Other day one of the coworker rushed to me panting, he goes “I have an important meeting today and I prepared a presentation whole day yesterday and was completed yesterday night 11PM but today morning my laptop won’t boot … what do I do?”… I asked him if he has any backup options setup? He says “well generally I do weekly backup to a DVD but for the file in question is not backed up as it was late at night. ….. Sounds familiar? Irony is people talk about backups only when they lost their data. So I thought of writing this little help if you really care to protect your own data.
There are plenty of options available for backup, but…
- Your CDs are prone for physical damage very easily.
- Pen drive based backup is better than the above but when exactly you do this backup? and what if you lose this pen drive? Also pen drives are virus hubs.
So you need a fully automatic cloud based backup which does its job of backing up your files without your intervention. There are lot of paid such services available but I am gonna write about a free backup option from google, called “Google Drive”
What you need? Just a google account. If you already have a Gmail account then you already have google account.
What’s the next step? First go your browser on your personal computer on which you have your files and you wanna setup backup for.
First make sure to click “Download for PC” to download google drive to your computer and follow the installation process. At some point it will prompt you for your google account credentials, enter it to login.
Within minutes you should see a google drive icon on your system tray. (Bottom right on desktop screen)
Now launch your windows explorer and note the new google drive icon under “Quick Access”. Double click on the “Google Drive” and you will see your cloud based google drive.
First understand what it is, the drive what you are looking at is a storage area on your computer’s physical drive as well as storage drive on googles cloud storage synced together. Basically if you add a file here, it would also be added to cloud storage automatically (provided you have active internet connection) . That means
- Any file you deleted will also be deleted from cloud.
- Any file you edit and save will also get updated to the cloud.
- Any sub-folders you add will also be added to cloud.
Basically a mirror image, only thing to remember is, you need an active internet connection to sync both locations automatically.
Now, you might have this question, “do I need internet connection all the time to access and work on any file which is already synced up?” Answer is “No” you don’t, any file which is synced already and existing on your physical drive will be available to you for any action on them such as edits or delete. If you do, when you are connected to the internet next time, same actions will be performed to your cloud stored files. That is if have edited and saved on the local storage, the files on the cloud will be replaced. If you deleted a file on local drive, will also be deleted from your cloud storage later when you are online. Even if you created a new file on the local drive while you were without internet connections will be added to your cloud storage when you connected. Isn’t that cool? Read on, there are lot more interesting things to follow.
Once you understand the above logic, install the google drive on your mobile phone from the same link I gave above. Login with the same google account as that of your computer and now you can access your files on your mobile phones also. No more pen drive business! You have access to your files on the go!
Also remember on mobile phones the there is no auto sync of files like desktop. I know there is a “Auto Sync” option under Settings>Accounts but this will only syncs up the file name list, so that you will see up-to-date list of files, but the files do not get transferred to your mobile phone automatically. I think this is good considering you will download the files very rarely to your mobile phones there by not wasting the valuable storage on the mobile phone and also conserving your mobile internet data. So here you will do upload and downloads manually.
Now next interesting thing, Since you setup sync on your personal computer and cloud, how about setting up your home/office computer for sync under the same account? If you follow the same procedures as above, now any file you add to your personal computer gets transferred to your home computer or office computer automatically. No more pen drive business. You have all your important files any of your computers as long as you have internet connection!
Now that you understood how google drive works, let me make some of the important notes on usage.
- Setup desktop sync app only on your personal computers, do not do it from your friends computer or at internet cafe. If you need to access your file while on the go, go to https://drive.google.com/ from any browser (you need to login with your google account). You will be able see the cloud version of your file, you can download a file to your computer and work on it. (You have to manually update it back to google drive if you want the updated copy) . Also make sure to delete the file you downloaded at internet cafe.
- Do not use it for photos and videos as they tend to take too much of your space, currently google offers 15GB of space which is shared between your emails, drive, photos etc. Use it for very important files only. Its definitely not for your downloaded movie.
- Send any important file to google drive from your mobile phone’s “Share” option.
- You can also share a particular folder with others, so that others can access your files. You can share a complete sub-folder or a single file with anyone with google account. You can restrict read only access where they could only download the file but not delete it from the cloud storage. Once shared you can also revoke the sharing anytime. This is very useful when you want to send someone lot of files exceeding the email attachment size limitations. Upload the files to your drive and share that folder link by email.
- Even if you delete a file by mistake, the file goes to your trash on google drive which you will be able to recover it later. But you have to do it from web interface https://drive.google.com/ .
- One of the most powerful feature, you can access the old version of the file too. That is, you have created a new file yesterday and did some edits today and saved it. It is already synced up to cloud now you want the yesterdays’ version. Quickly head to https://drive.google.com/ click on the file. On the right activity tab will show the activity on the file and the corresponding dates, by clicking the file name you will get the old version of your file! Choose the correct version. Isn’t that cool? I must say that’s very powerful feature!
- Create sub folders such as “Work Files”, “ID Copies”, “Passport Pictures”, “Financial”, “Bills” etc and keep everything properly organized.
- Last but most important, google drive can give you protection against the ransomware attack. That is, even if your files infected, your file’s old version is available on google drive, and you may be able to recover it!
So, ready to dive in to drive? Hope so. Please take care of your valuable data. But keep your account safe. Have a strong password for your google account and 2 level authentications. Do not get it hacked there by sacrificing your data and privacy.
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