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 (read our guide on how to upload to Google Drive).
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.
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 (we have a guide on how to remove Google Photos duplicates in case you need it).
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 — you can also stop Google Drive from syncing. 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. Also, check out our guide on how to transfer ownership of a Google Drive folder, if that’s something you need to do. Thank you for reading.