I have five different computers I use regularly. While five computers is probably more than most people, I know many people who have at least two computers in their home. Those computers need to be backed up. It would be a tragedy to lose family photos, video clips, or all the time and effort you put into things like personal finance programs or genealogy projects. More importantly, they need to be backed up to an online solution, because a local backup is almost as prone to failure as the drive in your computer. While there are a bunch of online backup solutions, many of them fall short because they make managing more than one computer complicated or they simply don’t offer the right features. For example, I keep many large video files around, most of which I may never touch again, but I want to have access if I need them. Many of the backup solutions limit the size of files they will backup, so I instantly rule them out. But there are some good online backup solutions out there.
One solution I’m currently using is IDrive. While they have an unlimited backup option for a single computer, which is a better backup than you can get making a copy to a second drive on your home computer, it’s not as redundant as their IDrive Pro option. With IDrive Pro, you get the online backup of your data and they do a secondary backup to prevent against a catastrophic failure in the data center. The IDrive Pro Family Pack includes up to 500GB of backup for up to five computers.
IDrive is easy to setup and you can test it out with a 5GB free account before you commit to paying for a multi-computer online backup like the IDrive Pro Family Pack. Once you install the software it automatically configures to backup the most common file locations, like your Documents, Videos, and Photos. You can add or remove locations depending on your needs. My preference is to backup as much as possible until I run out of room, but I’m a bit of an information packrat.
Sharing Files Between Multiple Computers
If you use two or more computers, you’ve probably run into the situation where the computer you are using isn’t the one with the file you need. This happens to me several times a day. Beyond just being a backup solution, I also like that backing up to IDrive makes it easier to track down files that may not be on the computer I’m currently sitting in front of.
I use Dropbox as a repository for smaller files, but Dropbox has an incredibly high price per gigabyte for storage. The 500GB IDrive online backup plan, which is pretty much guaranteed to never lose your data, costs about $159 per year. A 100GB Dropbox plan costs about $239 per year. While this isn’t exactly an direct comparison, if you tie in IDriveSync, which is a file sharing solution similar to Dropbox, As a personal file backup for multiple computers, I find IDrive handy because I now know I can look in a single place for all my files, I’m still using Dropbox for the small stuff, but IDrive has already helped me track down a number of missing files.
My Only Complaints about IDrive
As of this writing, you can get an IDrive Pro Family Pack for Windows or an IDrive Pro Family Pack for Mac. There’s no dual operating system option. Also as of this writing, there’s an amazing iPhone app that allows you to browse your backed up files from your iPhone. There’s no mobile equivalent to this for other platforms. Even so, IDrive offers a great bang for your buck in terms of backing up all your important data, photos, video, and other digital assets.