A viable alternative to Carbonite and Mozy, with a few nice features of its own
Review Date: 19 Aug 2010
Reviewed By: Stuart Andrews
Price when reviewed: Free
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
When we last looked at iDrive it represented a nice middle-ground between Mozy and Carbonite, offering some of the control and power features of the former with the continuous backup and ease-of-use of the latter. Now, faced with a more accessible Mozy and a more feature-packed Carbonite, the danger is iDrive could be squeezed out of the running.
Luckily, the service offers some positives. The client is slick, easy to use, and packed with useful features such as a bandwidth test tool and a bandwidth throttle. iDrive automatically selects a solid collection of files and folders to back up when first installed (think Documents, Desktop, Music, Pictures), and it's easy to add or remove items from the set just by right-clicking them. Unfortunately, there's no icon labelling system for a quick view of what's being protected and what isn't.
iDrive also has some backup features that might be welcome within small and media businesses. Mapped network drives can easily be backed up, and scheduled backups can be set up within the client or by using a web-based management console. Logging options make things easier for part-time admins, and iDrive has some great versioning options, not only allowing you to drill down and find previous versions of a file using the iDrive Explorer tool (an additional free download), but also restore from earlier backups using a timeline view.
Continuous backup doesn't work quite as it does with Carbonite. Instead of watching files continuously, iDrive does a backup every ten minutes, capturing the latest changes as an incremental backup. The continuous backup option only covers files of under 50MB, and in our tests it didn't always backup changed files reliably, leaving some modified image files awaiting backup until we took on the process manually.
iDrive also offers a sync feature, but rather than sync files between several PCs, it syncs a folder between your hard drive and backup set and ensures that any changes are reflected in both. Sensibly, the client warns you that you could lose data if you sync a desktop folder and then delete the files, as you'll also lose those in the stored equivalent.
iDrive has a lot to recommend it, with some great features, a good interface and decent security. If 128-bit SSL encryption for transfer and 256-bit AES encryption aren't enough for you, you can also use a private key system. And, while the Basic iDrive and iDrive Pro accounts can only be used with one computer at a time, the five-PC family pack and business packages offer options for offices or individuals with multiple PCs. Carbonite offers easier, more reliable continuous backup, but iDrive's feature set makes it a strong competitor to Mozy.
Author: Stuart Andrews
The article doesn't say how much space online is available?
By pbrn999 on 19 Aug 2010
By palcouk on 19 Aug 2010
I have used their other backup solution, IBackup, for some years. I'm based in the UK, when I had my only problem, after emailing support, they phoned me, and talked me through the resolution. No trouble since then.
By palcouk on 19 Aug 2010
I use the paid for option to backup my Windows Home Server shares where it runs on the server and keeps the archive up to date using continuous and daily scheuled options, it also automatically keeps older copies of changed files at no extra charge which is $49 per annum for up to 120GB. I've had it for 2 years now and se issues I had were sorted out and it runs fine and I sleep soundly.
By pbhudds on 19 Aug 2010
Sorry, checked and it's 150GB for USD 49.50 or USD 4.95 if you pay monthly. It was the cheapest option for me as I have close to 130GB of files (it took weeks to upload over ADSL).
By pbhudds on 19 Aug 2010
Proves your reviews are worthless
If the reviewer was to actually test the product fully, then he would know that you cannot exclude a single file or folder within a structure that is selected for backup.
Well, you can, but not by using the treeview on the main window. You have to manually type the path in the exclusion box.
Well, thats not strictly true either, because the exclusions don't always work.
I'm forever going over my limit, because unknown to me, the product has backed up files/folders in the exlcusion list.
It doesn't happen all the time - just when it wants.
If you want to backup all or nothing then it's ok, but don't bother trying to do a complicated backup.
By metalmonkey on 20 Aug 2010
Re: Proves your reviews are worthless
Thanks for the feedback, MetalMonkey. We do spend a considerable amount of time testing these products, and I'll definitely keep your comments in mind for any future reviews. I'd agree that the situation you're describing is an annoyance, and I might suggest you consider moving to Mozy, which will give you the level of control you clearly need.
By StuAndrews on 20 Aug 2010
One advantage over Mozy...
...it'll run on server versions of windows - even the free version - whereas mozy won't - or if it does, then only in the much more expensive business subscriptions
For a single PC, I prefer Mozy, but on a network, iDrive is far more cost-effective.
By stephenjfa on 26 Aug 2010
I have idrive pro 100 gig for 199.99 a year. Ordered it in June /11 They changed the pricing this Jan and now offer 200 gig for same price. They will not offer existing customers any break and are charging overcharge fees if you go over the amounts. Bad business practice. We will be finding a new backup company.
By prouser on 24 Jan 2012
I canceled my subscription after a year but only after seeing the new charge on my credit card bill. No reminders, just a bill. They refused to refund my remaining 51weeks payment. It's your decision to use them of course but be careful, they'll rob you.
By incandescant_ernie on 17 Nov 2012
WATCH OUT! your "free" trial is not really free if you decide to try an upgrade. After using idrive for a few months I decided to upgrade for more space, even after when reaching the 5gb the software sent my pc into a frenzy. I upgraded and also receive new software (the old software is also used by many other backup solutions, hardly unique but same flaws) I deleted the old idrive and removed the software and installed the new version. Started the backup and it would never complete. It would hand around 37-45% and not go any further. After realizing they used canned software, the issue when reaching the limit and freezing my pc, and the new software not backing up beyond 37-45% (only had to back up 7gb) I decided that within 12 hours of purchase I wanted a refund. Guess what!? They say that you are only eligible for a refund from the time you start your free trial!!!!!! So after 15day of a free trial and on day 16 you decide to upgrade for more space but it doesn't work. TOO BAD!!! NO REFUND!! They say it's in the small print. I call it deceptive marketing.
By jean_stellars on 19 Feb 2013
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