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I am looking for an offsite backup option for my PC and need to backup 400-500 gb of data. Most of this data is fairly static so the differential data amounts should be more limited.

Services like Mozy or Carbonite are interesting, but that initial load kills it for me and in the event that I ever need to restore data, I will be at it for a long time as well.

A coworker and I were thinking about both building very small machines. I have priced out a low end Atom with a 640 gb 2.5 inch drive for about $260. (Not including the windows license but I have multiple MSDN subscriptions.)

If I use Windows Live Sync (aka Mesh), I can perform my initial sync locally. Then my co-worker and I will swap machines. He keeps my machine at his house and I keep his at mine. We live about 20 miles apart but both work at the same location.

Thoughts? Does this sound like a good or horrible plan?

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What you have described sounds ok, but a cheaper option would be to get an external 1TB hard disk drive, backup your files to it and keep it in your desk at work (or give it to your friend). Periodically bring it home to re-sync it with your live data.

If you are worried about something catastrophic happening on the day you bring it home to re-sync it, buy two external disks and rotate them so one of them is always off-site.

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I am currently doing exactly this with two drives stored in my desk drawer at work but honestly the logistics of it seem to fail. I have to plug that drive in and make it all happen. It just seems to fail and is only happening once a month. I fully admit this is entirely my issue. I am hoping this new solution is a bit more automatic so it happens rather continuously and I really don't have to think about it. To me, that is worth the cost. Others might not agree with that. –  andleer Jul 26 '10 at 23:01
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Use Crashplan www.crashplan.com. You can back up to your buddys PC for free as long as you want and as much as you want over the network and I think seeding the initial backup. You can also back up to Crashplan's off-site backup servers for a very reasonable $5 a month w/ unlimited data and you can seed that backup as well for a fee. I have been using it for over a year and have been very happy with it.

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