iDrive Pro Personal Online Backup Review

iDrive Pro Personal Online Backup Review

In this review, we look at iDrive Pro Personal, a cloud-enabled backup service for Windows PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. A competitor to rivals such as Mozy and Carbonite. iDrive offers 5GB of storage for free and up to 1TB with a yearly subscription. As we’ll see, although iDrive provides no unlimited storage options, it is packed with useful features such as continuous backup, incremental backup, archiving, 256-bit encryption, and iDrive Express.


iDrive is available for personal and business accounts; we’ll examine the personal version in this review. Personal accounts are available with the following plans: 5GB for free; 150GB for $39.60; 500GB for $119.60; and 1000GB (1TB) for $239.60

You can get extra free storage just by installing iDrive’s mobile app or by liking iDrive on Facebook.

iDrive Pro Personal can back up many kinds of devices. The general idea with iDrive is that you install their application on whichever devices you want to back up; there’s a desktop application for Windows/Mac OS X, along with mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. Backups can start once the application is installed. Backed up files are accessible anywhere iDrive is available. That means you can see files from your PC on your iPhone or vice versa.

iDrive also has a web interface, though. So a dedicated app isn’t necessary for accessing and restoring your backed up data. You can just open a web browser.

Files are stored on iDrive’s servers with 256-bit AES encryption; in other words, you’re the only one who’s going to see your data.

One of iDrive’s more unusual (and welcome) features is iDrive Express. With this service, iDrive sends you a temporary storage device to transfer up to 1TB total; once the device is shipped back, iDrive transfers the data to your account. The advantage with this service is time; depending on your Internet connection, it might be faster to transfer data physically.

It’s also a very attractive option for metered Internet users. (That is where you are only allowed a certain amount of bandwidth per billing cycle). It uses precisely no bandwidth for the initial backup.

The business version of iDrive offers additional features over Pro Personal, including the ability to create sub-accounts, Windows Server operating system support, professional installation assistance and iDrive Express 3 times a year for no extra charge (as opposed to once a year with personal accounts).

In Use

If you’re running the Pro Personal desktop application on Windows 8, simply check folders and then Backup Now to start the transfer. This is about as simple as it gets for a backup solution; there’s no need to change synchronization settings and so on.

However,, one thing I noticed about this screen is that it doesn’t recognize Libraries in Windows 7 or 8. You’ll need to select folders that are in a library individually as opposed to just selecting the library.


The scheduler is robust; it’s set up by default to perform daily backups. It’s probably a good idea for users to customize this section so the backups are performed when the computer isn’t in use. iDrive doesn’t slow the computer down, but it can consume a lot of network bandwidth depending on how much data has been changed since the last backup. You can set iDrive to only use a certain percentage of your network bandwidth if this becomes an issue. (For expanded views of the screenshots at right, please click on the images.)

Incremental Backup

Speaking of bandwidth, nobody wants backups to take longer than needed. iDrive features incremental backup. This means that when a file is changed, the entire file doesn’t have to be backed up again — just the changed part. You can save Internet bandwidth and thus time.

The incremental backup feature ties into what is perhaps iDrive’s most excellent feature: archiving. Backed up files stay in iDrive regardless of whether they’re removed from your computer. Accidental file deletions aren’t the end of the world; just retrieve the files from iDrive.

An additional benefit of incremental backups is versioning; the last 30 versions of a file are available in your account. Versioning can be a true life saver if, for example, you accidentally erase the content of an important file.

The Archive Cleanup button is useful for freeing up space in your iDrive account; it permanently removes data from iDrive that doesn’t exist on your computers. Put another way, only click the button if you’re sure the files on your computer are the only ones you need.

Continuous Backup

iDrive can be configured to continuously backup data; setting it to real-time means when a change is made on your computer, it’s backed up to iDrive. It can also be set to 10-, 30- or 60-minute intervals. This feature is called Continuous Data Protection and it works for files 500MB or less in size. The daily backups still run when this is enabled.

Other changeable preferences include automatic powering off once the backup is completed; an exclusion list for certain files; setup for mapped drives; proxy settings for networks that require them; and bandwidth throttle settings.

A record is created in the log for each backup performed on the current device; it’s worth checking once in a while to make sure all files are getting backed up as expected. iDrive can be set in preferences to automatically send out an alert if a backup fails.


Restoring files can be accomplished by restoring entire folders or just individual files.

All of the devices you backup from are visible in this section regardless of where you’re accessing iDrive (e.g., Android).

Search for files or folders by right-clicking any folder and mousing over the search option. Select a restore location at the bottom of the window, and then Restore Now to begin the restoration process. This can take a while depending on the amount of data; you might consider using the iDrive Express physical shipment service to speed up the process.


Something else to note about online backup is that your Internet connection plays a big part. Online backup probably isn’t a great idea if you have a slow DSL connection (and just forget about dial-up). Yet iDrive Express can mitigate this by allowing you to physically transfer data to them (up to 1TB).

Using my Comcast Xfinity cable connection (~11Mbps maximum upload speed in my area), I backed up 10GB of pictures, music and office documents in just over two hours. Most Internet connections in the U.S. aren’t this fast.


iDrive is a fully featured and easy to use online backup solution. We found it simple to set up iDrive on a PC and start a backup. The user interface in both the desktop application and the web browser are straightforward and concise. One of iDrive’s strongest features is incremental backups. Through this feature, you can not only conserve network bandwidth but save up to 30 versions of the same file. Additionally, iDrive keeps files even if they’re deleted off the host device, insulating users from the risk of accidental deletions.

Pricing plans start at about $40 a year (for 150GB of storage) and go up to 1TB. This is one of the potential cons for iDrive; some competitors such as Carbonite offer unlimited storage. Yet in iDrive’s defense, 1TB is a lot of space for the average computer user (probably several times what they actually need).

Also, iDrive’s pricing is a bit higher than those competitors but iDrive includes the same features in all its plans; it’s just that the storage amount is different from plan to plan. Compare this to Carbonite, which offers premium plans with additional features such as the mail-in storage option, standard on all paid iDrive plans. It boils down to a half dozen of one, six of the other. You’re probably going to pay the same amount to get all of the features you want across most online storage vendors.

One last item to think about regarding online backup is the fact that your data will be stored on remote servers outside your computer. iDrive stores this data as securely as can reasonably be expected (256-bit AES); nonetheless, it’s still stored in an area you aren’t physically able to access.

iDrive checks all of the right boxes for a solid, fully featured online backup solution, and we’re happy to recommend it.


  • Incremental backup
  • Versioning and no deletions
  • Continuous backup option
  • Free storage available


  • No unlimited storage options
  • Can be expensive next to competitors





Leave a Reply