In the past, I have told you about backing up your hard drive using File History feature in Windows 10. But in a detailed piece, my friend Adarsh has compared the pros and cons of cloud backup and local backup options.
The post highlights the fact that cloud backup can be a handy solution if you aren’t extra concerned about privacy. Moving ahead on similar lines, I decided to write a piece about backing up your hard drive to the cloud.
The most popular cloud-based storage solution belongs to Google. In the past, you could sync your device files to Google Drive which existed on your PC in the form of a folder. Anything you copied to that folder ended up on your Drive.
It was more recently that Google introduced a Backup And Sync tool that can automatically pull data from your computer and dump it on your Google Drive. Some of the advantages include:
- Your data doesn’t get lost in case the PC dies or runs into some problem.
- The data is accessible everywhere without platform restriction. For instance, you can view the files on your Android device through the Google Drive app. The also prevents you from the pain of connecting your phone to your PC and transferring the data.
- You can backup data from multiple PCs, and it’s stored separately on your Google Drive.
This post describes the process to install Google Drive Backup And Sync tool and use it as a hard drive backup solution.
How to install Google Drive Backup And Sync tool on Windows 10?
Setting up the Backup & Sync is a simple process, but it requires you to perform a few steps which are more than two clicks. You can start by downloading the tool from the Google Drive website.
After the installation finishes, the setup wizard will automatically appear on your screen. Follow the steps while going through the setup wizard of the Backup and Sync tool:
- Click Get Started to initiate the setup process.
- The first step requires you to sign-in with your Google account.
- On the next step, you can find various options to add folders, choose upload quality, etc.
Click ‘Choose Folder‘ to add new folders from your PC, tick the ones that you want to upload to Google Drive.
You can select between High quality (with unlimited storage) and Original quality (with limited storage). I would advise, you should upload your images in High quality and take advantage of unlimited free storage offered by Google. Images look pretty decent even in High quality, and I use the same to backup mine and share them on social networks. Yes, you can directly share Google Photos to your social accounts. Take the other, Original quality, option if you choose to extend your Google Drive’s storage capacity in the future.
When you enable the option ‘Upload photos and videos to Google Photos,’ the content will be shown in Google Photos, as well as, it’ll appear in the relevant folders on your Google Drive.
On the bottom of the window, there is a Network Settings option. It allows you enable proxy for the Backup & Sync tool and choose upload and download speeds.
- Click Next when you’re done.
- Step 3 will ask you whether you want to sync your Google Drive to your PC. The data from your Google Drive will live in a dedicated folder on your PC. You can sync your entire MyDrive or some specific folders.
Untick ‘Sync My Drive to this computer‘ if you don’t want to enable the sync feature.
- Click Start to turn on Backup & Sync tool on your PC. A notification will pop up in the bottom right corner of the screen.
From now on, the backup tool will automatically upload any data you put in the shared folders. You can find Backup & Sync in the Notifications area in the form of a cloud-like icon with an upward arrow.
More About Hard Drive Backup Using Google Drive Backup And Sync Tool
On your Google Drive, you can access the synced data in a new section called Computers. A plus point is that Google Drive stores the data in the same folder hierarchy as on your computer.
Google Drive also separates the data you upload from different computers. When you expand the Computers section, you’ll find the names of the computers for which you have enabled the Backup and Sync tool.
On your PC, click the Backup & Sync tool’s icon, then click Settings (three vertical dots) to see the list of available options. If you want, you can Pause/Resume the sync operation from there. Click Preferences to see all the settings for the Backup and Sync tool.
The Preferences window allows you to change various settings you saw in the setup wizard. You can add or remove folders from the list of shared folders, change upload quality, etc.
There is an option called Google Photos; you can enable the checkbox under it if you want the images and videos to appear in Google Photos. Untick it, if you only want to backup them and see them in the respective folder hierarchy on the Drive.
You can change the name of your device. In the Preferences window, click the device name to edit and assign the one you like.
The Settings section displays information including available storage quota and the option to disconnect your account from the tool. You can tick the check boxes to open Backup & Sync tool when Windows starts, show a warning when you delete a shared folder, and show sync status on the files that have been backed up.
You would be able to see a green-colored tick on the files in Windows Explorer. Further, you can find the Network Settings option.
Delete data backed up on Google Drive and PC
Under the option called Removing items, you can choose whether data gets removed from both your PC and Drive or from that one place where you have deleted it. For instance, if you choose ‘Don’t delete items from everywhere’, a file deleted on the PC would still be available on the Drive. A pop-up appears when you delete a file.
Sync Google Drive
Click Google Drive on the left-hand side. This section allows you to enable or disable sync between Google Drive and your computer. If you disable this feature, as already mentioned, the data in your MyDrive would not appear on your PC.
How to sync USB drives & SD cards to Google Drive?
You might be knowing that the scope of the Google Drive backup tool is not limited to the local storage on your system. You can connect external media such as flash drives, SD cards, and even cameras to enable the sync feature for them.
When you attach your USB drive or SD card to your PC, backup and sync tool automatically asks whether you want to sync it or not. Click Back Up to start the sync process.
You can manage USB devices in Preferences > USB Devices & SD Cards. The synced USB devices would appear under Computers with a different name. They’ll not be clubbed with your PC’s backup data.
What can you do with the uploaded data?
The data dumped by the backup tool on your Google Drive doesn’t just sit there. It’s more useful than you think. Google Drive can integrate a variety of web apps which you can use to edit files online. For instance, the MS Word files can be edited using Google Docs, Excel files using Google Sheets, etc.
Read our detailed post on adding apps to Google Drive and managing various settings.
Moreover, I noticed one strange thing that I think could be glitch Google is yet to fix. For some reason, I happened to install the Backup & Tool three times. When I checked the data on Google Drive, the tool had created three folders. Probably, a new folder for every new installation.
Winding Up – Google Drive Backup And Sync Tool
If an unlimited internet connection isn’t a big deal for you, then the piece of software by Google offers more convenience than ever while backing up your hard drive.
One of the pros is that you can enable the sync one time and forgot about backing up the data, it’ll happen automatically. Another unspoken advantage of cloud-based storage solutions is the reliability. The amount of money and other resources invested in building and maintaining top-notch data centers is enormous.
Although there are chances, they are quite less, that some power outage or hardware failure would result in the loss of our data. So, opting for cloud backup services can’t be a decision you would regret about.
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