Backup and Sync for Windows is a Great Solution for Those in the Google Ecosystem

Posted on July 13, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Uncategorized with 24 Comments

Google’s newly-released Backup and Sync tool combines previous Windows utilities into a single solution that spans your documents and photos. And for many, it could work as centralized cloud backup.

Previously, Google had a sync client for Google Drive that works much like similar clients for OneDrive, Dropbox, and other cloud storage services. Except for testing, I’ve never really used this client, as I don’t use Google Drive regularly.

But Google also had a separate upload/sync client for Google Photos, allowing you to copy your existing photo collection to the cloud. I use Google Photos extensively, and I wrote about this capability two years ago in Tip: Use Google Photos to Archive Your Photo Collection.

Google Backup and Sync for Windows combines these two clients into a single new client. But it also dramatically changes how the Google Drive (e.g. documents sync) part works: Instead of a single “Google Drive” folder under your user account folder, you can instead choose to continually backup your own folders to Google Drive. So it’s both consolidated and an upgrade.

It’s easy to setup: Just sign-in to your Google account and then choose the folders (if any) you’d like to continually backup. Google chooses Desktop, Documents, and Pictures by default, but you can deselect any of those and add any arbitrary folders to backup too.

While some have described this as a complete PC backup solution, you can’t choose a drive, and there’s no system image capability. But you could choose all of the folders on your PC, for sure, and while that wouldn’t make sense, choosing all of the folders with important documents, images, videos, and other files is certainly possible.

If you’re in the Google ecosystem, this is worth looking at. I don’t really need it, as my photos are all backed up to the cloud already and I don’t need the document sync capabilities. But it looks solid for those who need either.

You can download Google Backup and Sync for Windows from Google Photos or Google Drive; both supply the same client download.

 

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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Backup and Sync for Windows is a Great Solution for Those in the Google Ecosystem”

  1. Avatar

    Martin Pelletier

    I wish there was something similar but for OneDrive beside configuring OneDrive to be the main Documents folder.

    • Avatar

      JacobTheDev

      In reply to MartinusV2:

      You can symlink any directory to a folder in OneDrive, which is basically the same thing. Not quite as easy, I know, but it works. I do this for Dropbox.

      • Avatar

        jwpear

        In reply to Jacob-Bearce:

        I tried the links a few years ago with a large photo collection and it royally screwed up my photos.  It started replicating them and the original files became corrupted empty ghost files that would error any time you attempted to open them. 

        I did this because of the stupid requirement OneDrive has of everything residing under one folder.  I keep about 300 GB's of family photos and videos on a separate drive to avoid filling up the relatively small SSD system drive.  It has been a royal pain getting them to OneDrive.  I still haven't gotten them all uploaded.  Google is looking very attractive with this new offering.

  2. Avatar

    dcdevito

    Or just do what I do...Create a system restore image and upload that to Drive.

  3. Avatar

    jwpear

    This looks nice.  I miss this feature from Mesh.  Google just face-palmed Microsoft's engineers.  I may have to reconsider Google Drive.

  4. Avatar

    AnOldAmigaUser

    Advertisements based on the contents of your computer?

  5. Avatar

    the_risner

    I like that Google's solution supports removable media, but is it REALLY backup? Backup implies versioning which would protect users from ransomware. When I read the details, this solution appears to by file synchronization.

    • Avatar

      jean

      In reply to the_risner:

      I did post that in the premium section: one caveat: the folders being backed-up don't show in "My Drive" - you can only find it with search and then using google scripting to extract the folder's object-id in oder to directly address those folders: you can't specify a root folder in "My Drive" in order to force backup to use that location - it's really wierd

      you can rename "My Laptop" to whatever name suits you best and a folder for each "distinct" computer will be created in google drive under that name - still you can't easily get to the files and therfore my question: how would you ever restore any of those files :-P

      truth to be told: it says "Backup and Sync for Windows" and does not mention "RESTORE" anyhow - SCNR


    • Avatar

      Waethorn

      In reply to the_risner:

      Google Drive supports version tracking.


      Even Microsoft's backup solutions are slated to remove version tracking for backups (File History is supposedly getting nuked in a future Windows 10 build).

  6. Avatar

    F4IL

    Wow, it also syncs with more (msft) file systems than (msft) onedrive.

  7. Avatar

    jean

    one caveat: the folders being backed-up don't show in "My Drive" - you can only find it with search and then using google scripting to extract the folder's object-id in oder to directly address those folders: you can't specify a root folder in "My Drive" in order to force backup to use that location - it's really wierd

  8. Avatar

    Delmont

    Where are there 2 still?

    Paul, are you updating to the new client?

    Do you now uninstall the older Google Photos Backup off your pc?

  9. Avatar

    wunderbar

    Google really needs to lower their cloud storage pricing for this to become viable.

    • Avatar

      Waethorn

      In reply to wunderbar:

      I think the thing you have to look at is whether the 1TB of storage space is worth it alone when you can get a G Suite Business account that includes 1TB of storage (if less than 5 users in a subscription, otherwise it's unlimited storage), plus you get ad-free business-class email through Gmail for Business, and a better SLA over consumer Gmail. However, you have to provide your own domain name for the service (it doesn't have to cost much for a .com from a budget registrar).




    • Avatar

      Dan1986ist

      In reply to wunderbar:

      Agreed, as Gmail and other Google stuff like Doc, Sheets, and Slides counts against the total storage in one's Google Drive. Someone correct me if wrong about that.

  10. Avatar

    DaddyBrownJr

    There is a difference between "backup" and "back up", as there is between "setup" and "set up".

  11. Avatar

    JacobTheDev

    My main issue with this is the "automatically add images to Google Photos" feature is busted. It adds literally every image it finds to your Google Photos, even things like scanned documents, desktop backgrounds, screenshots, etc. There needs to be a way to say "only upload photos from these directories." Also, why isn't the Google Music upload tool part of this? Seems like an obvious miss.


    I like the idea of this, but I guess I'll probably just be sticking with Dropbox.

  12. Avatar

    Jorge Garcia

    This is going to make a ton of sense for a lot of people...and bail them out of problems for sure. I still like the old way for now, though.

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