Monday, 9 June 2008

Online Backup

Online backup is a big business today. And surprising to say, it doesn't end with Mozy's Free Backup Service. Today I'm going to review my latest discovery, IDrive - Online Backup.

IDrive shouldn't take long to download - if you have a broadband connection that is. Online backup isn't really an option on dialup, so before you sign up with any service, you should make sure you have a fast connection. That said, it is possible to use IDrive on a dialup connection, but you'll have to leave it running all night and be prepared for frequent dropouts.

For the record, I began my first install of IDrive on Windows Vista. The whole process was fast and flawless, without even prompting me for UAC. This was one of the easiest Vista installs I have seen in a long while.

The setup process, although not explained, is also very easy. In fact, the default settings are fine for most users, with the most commonly used Documents, Desktop, Pictures and Videos selected for backup at 2:00am every day. I had to tweak a few options to enable the Public folder and stay within my free 2GB storage limit, but overall this process was smooth and easy. The one difficulty I encountered was minor - unticking a folder in the top frame does not remove the folder from the backup list. This has to be done manually by right clicking and choosing "Remove". Although this could be confusing for some users, it is quickly mastered and doesn't interfere afterwards.

Other features of this product not covered here include a handy bandwidth check, and "IDrive Explorer", a Windows Explorer clone for your online storage space. There are also recent enhancements including the ability to manage backup set and schedules via the web interface.

IDrive is certainly a solid product, and well worth the free 2GB account. It's good to see innovation in the online backup sector, and hopefully this will continue in future versions. If you're looking for a stable and well-designed online backup service, then IDrive might be for you.

IDrive recently won the PC World '101 Best Freebies' award. The company claims to outperform the competition by a factor of at least 30% for both backups and restores. IDrive offers encrypted online backups for free (up to 2GB) and 150GB storage (for $4.95/month).

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