I recently wrote of my inability to get the new Carbonite Remote Access facility to work and my frustration with getting anything useful out of their support. Well shortly after I had made the post and put up a tweet about it I got a direct message from Carbonite saying that if I sent them my email address they would contact me and sort it all out. And do you know what? They did! (well sort of).
After a couple of calls from Paul in the States it seems that the reason I wasn’t seeing anything when I went to the Remote Access page is because it only works when you have a completed backup and, crucially, no pending files. The problem with this is that it can be very difficult to determine if you actually have a completed backup.
If you hover your mouse over the Carbonite “smiley padlock” icon in the system tray a little tooltip will pop up showing the current status of your backup (see below). However, this is misleading as there may still be files that are pending backup.
You can check this by looking at the Pending Files list in “Carbonite Backup Drive” under My Computer (see below). If this is not empty then Carbonite does not consider the backup to be complete and Remote Access won’t work.
You can force Carbonite to backup these pending files now rather than waiting by clicking on the “Back up ASAP” link in the InfoCenter (double click the “smiley padlock” icon).
It is then a case of checking the Pending list until it is completely empty. Once it is you can go back to Remote Access and you will find that your files have magically appeared.
Of course all of this is a bit difficult to do remotely and means that you have to ensure that your backup is completed with no pending files before you travel – who’s going to remember to do that? Not me for sure.
There is another complication to all this and that is how constantly changing files are handled. For example iTunes updates it’s library file (iTunes Music Library.xml) every time you play a track. If this file is marked to be backed up by Carbonite then it will be constantly trying to send it to the cloud meaning the backup will never finish. To get round this you can tell Carbonite not to backup these files. The graphic below show how.
So my initial post did provide at least an answer as to why I wasn’t seeing my files on Remote Access and judging by the feedback I have received I am not the only one with problems. Part of the issue is that the web interface doesn’t actually tell you why you are not seeing your files which is frustrating. If that is the limitation that is set on Remote Access then it would be useful if the interface said so. The implication of the conversation I had with support was that they were aware of the issue and will be fixing it. I hope so as when it works, it works well.