first-time backup. But Backblaze holds unlimited data. It also continues working in the background to keep things backed up. Clickfree requires a user to initiate the process by plugging in media.
There are many cheaper options for consumers wanting to protect their files. But few of us use them. And ideally, consumers would back up locally and across the Web for double safety.
With this new crop of easy-to-use options, maybe some of us actually will.