backup google drive

With more than a billion users, Google Drive is the biggest cloud storage service on the planet. In fact, whenever you create a Google account, a Drive account is automatically created for you. Because of that, you probably already have an account with the cloud service, and you might want to take advantage of that by using it to backup your computer to Google Drive.

Now, cloud storage services aren’t created with hard drive backups in mind; that’s what online backup services are for. However, there are ways to do a Google Drive backup of your computer’s hard drive.

You can also use Google Drive to backup Android, in case you’re switching phones and want to keep all your data. However, this Google Drive backup guide will be focusing on creating backups and restoring Google Drive files for your computer.

There are several ways to do this, but the most reliable way is to use the Google Drive Backup and Sync desktop app. This lets you use your Drive folder to backup any files that you choose, but it will take additional steps to backup your entire computer. Read on to find out how to backup your hard drive to the cloud using Google Drive.

Google Drive Folder for Backup

Sometimes the best thing for productivity is to have all of your important files and folders in one place. If you need quick access to those files, you can backup your data to the Drive folder. To do that, you have to install the Backup and Sync app on your computer. This will create a Drive folder, which you can use to backup data.


To backup files to Google Drive, simply copy them to your Drive folder. You can also do the same via the Google Drive website. Just log in with your Google account and open Drive. Next, drag and drop whatever files and folders you need to backup, or click the “new” button and select them. It really is that easy, but it comes with some drawbacks. 

Google Drive Folder Problems

One problem is that syncing files this way doesn’t preserve your folder structure, and you can easily forget to copy some files or folders. Another downside of using the Drive folder to backup your files is that you create a copy of each file, so you have two copies. If you want to backup your hard drive, you’re going to need twice the space that all of your data already takes up.

If you choose this method to back your data up, you will need to reupload files manually every time you edit them. You will also need to manually upload any new files you create, plus it’s easy to forget which ones you’ve already uploaded.

The next way to backup files remedies these issues, so keep reading to find out the best way to automatically backup files with Google Drive. Of course, a better option would be to use a dedicated backup service instead, like CloudBerry backup.

Backup Your Computer to Google Drive

The Backup and Sync app gives you several options during installation, which you can change anytime you like. One of these choices is which computer folders to backup to Drive. This option creates a continuous link between your computer and the cloud, plus you don’t have to create two copies of every file.

If you’ve ever used a backup service, like IDrive, the next step will be familiar (and if you haven’t, you can read our IDrive review). Like IDrive, Google Drive will automatically find folders to backup, such as “desktop,” “documents” and “pictures.” From this menu, you can also click the “choose folder” button to backup any folder you like.

The most useful thing about this method is that you can backup an entire partition. This means that if you have a separate partition (those “local drive” folders on your computer) with all your important files, you can just select it with the “choose folder” option, and it will keep your folder trees as they are.

Can Google Drive Automatically Backup?

One of the biggest benefits of this backup method is that every file you create or work on is automatically updated as you go. This means you can work naturally as you always do, without having to change your habits. You can use your usual folder structure, too, and everything will be uploaded to the cloud automatically.

However, Google Drive’s free plan is only 15GB, so to backup more than that you will need to upgrade to a paid storage plan. If you’re on a tight budget, Carbonite is a backup service that offers unlimited storage at a very low price.

Google Drive Automatic Backup Settings

If you use Google Drive to backup your computer, you may have to change some network settings. Backing up many files means lots of data is being transferred to the cloud continuously and slowing down your connection. By default, Google Drive doesn’t limit your bandwidth. This is the best option if you have an unlimited data plan and you only care about a fast connection.

However, there will be situations where you need to limit the bandwidth that Google Drive uses. To do this, click on the Backup and Sync icon in your system tray, then click on the menu button and click on “preferences.” Next, go into the “settings” menu and select “network settings.”

Here you will see options for proxy detection and bandwidth management. Clicking the “limit to” option lets you set a bandwidth cap in KB per second. This will slow down syncing but it will save you some data.

If you want to backup photos to Google Drive, you can choose in what quality to upload them. In the “my computer” tab of the “preferences” menu, you will see the option to upload photos in “high quality” or “original quality.” “Original quality” means your photos are uploaded as they are, and “high quality” means they are uploaded as compressed files.

How to Restore Backup From Google Drive

Restoring your backed up Google Drive files is very easy and simple. Because your data is stored in the cloud, it’s always available to you. You can even use Google Drive to access your files remotely from another device. If you’ve deleted the files from Google Drive, you can still try to restore them using data recovery software.

How Do I Access My Google Drive Backup?

The easiest way to access your Google Drive files is via the Drive website. Its interface is easy to use. If you want to download a file or folder from the website, just right-click on it and select “download.”

However, Google Drive doesn’t let you download all of your data at once. Luckily, Google has a service called Google Takeout that does just that. You can download all of the data Google has on you using Google Takeout, and that includes your Google Drive files.

The next way to download your Google Drive backup is with the Backup and Sync desktop app. You can choose to sync the backup folders on your Google account, and they will be downloaded to your Google Drive folder.

There are also Google Drive apps for iPhone and Android, which let you access your Drive files. These apps can backup text messages to Google Drive, plus they can automatically backup photos to Drive. If you’re on Android, you can backup your entire phone, too, including settings and apps.

Final Thoughts

To recap, there are several methods for using Google Drive to backup your data. All of them have some advantages and drawbacks, but if you follow this Google Drive backup guide, you shouldn’t have any trouble.

The first method is to backup your files using the Google Drive folder. You can access it via the Google Drive website or the Backup and Sync app on your computer. Using the Drive folder on your computer will create duplicates of your Google Drive files, plus you have to backup your data manually.

The next method uses Google Drive’s Backup and Sync desktop app to select which folders to backup to the cloud. You can set up Google to automatically sync existing folders on your computer, which lets you work on files and have them continuously uploaded to the cloud. 

However, if you don’t like the idea of continuous backup eating up your bandwidth, you can just limit the bandwidth that Google Drive takes up by changing a few options in the “preferences” menu. If you feel that’s not enough, you could use Backblaze to backup your data. It has a backup scheduling option, so you could set it to backup overnight or when you’re at work.

If you need to access your Google Drive files, you can go to the Google Drive website and download your data from there. However, if you need to download all of your Drive files at once, you might have to use Google Takeout. It will let you download all of your Google-related data, which includes your Google Drive data.

If you have lots of large files on your computer, you might be better off using one of the services on our best unlimited online backup list. Our top choice is Backblaze, although IDrive comes close.

We hope this Google Drive backup guide was helpful to you. If you have any questions about using Google Drive to backup your data, feel free to drop a comment below. Thank you for reading.


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21 thoughts on “How to Use Google Drive to Backup Your Data in 2020”

  1. Hi Ritika,
    First, thanks for featuring CloudBerry here. My 2 cents, Google Drive is not really designed for backups. As you mentioned it’s more a sync storage then backup storage, thus it comes with weak load-bearing capacity. Google limits very frequent requests to reduce excessive load on their servers. When you try to access it too often you will see a error message – “Please, reduce your request rate”. If you want to backup you sensitive or business data better use Google Cloud Storage. We have compared Google Drive to Google Cloud Storage from the backup perspective on our blog – Check it out!

  2. Just came across your post while looking at various ways to utilize Google Drive for backup. I actually use Google Drive combined with SyncBackPro and it works excellent for me. You can use one Google Drive and backup important individual files and folders to the specified folder on your drive. I installed it in couple locations to backup company data and is running without any problems so far. All locations backed up to a single 100GB Google Drive.

  3. Well google drive is good idea but,to use this you need a google Id.There is much better option available,Cloudberry, which is more user friendly and can be used with any email account.

  4. What would happen if your computer was hit with ransomware and you are syncing. I would think that all of your files on Google Drive would be infected as well upon synchronization, rendering them useless. Unless there is some way to restore from a different date, this seems a problem.

    1. - Chief Editor

      The ransomware shouldn’t be able to lock up the storage/backup provider, so you could roll back to a previous version and then continue like nothing ever happened.

  5. I’m probably using Google Drive in an inappropriate way, that is, as an external virtual hard disk. My need arose from needing more disk space on my PC, keeping my files safe and being able to access them from any device. I then moved all my photos, organized into folders, and a series of additional folders to Drive. What puzzles me is that so I do not find on the hard disck of the PC all the free space that I expect, but only a part. And also, while I can access files copied or moved from Drive to my PC, to access other devices, I need to start syncing. In short, I do not understand how everything works.
    Can I change something using Drive to get the “minimum” result I had set myself?

    1. - Chief Editor

      It’s not the best way to use Google Drive, but if it works for you… By what you’re telling us here, I have a feeling you’re not deleting the content once you’ve moved it to Drive. So move it all over, check it’s there, then delete it on your own HD, I guess. Good luck!

  6. I would like to ask for a clarification before subscribing to a cloud, I am contemplating on which cloud server to use. My usb ports on my macbook are broken and needs fixing but I think I would prefer to purchase a cloud storage for my datas and photos at the time being.

    If I would like to transfer my files (photos,videos etc) to OneDrive and then delete them off of my mac. will the files in OneDrive be deleted as well? or it will remained in the drive?


  7. Great review, thanks. Can you let me know if Backup & Sync changes the file size on the computer (mac) when in HQ mode. I understand the files change size in google drive but is does the original remain the original file size on the hard drive? I see the word sync and am curious?

  8. I’m utterly confused! I have purchased extra storage and yet I cannot EVER get to screen that looks like any of the ones in this article! It’s 12/20/2018, and I’m using Win 10, Chrome, and everything Google there is! 🙂 BUT, when I click on the 3 dots, I NEVER see a preferences, and I’ve never been given an option of “my laptop” … what gives? I am using Drive, but it’s not letting me use it as a network backup. HOW do use I use this stuff??

  9. Hi I am android developer , how can I synch my custom app with my own google drive synch data option, just like whatsapp? Thanks in advance.

  10. Hello, great post. Ive synced from my laptop but the folders don’t show in ‘my drive’ (and therefore don’t show on explorer). I can only download them from google drive on the web! How do I get them into the my drive folder?

  11. After reading all this I think I’ll stick with drop box. If it works for me why confuse myself with drive again. I thought it might be better in 2019 I’ll just use drive to dump stuff in but for every day business on multiple devices I just want simple folders in windows explorer and that’s how I use drop box.

  12. I bought 2 TB on Google drive however I am not sure it serves my need. I am looking for an extra space where I can copy some folders and keep them in syncy with my PC. I also would like to be able to acess them from any other device

    I am also looking for a synch tool that can automatically identify any photo and video, and copy is to the cloud. while removing duplicates.

    any idea what can work for me?

    1. That’s exactly what the Google Drive Sync app does – you can select whatever folder you want to keep in sync with your PC. I’m currently doing this exclusively for all of the photos on my PC, and it works great.

  13. I accidentally deleted a long SMS thread from my messaging app message+ version
    6.8.5 from my Samsung Galaxy S8 plus running Android 9. I have my whole phone backup to Google Drive. I have a backup that contains the SMS messages that were deleted that has that thread in those SMS messages and I’d like to be able to restore them to my phone. That’s backup is not the current backup on the Google drive but it is the backup before that one so it is the last backup possible . But I can’t find any instructions anywhere on how to restore anything from a backup from Google drive on Google Cloud. All I can find is how to use it to set up a new phone if you’re going from an old phone to a new phone. I don’t want to restore anything else just the SMS messages I don’t care about any of the other threads they can be written over, they can be deleted, they can be saved as they are, it doesn’t matter all I really want is the thread I accidentally deleted and one more thread if it’s possible. But that one that I deleted is the most important one to me. The other one I currently have, if there’s a way to export it without going to each and every message in it I would be happy to do that, it would be great. But I’m at a loss of what to do because I can’t find any instructions or help anywhere with this. I can find on Google forums people asking the same thing and then that question being marked as closed and locked so that you can’t get any information from it. So I submitted this same information to that Google forum. Anybody have any idea how I can do this? I’ve not been allowing my phone to use Wi-Fi or data because I don’t want a new backup over writing this backup that has the SMS messages in it. If I turn off Backup it says it’s going to delete all backups that are existing. And then it says that if you haven’t used your phone in X number of days it’s going to tell you you have X number of days before your backups going to expire and be deleted. I made this mistake I’ve deleting. SMS message thread on the 4th of July. Can anyone help me please please please

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