Sync and Backup your files with +Google Drive

Sync and Backup your files with +Google Drive

Back up your files. Do it right now, I’ll wait. 

Back?  I have yearned over a method of not only backing up my files, but also keeping my computer and my wife's computer is sync. I have maintained our music, she has maintained our photo collection, both of us have documents folders littered with out of sync files, and dropbox folders riddled duplicates of files maintained elsewhere.

Our data was a mess. My backup routine consisted of dragging and dropping folders to and from a portable hard drive. It took too long and I avoided doing it, pain and suffering were only a matter of time. Lucky for me, I decided to do something about this before it disaster struck.

Recently, I have been using my server and an FTP based sync client to backup my files and sync to both computers. It works, sorta,  but its slow, the file change detection is lacking, and multiple FTP sessions cause lot of errors.

I really like Dropbox and Google Drive for syncing files, both sync files almost instantly, but extra space on the services is expensive. In addition, you have to deal with your data residing on a /username/Dropbox or Google Drive folder rather than its cozy, system specific folder. This breaks a lot of programs if all pictures aren't in /username/Pictures.

A couple weeks ago Google announced a major price drop for storage on Drive, 100GB for $24/year, compared to DropBox’s 100GB for $99/year. First problem solved. 100GB would be enough to store and sync all of my photos.  Sharing folders on Google drive is easy and the native client will keep our folders in sync with the cloud.

I signed up for the plan and copied my pictures folder to /username/Google Drive. It took 3 days for the 86GB of data to upload, but mere seconds to share the entire contents with my wife. We both have all of our photos at our fingertips, where ever we can login. We also get the photo benefits of Google+. After the upload and the subsequent download to the was finished I noticed something. While I was using 91.2GB of 110GB of my new space, my wife was only using 5.8GB of 100GB. I double checked and the shared folder of 86GB of Pictures was present on her drive and syncing to her computer. The shared folder doesn’t count against her quota! I can’t find a good source to confirm this, best I can do is a Google FAQ page I immediately added our music folder to her Drive and shared it with my account. 

Now down to the dirty filesystem stuff. 

On my wife’s Macbook Air it was couple of commands in terminal. CAUTION: this method deletes the current folder, backup before you continue.

These commands create a symbolic Link that points to the folder in Google Drive and resides at the user folder. I would have preferred to drop a symlink into the Google Drive folder, but currently Google Drive doesn’t support this yet.

sudo rm -rf ~/Music/
sudo rm -rf ~/Pictures/
ln -s ~/”Google Drive”/Music/ ~/Music
ln -s ~/”Google Drive”/Pictures/ ~/Pictures

I just deleted the current user folders, then
mklink /d c:\users\UserName\Music\ c:\users\UserName\Google Drive\Music\
mklink /d c:\users\UserName\Pictures\ c:\users\UserName\Google Drive\Pictures\

Thats all there is too it. I’ve also moved my Dropbox folder into my Drive folder because I still prefer the auto-upload feature on Dropbox over Google+. Having the Dropbox folder inside of Drives also lets me manage all my mobile photos easily with Google Drive.

I can still use my automatic FTP server solution to back up and back up to a portable drive, but now it only needed on one computer. I have 5 copies in at least 3 different physical locations of all of my precious data.