Your data is important to you. Those family photos are absolutely invaluable and irreplaceable, so why would you leave it up to chance? Maybe you have an external hard drive for backup purposes, but that is in the same physical location as your computer. They could both be harmed at the same time.
This is why online storage is getting increasingly popular. Thankfully, it is also getting increasingly affordable. The idea behind IDrive may sound like a familiar one, but you’ll find over the course of this review that it’s some good features that you may not find elsewhere.
Back Up Your Valuable Data
In a nutshell, IDRIVE provides full-featured online backup. There is a desktop application that you install on your computer and then you are able to backup your photos, music, documents, and so forth to your IDRIVE account. It’s free to sign up for an account.
The application, which is available for both Mac and Windows, is more than just an online drive where you can drag and drop your data. This is a full backup solution, just like the software that comes with some external hard drives.
Looking at the features page, you can see such highlights as Continuous Data Protection (CDP), which “automatically recognizes the modified parts of file(s)/folder(s) and backs them up every 10 minutes.”
The Desktop Application
After you sign up for an account and download the application (about 9MB), you can get started with the IDrive Classic program to set up your backup preferences and schedule. You can see the “Backup” and “Restore” tabs for their respective functions, allowing you to navigate through your folders and mark off the files that you would like to backup to IDrive.
You’ll notice the aforementioned continuous backup option in the lower-right corner, but you can also use the button next to it to set up your preferred backup schedule. This appears to be much more robust than the idea behind a competing “box” where you can “drop” files, since you get a full-featured backup solution with IDrive.
Further to the backup functionality, the IDrive online backup also saves up to 30 individual versions of your backed up data, so you can revert back to older copies of your files if you’d like. The drag-and-drop interface can still be accessed with the optional IDrive Explorer plug-in, so you don’t lose that functionality.
Another sticking point of some other similar online backup solution is the lack of speed. When I started the backup process with IDrive, I was able to get a transfer rate of up to 500kbps. Naturally, your performance will vary based on the type of files, current server load, and your Internet connection.
The Online and Mobile Components
What if you want to access your files from a computer that does not have IDrive installed? That’s where the online browser kicks in. All you have to do is log into your account on the IDrive website and you’ll see all of your files.
This obviously isn’t as robust as the desktop application, but it means that you can store files in your IDrive account to be accessed later from a remote location. This is fantastic for travel, for instance, since you may not have your main computer with you on the road.
As an additional service, you can also opt for IDrive Lite. This is an application for the iPhone and BlackBerry platforms that allows you to back up, manage, and restore your contact list.
Start with 2GB, Upgrade for More
If you’re looking for some very basic backup and you don’t need a lot of storage, you may be satisfied with the IDrive Basic account. If you need more, you may be more inclined to consider an IDrive Pro account. The personal account gives you 150GB of storage for $4.95 a month (or $49.50 a year). There are also options for families and businesses.
Less than $50 for 150GB of online backup? That sounds like a pretty decent deal. One feature that I would like to see implemented, however, is the ability to share a public link if you want to send a specific backed up file to a friend or colleague. With that in place, IDrive looks like it could be a solid option.