All About Backblaze’s USB Hard Drive Restore

By | February 23rd, 2017

When you use Backblaze Computer Backup to back up your data to Backblaze it is first encrypted on your PC or Mac, transmitted using encryption, and stored encrypted in the Backblaze cloud. When the time comes for you to restore those files you may decide you don’t want to do that online. After all, it could take a while to download the hundreds of gigabytes of data you have stored with Backblaze. That’s why we offer the ability to securely restore your data using a USB hard drive or USB flash drive instead. Here’s more about the service and how to use it.

Restore By Mail

Backblaze offers the Restore By Mail service for any customer who wants to restore their files by using a USB drive. For restores up to 110 GB we offer a USB flash drive. For larger restores up to 3.5 TB we offer a USB-based hard disk drive instead (we’re currently using WD My Passport Ultra drives). The flash drive costs $99; the hard drive costs $189. Both prices include shipping and handling. You select which method you’d like to use (web, USB hard drive or USB flash drive) at the beginning of the restore process.

We send the drive to you by FedEx. You restore the files at your convenience. What’s more, our Restore Return Refund service saves you money. After your restore is done, send the drive back to us within 30 days. We refund your purchase price in full. We’re not interested in turning hard drive restores into a big profit center. We just want to make it as convenient as possible for you to get your files.

Secure In Transit

Your files are safe even though we’re sending them via a delivery service. If the drive gets intercepted en route, whoever got it can’t to do anything with it. That’s because we encrypt the data on the USB drive before we send it to you. We take the safety and security of your data very seriously at Backblaze.

You’re given a Drive Unlock Code when you order a USB drive from us. View the code by logging into your account page on the Backblaze Web site. Without that Drive Unlock Code, no one can access the data on your drive.

Hard drive encryption used to be optional. A while back we made it the standard operating procedure for any USB flash drive or USB hard drive we send out the door.

How To Restore Your Files Using A USB Hard Drive

Here is a step-by-step guide to recovering your data once you have received your USB hard drive from Backblaze:

  1. To access your data, you will need your personalized drive unlock code. After logging into Backblaze, the drive unlock code can be found on the bottom right of the My Restores page.My Restores
  2. Next, remove the WD My Passport Ultra hard drive from the box and connect it to your computer via the accompanying cable.
  3. Once the hard drive is connected, you will be prompted to enter the unlock code. Copy and paste your drive unlock code from step one into the password field.Unlock My Passport
  4. Now the hard drive will be unlocked and fully accessible to you. You can retrieve all your restored files.

You can send back the USB Hard Drive to us within 30 days, and we’ll refund your purchase price: $189.00 for USB hard drive or $99.00 for USB flash drives. Of course you can keep the USB drive and we’ll keep your money and that’s OK too. We just want to make sure you can get your data back as quickly, conveniently, and securely as possible.

Peter Cohen
Peter will never give you up, never let you down, never run around or desert you. He also manages the Backblaze blog.

Follow Peter on:
His web site: | Twitter: @flargh | LinkedIn: Peter Cohen | Google+: Peter Cohen
  • Berzerker

    Can this be used to backup data in the first place? I really don’t have the patience or the bandwidth at 40Mbps (~5MB/s) to back up nearly 3.5TB of information, but I’m interested in using the service.

    • Hey there! No – unfortunately we cannot “seed” backups at the moment.

      • Berzerker

        Unfortunate. Would be interested once that becomes an option.

  • Echo

    Is the feature available if we have chosen private encryption keys?


  • Jared

    Does this work if you use a Private Encryption Key?

    • The Private Encryption Key is used to decrypt your data when you order the restore. We use disk encryption on the USB device to make sure the data is secure in transit.

    • Yes.

  • Darknight

    What about restores over 3.5tb?

    • Kamen Minkov

      Multiple drives probably…

  • Can international customers use this service too?

  • Julie Diehl

    So is this option available if I choose at the time of possibly needing to restore my files? Currently I just pay my yearly backup fee to Backblaze…

    • That’s exactly right. When you need to restore, if you want to use a Flash drive or a USB hard drive, we have that option available. We’ll restore the files to those devices and FedEx them to you. And if you send the drive back to us within 30 days, we refund the full cost of the drive to you.

  • kingmouf

    I am a little bit puzzled here. If the data you have collected are already encrypted, then why do you re-encrypt them when you send them back? Is the encryption process broken?

    • You need to decrypt your data to order up the restore. We encrypt the data on the drive to make sure it’s safe in transit.

  • RPH

    Do you offer this service to customers outside of the US? I’m in the UK.

    • Yup! We ship to most places globally!

  • Paul Yarnall

    A terrific option… you are half way there. Offer the same service so we can send our data to start the account! I have 2 TB of photos I would love to get off site, but with my available bandwidth it would take MONTHS to upload… and kill my connection for the standard every day net use during the upload. I know you would have concerns about viruses and such, but you guys are smart and I am sure you could figure it out. I will never be able to become a customer without some way to get the bulk of my data to you some other way than via uploading. I know I am not alone in facing this hurdle. Thanks for listening.

    • Ka Lam

      Just get started (the backup) somewhere/sometime… I was in the same boat, after 600+ days, it’s finally done. Once the fist batch is done, incremental isn’t that bad.

      At where I am with the connection that I have (1Mb/s up), it’s about 10GB of upload a day… so 300GB/month. 2TB ~= 6-7 months.

      (yes. I started out at higher then 2TB, plus some computer issue = over 1.5 years of the “first backup”)

      • Paul Yarnall

        I admire your patience, but that long an upload is not acceptable on any level. A lot can happen in months… or years! Incremental backup up loads would be bad enough. It is easy for me to come back from a shoot with 15-30 gig.

        • SirBC

          Agree. Just spent 10 minutes searching the Backblaze site for seeding my initial backup and came up with zero. Unless I turn up something else it’s still looking like a combo of Amazon Glacier with a Snowball for cloud backup upload/recovery and Cloudberry software to manage the backups.

  • AE Stagge

    I had to use this service once a few years ago. It was so convenient. I kept the hard drive and installed it in my desktop to add capacity. If I recall the $189 price was less than it would cost me to buy the same 4tb bare drive at the time.
    Keep up the good work Peter and BackBlaze!