So Long, Old Friend

This weekend, I had to finally say goodbye forever to my old cloud backup software, Microsoft Mesh.

Mesh was brilliant. You install a little agent. You tell it which folders you want to back up. You forget Mesh is running and whenever you sign into your computer, it looks in your cloud location, sees if the folders are out of sync with your computer and saves if necessary. Just like that. Nothing to it. Your files are backed up and you can forget it.

It also had the capability of connecting one PC to another, but I wasn’t interested in that. Most firewalls in places of employment are going to block that sort of thing anyway. Like GoToMyPC…remember that service? You can access your home system from work and remote systems from home, right through a browser.

Microsoft, as is there wont, however, has seen fit to terminate Mesh and dedicate themselves to the less useful, infinitely less flexible SkyDrive instead.

It’s still doing the same thing. Any folder in your SkyDrive folder is monitored for changes and synced to the cloud (up to 7GB free) automatically. The problem is, SkyDrive doesn’t let you tell it which folders to sync. SkyDrive works more like DropBox now, wherein you must locate your backups in the SkyDrive folder or they aren’t backed up.

That’s a huge difference. Mesh let you leave your file structure alone and it would still back up for you. SkyDrive makes you conform to its structure. Recently, MS did improve the utility of the software by allowing you to decide where to put the SkyDrive folder. Initially, it just installed wherever and you moved your stuff into that folder.

It’s useful, and I’m grateful for my free 25GB (I had a SkyDrive account prior to a particular date, so when MS first began pushing this, they offered us long-timers more storage if we claimed it before a certain date in, I think, 2011), and I am glad at least my stuff’s being backed up. That’s a big step up from where I was a couple of years back when I lost everything…twice.

But Mesh was a trusted friend and reliable companion. Without it I feel a little naked. SkyDrive isn’t quite the same. It’s the new friend who’s not quite as cool as the one I had to leave behind.

How do you backup your data? are you backing up your data?


3 thoughts on “So Long, Old Friend

  1. In your Skydrive folder, try using a symbolic link to a folder outside of your Skydrive folder structure. Dropbox will follow such links, but only when it starts up, so you don’t get live updating, but at least every time you boot up your machine it works. Instructions for dropbox, which will be the same if Skydrive is smart enough to follow symbolic links:

    Cool as that sounds, I have a feeling only the link would get backed up. Ah well. I’ll try it with another one and see if it works.

    And yes, I use dropbox for cloud backup and a usb backup device / hd for local backups.

    I’m thinking about getting one of those 2TB wireless backup devices. My boss has one and loves it. Says it’s great. But, it’s $180… eh.

  2. Or you could go the other way around and move the folder you want backed up into your skydrive folder and then just put a shortcut to the folder in your regular My Documents or wherever the folder in question used to be.

    Yeah, that’s probably viable too. But, the My Documents folder is critical to other Windows path structures, so moving it’s never wise. The way I did it works fine; everything just has one more layer to it is all. I have to be careful, too, with file name lengths, I think. But this is FAR, FAR inferior to Mesh.

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