Software & Apps Backup & Utilities What Is Offline Restore? What does it mean when a cloud backup service offers offline restore? By Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated March 19, 2020 Backup & Utilities Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email Some online backup services offer a feature called offline restore which is an option where the backup company physically sends your previously backed up files to you on a storage device. Offline restore is almost always an added cost, charged only if and when you might need to use the feature. Backblaze is one example of an online backup service that supports offline restore. Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images Why Should I Use Offline Restore? Restoring files back to your computer from your online backup account can take a long time if the files are large, your internet connection is slow, or you have lots of data. If you've started a normal restore using the internet but it's taking longer than you'd like, consider using offline restore if that's an option. Another situation where offline restore is a smart idea is when your hard drive crashes and you have to completely reinstall Windows or factory restore your computer or device. Since you can't restore your files to a broken hard drive, getting all of it back on a portable device is ideal. If you have several GB, or maybe even TB, of data to restore, it may be the smartest choice to have your data sent to you the old-fashioned way. How Does Offline Restore Work? Assuming the cloud backup plan you've purchased offers offline restore as an option, you would follow whatever process the company has outlined for requesting it. This might involve a few clicks of a button in the online backup service software or maybe an email, chat, or phone call with support. After receiving your request for the offline restore, the online backup service will make a copy of your data from their servers onto some kind of storage device. This might be one or more DVD or BD discs, flash drives, or external hard drives. Once they've got the data ready for it, they'll mail it to you, usually with the fastest shipping speed available, like next-day or overnight. UPS or FedEx are usually used. Once you have physical access to your files, you can use the online backup service's software you already have installed to restore your data to your computer like you would when restoring through the internet.