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How to Backup your External Hard Drives using Google Drive [CHECKLIST]

How to Backup your External Hard Drives using Google Drive [CHECKLIST]

Here's your bonus checklist to free yourself from external hard drives using Google Drive.
Understand the idea
Download Google Drive
Enable selective sync
Create "z. ONLINE FILES"
Create a new folder structure inside "z. ONLINE FILES"
Create a 'to move' folder
Schedule a time to organize your folder
Bonus! Automatically create Google Docs, Slides, and more

Understand the idea

Google Drive can be used to backup 1TB of data for free.

To use Drive as a backup tool, you will need to create a file structure inside the app that mirrors the one on your computer.

One folder (z. ONLINE FILES) contains files immediately synced to Drive, while one (move to) is for files that need sorting into their relevant directories (Download, Pictures, Videos, etc).

This guide will show you how to create a new file structure and selectively sync your files to the right places on Drive.

Download Google Drive

First things first – you need to sign into and download Google Drive. Start by recording the details of your Google Drive account in the form fields below.

Google Drive is available for PC, Mac, Android and iOS.


Once you’ve got the app, you’ll see a new folder on your computer called Google Drive, containing all files you have on Drive, if any. Don’t worry, these aren’t taking up space, they’re not synced until you tell them to be.

Enable selective sync

The first thing you need to do is to go into your Google Drive app’s preferences and enable selective sync.

Enable this if you’re not going to want everything to sync to Drive and to get more control over what you back up.

Create "z. ONLINE FILES"

Next, you want to create a folder called "z. ONLINE FILES".

Put a ‘z’ at the start so this folder is always at the bottom of the list. That makes it easy to find, since you’ll be using it a lot from now on.

This folder is the top level directory for your new folder structure and the primary destination for synced files.

Sync all your internal ‘Pictures’ folder to your z. ONLINE FILES/Pictures folder in Drive, and so on.

Create a new folder structure inside "z. ONLINE FILES"

Create a folder structure inside "z. ONLINE FILES" that mirrors the one on your computer you want to back up.

It should contain Documents, Videos, Pictures, etc — all of the folders that currently divide your files up.

Create a ‘to move’ folder

Just like how your "z. ONLINE FILES" folder is for files that sync automatically, your ‘to move’ folder is for files you want to specify a destination for.

Move files you don’t need synced to your local drive into the “to move” folder and once every couple of weeks login to Google Drive through the browser and move everything in the “to move” folder into their relative folders in the online structure.

This doesn’t take any time since they’re already uploaded and synced with Google Drive.

Schedule a time to organize your folder

Now you need to schedule a time to organize your folder. Record this time in the form field below.

The ‘to move’ folder will fill up over time. While Drive is smart, it’s not smart enough to read your mind and conform to your custom file structure. This means that you’ll have to set aside time (5 minutes per week) to drag your unsorted files into the z. ONLINE FILES directory and give them a home.

After you’ve synced your hard drives, you’re going to want to keep up the good work by updating drive on a regular basis.

Schedule yourself to get this out of the way using Google Calendar.

Bonus! Automatically create Google Docs, Slides, and more

If you’re syncing your Word documents, Keynote presentations and Excel Spreadsheets to Drive, you might want them in an immediately editable format when you come to use them online.

If so, check out this neat option in the settings menu (top right cog) on your browser version of Drive.

For more cool tips like this check out 25 Google Drive Tips You’ve Probably Never Heard Before and become a Google Drive master.

Take control of your workflows today.