Google Drive

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated December 17, 2018)

Google Drive is Google's offering for cloud storage. Although many of us still know it by that name, technically, Google Drive has been replaced by a product called "Backup and Sync." With this, you still get free cloud storage, but you also get automatic synchronization between the cloud and local folders that you specify.

You can download Backup and Sync from  HYPERLINK "https://www.google.com/drive/download/" . When you go to that web site, you'll see that you have a choice: (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Backup and Sync download page.

Here you click the Download button under the Personal category on the left. You'll then be presented with another window where you can read the Terms of Service, and then click the Agree and Download button. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Terms of Service agreement window.

Once you click Agree and Download, a file will be downloaded to your PC containing the installation software for the product. Double-click this downloaded file (called "installbackupandsync.exe"), and a no-questions-asked installation will ensue. This takes less than a minute to run, and at the end you'll see the following window: (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Installation Complete window.

Click the Close button to dismiss the window. You now have to do an initial run of the application in order to configure it. Click Start, then click the Backup and Sync folder in the Start menu. Under that folder you'll see the Backup and Sync application. Click the application and you'll be led through a wizard-like interface to configure what folder(s) you want to be synchronized with the cloud.

Once you've configured Backup and Sync, it runs automatically in the background and keeps your specified folders in sync with those same folders in the cloud. You'll also see a new folder in File Explorer that looks like a local folder. If you like, you can move or copy files from any local folder to your Google Drive to have them stored in the cloud.

You can also share files (for free) with others by using the Web interface. Click the Backup and Sync icon that's in your notification area (the icon looks like a cloud with two curved arrows in it): (See Figure 4.)

Figure 4. Backup and Sync icon.

When you click the icon, a small menu will appear above it, and at the top of the menu you'll see another icon that indicates the Web interface. (See Figure 5.)

Figure 5. Backup and Sync Web interface icon.

When you click the Web interface icon, your browser will open to a page showing your Backup and Sync files. From there, right-click the file you want to share, and from the context menu click the "Share..." menu item. This brings up the Sharing window where you can enter individual email addresses of people you want to share the file with. If you want to share with everyone, click the "Get shareable link" link in the upper right corner of the window. (See Figure 6.)

Figure 6. The Sharing window.

When you click "Get shareable link", a unique URL to that file will be displayed. You can then copy this URL to the clipboard and paste it wherever you want people to see it. Anyone who then clicks that link will be able to view your shared file.

When you're finished working in the Web interface, click the Done button and simply close your web browser's tab. There is more to the Web interface, so if you have the time I would encourage you to experiment to see what all is available to Google's Backup and Sync.

 This tip (13599) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

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