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Here's a hard truth: Data loss is not a question of if; it's a question of when. At some point, your hard drive is going to fail, or get infected by a virus (or, worse, ransomware), or suffer some other calamitous fate.
Whether or not that proves to be your Worst Day Ever or just a Moderately Inconvenient Day depends on whether or not you have a backup.
Alas, most of us are cheap or lazy, which is why we need an inexpensive, highly automated backup system. Like this one: For a limited time, Cheapskate readers can get a two-year iDrive Personal 1TB cloud backup subscription for $29.50. Regular price: $139.
I've run iDrive deals before; usually you'd get the first year at a discount, then subsequent years at the regular rate ($69.50). This is the first time the company has offered this kind of deal on a two-year subscription. That works out to just $14.50 per year, or a measly $1.20 per month -- to back up all your devices.
See, unlike a lot of cloud-backup services, iDrive doesn't limit you to a single device. Here you can backup your desktop, laptop, phone, tablet and whatever else you might own. (The service can also preserve photos and videos from your Facebook and Instagram accounts.) Backups are done continuously and in real-time, so there's really nothing you have to do once the initial setup is complete.
Here's a full rundown of the features included with your iDrive subscription.
One thing I feel it's important to note: This is not designed to back up (or restore) an entire hard drive. For that you should use an external or network drive. Cloud storage is for data, which is ultimately what you want to preserve.
You should also be prepared for your initial backup to take some time -- possibly several days or even longer, depending on how much data you've got. This is normal, and true with all online backup services. Fortunately, your subscription also includes iDrive Express, which works like this: iDrive ships you an external hard drive, which you use to quickly back up your files. Then you ship the drive back; the data gets added to your cloud repository. This can take up to a week, though, so it's not necessarily a faster solution, just a more expedient one.
How well does all this work? CNET hasn't reviewed iDrive (nor have I), so let me steer you to this PCMag review from a little over a year ago. Verdict: 4.5 stars and an Editors' Choice nod.
What's my take on some of the very angry comments below that review? Many of them are from the same disgruntled person. Others come from users who, I think, had unrealistic or misinformed expectations about how cloud backups work -- if not how iDrive itself works.
My advice: Do your homework. Read the company's FAQ page to get answers to any initial questions you might have and see what issues you'll potentially encounter. Visit the iDrive Forum to see what problems others have experienced, and whether they've been resolved.
I'll also add that iDrive has been in the game a long time (the company was founded in 1995), and an admirably cool-headed company rep responded to nearly all the comments in the aforementioned PCMag review. I think that speaks volumes.
Bonus deal: I know many of you aren't yet sold on VR, in part due to the high price of entry. But trust me that I say even your phone can deliver some pretty amazing virtual experiences, especially when you pair it with the right headset.
For a limited time, and while supplies last, A4C has the refurbished Samsung Gear VR (2016) for $35.99 shipped, by far the lowest price I've seen for this model. I'm a big fan of the Oculus-powered ecosystem afforded by the Gear VR, and this second-generation headset solves the big issue I had with its predecessor, the wonky side-mounted touchpad. Just one catch: It's compatible only with the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S7 and S7 Edge. If you have one of those phones, though, don't miss this deal!
Bonus deal 2: Game time! For Android users, anyway... The Humble Great Adventures Bundle gives you eight top-rated Android games for $6, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. For example, you get the remastered classic Grim Fandango Remastered, which normally costs $4.99 all by itself, and the award-wining Machinarium (also $4.99). This iPhone user is very jealous.