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Introducing: Flash Drive Restore Boxes


We’re excited to announce that our 128GB USB flash drives will now be shipped in tiny little restore boxes that will come to your door with all your lost data eagerly awaiting to return home. To some of us in the office, these little restore boxes look like tiny flash drive coffins, with the USB drive resting peacefully inside them, just waiting to be plugged in so your data can come back to life. Coffins or boxes? Who cares, you’re getting your data back! Yay!

Even cooler, we’ve updated the USB flash drives to USB 3.0. Now you’ll be able to restore up to 110GB of your data, and get it back on to your computer almost 10x faster than with USB 2.0, and it’s still $99 – next day shipping included. Restoring to a flash drive is quick and painless, just log in to, select the files/folders you wish to restore, and we’ll express ship the drive to you. As always, you get to keep the drive.

Some key improvements that come with our upgrade to USB 3.0:

  • Faster transfer speeds (Approximately 4Gbs)
  • More power availability and power conservation when idle
  • USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports

Of course, restoring data to a USB flash drive is not the only way to get your data back. You can still download files for free using a web browser and the Backblaze downloader. You select which files/folders you’d like to restore and download the .zipped files. We also have our USB external hard drives, with up to 3TB, for $189, shipping included.

Please enjoy this .gif of a flash drive rising from its little box, spooky…

Author = Yev Pusin

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Doubling Down on USB Flash Drive Restores


2014 is upon us and in keeping with our January tradition of giving little New Year’s gifts to our customers, we’re increasing the maximum size of our USB flash drive restores from 64GB to 128GB! That means that for the same $99, we’ll overnight you up to a 128GB restore flash drive containing your data, and you get to keep the flash drive.

Here are a couple of things you should know. First, once the USB flash drive is formatted, you can store up to 110 Gigabytes of data on a drive. Second, if the amount of data you select to restore will fit on a 64GB drive (53GB of data) that’s what we’ll send you. In any case, the USB flash drive restore is a great option if you need to restore up to 110GB of data and you don’t want to use your bandwidth downloading the files.

Of course, you can always download your data for free using a web browser. Here’s a quick reminder of your options to restore the data you backed up with Backblaze:

  • Web Browser — For free, you select the files/folders you want to restore using your web browser to download the files. This is good for small amounts of data, typically 1GB or less as the web browser itself is prone to timeouts and errors.
  • Backblaze Downloader — For free, you select the files/folders you want to restore using your web browser and then download and use the Backblaze Downloader to stream and checkpoint the data download. This is similar to apps like iTunes and Netflix in how data is downloaded. Be aware that larger amounts of data will consume lots of network bandwidth and will take time.
  • USB Flash Drive — For $99, you select up to 110GB of files/folders you want to restore and get your files on a 64GB or 128GB USB flash drive. We send it to you next day express so you get your data fast and you get to keep the drive.
  • USB External Hard Drive — For $189, you select up to 3TB of files/folders you want to restore and get your files on an external USB hard drive large enough to hold your data, up to a 3TB drive. We send it to you next day express so you get your data fast and you get to keep the drive.

Thank you for a great 2013 and here’s to an even better 2014.

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Backblaze Mobile for iPhone

You’ve been waiting patiently and it’s almost here, but we just couldn’t wait any longer to tell you, so here’s a sneak peek at Backblaze Mobile for iPhone. That’s right, in just a few short weeks, you’ll be able to access, download and share the files you have backed up with Backblaze using your iPhone. Simple, straight-forward, cool and free with Backblaze online backup for your Mac or Windows system.

Here’s a peek at what you can do…

Access Download Experience Share
(click on any picture above to see it in full size)

If you are already using Backblaze online backup to automatically and continuously back up the files on your Mac or Windows system you are almost ready to go. Soon you will be able to download Backblaze Mobile for iPhone from the App Store. Sign up here if you want to be notified by email when Backblaze Mobile is available.

Once the Backblaze Mobile app is installed on your iPhone, anywhere that your iPhone is connected to the Internet you can access your backed up files. Simply sign in with the email address and password that you created when you installed Backblaze on your Windows or Mac system. Your photos, music, documents, and everything else you have stored with Backblaze will be at your fingertips…

How it Works

Access: After signing in, you’ll see a list of all the computers (Windows and/or Macs) you are backing up with Backblaze online backup. Select one of these computers. Next you’ll see all the drives for that system that Backblaze currently has backed up. This can include multiple internal as well as connected external USB, Firewire and Thunderbolt drives.

Download: The folders and files are organized just like those on your computer, so the files you want are easy to find. Once you’ve located your file it can be downloaded to the iPhone. Remember, the current the file size limit for a single file is 30 MB. You can download as many files as you want and you can see a list of your recently downloaded files by selecting the “downloads” button.

Experience: Once the file is downloaded you can see and/or hear the file. Viewing a PDF, listening to a MP3, or previewing a Microsoft Word doc are all possible. You’ll be able to see and/or hear all the file types your iPhone knows how to present.

Share: Once you’re sure you have the right file you can share it. The options you get depend on the type of file, for example, if the file is an MP3, you may not see the “print” option, but it will be present for a JPG or GIF file.

Think of what you can do with Backblaze Mobile for iPhone

Your Mac is at home, 2,000 mile away, turned off. You want to show off the photos of your cat Fluffy to your friends and family. You sign in to your account with Backblaze Mobile and within minutes everyone at the party is experiencing Fluffy. While you’re at it, you post a couple of photos of Fluffy to Facebook. Fluffy would be proud.

You are turning in the forms for your mortgage application, but you forgot to print one of the forms you completed last night. It’s on your PC. You take out your iPhone, sign in to your account with Backblaze mobile and find the file. You print off the file from your iPhone using Air Print and turn in your completed paperwork.

Your laptop was stolen at the airport. You have a presentation in two hours. Backblaze Mobile to the rescue. You sign in to your account with Backblaze Mobile, download the presentation and email it to your host, problem solved. Now if only Backblaze could help you get your laptop back — wait we can do that too.

Questions and Answers

Q: What files can I get access to through Backblaze Mobile?
A: You can access the files that are securely backed up and stored by Backblaze from your Mac or Windows system.

Q: Can Backblaze Mobile for iPhone access my Windows files?
A: Yes, you can access the files that are backed up from both Windows and Mac computers.

Q: What kind of iPhone and which version of iOS do I need?
A: The app will run on all iPhones running iOS 5.0 and higher.

Q: Does the app work on iPads?
A: The current app works in “pixel doubling” mode; a native iPad app is coming soon.

Q: What about the iPod Touch?
A: Yes, as long it is running iOS 5.0 or higher.

Q: Can I download and view a video file?
A: Yes, but the current size for any individual file is 30 MB.

Q: Can I have multiple mobile devices access a single Backblaze account?
A: Yes. Simply sign in from each device using your standard Backblaze credentials.

Q: Can I have one mobile device access multiple Backblaze accounts?
A: Yes. Simply sign in to each account using your standard Backblaze credentials.

Q: Does the app back up my iPhone too?
A: Not at this time, but if you sync your iPhone and its contents to iTunes on your computer and then back up that computer using Backblaze, your data is backed up and available for Backblaze Mobile to access.

Q: How secure is the connection between Backblaze and the iPhone?
A: All communication, between the iPhone and the Backblaze datacenter where your data is stored, occurs over an HTTPS (encrypted) connection.

Q: Is my password stored on the iPhone?
A: You decide. In the Backblaze Mobile settings, you can choose your login to be in “convenience” mode or “secure” mode. In convenience mode, your Backblaze account password is stored in the Apple Key chain and protected by the password you have on the iPhone. In secure mode, the Backblaze password is not stored and must be entered each time you sign in to Backblaze using Backblaze Mobile. In either case, you should always have access to your iPhone protected with a password.

Q: How secure are my downloaded files on my iPhone?
A: Files downloaded by Backblaze Mobile are stored encrypted in the Backblaze domain space on the iPhone.

Q: Can I change my Backblaze account settings such as my password with Backblaze Mobile?
A: Not at this time, but you can use a browser on your iPhone or any other device to access your Backblaze account and make changes as desired.

Q: If I have set an additional Passphrase on my Backblaze account, can I use Backblaze Mobile?
A: Not at this time. Currently only accounts with the standard account name and password will work with Backblaze Mobile.

Thank you for patiently waiting for the Backblaze Mobile for iPhone app. The wait is almost over.

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Data Restores: More, More, and Even More!

For all our talk about online backup, restoring data is what Backblaze is all about!

“Backblaze saved the day for me–not once, but twice in less than 6 months. My computer did one of those spectacular crashes where it seems most of its insides get replaced and I needed my BB restore files. Five months later both my new hard drive and my external hard drive died and I needed those BB restore files again…” —Marla, a Backblaze Customer.
“It works! My iMac crashed and I had to purchase a new one. All of my digital negatives, jpegs and documents were restored from Backblaze and in no time at all, I was back in business. I have more confidence in Backblaze than I do in my external hard drive backup…” —Kathy, a Backblaze Customer

2.5 Billion Memories Restored

Backblaze recently passed the 2.5 Billion mark for the number of files our customers have restored. We say files, but our customers think of them as graduation photos, videos of their children, music, financial records, genealogy data, scrapbooking designs, etc. That’s a lot of digital memories that have been returned home safe and sound to folks like Kathy and Marla. That’s nice.

Can’t quite comprehend what 2.5 Billion looks like? If each file were an 8×10 photo, printed out they would cover nearly 32,000 acres or 12,900 hectares for folks outside the US and Canada. In either case, that’s enough photos to cover the entire city of San Francisco or all of Walt Disney World in Florida, each of which is, coincidentally, the same size; 30,080 acres.

More Fun Backblaze Restore Facts

  • Users request more restores on Monday versus any other day.
  • In December 2012, we restored 280 TB of data
  • On average we restore the most files on the 5th of each month
  • On average we restore the fewest files on the 22nd of each month
  • The number of files being restored per user increased nearly 70% from December 2011 to December 2012
  • We estimate that we will restore our 5 billionth file in January 2014—stay tuned…

Big Gets Even BIGGER

We’ve doubled the size of our USB Flash Drive restore option from 32 GB to 64 GB, and we’ve tripled the size of our USB Hard Drive restore option from 1 TB to 3 TB. Even better, we didn’t raise prices.

So you can get a 64 GB USB Flash Drive restore for $99 (USD) or you can get up to a 3 TB USB External Hard Drive restore for $189 (USD). These prices include preparation and shipping anywhere in the world. We’ve sent restores to Singapore, Romania, Japan, and many other places all with free shipping. Of course you can always securely download your restore for free as a ZIP file over the Internet like 99% of our users requesting a restore, but just in case, we’ve made the USB restores bigger.

Things to Know About USB Restores

  • The 64 GB USB Flash Drive will hold about 60 GB of data after formatting, so if you have more than 60 GB of data to restore, you’ll to need buy 2 or more USB Flash Drives.
  • If you purchase an USB External Hard Drive restore, we will ship you a drive that will accommodate your data, up to about 3 TB in size. For example, if you are restoring 1.1 TB of data we could ship you a 1.5 TB drive. The price will be $189 no matter what size drive we send.
  • One more thing, if you order a USB Flash Drive or USB Hard Drive restore, you get to keep the drive we send you—enjoy.

So if your cat knocks water on your laptop or you’ve deleted the playlist for your wedding, Backblaze can be there to help you out. And if you’re one of our many customers who has done a restore with Backblaze tell us your story, we’d like to hear it. Just email us at:


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Crowdsourcing Hard Drives

It was 12:10am on Black Friday. Dave sat clicking the refresh button on his browser; waiting for the page to reveal Costco’s Black Friday deal…

Earlier in the day, Dave had signed up to be a drive farmer for Backblaze — a Black Friday drive farmer. He joined about 50 others who signed up to buy 3TB hard drives from the Costco web site for $99 each, the Black Friday sales price, and send them to Backblaze for a $5 bounty per drive.

By 12:27am, the sale was live and Dave ordered his limit, 5 drives. That was over $500 on his personal credit card with tax and shipping included. For his effort Dave would earn an additional $25 for ordering the drives and having them shipped to Backblaze. Easy.

As you can see, our Black Friday drive farming was pretty darn successful. Using a combination of crowdsourced drive farmers and experienced Backblaze employees, we’ve gathered over 300 drives with more on the way.

We’d like to say “Thank You” to everyone who signed up to help us crowdsource hard drives. Such assistance helps us ensure that we can continue to provide our customers with unlimited online backup for only $5/month — and that is very much appreciated.

The idea to crowdsource hard drives on Black Friday materialized on the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving. We saw a flyer for the Costco $99/drive deal and started thinking and talking and debating what we could we do. Of course we could farm ourselves, but what if we could get help… from everyone?! We realized that it was a holiday and people would be busy with their own Black Friday shopping — were we asking too much? We decided to go ahead anyway. The entire campaign came together in about 2 hours – rules, sign-up process, blog post, promotion, everything — it was awesome.

We launched the campaign on Wednesday afternoon and waited. Would anyone sign up? They did! Would anyone actually buy drives? They did! The first emailed receipt arrived at 12:35 am on Black Friday and drives started arriving on Monday. So this past week Cecilia has counted hard drives, gathered up receipts and invoices, and arranged payments to our cadre of newly minted drive farmers. We welcome them to the club.

Oh, and don’t feel too bad for Cecilia, she loves this stuff, especially since she gets to wear her tiara when she counts drives!

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You’ve Lost Data Without a Backup…Now What?

Backblaze data loss checklist

With the recovery from Hurricane Sandy just now starting, the full scope of what has been lost is coming in to view. One of the many challenges you may have will be trying to recover the data on your damaged or destroyed laptop or desktop computer. If you are a Backblaze customer and need to restore your data, please see our Hurricane Sandy blog post for information and instructions on how to do so.

If you are not a customer of Backblaze or another online backup service, you are now faced with the task of trying to reassemble the photos, movies, documents, spreadsheets and more that were lost. If you still have a local backup, great, but just in case we’ve assembled a list of places you can look to attempt to recover some of your data. No one source will most likely have everything you want, but hopefully between these sources, you’ll be able to recover the data most important to you:

  1. Shutterfly/Flickr/Picasa/Snapfish/Photobucket – Some of these services have been around for a long time. If you had accounts there and uploaded photos to them, they may be good places to retrieve some of your photos.
  2. Physical media – Start with the Flash drives, SD cards, CDs and other media you may still have around. Include those you may have given to friends and relatives.
  3. Physical devices – Check your digital camera, smartphones, etc. as they often contain images that you can restore.
  4. Dropbox – If you are using a sharing/synching service such as Dropbox, some of your data may be there. How much data you find will depend on what you put there and your account limits.
  5. Social Media – Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Tumblr/Pinterest/Youtube – If you uploaded lots of your favorite photos/videos, they should be recoverable from your posts. (Often you will not be able to recover the original, full-resolution version, but you can download a smaller size.)
  6. iTunes – If you had iCloud or an iTunes account, the majority of your music library purchased from iTunes should be available to re-download.
  7. Email attachments – This may sound like an odd one, but if you were an avid “attacher”, you may be able to recover documents, presentations, and photographs from either your own email attachments or from email you have sent to others.

If your machine was damaged, but you still have access to it, there are many data restoration companies that can try to recover data from damaged hard drives. Here are a few:

(Backblaze is not affiliated with any of these organizations).

We hope this helps in recovering some of your lost data and memories.

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Quartz Glass Backblaze Storage Pods?

Backblaze Storage Pod with Quartz Crystal

Hitachi announced this morning that they have invented “quartz glass storage”. With this innovation they are able to hold about 40MB of data per square inch on one piece of quartz glass. The Verge’s article doesn’t state the cost of the quartz glass, but the procedure to create such a piece of storage includes using a “high-precision laser to embed dots of binary code across a tiny piece of quartz glass”, and then “an optical microscope (paired with a computer capable of deciphering the imprint) can be used to recover the original data”, so it cannot be cheap!

To put that in to perspective, at 40MB per square inch, it would take 3,375,000 squares to house as much data as a single Backblaze Storage Pod. At 3,375,000 square inches, that many squares would cover almost ½ an acre or about 23,437.5 square feet of space (about 10x the size of Backblaze’s office).

One of the benefits of this is that the quartz glass is more or less fireproof, so it can withstand a lot of natural disaster scenarios and still be readable! The technology was just invented so we’re still a ways away from Backblaze Quartz Pods, but until that technology becomes readily available to the public, don’t forget to backup your current “old-school” non-quartz drives!

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Backing up photos while traveling – feedback

Last week I wrote about the struggle I had backing up photos while on my honeymoon. I had a few thoughts for how I would solve the issue in the future, but did not find any ideal solutions and said I would update the blog post if anyone emailed me with good tips.

With feedback from 21 individual people (mostly photographers), I think I have a grasp on the solutions.

Backup to a Hard Drive Device
Most people suggested some hard drive backup. These devices take a memory card and copy the photos to the built-in hard drive. The complete set of devices:

Digital Foci
Epson P-3000/6000/7000
Nexto DI
Sanho HyperDrive

HyperDrive Album

All of these devices perform effectively the same function. The main differences are:
* Is there a screen to view the photos?
* How much space is available on the hard drive?
* How much does it cost?
Below is my summary of these items for each of these products.

Company/Product View Photos Storage (GB) Cost
Digital Foci
Picture Porter 35 Yes 250/500 $400/$500
Photo Safe II No 250/500 $160/$220
P-3000 Yes 40 $400
P-6000 Yes 80 $600
P-7000 Yes 160 $800
Giga Vu Sonic Yes 160/250/500 $350/$500/$850
Giga One No 120/250 $190/$210
MemoryKick Si Yes 160/320/500 $300/$360/$430
MemoryKick MediaCenter Yes 30/60/120 $120/$200/$260
Nexto DI
Extreme ND2700 No 64 – 500 $240 (160 GB)
NVS2500 Yes 500 $2,000
Various others…
Sanho HyperDrive
HyperDrive Album Yes 160 – 750 $400 – $650
Colorspace UDMA Yes 120 – 750 $300 – $600
VP8870 Yes 120 – 500 $290 – $520
Various others…
PicPac II No 80 – 320 $95 – $170
ESP Yes 160/250 $320/$400
Xs-Drive Smart 2300 No 120 – 350 $170+
Xs-Drive Smart 2500 Yes 200
Xs-Drive Smart 2600 Yes 120 – 350

The companies also try to differentiate the devices on a variety of other features:
* File transfer speed
* USB 2.0 support
* Zoom, rotate, delete
* Screen size, quality
* Ability to save videos/music
* Tethering (save directly from camera)
* Number of cards that can be inserted at one time
* Size, weight
* Maximum size of an individual file
For your specific needs, consider whether these other items are important.

Which one of these is the best? I don’t know and I’m sure it depends on what you’re optimizing. However, based purely on the sample of responses I got, the HyperDrive received the most kudos, with the Epson and Digital Foci models tied for second.

Backing up SD-to-SD
Having said all of that…one person actually found exactly what I wanted: an SD-to-SD card backup:

The iMONO HD-2400 sold by USB Geek

It copies one SD card to another, is fairly small, battery powered, and costs just $22.

SD-to-SD copier

One thing I do worry about with the device is mistakenly copying the blank SD card onto the full one. I am hoping the device has some protection against that or at least makes it really obvious which way the copy is going.

I just ordered one now and will let you know how well it works when I get it.

Backup to SD Card versus to Hard Drive
I love the backup-to-hard-drive devices above. Many of them look sleek, store all the photos you could take on a yearlong trip around the world, and allow you to preview and work on the files as you go. For many people these devices are lifesavers.

However, while traveling, keeping these devices in the same bag as your camera means that your photos are not fully protected. If they were backed up online, fantastic, but the whole issue here was that I wanted to travel without a laptop and not have to worry about finding a blistering fast Internet connection. Thus, having a card-to-card backup where I send one of the cards home periodically means losing my bag will not cost me my data.

Either way – it’s great to see that there are some options. Stay tuned for my review of the iMono device.