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Livedrive review

Verdict

Easy to use and packed with features, Livedrive is the best all-in cloud storage service

Review Date: 14 Mar 2012

Reviewed By: Stuart Andrews

Price when reviewed: (Unlimited backup £5/mth, 2TB briefcase £10/mth, unlimited backup ant 5TB briefcase £15/mth) (£0 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO A-List

PCPRO Recommended

In its efforts to be all things to all men, Livedrive now comes in three flavours: a backup-only service offering unlimited storage, a “Briefcase” syncing service with 2TB of online storage space, and a Pro Suite that does both with 5TB of sync space. It’s a good deal if you want to back up an entire PC.

Livedrive makes that process easy, with right-click selection, support for external and network drives, and a continuous backup option.

Restoring files used to be a pain as you could only download files one at a time from the website, but a new Livedrive Restore utility now handles entire nested folders too. The versioning features work well, but one thing that concerned us was that a couple of files the desktop client marked as backed up weren’t visible on the website.

Livedrive

Synchronisation works in much the same way as Dropbox, using the special Briefcase folder. Again, you can add files and folders to this with a right-click. Syncing is usually speedy, too, with files added or amended on one system and the changes replicated in less than 1min 20secs. In one case, a file took 38 seconds to upload, but more than five and a half minutes to download on the second PC – but that was an exception.

With the Pro Suite installed, Livedrive isn’t short on features. As well as backup and syncing, it offers easy folder- and file-sharing through email invitations, plus excellent photo-sharing and music-streaming features.

Thanks to integration with Picnik and FotoFlexer, you can edit uploaded photos from within the website, or view and edit Office documents using Zoho Office and Scribd. The mobile apps are another strength, allowing you to browse and play stored music, display a slideshow of stored photos and see files other users have shared.

Livedrive pretty much does it all, with a strong feature set and an easy-to-use interface. While other backup or sync services are stronger in specialist areas, and close rival SugarSync is cheaper, Livedrive is the best choice if you want to opt for one product only.

Author: Stuart Andrews

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User comments

Very fast but poor support

In December 2011 I signed up for a free 512Gb backup account with the Livedrive reseller Backzup. The account was accessed through Livedrive.com, and the backup software was provided by and named Livedrive.
In 5 days I uploaded 200Gb, which then worked for 11 days before the account was suspended. Backzup appear to have ceased operations and never responded to my questions. I contacted Livedrive to ask why the account was suspended, what had happened to their reseller, and if it would be possible to subscribe to Livedrive and retain the 200Gb backup their servers held. Their only response was "this is a reseller account. You need to contact the reseller."
I lost the 200Gb backup, so have now subscribed to another online backup service.
If Livedrive had responded that the backup was deleted when they suspended Backzup customer accounts I would have been willing to sign up with Livedrive for the super fast backups, but the "it's not our problem" response killed that idea.

By paulhuntterry on 22 Mar 2012

Workstation Good, Server Bad!

I discovered the other day that my Carbonite backup had missed a large number of my files from it's vaults. It's not well advertised, but there is documentation that details a huge array of file types that it doesn't back up. Bad!

On the strength of this feature I bought a copy for my home PC, and was very impressed. It's a bit basic; the Carbonite interface is a little more user friendly, but it seems to work OK. It's been building up it's inventory of my files over the past few days at a steady stream, and more to the point it's backing up the files that Carbonite missed! Thanks be for on-site backups!

So impressed was I that I decided to try it on a mission critical work server. The install was OK, and I went through all the same installation parameters I wnet through before. Having set the account up, installed the software and tweaked the files and folders I was backing up I let it run for a while. Given that the server in question is a Virtual Machine sitting in a server farm somewhere in Manchester, with a connection to the Internet that gives real world upload speeds of more then 12MBps, it was fairly zipping through the files and folders. So, having seen it working and logged off, I took a look at the portal provided by Livedrive - very nice by the way - and I could start to see the files coming through. So far so good.

This morning, horror! I've discovered that, the software will not install on a Windows 2003 server with the same level of sophistication as it will on a Workstation. In effect the software will only run effectively if you're logged in to it. As soon as you log out of the server, the service shuts down. In effect it's useless for server operations. Leaving your account permanently logged in is very poor security.

I've found a workaround, which I'm now testing, but it involves a great deal of mucking around. I do this for a living, and I'm no stranger to making manual changes tot he registry, but I would not recommend this to anyone else. Workstation use seems to be fine then, but it's not really a suitable package for a server out of the box.

By tomsteemson on 28 Mar 2012

Does not run as a service

Having quizzed Livedrive technical support on this one, it's seems that the product only runs as an application, not as a service. The end result, and this is true for workstations a well as servers, is that you need to be logged on to the user account that you used to install the service, and that this user account be 'live' for the process to run. If you log out of your account, it stops working. Such a shame, because it's got great potential, but having to be signed in to the account all the time really limits it's uses.

By tomsteemson on 29 Mar 2012

To slow and one MAJOR flaw

Question for Stuart Andrews - Did you actually try the Briefcase service? I signed up for Briefcase and it was ridiculously slow to upload, about 20 slower than I get with Dropbox. I then discovered A MAJOR flaw by reading the replies to an article on anandtech.com about Backify (A LiveDrive reseller). Basically, if the desktop software is refused access to you online account, then you lose access to all of your files - even the copies on your local drive! Unbelievably flawed.

By steveginty on 30 Mar 2012

Livedrive not worth the award

I signed up to Livedrive, after reading the review in PC Pro. In the past I have always found the advice in PC Pro reliable so did not spend any time looking into the product myself. It is a pity I did not, and it would appear the reviewer did not either. What really lets this product down is the support. Access to the forums is only possible once you have signed up and got an account. Once you have posting to the forums involves all posts being vetted by an administrator, which when I posted took 10 days. Support actually appears to be via Twitter but even this can take days to get a response. A search for unsatisfied Livedrive customers reveals a host of unhappy people. All this was discovered in just a few minutes of searching. Perhaps this should be done as standard on software reviews.

I was going to cancel my account and get a refund. Instead I have kept it and use it as a secondary backup for the contents of my Documents, Pictures and Music folders. My main is a backup to a local NAS using Acronis. My only concern now is how reliable is it going to be to recover files using Livedrive.

By jfothergill on 3 Apr 2012

Livedrive not worth the award

I signed up to Livedrive, after reading the review in PC Pro. In the past I have always found the advice in PC Pro reliable so did not spend any time looking into the product myself. It is a pity I did not, and it would appear the reviewer did not either. What really lets this product down is the support. Access to the forums is only possible once you have signed up and got an account. Once you have posting to the forums involves all posts being vetted by an administrator, which when I posted took 10 days. Support actually appears to be via Twitter but even this can take days to get a response. A search for unsatisfied Livedrive customers reveals a host of unhappy people. All this was discovered in just a few minutes of searching. Perhaps this should be done as standard on software reviews.

I was going to cancel my account and get a refund. Instead I have kept it and use it as a secondary backup for the contents of my Documents, Pictures and Music folders. My main is a backup to a local NAS using Acronis. My only concern now is how reliable is it going to be to recover files using Livedrive.

By jfothergill on 3 Apr 2012

Horrible Company

After the initial review in the magazine, I signed up for a year.

Less than a month in, the system collapsed - for four days I couldn't access my data. Server issues at their end.

Eventually it starts working again, but do you think I wish to have my data with a company which had me without my data for 4 days!

Not only was sync not working, I couldn't access the data that was on my drive, as the service wouldn't start up.

So I tried to cancel and get a refund. Frankly, they are just a bullying company. A response takes about 3 days from them. I now wish to make a chargeback, but they are now waiving t's and c's that state that if I make the chargeback they will recover it, and charge me the recovery fee.

Basically, their service failed me terribly, and their attitude is 'talk to the hand, cause the heads not listening'.

It might be a good system most of the time, but the customer support/attitude is just madness.

My advice - STAY AWAY.

Graham

By GrahamHughes on 3 Apr 2012

more bad reviews online

has anyone read this:
http://www.onlinebackupdeals.com/livedrive/

terrible reviews my a multitude of people!!

By Farshad on 19 Apr 2012

Beware of this scam!

It's beyond me how PCPro could award this terrible scam called Livedrive. Did you really ever test this service? Did you ever do a simple Google search to find out what real customers are thinking about this scam? No, I guess you didn't.

Livedrive has no customer support whatsoever! 24 hour email support is a lie! There is no support! Livedrive throttle uploads! They say they don't. That's a lie! Livedrive has a lot of technical problems. Recently they went offline for almost a week and refused to refund their customers! In the past they have lost customer data!

PLEASE BEWARE OF LIVEDRIVE! This is a scam! Sorry PCPro but you completely lost any reputation with this "review" you did. This is journalism at its worst!

By Livedrive_customer on 28 Apr 2012

Live Drive

This software is a waste of time. After 1 month of being unable to get it to back up, I switched to Carbonite which is fine.

By DavidofPaddockWood on 2 May 2012

Not suitable for business or even serious personal use

I am quite happy with the solution, but if you have a problem, forget about support, as far as I my experience is concerned. I don't think it is safe for personal backup, let alone business. My account has lapsed despite my efforts to renew it before they terminated it. I have met a brick wall trying to rescue my data. Just as well I don't need it. It is a good product seriously let down by utter disregard to users.

By lenlopez on 18 Jun 2012

Failing to backup data is just a 'concern'?

"...one thing that concerned us was that a couple of files the desktop client marked as backed up weren’t visible on the website."

How is this just a 'concern' if it failed to back-up data..!?

By martyw on 21 Jun 2012

Livedrive does provide its money's worth!

We have been reselling Livedrive for 2 years now, and have had generally positive feedback from customers on ease of use and the unlimited storage capacity, we have had many comments stating the process is slow but the service does work and has delivered in a couple of cases whereby clients data was deleted and was sucessfully recovered from Livedrive storage server.

Why not try LIVEDRIVE for 1 WHOLE YEAR WITH 93% OFF ITS £49.95 RRP. GOTO http://www.ksn-online.co.uk/advanced_search_result
.php?keywords=livedrive

LIVEDRIVE UNLIMTIED ONLINE BACKUP 1 YEAR IS CURRENTLY ONLY £3.60 INC VAT!!

By KSN_Online on 21 Aug 2012

Hear hear to most of the above

I signed up to Livedrive around 3 years ago. The basic service seemed fine BUT the software was laughably basic. My wife is in charge of the local church's laptop which holds a simple database of hymns. If she added just one extra hymn Livedrive wanted to back up the entire file taking hours. I have since found and use Crashplan which checks what's changed in a file and only takes the new bits. The result? A hymnal database that backs up in a couple of minutes and to more than one location; my PC and the cloud. I have also performed two complete recoveries from Crashplan without a hitch. Support? Last time I contacted them (2 or so years ago) I got the impression they where a bunch of well meaning but out of their depth Comp Sci BSc's. Never seen a decent review on PcPro, why? KSN; 93% off? says it all really...

By westrayboy on 30 Aug 2012

Dont forget encryption !

it is a real concern that files are not encrypted on the servers of many suppliers which leaves it open to disloyal employees or hackers. The transfer itself is encrypted but on the server side (for example microsoft.)

In addition it is important that the software can do in-file delta backup, which easely explained is that the software uploads only the changes inside the big files, imagine you outlook .pst file of 6 GB being uploaded every day because its changed....

Here in Norway we have an online backup provider that gives you the necessary software to backup your machine, either it`s Window, Mac or Linux. Open file support, encryption of data before it leaves your computer, in-file-delta, easy to setup and run automatically.
Its called gratisbackup.no and can be reached at gratisbackup.com too, only thing its in Norwegian....But it gives you 5 GB free on signup.

By nowman on 22 Sep 2012

Dont forget encryption !

it is a real concern that files are not encrypted on the servers of many suppliers which leaves it open to disloyal employees or hackers. The transfer itself is encrypted but on the server side (for example microsoft.)

In addition it is important that the software can do in-file delta backup, which easely explained is that the software uploads only the changes inside the big files, imagine you outlook .pst file of 6 GB being uploaded every day because its changed....

Here in Norway we have an online backup provider that gives you the necessary software to backup your machine, either it`s Window, Mac or Linux. Open file support, encryption of data before it leaves your computer, in-file-delta, easy to setup and run automatically.
Its called gratisbackup.no and can be reached at gratisbackup.com too, only thing its in Norwegian....But it gives you 5 GB free on signup.

By nowman on 22 Sep 2012

online back up

I have used Backup Direct for a few years and found the programme and the company both work well. There is always someone with whom to talk (sometimes you have to wait for a call back but they do call back)and so you can discuss a package and price to suit your needs. I think they offer server back ups these days and other services.

Most importantly, recovery worked well when I have needed it.

The initial back up takes a few hours depending on how much you are backing up but then it is incremental and we set ours to run at night.

By Zippy204 on 15 Oct 2012

Appalling Customer Support

Why am I not surprised to find so many unhappy customers? Live Drive Customer Support was totally unhelpful recently and on this basis, I'm heading to a different back up company as soon as possible.

By richardlingard on 10 Nov 2012

Why would anyone recommend this product!?!

I have been using dropbox for a little while now, which is excellent but just a little expensive. I decided to look for a cheaper alternative and Livedrive came up in my search.

I wish I had carried out a little more research before downloading Livedrive because it has caused me no end of problems which I am still trying to sort out now.

The first thing is that when you are syncing or backing up files in the briefcase folders on Livedrive the files get automatically duplicated on your hard-drive so that you end up needing more space on your own hard-drive!! This kind of defeats the whole point because I was looking for a place to dump some of files and free up some space. After about ten minutes of the syncing process my hard-drive was full and my computer was barely able to function properly.

Shortly after that, Livedrive stalled and then seemingly uninstalled itself leaving me with a hard-drive full of duplicated files.

I submitted a ticket to the Livedrive customer support and when I went to check on the progress of the ticket via their website today the website itself was down due to technical issues.

Man do I regret ever stumbling upon Livedrive. I just wasted 3 hours trying to sort out this mess (3 hours and 30 minutes if you count the time I spent looking for feedback in retrospect).

Be sucked in to their attractive prices and seemingly good deals at your peril. This is a Mickey Mouse outfit.

By chrisc2 on 26 Nov 2012

Don`t give them your money

If you decide to use this service (and judging by the other comments I can`t imagine WHY you would) Make Absolutely sure that what you get IS "Livedrive Backup". -I was sold a package by PCWorld which they called "Livedrive Backup" but turned out to be "Livedrive Knowhow Back up and Cloud" which has a 500GB limit. I could not understand why the backup never completed until I contacted support who told me of the limit. -The Client software is still labelled "Livedrive" so I was unaware of the difference until it was too late to cancel and change to the package that I wanted. Their support was obnoxious and point blank refused to swap my package or refund me.
BTW because the software continually TRIED to upload my files over the limit it used approximately 5Terabytes of Bandwidth before I discovered the problem.I`m almost certain that I`ll be hearing from my I.P. anyday soon and now risk being "Throttled" for exessive use.

By Demotricus on 2 Jan 2013

John H

I cannot understand how this can still be on PC Pro's A list after 12 months of negative comments. PC Pro COME ON - try it for real and take it off your A List!

By JohnHXX on 25 Feb 2013

Serious Problems!

My client bought a Reseller pack, intending to offer white label back-up etc. But we quickly realised that Livedrive prohibits multiple uses of same email address. So if someone signs up for a free back-up and then decides they want to buy an enhanced services from my client . . . they can't because their email address is already in use!
So if there are two Resellers, they can't both have the same customer email address.
Other problem is that you can't backup an exe file. So if you use something like Lockdir to password protect a folder, you can't back it up on Livedrive.
Oh, and Technical Support is pathetic. All I get back is a one line dismissal. No attempt to provide an explanation or workaround suggestion.

By Nick_H1 on 4 Jun 2013

No problems

I signed up to LiveDrive through DrivePop reseller. I've had no problems what-so-ever. Any questions I need my reseller is quick to respond.

@Nick_H1 you can backup .exe files. You have to change it.
Go to Manage Backup, setting and untick the exclusions.

By noise on 4 Jun 2013

No problems

I signed up to LiveDrive through DrivePop reseller. I've had no problems what-so-ever. Any questions I need my reseller is quick to respond.

@Nick_H1 you can backup .exe files. You have to change it.
Go to Manage Backup, setting and untick the exclusions.

By noise on 4 Jun 2013

Awful customer service

I have today learned that owing to an expired credit card, my LiveDrive account was first suspended and then terminated over two months ago. As a result, my entire 2TB backup has been nuked. And the reason for this? They sent me ONE SINGLE EMAIL on Sunday April 21st telling me that payment had failed and that service "may" be removed. Trouble is, that email got caught in my Outlook spam filter so I had no idea they had even sent it to me! Given that backup services are effectively there to provide insurance, wouldn't you think they would take greater care of their customers?

By TimHJ on 5 Jul 2013

Not reliable, poor support

I've been using Livedrive for 2 months now. Uploading 40Gb of data was painfully slow taking about two weeks on my BT Infinity connection (10Mb upload).

Unfortunately I cant really tell if it's completed. Every day a new scan starts in Livedrive seems to find more files to sync. Often these are files that have been uploaded already and haven't changed.

I recently noticed that several small files were continually being re-queued. Upon checking I can see that these have not been uploaded. I wonder how many of my 100,000+ files have also been uploaded.

Livedrive support is quite appalling. It takes 24 hours to get a response from them and they offer no telephone support.

Consequently it's taken weeks to work through the above issues and I'm left feeling that Livedrive cannot be relied upon to actually backup everything.

I will be cancelling Livedrive this month.

By bikeman01 on 25 Jul 2013

A tad flawed

I gave LiveDrive a try last week, and was pleased with the performance and upload speed.

However, I cancelled my subscription within about 12 hours of joining when I discovered that the backup software runs as an application, not a service. As a result, no backups take place unless you are logged on to the machine with the account used to install LiveDrive. I had a go at trying to run it as a service using SrvStart, but this was unsuccessful.

This sort of scenario might be OK for an unshared home PC with just one user, but any other scenario is likely to end in tears.

By adriaanvw on 29 Aug 2013

A hump of pure rubbish

For anyone even thinking of using Live Drive DON'T. Read on

I signed up to Live Drive about 10 months ago, and I have to say it was a disaster from day one. I've been in IT since 1986, used countless systems and services from large named companies to smaller companies for all kinds of services.

Now I'm a professional web designer and web host and started out hosting websites in 1997, and have done so to this day. So a few years back I looked into offline/cloud storage services. Initially I used Humyo and their service was excellent and well priced. They ended up taken over by Trend Micro and i decided to stop using them as I thought the service declined.

Any way,I decided to give Live Drive a try on a 30 day trial, with a view to going for a reseller account after a few months if everything was to my liking. This was with a view to offering storage to small to medium sized businesses if it was fine. Almost from day one it was a disaster. Support was....................... , oh wait, support was none existent. The service was clunky, and to make sure it wasn't my PC's in my office, I tried it from many different locations many miles apart from each other and it was dire. I NEVER did get any of the three support requests answered or acknowleged.

As I say, I'm a web host and host all my clients through my reseller account with Heart Internet, and on the 11 occasions I have raised a support ticket, the longest wait for a response has been 34 minutes. Now that is priority number one for anyone in my line of business, much like any other business. Poor or none existent support can easily end up with a serious effect on my business and that is one thing I can't afford.

For anyone even thinking of using Live Drive DON'T. Read the reviews online, you will find it hard to get a recommendation.

By 5hagnasty on 13 Oct 2013

A hump of pure rubbish

For anyone even thinking of using Live Drive DON'T. Read on

I signed up to Live Drive about 10 months ago, and I have to say it was a disaster from day one. I've been in IT since 1986, used countless systems and services from large named companies to smaller companies for all kinds of services.

Now I'm a professional web designer and web host and started out hosting websites in 1997, and have done so to this day. So a few years back I looked into offline/cloud storage services. Initially I used Humyo and their service was excellent and well priced. They ended up taken over by Trend Micro and i decided to stop using them as I thought the service declined.

Any way,I decided to give Live Drive a try on a 30 day trial, with a view to going for a reseller account after a few months if everything was to my liking. This was with a view to offering storage to small to medium sized businesses if it was fine. Almost from day one it was a disaster. Support was....................... , oh wait, support was none existent. The service was clunky, and to make sure it wasn't my PC's in my office, I tried it from many different locations many miles apart from each other and it was dire. I NEVER did get any of the three support requests answered or acknowleged.

As I say, I'm a web host and host all my clients through my reseller account with Heart Internet, and on the 11 occasions I have raised a support ticket, the longest wait for a response has been 34 minutes. Now that is priority number one for anyone in my line of business, much like any other business. Poor or none existent support can easily end up with a serious effect on my business and that is one thing I can't afford.

For anyone even thinking of using Live Drive DON'T. Read the reviews online, you will find it hard to get a recommendation.

By 5hagnasty on 13 Oct 2013

A hump of pure rubbish

For anyone even thinking of using Live Drive DON'T. Read on

I signed up to Live Drive about 10 months ago, and I have to say it was a disaster from day one. I've been in IT since 1986, used countless systems and services from large named companies to smaller companies for all kinds of services.

Now I'm a professional web designer and web host and started out hosting websites in 1997, and have done so to this day. So a few years back I looked into offline/cloud storage services. Initially I used Humyo and their service was excellent and well priced. They ended up taken over by Trend Micro and i decided to stop using them as I thought the service declined.

Any way,I decided to give Live Drive a try on a 30 day trial, with a view to going for a reseller account after a few months if everything was to my liking. This was with a view to offering storage to small to medium sized businesses if it was fine. Almost from day one it was a disaster. Support was....................... , oh wait, support was none existent. The service was clunky, and to make sure it wasn't my PC's in my office, I tried it from many different locations many miles apart from each other and it was dire. I NEVER did get any of the three support requests answered or acknowleged.

As I say, I'm a web host and host all my clients through my reseller account with Heart Internet, and on the 11 occasions I have raised a support ticket, the longest wait for a response has been 34 minutes. Now that is priority number one for anyone in my line of business, much like any other business. Poor or none existent support can easily end up with a serious effect on my business and that is one thing I can't afford.

For anyone even thinking of using Live Drive DON'T. Read the reviews online, you will find it hard to get a recommendation.

By 5hagnasty on 13 Oct 2013

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