[NEW] Google Backup & Sync

Category: Backup

Google Drive just got a lot more useful and user-friendly, with the introduction of an app called Google Backup & Sync. It combines features of the Google Drive and Google photos apps, and adds some finer controls over what is saved to the cloud and when. Let’s see how it works...

Protect Your Files With Google Backup & Sync

The new Backup & Sync app is one easy way to make sure that the documents and photos on your Windows or Mac hard drive are automatically backed up to cloud storage. If you add, modify or delete a file in your Documents or Pictures folder, that change will be reflected in your Google Drive storage in the cloud.

In addition to backing up your local files to cloud storage, Backup & Sync also works in the opposite direction, backing up your Google Drive storage to a local hard drive folder. If you use the cloud-based Google Docs word processor or Google Sheets spreadsheet, you'll like that.

You can download and install Backup & Sync from this link. When installed, it replaces the Google Drive app on your computer, if you already had it. (It also made the Network icon in my system tray disappear, but it came back in a few minutes. You may or may not have a similar, temporary glitch.)

Google backup and sync app

Some users have noted that the Backup & Sync icon is hidden in the Windows system tray. To make it always visible in the system tray, click on the up-arrow that shows hidden icons and select “Customize.” Find the Backup & Sync icon and change its default to “Show icon and notifications.” Problem solved.

Click once on the Backup & Sync icon to open a small window. It shows current or recent backup and sync activity. On the menu bar are icons that give you access to Google Drive or Google Photos, and to the Google Drive folder on your local device. Click on the three-dots button at the far right end of the menu bar. Select Preferences.

Backup and Sync Preferences and Settings

In the left sidebar you’ll find the Google Drive folder that the app created on your hard drive. By default, everything in your Google Drive cloud storage is synced to a local folder on your computer. But now, you have the option to select subfolders from Google Drive cloud to sync to your hard drive. Click on “Google Drive” and then “Sync only these folders" to access that option.

You'll also see “My Laptop” or “My Computer" in the left sidebar. If you install the app on other devices linked to your Google Account, they would appear here too.

In the center section of the control panel, you can select or deselect folders on the selected device (e.g., My Laptop) to be continuously backed up and synced with Google Drive and/or Google Photos. If desired, you can add other folders to be backed up.

Photo and video files can be uploaded to the cloud in their original sizes, subject to your storage capacity available in the cloud. But if you let Google compress your photos and videos, free cloud storage is unlimited. You should enable the option to upload photos and videos to Google Photo, to take advantage of the free storage deal; I don’t know why it’s at the bottom of the control panel instead of right up here. The files on your hard drive remain their original sizes. (Note: unlimited free storage is only available for photos and videos.)

Fine Tuning Backup & Sync

Backups Ebook Are you prepared for a total loss of your hard drive due to a virus, hardware failure or some other disaster? Are you confused by the terminology related to backups? I encourage you to read my ebook Everything You Need to Know About BACKUPS, where you'll learn about backup strategies and how to protect the data in your computer, tablet, smartphone and online accounts.

The “Removing items” options control what happens when you delete a file from your local drive. Options include deleting files from the cloud and all of your other devices running Backup & Sync; automatically deleting files only from your local drive; or being asked if you want to delete files everywhere when you delete them on your local drive.

Files stored on USB devices and SD cards will automatically be backed up to the cloud when they are plugged into a device that’s running Backup & Sync. You can turn this default off if you wish, using the link at the bottom of the Preferences window.

The Settings page (see link in the left sidebar of Preferences) is self-explanatory except for “Network Settings.” Click on that link to control how much bandwidth Backup & Sync uses. (Bandwidth refers to the amount and rate of data transferred over a network.) The default is “unlimited” but you may want to throttle Backup & Sync if its activity slows your other online activities.

I’ve only used Backup & Sync for a couple of days, but already I like it better than the old Google Drive app. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "[NEW] Google Backup & Sync"

Posted by:

A Pratt
14 Jul 2017

No Linux version yet. Amazing for a company that has linux systems at its heart.

I have been a longtime Dropbox user and only recently started using Google drive and love it for making sure I don't lose phone photos (Long story short - the phone got washed.)

Posted by:

14 Jul 2017

Have downloaded the Google & Sync

Posted by:

Lady Fitzgerald
14 Jul 2017

I trust anything from Google about as far as I can spit upwind in a stiff wind. They are already notorious for snooping through people's data so why would anyone want to make it easier for them to do so? Also, same as for all free cloud storage, their security is less than stellar. Google is also notorious for discontinuing free services with inadequate warning, same as other free cloud storage sites.

Paid cloud backup services, such as Carbonite.com, CrashPlan, and Backblaze, are much more reliable, stable, and safer than the freebies. Unlimited basic cloud backup plans can be had for as little as $60/year; that's only $5 a month. I'm currently using Carbonite.com but will probably switch to CrashPlan when I switch from Win 7 to Linux in a couple of years.

For data to be reasonably safe, it needs to exist in at least three different places, such as on the computer, on an onsite backup, and on an offsite backup. A good, paid, cloud backup service (not cloud storage, especially freebies) can be used as an offsite backup.

Posted by:

14 Jul 2017

Fine & Dandy and thank you for keeping us up to date with new Google offerings.
IMHO >> My perplexing issue is how Google can continue to offer newer services/software for "free", whereas the competition cannot. Someone has to pay the developers: *How Apple/Microsoft monetize such efforts are obvious. *OpenSource (e.g. Linux) community is not driven by a pure profit motive. Maybe my Google paranoia is driven by a 'users-as-the-product' phobia.

Posted by:

Riccardo Capuano
14 Jul 2017

If you have Windows 10, there's no point in installing this, as Windows 10 already gives you the possibility of storing all your data (documents, photos, music) on their OneDrive cloud storage, which I do. It also saves me the task of making backups.

Posted by:

Larry Kaplan
15 Jul 2017

Do I need Google Backup & Sync if I am already subscribed to Drop Box for cloud backup, which is synced to my PC twice a day? In addition, I have a portable hard drive I backup to every week and store in a fireproof safe.

Posted by:

15 Jul 2017

How does this work if you are supporting several volunteer organizations, all of which use Google Drive, Calendar, etc.
Will all their data sync to your PC as well?

Posted by:

15 Jul 2017

Can I put it on my Galaxy S8 and sync phone photos directly to my laptop Google Drive?

Posted by:

16 Jul 2017

Hi Bob,

Yes thankyou, a very good idea. I'll look into it and give it a try. I had a good read through your article and saw that when Backup and Sync installed, it automatically backs up files on USB devices, which is very good.

I wonder if the program would have backed up and saved all my files (Moto Cross, Fighter jets, Music), off a USB flash drive of old, that I'd used over and over again over the years, until one day it wiped itself clean for whatever reason, the bastard???

I always do a cleaning scan of flash drives I buy before using them, with Super Anti Spyware and Avast, so whatever caused that flash drive to self destruct so to speak, I must have picked up something on a timed program to do just that, from off one of my visited sites, but I do a cleaning scan of everything down loaded, before transferring to a flash drive, to make sure nothing nasty picked up.

The mentioned flash drive, I cleaning scanned and re-used again, taking many weeks and months to download what I had on it originally and to this day, is running A-OK.

Catch you again next time.

Cheers, Rok.

Posted by:

30 Jul 2017

The trouble is, with G Drive and any cloud storage, I need Terabytes, not gigabytes of space. In fact 14 Terabytes would probably be just right, instead of 14 gigabytes. I'm just an amateur photographer, but over the last 20 years I've accumulated hundreds of thousands of images, most of them from DSLRs. And I'm sure I'm not alone.

Posted by:

07 Mar 2018

Are you kidding. Google makes the worst crap. They were a wonderful company about 7-10 years ago, then they went to the dogs.
I only use them because my company was foolish enough to choose them as an enterprise solution. No support, our IT guys don't even know how to resolve the problems and they get the same BS support as any tweenie on the Internet. Drive and Sync is a nightmare. Totally unpredictable and incapable of being managed. Google really needs to go out of business or at least stop selling naïve executives on their free crapware so they can buy true solutions and stop the rest of us from being miserable.

P.S. Next time give real review, not a Hurrah for Google! piece.

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