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I’m sure that like me, most of you are the tech support for the family. Every time your creepy uncle goes to a sleazy porn site, you have to stop by his house and clean up his computer’s internet VD (Viruses and Malware). You’re mom calls you because she can’t figure out how to print pictures of her precious little dog, and your dad’s hard drive is crashing every time he plays Farmville on Facebook. We at AskTheAdmin feel your pain.

How many times have you just told your family, “screw it, re-install Windows”? Of course they can’t because all of their precious files are on there, and of course they never ever back that stuff up! Why not give them the gift of backing their stuff up for them? Not just to an external hard drive that will fail in 6 months either. I’m talking about true set and forget automated cloud backup!

Back in August I wrote about how I am using some software at work to backup my servers. It’s called Crashplan. Now Crashplan has some pay versions if you want to back up to their servers, but they also give you the option to set up your own cloud solution for free! Plus it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux! That means no matter what you’re relatives use, they can backup using Crashplan.

I said cloud backup though right? This is where you come in. I recommend buying a relatively low-cost NAS device with RAID, or you can build your own Bauer-Power SAN using Ubuntu, IET, ZFS and GlusterFS. Then you can install Crashplan on your computer at home, and backup all of your friend’s and family to your redundant storage; because Crashplan will let your friends and family backup to your machine over the Internet using a simple friend code. You only pay for your home storage.

With this solution their files are offsite, and you are once again the computer guru that swooped in and saved the day!

Now when they call you after pooching their computers, you can re-install with confidence, and restore all of their essential files. You can also drop off an extra drive at their house, and back your stuff up to them. Ulterior motive? Maybe. Awesome idea? Absolutely!

The cool thing about Crashplan, besides it being free, is it also saves data using deduplication and encryption. That means the files you save for your relatives will be secure and won’t take up a lot of space. It’s a friggin’ thing of beauty!

If you decide to do this for your family over the holidays, let us know about it in the comments!

-=El Di Pablo=-