Online backup services

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iDrive Review

Reviewer: Stephen Qualtrough
Developer: IDrive Inc.
Overall rating:
Price: $4.95

Review summary

Good points

 Automatic & scheduled backups

 Industry standard encryption

 Keeps the last 30 versions of a file

 Lots of features

Bad points

 Some features are complicated

 Unlimited bandwidth is more expensive

Our verdict

With a revamped interface and a powerful feature set, IDrive sets out its stall for efficient, professional and secure online backup. IDrive is a good choice for cost-effective online backup.

Full review

IDrive is a reliable and professionally backed online backup provider, with a long list of credentials. We’ve checked out IDrive to see what this online backup service has to offer.


Sign up to the package you require by assessing how much storage space you are likely to need. The free Basic package gives you 5 GB of backup storage space. IDrive Pro gives you 150 GB per PC and you can sign up for a Family Pack where you can backup from up to five computers. There’s also a business use rate. If you have masses of data to backup, choose the Unlimited plan which bills annually and allows you to transfer unlimited amounts of data.

By default IDrive selects files and folders from the Desktop and My Documents that will be backed up at the scheduled backup time – it includes application data such as Microsoft Outlook as well as documents in My Documents and My Favorites. You can modify the files and the time of backup by ticking the file boxes and adding a new backup time. Or, you can choose the Automatic Selection tool.

Unlike Carbonite, IDrive recommends using your own encryption key, and they recommend you store it securely otherwise you will not be able to access any of your data.

Once the installation is complete you do not need to restart your computer however if you want to use IDrive Explorer a restart is required.


IDrive recognizes when a file or folder has been modified and then backs it up automatically every 10 minutes. This Continuous Data Protection feature only backs up smaller files (below 500 MB). Larger files are backed up during the scheduled backup period. So, in effect, IDrive uses a combination of automatic and scheduled backups to protect your data.

You can schedule backups and you can use the Backup Now feature if you want to immediately save a file to the system. You can even instruct IDrive to start missed scheduled backups when your computer is switched on.

The bandwidth throttle feature allows you to set your Internet bandwidth for backups. There is also an option to let Mozy start and pause backups so that your computer does not experience performance problems.

You can choose to receive email notifications on the status of your backups and alerts if your scheduled backup fails for some reason.

One useful feature is the ability to backup USB and external drives as long as they are available when you start the backup process.


If you want to restore a particular file or folder immediately, you can simply click on it and it is uploaded to your computer. The last 30 versions of a file or folder are available for restoration so you can choose which version you want.

Restoring your files is reasonably simple, although there are quite a few boxes to check or uncheck depending on your preferences. For example, you can choose to restore files up until a particular date, by using the Timeline Restore option.


As with the other top-rated online backup providers, IDrive transfers all your files to its online data center with 128-bit SSL encryption, which is the industry standard. Your files and data is even more secure if you use the personal encryption key. Data is stored using 256-bit AES encryption.


There is mobile access to your stored data via your iPhone or Android mobile device. Using this app you can browse and view your backed up folders and individual files. You can share your files through your mobile device with your contacts and you can also look at logs for time of last backup, the number of files backed up and your bandwidth quota.

Your contacts are also backed up if you enable your mobile device through the IDrive system. When you come to restore your contacts, there are a number of options available such as selected contacts restore, or a clean slate restore.

The sync feature on IDrive allows you to sync your PC and your stored files, so if you have removed files from your PC you can also remove them from your account. An automatic sync syncs your files after a 30-day period. This could be a useful feature to help you keep within your allocated storage capacity but be careful as it will remove files permanently from your storage system.

Ease of use

IDrive has made great improvements to its interface, which had put people off the service in the past. However, the system is not as intuitive or simple to use as the top two online backup providers. The instructions look complicated and the number of options you get is sometimes confusing.

There is a drag and drop interface to help you manage the files you want to backup and the ones you want to restore. You can also easily search for documents and files in your store.

Help & support

If you’re confused or something isn’t working properly, you can call Monday to Friday, during business hours. We like the fact that different extensions are offered for different enquiries, although you can always hold to speak to an operator on a general topic. You can also email or chat online all day and night.

For those that want to solve problems on their own, the help files are thorough, detailing the program's features and offering tips on their use.


With fewer fully automatic processes you have to think a little harder when using IDrive. However, the system is secure and offers you the flexibility to create a backup system that suits you.

You can currently get 5 GB of storage on IDrive for free.

Looking for more online backup services reviews?
See our side-by-side comparisons and in-depth reviews

1. Carbonite
2. Elephant Drive Home
3. iDrive
4. Dropbox
5. Box
6. Acronis Online Backup
7. iBackup