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Retrospect 10 (in 2012). I'm delighted to see real progress on this
venerable Mac backup application after a long period of downtime.
Dropbox, the Almost-Backup Service
I'm a big fan of Dropbox . In fact, I wrote a book about it: Take
Control of Dropbox . It syncs files in a single folder to storage space
in the cloud, and from there, to all your other devices. It even keeps
older versions and deleted files, somewhat like a versioned backup
program does. So, in a manner of speaking, it can serve as a backup
tool. (The same can be said of numerous competing services, such
as Bitcasa , Box , Google Drive , Microsoft SkyDrive , SpiderOak , and
SugarSync . )
However, fond as I am of Dropbox for syncing and sharing files, I
don't think it's a good substitute for the types of backup I describe
in this topic, for three reasons:
Only the files in your Dropbox folder are synced, which probably
excludes a lot of important data. (Some competing services let
you sync whatever folders you like.)
Dropbox stores old versions and deleted files for only 30 days.
You can change that to indefinite storage, but only if you have
a paid Dropbox Pro account and pay an extra $39 per year for
the Packrat option.
Restoring older versions or deleted files can be done only from the
Dropbox Web site, and it's a tedious, one-file-at-a-time operation.
That's fine for restoring a few files on occasion, but beyond that,
it's unpleasant.
So, by all means, use Dropbox or a comparable service to your
heart's content. But choose something else for keeping versioned
backups—and be sure to back up your Dropbox folder too!
Factors to Reevaluate
The mere fact that technology evolves does not, by itself, mean you
need to change anything about your backup system. If everything
you set up last year continues to work perfectly now, it's entirely
reasonable to leave well enough alone. However, changes that affect
your backups have a way of sneaking up on you slowly, so this is a
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