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VINE VOICEon 14 January 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Note that this is an annual licence.

For those of a technical mind, F-Secure uses port 443 (the secure http port) to send your data away. This is a good way of getting around many firewalls and so configuration isn't difficult and is likely to work straight out of the box on any machine that allows a web browser to work.

The idea of backing up over an ADSL line to a secure, remote location is appealing, but isn't practical. Simple mathematics works against them.

F-Secure say that they will back up 1-2 GB per day. Now, excluding music installed software and operating system, the hard drive on my main PC has around 150GB of data, including photographs and video and email. At 1.5GB per day, it would take 100 days, which is more than 3 months, to back up this data, assuming that I change and add nothing. This is highly unlikely, as I receive emails, and take photographs more regularly than every 100 days.

F-Secure's figures assume that the PC being backed up is on 24 hours per day. I usually turn mine off at night and when I'm away, so, optimistically we could assume my PC is in half the time. This means 200 days to back up everything. That's almost 7 months.

Added to that, certainly in the UK, many broadband contracts have a maximum data volume include. e.g. plus.net include the first 10GB of data per month before customers pay extra. Now assuming my stats, of a PC that is sending 0.75GB of backup per day, the limit would be reached in less than 14 days, assuming I used the internet for nothing else (but I do! I order from Amazon and write reviews here amongst many other things!). Even more generous allowances would be gone within the month, so making the backup much more costly, as many ISPs seem to charge punitive rates for going over agreed limits, or throttle line-speeds for heavy users.

Over a 2 week period, F-Secure reports a bit over 4GB actually backed up. Now my system is not slow (I have a Quad Core processor, 4GB RAM and a RAID Array for my internal hard disk storage), but I do live in a rural area, so line-speed can be a little slower than in a big city.

If you have a fast fibre-optic connection with unlimited usage (Read your ISPs fair usage policy carefully to check how limited "unlimited" actually is), then this product may be worthwhile.

For normal users, an external hard drive may be a much faster and more practical backup solution.

When I did have technical problems, I found that F-Secure seem to ignore submitted support requests - Make sure you never, ever untick the "launch at start-up" option. If you do, it appears that you can never re-enable the product, so wave goodbye to your licence fee. See comments for more information.
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on 17 November 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is always good to have a backup - remember it's not a matter of if your hard drive will fail, but WHEN. Believe me - it will happen. An offsite backup is essential - imagine if there's a fire or theft. SO, THE PRINCIPLE IS GOOD.

This isn't as well implemented as Dropbox, which is also cross platform. The thing is, with [the free] Dropbox, you get 2GB. That is probably enough to cover all your irreplaceable stuff (like documents and spreadsheets) (but not photos, music, videos). Whilst the paid version is not unlimited like this, I think it's smarter and will give you less headaches. Also, F-Secure don't provide an iPhone app. (I can't tell you how useful it is to be able to retrieve an important document on my phone, in the case of an emergency).

FOR BIG MEDIA FILES
============

So, 'unlimited'? Unless we start to get super-duper fast broadband , like they have in Japan, this strategy is not worth it. Upload speeds are pathetic.

Naturally, whilst music and stuff is replaceable it's a really good idea to have a cloud backup. I like that Amazon and Apple are rolling out services where people can basically get free storage of their purchases. (Sadly, as far as I know, it's USA only, but it will come here to the UK). [I'm talking about Amazon CloudDrive and Apple's iTunes-in-the-cloud]
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on 11 January 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First of all, this software does work well. I topperates in the background effectively without causing too much slow down on the machine or at least it does on my higher end machine. I imagine older systems may suffer a little more in this area.

However, there are two big problems. The first is that if you have a large amount of data, it will take a very long time to upload all the data, especially if you are on a slower broadband connection. The process will also use up a lot of your upstream bandwidth, which can cause your connection to become slow.

The second problem is the yearly price of using the service, because unfortunately you have to keep paying to use it.

Overall, the program is fine for what it is and does what it promises, but it really is easier, faster and cheaper (in the long run) to buy a large external harddrive and back it all up yourself. This will then allow fast and easy access to your backups when needed, rather than having to spend hours re-downloading it all, using up yet more of your bandwidth.

A good idea thats just simple not that convenient and not very cost effective...Avoid!
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is probably the best way to make sure that all your files are safe. First, and most important, there is unlimited space which means you can't accidentally delete something you need and completely lose it as I did recently with hundreds of audio files. Secondly, because, and unlike external hard drives which if you have large amounts of data you'll end stacking them up as you spend more and more money on them, you can't fill it up. Also, unlike external hard drives, your files can't be damaged. So, in theory and largely in practice, it's great. It also installed easily on Windows 7.

There are, however, a couple of snags.

It is incredibly slow to upload even with a reasonably fast broadband speed. After uploading constantly for 18 hours it has still only uploaded 3.25Gb and I've at least another 45Gb to go. Do the math. Of course, once the initial upload is complete, it only needs to upload new data as you add files. The lengthy initial upload is a once only deal.

What isn't a once only deal is the cost. You only get a one year subscription which, needless to say but I'll say it anyway, has to be renewed if you want to keep on using the service. It's up to you whether you think the security and convenience it affords is worth it. Me, I'm going to wait another 11 months and 3 weeks before I make my mind up.

But it is an excellent way of ensuring you don't lose valuable files.
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VINE VOICEon 26 January 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My initial review seems to have failed.
So, here's my rundown.
* It install pretty quickly
* The online connection is very secure
* I've never had issues access my online backups
* It's not quite as practical as having your own separate HDD or flash drive
* It's not practical if you have trouble accessing the internet
* It's reliable
* The price tag for what you get is very good value.
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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The jury is still out when it comes to the question of which media is the most suitable for backing-up your data, the question of what is the most reliable and safest method of backing up data. Some prefer external hard drives, others CD/DVD media, others flash, JAZ, or Tape drives, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. With a wealth of options available one method I had never considered before now was using software such as this "F-Secure Online Backup 2010" but as I was about to find out it is a real contender in the epic battle of keeping our data safe from all that can harm it.

Featuring limitless amounts of storage space online, the software allows you to back-up and restore data of any nature online. Your data is encrypted at your end for privacy before being transferred over a secure connection to data centres. The biggest advantage to using F-Secure is the fact that your data will be backed-up to a series of redundant servers meaning that there is very, very little chance that everything could ever go wrong with it, compared to external hard drives failing, DVD discs breaking, and the expensive Tape drives.

Another advantage to using the software is the fact that it runs automatically in the background creating frequent backups of your selected documents, meaning you don't have to manually spend time and effort doing it yourself. All of your data is viewable via a `web portal' over the internet and the contents (such as videos) can be played back using a media player included with F-Secure (in my case Firefox was able to do the same.)

Installing and configuring F-Secure was quick and easy, you can configure exactly what you want to back-up and when, and thanks to a simple and streamlined user interface actually using the software is very straightforward.

The only drawback I can comment on is the fact that should you need to back-up a large amount of data (well into gigabytes) then you should ensure that you have a suitably fast internet connection as while the background runs automatically in the background you would be waiting a longer time for the upload to complete.

When it comes to backing up data F-Secure Online Backup 2010 is well worth considering especially if you are on the move a lot and don't want to be carrying removable media with you wherever you go.
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VINE VOICEon 6 January 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The F-secure online backup system is easy to set up and stores unlimited (yes thats right UNLIMITED!!) data online.

It was really easy to install, just put in the cd and follow the easy instructions. You enter a key thats provided, and then choose which data to backup and away you go...... dead easy!!!

So the Pros are:
1. Easy to install (really easy)
2. UNLIMITED data backup.
3. It was easy to swap and change the data to be backed up. A really easy interface.
4. If you don't have a Cd drive you can just download the software from the internet.
5. Its a backup for your extra external hard drive.

And the Cons are:
1. You could just use a hard drive??
2. Its really slow, i mean really slow to back up.
3. It only lasts a year and then you have to re-subscribe.

Overall:

I really like it, easy to use and straightforward to install. Works in the background as you use your PC or Mac.

I would recommend it.
(Maybe it is a good alternative for stuff that is so precious to you that you'd want it backed up externally to the rest of your system.)
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VINE VOICEon 1 January 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
F-Secure is one of a number of online back-up solutions that all offer a similar core service, basically a small programme that you install on your computer that backs-up selected personal files and folders to a remote location via the internet.

The positive side to this sort of system is that it means you don't need any extra hardware devices such as an external hard disk drive etc. It also means that, should the worst come to the worst and your house burns down, you won't lose both your computer and your backup in the blaze! Less dramatically, if you are working away from home and your computer crashes, you will be able to get your personal files back without having to wait until you get home to your back-up device.

The negative side if that you have to pay an annual fee for the back-up service and, at £49 per annual renewal, this could get quite expensive quite quickly compared to the one-off cost of an external back-up drive such as the Western Digital My Passport Essential 250GB Ultra Portable USB Hard Drive - Black.

Also, in terms of a PC back-up solution, my preference would be for Acronis True Image Home 2010: Backup and Recovery (PC), which can back-up your entire system, rather than just files and folders, to bootable media such as an external hard-disk. This means that you can restore your entire system, including all your personal files and folders, without the need to reinstall Windows or fiddle around with settings etc. Sadly Acronis do not support Macs.

However, if it is definitely online file and folder back-up that you want (rather than system back-up) then F Secure is very good but ultimately I'd advise any buyer to check out the competition first, since the main difference between F-Secure and any of its online rivals will, in my view, be primarily one of price.
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Oddly this is not supplied in the now typical DVD case but a cardboard box containing a leaflet, the programme on CD and a manual complete with registration key affixed to the front. Handily for those without a CD drive the leaflet says you can download a copy from the website and still use the same registration key.

To install this on a Windows XP system I inserted the CD, the autoplay opened the install programme and a few clicks later the programme was installed and requesting a restart. Upon restarting Windows there was an icon on the desktop to load the software and from here on all you do is select either the locations or types of file you want to backup (i.e. all images and office documents, or everything in the My Document's folder), tell it how much of your broadband upload capacity you want it to use and it starts.

Broadband uploads being generally slower than downloads it may take it some little while to upload even small files; if you have a lot of files to back up and you set it to a low upload speed then it will take a very long time, but if it's just a few documents here and there then I wouldn't think it'd take more than a day. In Wondows Explorer the software places a coloured circular icon on each file, reddish-orange for a file not yet backed-up and green once it is done. After the first backup is complete it will only need to update any changes or new files so there should be no more long waits.

I've yet to try a restore in anger but the software can be told to keep several versions of a file and to keep deleted files for a time so some protection is offered against accidental deletions and edits you regret soon after making them. These are not all turned on by default so it is best to have a look at the settings soon after you install the software.

Provided your broadband is up to the task of uploading all your data, the drawbacks I can see are thus: it may be unwise to rely entirely on a firm to maintain copies of your data for you: if they close the business (which is not impossible in this time of world-wide recession) your data could be lost to you and if they put their prices up at renewal time you could find it impractical to continue to access their services. As a compliment to a traditional backup though, this is brilliant.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 January 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
OK. So we all know we are supposed to back stuff up, in case of disaster, but almost none of us do, right? So this package sounds like a really smart idea, now that we are all hooked up to 'always on' broadband. However, there are pros and cons to this type of solution:

Pros:
- Runs in the background, so you don't have to think about it
- Unlimited space, so you can't get 'disk full' problems
- Stored away from your home, so if there is (say) a catastrophic fire, the backup does not get caught in the same conflagration as the PC
- Files are (I am assured) encrypted so no-one else gets to see them.

Cons:
- This is a backup, not a permanent copy. You get a year licence, a short grace period to grab your stuff if you need it, and then it's gone. If you are looking to permanently archive your stuff, choose another solution
- How fast is your upload speed? If you are on ADSL (I have 8MB) you will find that the download speed is achieved at the expense of upload speed. This is fine normally, when all that travels up is mouse clicks, URLs and the odd email. For heavy-duty uploading of gigs of files, it is SLOW. I have the PC on for a few hours a day. So far, in 3 weeks just under 3GB has been backed up.
- This is an overhead on your PC and your broadband line, as it is running all the time in the background.

That's the general points. Now to this specific package. Here I have some real issues:
1. I have Windows XP, set up with an accounts for me, wife and 2 kids. Backup running fine in my account, where I did the install, but does not run in any other account. Therefore, only my stuff is getting backed up
2. Help/manual almost non-existent. No paper manual in the box (that's normal these days) but when you look at the online manual you find there is almost nothing in it. Certainly nothing to help with detailed set up of user accounts, how to make sure all the important files get done, etc.
3. Online support, whilst free, is absolutely useless. I have been emailing back and forth for days about trying to get backup to run on user accounts other than mine, with zero result. A series of 'support technicians' asking me dumb questions and giving no practical help whatsoever.

In conclusion, I thought this package was worth a try, but I recommend others to think really carefully about it. By the time you renewed this subscription for 3-4 years, you could easily have bought a 500GB drive, or even two, many of which come with backup software. Of course, you would have to remember to plug in the disks occasionally to do the backups, and there is a small risk of disk crash, but this is a serious alternative to consider.

As for me, I will continue to plug away with F-Secure support, to try and get this working for all users (I'll update this review if I ever do), but I have no intention of renewing this subscription when my year is up. Chalk it up as a lesson learned....
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