Because computers don't fix themselves

Carbonite and cloned computers

You all probably know how much I love, use, and recommend Carbonite as a Backup Solution for personal (and small business) computers.  I love it!

But, today, I ran into my first actual problem with Carbonite.  And, it wasn’t a problem with their software or service at all, but rather a problem with my client’s computer.

My client purchased three copies of Carbonite, one for each of three computers.  Even though the software loaded without a problem, and everything looked good, the following day, one computer wouldn’t work, and the other was set up for a 2 year subscription, instead of one.  Apparently, one subscription was treated as a renewal of the first, rather than an additional one.

After some time on the phone with the very friendly and patient tech, Daniel, we discovered that one of the computers was a cloned hard drive, and therefore an exact duplicate windows installation as one of the other computers. 

And, even though the computer names were different, and they even had different IP addresses, it doesn’t matter.  Carbonite’s servers use the Windows SID information to determine which computer is which.  And, therefore, it thought these two computers were actually a single computer.  And, without changing the SID on one machine (which is a tricky and potentially operating system-crashingly dangerous process), there was no way to tell Carbonite that they were different machines.

Finally, there being no other option, we set up a 2nd Carbonite account under a different e-mail address from the first.  Which worked like a charm, as then we could put one of each of the cloned computers on a different account.

So, moral of the story:  If you have a cloned computer, and want to use Carbonite on both, make separate accounts, or be prepared to spend a few hours on the phone later on. =)