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How To Use Google Drive

Google Drive gives you 15 GB of storage space for free. All you need is a Google account, which many of you will have already.

You can use your Google Drive for backing up your files. Pictures, Documents, Music etc.

Google Drive.

There are two ways to upload files/folders to your Google Drive. You can simply Drag & Drop, or use the Upload option.

To access Google Drive, open your browser (go onto the Internet) and then from the Google home page, click the Google Apps icon in the top right corner.

Google home page. Arrow points to Google Apps icon (9 dots arranged in a square)

On the menu that opens, click the DRIVE icon.

If you’re already signed into your Google account, Drive will automatically open.

If you’re not signed in, you’ll be prompted to choose which account to sign in with.

Click your account and then enter your Google account password

Signing in to a Google account to access Google Drive.

And you’re in.

The amount of storage space that you have is displayed in the lower left-hand corner.

You get 15 GB for free.

Google Drive open in a web browser. Storage space remaining is highlighted.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to bookmark or add this page to your favourites so that you can get back here quickly in future.


How To Drag & Drop Files Into Google Drive.

Google Drive works like a folder on your computer, except it’s on the Internet (in the cloud).

When you first access it, it’s empty. You haven’t saved any files or folders into it yet.

To store, or backup, files/folders, you can use Drag & Drop.

As an example, I’ve got a folder on my Desktop called ABBA that I’d like to backup to Google Drive (I’d be devastated if I lost this folder).

I’ll Drag & Drop it into my Drive.

The folder to be backed up to Google Drive is marked.

Open your browser and navigate to Google Drive.

Once there you’ll need to resize the browser window so that you can see the folder you want to back up.

Resizing a Program Window.

Browser open at Google Drive. Arrow indicating folder to be dragged into Google Drive.

Move your mouse pointer onto the file/folder, then hold down the left mouse button.

With the left mouse button still held down, move your pointer toward the browser window.

You’ll see that the file/folder moves with the mouse.

When you’ve got the file/folder into the Drive area, release the mouse button.

The folder being dragged across the screen toward Google Drive.

You’ll see the file upload progress indicator appear.

Depending on how large the file/folder is that you’re uploading and the speed of your Internet, it may take some time to complete.

A green tick will appear when the upload has been completed.

And you’ll also see the file/folder appear in your Google Drive.

File upload progress indicator bar.

So to be quite clear here, in my example, I haven’t moved the folder to Google Drive, I’ve created an exact copy of it on Google Drive.

The original folder is still right there on my Desktop.

But now I’ve got a backup copy of it stored in the cloud.

Which means that, if anything ever happens to the folder on my computer, I can get it back by downloading my backup from Google drive. Neat.


How To Use Google Drive Upload Tool.

Dragging & Dropping files/folders to Google Drive isn’t the only way to backup your stuff.

Sometimes it’s going to be easier or more convenient to use the Upload facility.

From within Google Drive, click the NEW button, which is in the top left corner of the window.

New button indicated in Google Drive.

On the menu that opens, click either FILE UPLOAD or FOLDER UPLOAD, depending on what you’re going to back up.

How to use the New file/folder upload tool in Google Drive.

File Upload allows you to upload individual files but won’t allow you to upload complete folders.

Folder Upload does the opposite. You can select folders to be uploaded, but not individual files.

So it’s important to make the right choice.

As an example, I’ve got some pictures in my Pictures folder I want to backup. These pictures are individual files.

On the menu, click File Upload.

The standard Windows Explorer window opens allowing you to navigate to the location of the files that you want to upload.

In my example, the files are in my Pictures folder, so I’d click Pictures in the left-hand navigation panel.

If you had documents to back up in your Documents folder, you’d click Documents in the left panel etc.

How to Navigate Your PC

Find the files you want backing up to Google Drive, select them and then click the OPEN button.

How to Select More Than 1 File

Five image files are selected.

You’ll see the progress of your files being uploaded.

When green ticks appear, the upload is complete.

So now I’ve got my ABBA folder and my precious piccys backed up to the cloud.

In Google Drive, the files and folder are backed up.

To add more files and folders, just keep going, either dragging and dropping or using the Upload facility.

If you’re backing up lots of stuff, then do keep an eye on the amount of storage space that you’ve got left. Remember, the first 15 GB is free, but after that, you’ll need to buy more space.

To see the current price that Google is charging, click the BUY STORAGE button. You’re not committing yourself to anything, you’ll just see what deals Google is offering.

At the time of writing this article, you can have 100 GB for £15.99 per year. Keep in mind that this is a recurring cost.

How To Use Backup & Sync For Google Drive.

There is another way to back up your files to Google Drive. It’s a program made by Google called Backup & Sync.

Backup & Sync is completely free to use and can help you to keep up to date copies of your files stored in the cloud.

What it does is continually synchronise the folders that you’ve chosen to back up with your Google Drive.

Once set up, it’s completely automatic, so you don’t have to remember to upload any files or folders, Backup & Sync will do it for you.

You can download Backup & Sync here

Download Backup and Sync by Google.

Or simply Google it.

When you get to the download page, scroll down a little and click the link to download Backup & Sync for individuals.

Google Backup and Sync download page

Note, it may just be a tech issue, or possibly something with my PC, but when I tried this using a small screen, the option to download disappeared.

I couldn’t find any other way to download Backup & Sync, but hopefully, by the time you read this, the problem will have resolved itself.

Install Backup and Sync, either from within your browser or from wherever you saved the installation file to.

Click the CLOSE button to continue.

Google Backup & Sync. Installation Successful.

Once Backup & Sync is installed, click the GET STARTED button.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to connect Backup & Sync to your Google account.

Enter your email address in the box and then click the NEXT button.

Then enter your google account password and click NEXT

Choose Your Folders To Backup & Sync To Google Drive.

Once Backup & Sync has connected to your Google account, it’ll be time to choose which folders you want to be backed up.

By default, the Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders will be automatically elected.

However, on your Google Drive, you only get 15 GB of storage space for free, and backing up everything in these 3 folders could well exceed that limit.

It all depends on what you’ve got on your computer.

Click Got It to proceed.

The Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders are preselected for backing up.

Beside each folder, you’ll see how much space each folder will require.

In my example, the Desktop will need 194 Mb, Documents will need 97 MB and Pictures just 1 MB.

Adding them all up comes to 292 MB, well below my 15 GB limit.

Backup & Sync preselected folders. Folder size is highlighted.

What you’ll have on your computer will obviously be different to mine. I hardly have anything at all (it’s a test computer, not my real one).

So you need to look carefully at just how much data you’re going to be uploading into your Google Drive.

If you want to or need to, you can deselect any of the folders by clicking on the box beside the folder’s name.

Note that you can change your mind later. You can add or remove folders to be backed up easily.

Click NEXT to proceed.

The Pictures folder has been deselected from the Backup & Sync options.

Click the START button.

Backup & Sync will then synchronise (backup) your selected folders to your Google Drive in the cloud.

Depending on how much data you’re backing up and the speed of your Internet, it may take a while to complete.

To begin Backup & Sync. The start button is indicated.

Check That Your Files/Folders Are In Your Google Drive.

Since you’re using Backup & Sync to back up your most important files, it’s well worth checking that it’s actually worked.

Open your browser and then go to Google Drive. Sign in if you need to.

Inside Drive, you’ll notice a new folder has appeared in the left-hand panel, COMPUTERS.

Inside Google Drive, the Computer folder is highlighted.
Google Drive My PC folder is highlighted.
File & Folders backed up.

Change This Backup & Sync Setting.

There’s a small issue when using Google Backup & Sync to save your files/folders into the cloud.

If you delete a file from your computer, it will also be deleted from your Google Drive.

But that’s not really what we want. We want Backup & Sync to keep all the files/folders that we upload into it, regardless of what happens to our computers. That’s the whole idea of creating backups in the first place.

So before you do anything else, change this setting to stop it from happening.

The Backup & Sync icon can be found on your taskbar, near the clock.

If you can’t see it there, it may be in your hidden icons panel. Click the upward-facing arrowhead and you should be able to see it.

Find the Backup and Sync icon and then right-click on it.

A menu will open.

Left-click the Settings icon, which is 3 dots arranged vertically.

The Settings menu will open.

On the menu, click Preferences.

On the preferences page, in the Google Drive section, click the downward-facing arrowhead beside “Ask before removing both copies”.

A small menu will open.

Select “Never remove both copies”.

If you don’t do this, then when a file gets deleted from your computer, it will also be deleted from your Google Drive backups. And that’s not normally what we want.

The whole idea of using Backup & Sync to back up our files is to protect them from accidental or malicious deleting.

By using this setting, if a picture on your computer is deleted, it won’t be deleted from your cloud backups, allowing you to retrieve it later when you realise it’s gone.


Adding Or Removing Folders From Backup – Backup & Sync.

The Preferences page is also where you can add or remove folders from the backup.

To change which of the default folders is backed up, simply click in the box beside it.

A tick means it will be backed up, and an empty box means it won’t be.

To add another folder that isn’t included in the default folders, click CHOOSE FOLDER.

A Windows Explorer window will open allowing you to navigate to whichever folder you want to be included in the backup.

Select the folder and then click the SELECT FOLDER button.

Summing Up Google Drive.

Google Drive provides you with 15 GB of free storage space for your files and folders. Compared to most other online storage facilities, that’s quite generous.

For many people, it’ll be enough to cover at least their most important stuff. And that’s the way to use it.

If you need more space, then the pricing is competitive with other providers, but do remember that it’s a yearly cost.

Other than that, whether you use it by manually dragging and dropping files into Drive from your browser or by installing Backup & Sync to automate the process, it works pretty well as a basic cloud backup solution.

Next Page

Windows File History

You can use Windows own backup tool, File History, to create ongoing backups of your files.

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