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Remote backup reviews: XDrive, Box.Net fail to provide reliable remote storage solutions

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: remote storage, remote backup, Xdrive

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As the market for remote backup solutions continues to expand, I thought I'd take a test drive of two of the most popular solutions: XDrive and Box.net. Sadly, neither service worked for me, and both appear to be buggy and severely lacking in several important areas. Here, I take a quick look at what's wrong with XDrive (www.XDrive.com) and Box.net (www.Box.net).

XDrive promises to mount a virtual drive to your PC, allowing you to copy and paste files to that drive just like any other storage device. Once files are copied to the virtual XDrive, a behind-the-scenes engine promises to upload the files to a remote server. At least that's how it happens in theory.

In reality, XDrive often failed to mount at all when I used it. Even when it did mount, the behind-the-scenes file upload engine would often leap to 98% CPU usage, hogging nearly all system resources, and refuse to go away until I hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and chose "End Process" to shut down the XdrSmb.exe application. In terms of software applications, XDrive is what I call a "misbehaved system hog." And I know what I'm talking about with software, as I own a software company that's been in business for thirteen years.

Even when XDrive happens to start uploading properly, it sometimes mysteriously halts the upload for no apparent reason, even when other processes (like FTP from a different application) are working just fine. I could not find any apparent way to restart a failed upload with XDrive.

On its website, XDrive claims to offer "24/7 support." But it isn't support, it's just a user guide and a forum. That's not 24/7 support. To get actual support, you have to call their offices during business hours.

You also have to call to cancel your account, apparently, because I could find no way in the account management area to actually cancel your account. The only option available is to upgrade your account or pay for a full year. So they can take more of your money with ease, right there in the account management area, but they won't let you cancel until you call. I also tried emailing to cancel my account, and I haven't heard back yet. This may end up being one of those times when I'll have to dispute the charge with American Express.

The bottom line on XDrive? Steer clear of this one. In my opinion, it's a system crash waiting to happen. And besides, it rarely worked right, at least on my PC. It's no surprise this service is owned by AOL (which is also famous for making it difficult for people to cancel their accounts).


I also tried Box.net, a competing service that appears to have a much nicer user interface. Box.net was also quick about cancelling my service after I decided it didn't work. The problem with Box.net? You have to choose files one at a time to upload them for remote backup. You can't just select a group of files and drag or copy them to a destination folder. And that makes remote backup impossibly tedious, unless of course you only want to back up a couple of files.

Box.net claims that with the right Java, you can drag and drop files to be magically uploaded. I did not find this to be true. Even after upgrading to the latest version of Java, rebooting, and re-launching the Box.net service, every time I dragged and dropped files into the Box.net destination folder, my web browser got confused and thought I was trying to download those files. If I accepted the download, then my own files were copied from their original location to my download folder, which of course, is something I can do all by myself without Box.net. And it does nothing to accomplish the goal of remote backup. But it does make Box.net the most expensive and inefficient local file copy utility ever.

Thus, both XDrive and Box.net failed to work for me. Neither seems ready for prime time. Perhaps a new remote backup solution will appear in time, and I'll be glad to give it a whirl, but so far, I haven't found a remote backup solution that really works.

For now, your best bet is probably to buy an external hard drive, copy your files to it, and mail it to a friend who can keep it in a safe place. It's reliable, easy to figure out, and there's no monthly fee involved.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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