Online Backups – iDrive 1


While not as quick and painless in setting up as Mozy was, iDrive appears to be a robust backup system as well.  It offers the option of Continuous Backup, which will continually update 50MB of data that you select.

The setup was a little different than Mozy in that you had to choose a folder outside of the C:\Program Files\ area for iDrive to store it’s data.  The default is C:\iDrive, which most people won’t have an issue with.  It installed fairly quickly, with the only pain-points being that Comodo Firewall was constantly alerting about the different files trying to do their magic. 

The login box offers you the option of their 128-bit encryption (default) or your own encryption key.  I chose my own, and it prompted me to keep a hard copy of that key somewhere for restoring files.

Choosing your files…  This is where Mozy seems to have iDrive beat.  iDrive automatically chooses to back up your entire desktop, My Documents, My Videos, My Music, My Pictures and other folders like that.  This is alright, except that I have a lot of files that I don’t want to back up in those folders.  Where Mozy was intuitive enough to only choose file types (and let you select others), iDrive uses folders.  So, you have to manually uncheck anything that you don’t want to back up.  I allowed it to back up my “My Weblog Posts” where this post will reside.  So it will be interesting to see if it automatically finds this file, or if I have to manually add it to the list.

It took me about 20 minutes to weed out most of the 14 GB that iDrive originally selected.  In the end, I was able to weed it down to less than the amount I have stored at Mozy.  One thing that I found was that I have a lot of files that were recovered from another drive stored in a subfolder of a subfolder in “My Documents”.  That actually accounted for about 2GB of the stuff that was going to be backed up.

The amount of time that was expected for my 420MB was around 1 hour (which is about two hours less than Mozy needed for a similar amount of data).  iIn reality, it only took about 34 minutes.  The time will depend on your connection speed and the amount of data that you’re backing up.  Subsequent backups have been considerably faster.

One issue that I don’t like with iDrive is that the backup scheduler only allows you to select one time for backup (unless you use their Continuous Backup option).  It uses the same type of scheduler as “Scheduled Tasks” or “Outlook”.  Mozy allowed you to back up after a set amount of time (8 hours was the default) and you could decide how many times a day.

It would seem that I’m more of a fan of Mozy, but I have to admit that since I love “My Dropbox” and it’s features of constantly synching your files, I think that the Continuous Backup in iDrive is a plus over Mozy.

At 2 GB of storage, neither of these will be the end-all solution. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  With Mozy, if you’re backing up a file that will change in size (such as your Outlook pst and ost files), you could potentially run out of space.  And with iDrive automatically backing up files that are placed in certain folders (unless you manually unselect the files), you either have to be selective about where you save your files, constantly monitor the files that are being backed up (which you should be doing anyhow), or you’ll run out of space.

Where Mozy couldn’t produce a snapshot with Outlook open, iDrive simply ignored this post while it was backing up.  Then it backed it up at the next scheduled time. This doesn’t mean it won’t run into the same issues as Mozy, but it didn’t have the problem this time out.  Of course I’m not backing up my pst or ost files in iDrive, so I really haven’t tested it under that situation. 

In general though, irregardless of what program you’re using to back up, if you can avoid having the files open at the time of the backup, close them.  It will make your life and the backup application’s process a lot easier.

I’ll keep iDrive running for a few days or a week and report back with anything that changes.

Next up, Live Mesh and it’s related cousin Skydrive.

Have a great day:)

Patrick.


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One thought on “Online Backups – iDrive

  • brad

    It is important that you have some software designed for back up recovery. People must take care of their files in order to have an active documents in the computer.