No honorable mentions this week, as the nominations dropped off pretty sharply from these five. Some of you pointed to your own kind of franken-backup solution that made use of traditional cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive in addition with desktop utilities and clients that can automatically copy whatever you want from your computer to specified files and folders in those services, which is a great option if you want the absolute ultimate in control.
Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don't just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.
Some services go above and beyond, including extra capabilities that improve the experience. For example, a few offer disk courier services for bulk uploads and restores via an external drive that the company ships and manages. A couple of these services throw in a local backup component, too. If you go that route, you should take a look at our roundup of best external hard drives. Some of these services can even track your device's location and let you remotely wipe it in case it's lost or stolen.
When you copy a YouTube URL (even for a playlist), click in the WinX software to launch. You start with the "analyzer," which checks all the options. This tool also tried to default to the 1,920-by-1,080 version in MP4; I picked the 4K version (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) in WebM format, a subset of the MKV format—you can rename a .webm file to a .mkv and it'll work fine. In settings there are options to default to WebM at highest res. You can set up a number of videos to back up before you even click the download button. The 4K 575.4MB file took 1 minute and 39 seconds to download, more than double that of 4K Video Downloader.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's Solutions section, which covered programming techniques as well as tips on using popular office software. He previously covered services and software for ExtremeTech.com.
With this online YouTube channel downloader, you have the ability to download the YouTube channel you want completely free, as long as it’s not copyrighted. This service provides downloads for what it considers ‘educational purposes.’ It does block any kind of content that has copyrighted material in it, which means you’re not going to have quite as many options for what you want to download, but you’re still going to have a lot of interesting things that you can listen to or watch. What’s really great is that it’s simple to use.
Do you prefer to avoid installing software? Video download helper sites do the download work for you, providing conversion and then a download link—you don't have to install anything on your PC. It can take a lot longer, depending on the size and quality of the video you want—a typical two-minute movie trailer in 1080p can be around 30MB—but you can't beat the convenience.
Not to be confused with the unrelated "pro" above, Video DownloadHelper supports a huge number of sites—even those for adults. You'll know a video is downloadable when the icon for the extension animates when you're on the webpage. Video DownloadHelper for Chrome has stopped working with YouTube—so it could get placement in the Chrome Web Store. You can get around that by using the Video DownloadHelper extension for Firefox. The developer has a Kiva initiative page, where it prefers you donate funds to those in need, which has raised over $137,700.
You can either tear out your hair when a disaster strikes your hard drive or you can prepare for it ahead of time, but data loss is as inevitable as death and taxes. An online backup service is one of the best ways to protect yourself against such threats as a crashed hard drive or accidental deletion. Natural disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes can also spell the end of your digital media and documents. Even if you're among the very few who diligently perform local backups at regular intervals, you could still lose data if you don't store backups offsite.
Backup services vary widely in how they set up and perform backups. For example, the totally hands-free Backblaze automatically encrypts and uploads all your important files without any input. On the other hand, services such as IDrive and Acronis True Image let you choose specific files you want from a file tree. Note that some services restrict you from backing up specific file types or using particular sources, such as from an external or network drive. Make sure the service you choose supports all your needs.