Sunday, December 23, 2012

Using Google Drive to Automatically Back Up "My Documents" in Windows 7

In the past, I've been pretty bad about backing up my files.  It's always been too much of a pain messing around with CDs or DVDs, and I'm too much of a cheapskate to get an external hard drive for the exclusive purpose of doing a backup.  It's also something that would still require intervention from me, meaning I'm not likely to do it regularly.

Since beginning to use Google Drive anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps I could start backing up my files without also having to screw around with it all the time.  It turns out not to be totally straightforward.

First, when installing Google Drive on your computer, make sure to put the Google Drive folder somewhere you actually want it to be.  The default location isn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't great for me.  While there are instructions for moving the Google Drive folder after the fact, they didn't work in my case - I had to delete it and have Google Drive create a new one in the correct location.

Second, navigate into your user account folder and right-click "My Documents."  Open up the Properties dialog box.  One of the tabs is "Location."  I used the "Move..." button to move "My Documents" to a new location within Google Drive.  While I did give that folder a name, it didn't get created that way - it was created as "My Documents," only within my Google Drive folder.  That's fine with me, so I just let it happen that way.

I did a little bit of testing and it does seem to have broken the recent documents links in Office.  So, be warned.  However, the libraries folders and start menu shortcuts work correctly and by default, things will save into the new location.  So all in all, I'm okay with how that turned out.  Google Drive is now syncing all of my stuff, which was the goal.  I think I now have my computer taking care of that important but annoying backup task for me.  Future migrations to new computers should also be more straightforward, using Google Drive to pull the contents I want on a new computer back down from the cloud.


Ruby Badcoe said...

Google Drive is one of the common tools in creating a backup of your files. I actually store my personal stuff there too. However, you shouldn’t get confident about it. Google drive is great, but if you want added security, I suggest choosing an alternative cloud storage software.

Manda Maldanado said...

Thanks for sharing how to back up files using Google Drive. But then again, you have to ensure the privacy and protection of your files. Do consider using other storage software as well, where you can take full control of its privacy.

-Manda Maldanado @ Scality