Back up Google Drive to be sure your files are safe

Google Drive

Google Drive

Google drive provides 15GB of storage space for free and 100GB at a ridiculously low monthly subscription fee and it is tempting to make use of it to store lots of files. What's more, you can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations too and it is an online office suite. But how do you back up everything?

If you only have files in one place, they are at risk and you could lose them, so a backup is essential. It doesn't matter whether the files are offline on a local disk drive or online and stored by Google. There could be a network glitch and files could be corrupted or Google's storage could fail. Neither scenario is likely and the company surely has its own backups or built in fault tolerance in case of hardware failure.

A more likely scenario is that your account gets hijacked. People often use the same password for multiple services because passwords are so hard to remember, so some other service could be compromised and passwords taken, and the perpetrator the tries your Google account and finds that the same password works. You can then end up locked out of your own account, losing access to many gigabytes of valuable files that you desperately need access to.

So how do you back up Google Drive files and folders. There are several different solutions and here is just one.

Hard disk drives are pretty big these days and even budget PCs have 500GB to 1TB drives. This means that you can easily afford to mirror Google Drive's contents on a local disk drive. Download and install Google Drive (https://tools.google.com/dlpage/drive). Run it and sign in to your Google account.

Google Drive mirrors everything online on the local disk. Well, not quite. If you look in the Google Drive folder on the disk drive, everything is there except Docs, Sheets and Slides documents. They appear to be there, but the file is just a link to the online file. The contents of a document is never downloaded.

So everything is synced except documents. The way around this is to right click a document when you have finished it and select Download. Docs are downloaded as Word documents, Sheets as Excel spreadsheets and Slides as PowerPoint presentations. Save it to the same folder in the local copy of Google Drive, or save it to the Downloads folder and move it afterwards. You then have a link to the online document and the full document in Microsoft Office format, which Google Docs has no problems reading anyway.

Now that you have a copy of all Google Drive files locally, your local backup software can include it in backups. You do back up your disk drive don't you?

This begs the question, if you are storing files locally and backing them up locally, why bother with online storage? The reason is that many people have more than one computer, such as one at work and one at home, a desktop and a laptop, a Chromebook, a tablet and a smartphone. The big advantage of online storage is that you can access you files from anywhere and on any device. You can create and edit files from anywhere, also share files, work collaboratively with others, upload from mobile devices, and so on. Well now you can back up your files too.


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