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Pro Softnet IDrive review

Pro Softnet IDrive
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £33
inc VAT

Cheap and easy to use, this remains one of our favourite online backup services, but you 'only' get 150GB of backup space

Unlike many of its rivals, iDrive lets you back up files from any number of PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices. Space is limited, but the 150GB you get for less than £3 month will keep most people going for a good while; higher capacity accounts are also available.

Once you’ve registered for an account – either the free 5GB or a paid-for account – you’re prompted to configure its encryption. IDrive can either generate a key itself, which it’ll manage and use automatically, or you can set your own key. If you opt for the later, you won’t be able to share files with others or retrieve your data if you forget your key phrase. With that done, all that’s left is to download the desktop application so you can set up your backups.

After installation, the iDrive client opens on its main backup management screen. It preselects all the files in your desktop, documents, music, pictures and videos folders. If, like us, you have well over 150GB in those folders, you’ll want to refine your backup choices. Selecting files, folders or entire disk partitions is a simple matter of ticking boxes in iDrive’s clearly designed file browser. You can also add content from physically connected external hard disks and mapped network drives. Once you’ve decided what you want to back up online, just hit the Backup Now button. As well as adding files and folders via the desktop client, an option is also added to the Windows Explorer right-click menu, allowing you to add files or folders to your backup set at the click of button.

Pro Softnet IDrive

The client’s new interface is a considerable improvement on the cluttered version of previous years. All the information and settings you need are presented across four tabs. The restore tab sits below the main backup tab and lets you browse the contents of your online storage using the same tree-view interface as it uses to browse the contents of your PC. After selecting the files or folders you want to retrieve and clicking the Restore Now button, you’ll be prompted to choose a directory to download them to.

The third tab gives lets you set a schedule for your backups. By default, this is set to run daily and, if the computer was turned off at the time it was set to back up, start the missed backup when it’s next switched on. You can also enter an email address which will be notified if your backups fail. Although you can schedule backups, files of up to 500MB are automatically backed up whenever you change them, thanks to IDrive’s Continuous Data Protection feature. The last tab takes you to IDrive’s logs, whether you check on the success and status of your backup and restoration tasks.

The client no longer gives you the option of throttling the backup’s bandwidth, so you don’t slow your internet connection while you’re backing up. Instead, you pause a backup when it’s running and restart it later using the Backup Now button. You can also create folders and upload content directly via the web interface, and use it to share your uploaded files with others. You can share folders, files and groups of files, adding passwords, expiration dates and download limits. You can also allow your sharing associates to upload or edit shared content.

The web interface is functional, but lacks the advanced features of some rivals, although there is an image gallery that allows you to easily view and share your photo collection. If you have an Android or iOS device, you can download a free app, which you can link to your account and use to both access your stored files and back up photos, videos, contacts and events from your phone. IDrive also has a syncing service, but you’ll have to subscribe to it separately – you can get 10GB of free space or pay from $4.95 (£3.26).

IDrive has better features for online sharing than our Best Buy winner, SquirrelSave, and it’s very reasonably priced. Its 150GB of storage will be plenty for most users, but those with very large amounts of data to back up should go for Memset SquirrelSave‘s unlimited service instead.


Price £33
Rating ****

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