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Back up your files to Google Drive using Google-provided tools

If you already use Google Drive on the web to store your files, you do not have to do anything further since Google already backs up your Drive files “in the cloud”. What this means is, if you ever lost your computer, or the hard drive became damaged, you could access any file you have stored on Google Drive from any other device. Your data would not be lost!

Some people who don’t regularly use Google Drive, can still benefit from backing up their locally saved files (files saved to your own hard drive), to Google Drive using the sync client application called Google Drive for desktop.

Google Drive for desktop is the recommended tool, as it syncs your files from Google Drive to your computer, on-demand when opened, which saves disk space on your computer and your network bandwidth. Other beneficial features of Google Drive for desktop include:

  • When you access Google Drive on your computer, it appears as a network drive (G: drive) but if you save your files to G: instead of your local hard drive C:, your files will be backed up to Google Drive and will not be impacted if you lost your computer, or there was damage to your hard drive.
  • Offline access: You can make selected files or folders “Available offline” in My Drive or Shared Drives if you use these. These files are synced back to the cloud when you are online.
  • Outlook integration: Google Drive for desktop will integrate with Microsoft Outlook for those using it, and allows you to insert and save Google Drive files straight from your Outlook interface.
  • Real time collaboration: You can see who’s editing with real-time presence in your Microsoft Office files stored on Google Drive.

Follow the instructions to download and install Google Drive for desktop (external link) .

In all of the Microsoft Office files such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint, you can now save and open files through the regular File menu rather than using the plug-in button and interface. From within the Microsoft Office product you are using:

To save a file into your Google Drive:
Select the File menu, then select Save, and choose the destination Google Drive File Stream (G:)

To open from Drive:
Select the File Open menu, choose the the (G:) drive which is the Google Drive File Stream

Google Drive for desktop allows you to keep your files on your computer synced and accessible on Google Drive. It also allows for your Google Drive files to be accessible using your desktop applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, etc. In Drive for desktop, you can choose to stream or mirror Drive files. Your files are found in different places on your computer based on whether you choose to mirror or stream them.

Streaming your Drive files will store all your Drive files in the cloud and you will be able to select which files and folders you want to make available for offline use. Any changes that you make on your files stored in Google Drive using your desktop applications will automatically sync to what you see in your web browser in Google Drive.

Mirroring your Drive files will store all your files in the cloud and on your computer. This will make all your files in your Google Drive available for offline use with your desktop applications and also if you make any changes, they will sync automatically (just like streaming).

When choosing between the streaming or mirroring, please be mindful of your computer's storage compacity and your network's bandwidth and speed. It is recommended that you stream your files rather than mirror them in Google Drive.

  • Make sure you have Google Drive for desktop installed on your computer. You will not be able to access to files using your desktop applications like Microsoft Office, etc., without the Google Drive for desktop sync client installed and signed in.
  • Make sure to install the Google Drive for desktop sync client on all computers that you need to access Google Drive with your desktop apps.
  • Google Drive for desktop sync client is called "Google Drive" in your computer's application list. Make sure it is running and synced if you find you cannot access your G:// Drive. You can check the sync status from the task bar.
  • Make sure you are running Google Drive for desktop-- Google Drive File Stream and Backup & Sync have been discontinued. (external link)