Livedrive Review

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Reviewed Mar 2, 2012

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Livedrive rated 2.60 stars based on 120 votes


  • Free trial, so you don't waste your money
  • FTP access - unique amongst all services tested

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  • Windows PC only - no Mac support (yet)
  • Slow, Clunky interface
  • Confusing at times
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Complete Review


Livedrive is much more than online backup. Livedrive is your personal storage space on the Internet. Its unlimited, it's secure and it's there forever. When reading about all of the features Livedrive has to offer, we were pretty excited - until we tried it out ourselves.


Setting up Livedrive can be confusing, even to someone like us who have used many online backup services. There are multiple options for setting up Livedrive, but too many choices can be a bad thing.

Automatic Backup

We tried setting up the Live Backup option, but during the installation process were faced with many options, like where to save the local cache and what files to cache locally. While Livedrive may use this information, this is another example of confusing options presented to the user during installation.

The defaults for Live Backup (Livedrive's automatic backup process) were sufficient at backing up most of our data, but not all of it. We chose a subset of data to test with, but after some time, the backup hadn't even started, and there's no apparent way to force a backup to start.

Livedrive status

A while longer, the backup reported it was done, but when we looked on the L: drive and online, the files were not found. That's because the files are not in the L: drive or online in the Your Files section - they're in the Live Backup section online. Confusing, for sure.

Sync Files

Livedrive claims to sync files between multiple computers, and uses the same LAN Sync technology that Dropbox uses if syncing files between computers on the same local network.

However, with only a PC client, this does not work on Mac or Linux machines. The workaround offered by Livedrive is to use the web portal to access files if you're on a Mac or Linux computer.

Access Anywhere

The idea of access anywhere isn't new, but Livedrive takes a simple idea and expands upon it to make it appear revolutionary. While you can use the Livedrive software on a Windows XP or Windows Vista machine, if you want to access the files on a Mac or Linux computer, you need to use the Web Portal or FTP access.

The Livedrive mobile interface shows the files we've uploaded, but we can't access them. Either there's a great delay from uploading a file to when it's available, or it simply doesn't work

Livedrive mobile access Livedrive on the iPod / iTouch


Sharing is another confusing feature to Livedrive. At first, I tried to share a file in my backup, but you can't do that! You can only share files saved on your L: drive. Once you know this trick, you can either open the L: drive or click on a file in the Web Portal and chose to share it.

If the user that you shared a file with doesn't have a Livedrive account, it looks like one is automatically created for them, and they now have a login to see all of the files shared with them. Or, there's a single password for the one file that was just shared.

However, since we were never able to successfully upload a file to the L: drive, we couldn't test this fully. We could see the file, and see the file size, but couldn't stream it or download it.

Web Portal

Livedrive Web PortalWhile browsing our account with Livedrive, a neat toolbar appears at the bottom of the screen, which appears to allow us to stream mp3s. However, uploading files via the toolbar is difficult. Luckily we're using two monitors, so we can drag files from one screen onto the web uploader, but even that failed.

Advanced Features

FTP Access via LivedriveOne of the advanced features that we were excited to hear about was FTP access. Figuring out how to set this up appears to be one of Livedrive's trade secrets, as it wasn't anywhere obvious. But we were persistent and found the FTP set-up instructions ( ). Amazingly, this seemed to work! We logged in & were able to download 2 MP3s at about 4 Mbps.


Livedrive claims to be secure

Your files are encrypted using AES 256 encryption and stored across multiple servers. All transfers between your computer and Livedrive are also encrypted.

However, since we are able to FTP into our account and download files, this is obviously not true. We were able to FTP into our account and download the files over an insecure connection, and open them right away without decoding them. Not only was the transfer of files insecure, but the files were not encrypted on the server, either.


On paper, Livedrive looks like a great service - almost too good to be true! Automatic backup, plus syncing, plus online storage and access anywhere for just $55.95 per year (syncing only with Pro accounts at $149.95 annually). However, when put to the test, the service fails miserably. The only reason we'd chose Livedrive for online backups is if we needed FTP access to the files (which, BTW, IBackup offers, too)

  1. I have been using LiveDrive since 2009. Before I signed up, I specifically asked them if after I delete the files from my local PC do they remain backed up on their server and I received a very strong “your files will always remain on our servers unless you log in and delete them”. Recently I went to retrieve some files from their server and come to find out they are not there. Some time between 2009 and 2011 they changed their method of backing up, and my files were permanently lost. They told me that in a newsletter at some point they alerted all the subscribers to the change. I decided to cancel my service and go with a Drobo system. With weekly hard copy backups, it is a very fast and efficient service.If you are in the market for an online storage system

  2. I have been a LiveDrive customer for many years. So I know LiveDrive quite well.

  3. This review is obviously stale-dated since Livedrive offers a Mac version on their site.

  4. As the owner of an IT Support company I have trialled Livedrive five times over the past year with a view to becoming a reseller, the most recent trial was just one month ago when they announced that the product now supports scheduled backups during certain times (great for those with free bandwidth over night) and ability to backup open files such as Outlook pst files and files without locking them.The schedule doesn’t work, well not properly anyway; you can schedule a time span when you want the backup to run but what this actually does is tell the livedrive client what time to scan for changes, lets say you set a time for midnight and 6am, the scan will run at midnight or thereabouts and look for changes which it will then proceed to upload, however the backup process will continue

  5. I’ve also been a year-long customer of LiveDrive.

    • Asking for log files does not constitute support. Shouldn’t that be obvious?

      • I have given them my log files each and every time

  6. is a Reseller of Livedrive. Our support is far superior to Livedrive, we have an App for all Windows versions and also Mac OS X Snow Leopard and up. We have a free iPad, iPhone & iPod app and also Android. Monster Cloud offers Unlimited Online backup accounts for 12 months and it only costs

  7. My experience with Livedrive is exactly the same as everyone else:1) Their customer support very rarely get’s back to you if you have any issues. If they do get back to you it’s usually a response that is no help at all. If you contact them enough, they just resort to asking you to send the log files to them but they never fix any of the problems.2) The software is buggy, along with the web portal. Anyone wanting to backup a number of files will soon realize that a lot of their files have not been uploaded and it’s only when you have lost the files on your local computer, that you suddenly see it hasn’t backup up. 3) The integrity check is designed to perform a check on your local computer to match all the files to their servers so there isn’t any files missing. Unfortunately this doesn’t work correctly and their development team seems unable to fix it after a number of months of trying updates they recommended.4) They are making out that they are making improvements to their service but they are constantly changing things for the worse. They had a telephone support service; not any more. The web portal had a function to transfer folders or multiple files in one go to the Briefcase; not any more. The web portal had a function to download folders in one go; gone. You could delete computers for the web portal yourself; not any more. You could delete folders from the web portal (with files in that folder); not any more.5) The L: drive Brief Case doesn’t work correctly. When ever you perform an integrity check on the software, it then tries to sync up all the files every single time (this may be different if your are downloading the files locally; I have chosen not to).This is just some of the reasons that has caused my experience with Livedrive to be a complete nightmare.

  8. I’ve just signed up for Monster Cloud and can say the support was brilliant. I got a reply to my question in 15 minutes and my experience has been problem free so far.They have a special offer on right now if you go to their homepage.

  9. March 19 2012What is strange about “Online Backups Review” is that nothing here is dated! This review must be really quite old! I notice elsewhere you acknowledge this but I really think you should at least update this page to say so. I have no connection with Livedrive or any reseller, I’m just an end home user that purchased their Pro system (online offer under

    • Comments are dated. At the bottom of each comments it says how long it has been since the comment has been posted.

      • Okay, fair enough!Re the dates, I was talking about the reviews of this website, not the comments. This site’s review is not dated and it’s very old information, not relevant and no way to tell the actual current situation, probably the same for all reviews here?As for the current Livedrive service in itself, as I said, I have no real way of knowing how well it’s working yet but I will be careful based on what I’ve been reading.Unfortunately, I only recently went for Livedrive based on the rave review of PC Pro magazine (my first mistake it seems), the second mistake is missing the end of my free trial period were I could have got a refund. My third mistake is finding these potential problems far too late (yesterday). So I guess I’m stuck with it now.I actually didn’t have Livedrive running properly for the last week or two while it seems there were problems at Livedrive, so I missed all that.I am concerned by the fact that I can easily log in via insecure FTP to the briefcase feature, there’s seems to be no encryption or security there!Given the issues people are raising, it’s a shame the Livedrive system can’t be entrusted as a fail-safe backup rescue plan.The system does seem cheap given what they say they offer, and it’s a wonder that with the “Reseller” option offering resellers the option to resell/giveaway unlimited space for next to nothing, over and over again, that it does make you wonder even more how it can all work sustainably?I think I’m left with no option but to try it and hope it gets better, although maybe I should have gone with something like CrashPlan as my backup with Dropbox as my Briefcase alternative.

    • You’re right – we don’t have a date on this review. It was Sept-10, 2009. (Not trying to hide anything here)Honestly, the service was so horrible when we reviewed it, we’re not rushing to get back to it again. Especially when there are others waiting to be reviewed.We review these services as fast as possible, while still covering news in the Blog. To allow us to work more efficiently, we’re rebuilding the backend that runs this site. Visitors to the site won’t notice much of a change, except content will be put out quicker.Thanks for your comment!Eric

      • Hmm, I see 12 out of the 22 reviews have the date missing as well!It all makes it very difficult to judge like for like, especially with things such as the comparison table must be quite out of date in places as there can be so much date variation between reviews.I only found this site yesterday and while the information is somewhat useful, it’s a little difficult to know what is good, cheapest and best right now. Long term satisfaction and reliability is obviously a good thing but up-to-date information is what a review site ideally needs. A bad reputation for Livedrive will be difficult to shake off but maybe things have got better?Obviously, as I’ve (perhaps mistakenly!) just recently signed up for Livedrive and that it’s been nearly a year and a half since your last review, I would like to see what you think of them now. But then again, the recent comments don’t hold out much hope.My difficulty now is to decide if I just forget about Livedrive (and my money!) before I risk things any more with them and go for something like your recommendation wizard suggests which is CrashPlan and DropBox. I already have a free 6GB DropBox which is brilliant and ultimately all I wanted was an unlimited home storage solution for backup of 2 Windows and 2 Mac PCs with perhaps a NAS thrown in as well.Should I just dump LD now and jump to “CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited” which at $120 per year seems a good price?

        • For 2 PCs, 2 Macs and a NAS,

          • Thanks for the quick reply!Meanwhile, I just tried ringing Sales at CrashPlan, three times, and I just get a message saying “This mailbox is full”, then I tried to get through to Technical Support, “Sorry, please leave a message”.Not a good start !!!All I wanted to ask, is if their system is good from the UK and can I do NAS backup via the “CP+ Family Unlimited” package as it’s not specifically mentioned on their site?

          • Try

            Or, email their support staff. I’ve always had good, quick (less than 24 hrs) replies when emailing them.

  10. I have just signed up with Titan Backup and they seem nothing like this review, nor anything like the comments below. They are a livedrive reseller but their support is great, you get good advice and help within a few minutes of emailing them. For

  11. I own an MSP and we’re currently evaluating cloud backup providers.

  12. I use the Briefcase and I backup from a 100Mbit connection and get an average of 83Mbit transfer speed to my Briefcase via FTP and the mapped network drive.I find it really reliable and fast, I share my work with the knowledge i can setup secure access to my online storage and only those files I want to share can be seen.I use Monster Cloud as their prices are really low and their support is fantastic. I get replies sometimes within 5 minutes from my support tickets and their help & advice has been perfect.I wrote a Tweet to show my satisfaction!/hubbard…Monster Cloud offers a

  13. I would like to let people know about Monster Cloud. I have found their customer support to be very fast, very helpful and always sorted my problems out. Their software is easy to use, you get a nice welcome email that tells you exactly what to do and it’s only

  14. I’ve been using livedrive for the last couple of months and what slooked great on paper fails in real life. Upload speeds are terrible (15-20 kbytes on 75/16Mbit broadband). Some files show as uploaded and I still can’t access them. So I never know if my files are safe on a server or not, which is a real issue when there is about 20k files… Support takes days to respond. Really bad service overall!

  15. 2012/07/31I’m absolutly disapointed. Upload is extremely (!!!) slow (not due to my connection, which offers multiple times the speed I achieved with livedrive). The amount of space is just a theoretical one, as it would need multiple month to upload the data to fill 2 or 5 TB. Files are often re-queued with no significance why. I just forgett my money paid and take this experiance as my fault to not test it out in forehand of payment. Just a bad costy experianceregards

  16. Livedrive is frustrating to use and riddled with problems. The automatic duplication of files is one of silliest things I have ever seen and don’t really know why this is done. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, basically when you are syncing or backing up your files Livedrive creates duplicate files on your computers hard-drive. What this means is that you need double the space on your hard drive that you need to sync the files. My hard drive was filled up with duplicate files in about ten minutes before I searched through the Livedrive forum and found out you have to delve into the settings and tinker about.After all that the application crashed and uninstalled itself. I can’t understand why so many so called expert reviewers are writing positive reviews of Livedrive as far as I can tell there are very few actual users who have had a positive experience with Livedrive.Luckily I did not give them my credit card details so I am not stuck trying to cancel my account.My only advice right now will be to read a few user reviews (not the so called expert reviews) and then if you are still not convinced try out the free trial without giving them you payment details.You will then be able to judge for yourself. I had an awful experience.

    • Chrisc2 – Livedrive doesn’t duplicate files, if you are talking about backup then it stores 30 versions of each file online so you can recover a specific version of a file you need, or temp files as it scans your files and uploads them. If you mean Livedrive Briefcase duplicating files, this is called local Cache and you can choose to enable or disable this feature.The software cannot uninstall itself, if your computer has a problem or maybe your system reverted back to an earlier state to recover from a system crash.Maybe with a bit of good customer support your experience would be different, we provide our own supoort and have been told it’s very different to what users expect directly from Livedrive.We have thousands of happy users and plenty of them email us with their reviews to be included on our site. Check out Monster Cloud.

  17. I am unfortunately a Live Drive customer. Their service levels are horrendously slow – typically 300KBps maximum but average out to be 100KBps.

    Their support answer “Your internet connection needs to be upgraded”.

    Buyer Beware – if you pay for an account you get ZERO REFUND. THERE IS NO REFUND. Once you give them their money it’s gone.

    Personally I would strongly recommend to stay away from LiveDrive. Horrendous service, horrible support and no refunds for services not used.

  18. I agree stay away – service levels are zero, they are just happy to rake in the money – the most arrogant bunch of individuals I have had to deal with.

  19. When you cancel, you can only cancel immediately, not when your annual payment expires. Meanwhile, there are no refunds for using 1 day out of the year.
    What a scam.

  20. Hi, I’m a customer since about two month. I don’t know if customer service is good or not, because I never needed it. I use LiveDrive together with BoxCryptor, taking in charge cryptography myself. I did a lot of testing and have implemented my LiveDrive to be convenient for me and compatible to my security needs.

    I have not yet experienced any problem and have uploaded 1,72 TB within a few weeks.

    I have a fiber connection (50 Mb/s (megabit) down and 25 Mb/s up). My upload to Livedrive works between 12 Mb/s and 20 Mb/s – so quite cool. On the weekend, when everybody uses the service extensively, it goes down to 6 Mb/s, the slowest I have ever experienced.

    Download speed, I get up to 40 Mb/s. This is quite amazing.

    I like the way LiveDrive is working, because I can cypher my files before they are uploaded – even with the automatic backup and a small trick with boxcryptor.

    I like the “shadow” files on my machines for synchronisation purposes – I like the way files are prioritised before up- or downloading. I can sync the “shadow” folder with a server….

    I very much appreciate the versioning – really works fine.

    I will, when my 2 TB are full, upgrade my account to Home – Pro suite. Where else do you get this performance for this money.

  21. Having used the trial of Livedrive and being pretty pleased with it I was looking to sign up, so I went online and cam across one a Livedrive reseller.
    Went to the terms and conditions on the reseller site and it opened up their server back end, so in fact I could have done what ever I wanted to (I didn’t).
    I sent Livedrive an email informing them of this including the URL and asked them to respond to me about what action they are taking, well guess what……no response.
    My advice is this, if Livedrive are not concerned about the way their resellers behave, just imagine how they will treat you if you back up with them?
    I would not back up to this company.

  22. I cancelled my account with them ok in theory, but some peopl seem to have trouble doing even this. However, see my email below, when they cancelled my account immediately, and before the contract period ran out. As they rescinded access I would not then get back a few files that only existed in the cloud. So back up/briefcase = lost data = Livedrive sucks.

    Also they changed my annual fee every year and the service is confusing to use at best and not that reliable. What was originally unlimited PCs unlimited storage has now gradually come down to a few PCs at a much higher price.

    I request a cancel, not an immediate termination and removal of access and data.
    You were too keen.
    Clearly you are not interested in service.

    It simple, you removed access to my account that was paid for just to save you the hassle of cancelling billing or having a system that worked to serve customers.


  23. I can’t imagine why you’d expect a refund for using their service one day a year. You should have stuck with a month.

  24. Over complicated. Nothing is simple. Extremely slow. Horrible support. No sharing without paying for Briefcase (another $400+ for 2 years
    Definitely NOT for the home user. There are better, cheaper and easier to use alternatives for the home user.
    It was faster to burn the data and mail it.

  25. A heap of crap. Over priced, complex, no wonder Microsoft wanted it, they love anything complicated.
    As far as the other Kevin says, spot on. In fact I just posted several CD’s from Australia to the USA and it was faster then Dead Drive

  26. Microsoft buy it. Guaranteed to make a mess of it. Look elsewhere. Better still backup your files at home. Cheaper, faster and far more reliable and secure. If your data is sensitive rent out a Deposit box.
    CLOUD the biggest rip off yet

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