We all talk about how important it is to back up your data. How important it is to be able to carry on from where you left off, even if your laptop was burnt to a crisp in an unfortunate fire. Or crushed by a car (pretty unlikely but, hey, it happens!). But, do you actually know whether you data is being backed up? In this episode of The Rick & Clo Tech Show, Rick shares a revelation with Chloe; something she's been under-utilising for quite some time… Google Drive.

Did you know you could do this?!

Transcript:

00:00 Chloe I tell you one thing, just from looking at the videos that we've done recently and with the whole, like, data backup.

00:09 Rick Yeah.

00:10 Chloe One thing that I don't actually know is whether I have backed up my data and if so, where is it? And if not, how do I do it? It actually got me thinking I don't have a clue. And I know that sounds terrible.

00:31 Rick No, no, no. The issue of backup overall has become something of a grey area in comparison to what it used to be. What it used to be was, whenever you had a computer you really wouldn't have the bandwidth to send all of what you've worked on somewhere else and synchronising it constantly, without it being extremely expensive.

00:52 Rick So, frequently, what would happen is you'd do these things which is differential backups, where you're only looking for the changes between the last time you did a backup and now. And you're taking a snapshot and you're backing it up. But those kind of services and software would usually put that backup into a format that was only accessible by their software. So you would have to use the same backup software to restore from so there was -. And there is still a lot of business around backup and restore, either onsite using various, sort of, drives.

01:29 Rick Although, to be honest, these days most people would be looking at cloud-based, but there is this grey area now because we also have a lot of document synchronisation tools from -. So you have your SharePoint with Microsoft, you have your Dropboxes, your Box, your, you know, you can name probably 30 different storage-based companies, but what they do is selectively synchronise your computer.

01:56 Rick So they won't, usually, they wouldn't store all your applications. And that's because these days applications can be downloaded and installed again very quickly, you log in with your account and all your settings come back and those settings would be possibly backed up, or the documents around those.

02:14 Rick So I -. I think you would have two situations. You have when you want to back something up, you have to think about what you want to do when it comes to restoring it because if you can't restore it in the manner that you need, in the speed and time that you need, then it's pretty futile to be doing so. So if you need to be back up within 24-hours, you need to have everything, you know, that's part of your consideration.

02:47 Rick Because disaster scenario is the machine has been stolen, burnt, destroyed, right. So you're starting from scratch. So you would either look at, what we call, the bare-metal backup which is where the software loads on to a brand new machine that says, right, I'm gonna wipe this brand new machine and put back onto it all the stuff that we've backed up, specifically from your old laptop. Identical. That's different to getting a new laptop, logging into Dropbox and then suddenly all your files are back. Because yes, all your files are back but you've lost some settings and configuration and other stuff. So there's time lost there. But it's a very convenient and cheaper way of doing it and this is why you have similar things from OneDrive from Microsoft, you have iCloud from Apple and Google offers photo storage, so does Amazon, you know, and, again, the lines start to blur when you're like, well, my photos are stored with Amazon but my documents are with Dropbox and then -. So the way I operate these days is any machine that I'm on is able to be just disappeared, it shouldn't matter, I can just go to another machine log on and I'll be working within 20 minutes because all my stuff's in the Cloud, I can start -. I can even fire up a development environment in the Cloud now.

04:11 Rick Now, there's a new offering from Microsoft called Windows 365 which is exactly that, it's remote, so you can be on a Mac and you just fire up Windows 365 and bam! You're on your Windows desktop. Now, if you threw that Mac out of the window into the pavement below and it was crushed by a car and you pick up the next Mac, just log into your Windows remote thing and you'll be on the same desktop with the documents still there that you were working on. So it's something to like. It is something that is attractive but you have to be connected all the time to be able to run that. So that's the payoff. The pay or the -. The problem with it is you can't work on your desktop unless you are there, or unless you've got any connectivity.

04:53 Chloe Mmhm.

04:54 Rick So that is an aspect of backup, but that's not everything because you really want to think about what is the stuff that -. The thing that you used to have to backup was email, was one of the big ones, right, because when you had an email come into your computer, you'd downloaded it from the server and it was now just on your computer, so if your computer went off then your email had gone, so you had to then back it up. Nowadays, we don't really do that.

05:23 Rick Not many. I think some people may still be doing so but, really, most will be using email clients that talk to cloud-based mail services like Gmail, like Outlook, like, you know, the various offerings and those mean that your email exists in the Cloud, stays in the Cloud, operates in the Cloud.

05:43 Rick You will not have to back it up. That's Google's problem, that's Microsoft's problem, that's part of it. Now, yeah, if the service goes down you won't have access to your email for a short period of time, but the likelihood is you've got a offline email client that's got a copy of it anyway, so you've got a backup situation going there and that's a key area for a lot of people – emails. Because it's hard to replace things that people have sent you. There's legal documents in there, there's all sorts. The next part, I guess, is just managing your own documents, personal then business. From a business perspective we have to have policy. So we have security policies, we have implementation policies for how that is done so that we conform to the regulations. So when people are storing documents, they are stored in a secure system within Dropbox that has authorisation given from a particular admin level and, you know, and we have two-factor authentication to authorise people's access to it.

06:41 Rick All this kind of stuff. And Dropbox take care of backing that up and making it available to us.

06:47 Chloe Right.

06:48 Rick Again, many different offerings from different cloud providers would do the same. But then, from a personal perspective, because we have personal folders with Dropbox as well, we can keep things for ourselves within there if necessary, but that's not where I would put all my photography and everything else. So I like to have things in more than one basket, so I have my photography backed up to Amazon's storage, as well as Google photos. And that's partially because they do nice things like analyse them, make little movies out of them, send me little reminders of days and trips and stuff like that. And that's a pleasant side effect of having that storage being used.

07:34 Rick And same with the Apple iPhoto. Everything that gets taken on one of these devices, it's all in the same feed, it's all managed, searchable, you know, we can even search by what is even in the photo because they're being indexed by proper, you know, well algorithms, let's say.

07:50 Chloe Mm.

07:51 Rick And that is why it's grey area'd now. Where is your backup? What is your actual, you know, strategy for this? And I think most of us have probably got gaps where we've saved stuff to places that aren't being backed up, but we're not really aware of that until, suddenly, something goes wrong.

08:09 Chloe Yeah.

08:10 Rick So that is, sort of, what -.

08:12 Chloe That concerns me. I feel like -.

08:14 Rick Well, I'm sure it probably does! (laughter) Anybody with a laptop and not a backup strategy, I'd be concerned. Now -.

08:20 Chloe Yeah.

08:21 Rick That said, if you, so if you look, if you have any Cloud storage of any kind? I assume you must have some form of Cloud storage account…

08:29 Chloe Well, I use the Google Workspace for certain documents and emails and things like that, yeah.

08:37 Rick So, if you've got Google Workspace, you have a tonne of free storage with that. So you've got the Google Drive.

08:44 Chloe Mmhm.

08:45 Rick And Google Drive will offer to do a lot of things, but you can effectively synchronise your documents to your files, your images, you know, work with in there. There is another thing as well. You can download the Google Sync and Backup software. So if you go to drive.google.com. I think it'll suggest that you can get it. And this is one of the nice things about these Cloud services like Drive, like Dropbox and others. That you would then have access to the same files on your mobile whenever you are out and about. So you can think "Oh, that thing that's on my desktop, oh, it's synchronised. I'll just go to the desktop folder on Drive and there it is."

09:31 Rick So that's really worth thinking about, especially in your situation. I'm trying to remember how much -.

09:40 Chloe What about -. 'Cos I use that for certain things but then I also just used my Documents on Windows for, like, saving images and things to upload to websites and stuff like that.

09:56 Rick Yep.

09:57 Chloe What do I do with those?

10:00 Rick Well, I mean, it depends whether you want to keep copies of them and manage them or not. But what I've tended to do in the past is have -. If I have Documents folders, I would have a temporary Documents folders and a Document folder. So temporary Document folder would be just stuff I don't care about keeping but need to be able to access for a quick upload for, you know, I'm gonna download it here. In a way, that's what your Downloads folder should be. Your Downloads folder should be an easily wipeable selection of files that you're just getting hold of, using and then sending on or storing somewhere that is then important to backup from.

10:38 Chloe Yeah. What I get confused with is, so I upload things to website CMS and things like that, so whenever it asks you to upload an image, it always by default goes to your Windows Documents, so if I did have images saved in my Google Drive, how I would then be able to access that to upload to other platforms, if you see what I mean?

11:13 Rick Yeah, yeah. So in other words making it navigate to that place by default?

11:17 Chloe Yeah.

11:18 Rick Well, there's a really -.

11:20 Chloe Because that's why I end up doing it from -.

11:23 Rick There's a really really quick way. So what you could do is you could drag a shortcut to the Google Drive location in your Documents folder.

11:33 Chloe Right.

11:34 Rick So if you've got on the left-hand side of your Explorer, you have a folder that is your Google Drive folder.

11:41 Chloe Yep.

11:42 Rick If you want to remote desktop your machine on here. Okay, so we've got -.

11:51 Chloe You don't want to have a look at this stuff. (laughter)

11:57 Rick So, hang on, so you've got Dropbox here as well, right.

11:59 Chloe Yeah but I don't use it. (laughter)

12:01 Rick Oh that's interesting. So, hang on, you've got Dropbox but you don't use it, but you do use Google Drive, but that's not on here?

12:08 Chloe (laughter) Yeah!

12:10 Rick Okay. So, first thing's first, you need to go to drive.google.com. Oh, hang on, I can even request remote control, hold on.

12:27 Chloe What, from mine?

12:29 Rick Yeah, hold on.

12:31 Chloe Can you?! Oh my god. Woah, that is really scary. How you have just managed to do that.

12:47 Rick Hold on. There we go.

12:56 Chloe Whaatt?!

12:57 Rick You're on Windows, right?

13:04 Chloe Mmhm.

13:05 Rick Yep.

13:07 Chloe Ooh, I didn't know you could do that either. (laughter) I am such a technophobe, it is unbelievable.

13:15 Rick Don't worry, we'll get you there. Yeah.

13:19 Chloe Yep, so do I add an application? Oh, add desktop. Oh my god, this is revolutionary. (laughter) Add an application shortcut to your desktop, yep. I'll do that. Wow, why did I not know this? So, does this mean I don't have to go onto the internet to access it?

13:40 Rick Yes. So you can have synced copies of your folders from one, from Drive on here.

13:45 Chloe Oh wow.

13:46 Rick So that even offline you'll be able to work on stuff and when you sign back in -. So you sign in with the browser. Which should be already signed in as you yeah, you know, this one?

13:57 Chloe Yep. Yep.

13:58 Rick Er, yes, you do this. Right, nice one. Which means -. So… Right, so let's have a quick look down the left-hand side.

14:24 Chloe Google Drive, up there. (shock)

14:25 Rick Have we?

14:26 Chloe Yeah.

14:27 Rick Okay, hang on, Google Drive.

14:29 Chloe Woowwww.

14:31 Rick Okay?

14:32 Chloe Oh my goodness.

14:35 Rick Okay, so the other thing is, so you know it goes to Documents most of the time?

14:41 Chloe Yep.

14:42 Rick So, if we wanted to, if we go to your Drive, click here. Hang on. No, create shortcut. Yep. Put it on the desktop, right. And now…

14:58 Chloe Oh my god.

15:01 Rick My Drive. Here we go. What we do is we drag this down into your Documents folder. Oh god. Okay, so that moves to Documents which means that when you, when a program opens Documents first -.

15:23 Chloe Yeah, there.

15:24 Rick There. Your My Drive shortcut which means if you come here, you would immediately be able to see the My Drive. If it goes to Documents but, to be honest, it will also have that up on the left-hand side, so when you go to quick access at any time you'll be able to go to your Google Drive. And what you can do is you can just put My Drive in there as well to make it shorter.

15:46 Chloe Wow.

15:48 Rick So that's just straight there, okay? (laughter)

15:52 Chloe Yep. That is -.

15:53 Rick So, so now on top of this, what we should be looking at is some of the other options. So this, see where it says using 1.1 of your 30GB?

16:07 Chloe Yeah.

16:08 Rick You're only using 1.1 but you can chuck some more in there. Now, in your preferences in here, you've got other things that you can do, right. So what you can now do is you choose to add folders from your computer, right, to back up as part of it. So if you want all your current documents to be now on your Google Drive as part of your Google Drive, then you can say yep, can you do that? Or/and my Desktop, for example.

16:36 Chloe So I don't have to actually, like, manually move it all?

16:42 Rick No, no, you don't have to move it anywhere. It will then just keep the synchronised copy of that in the Cloud in your Google Drive, right.

16:50 Chloe That is crazy.

16:52 Rick So… If you want I can select that folder?

16:57 Chloe Mmhm.

16:58 Rick So that will back up documents, sync with Google Drive, backup to Google Photos. No, don't need that because it's not a photo one. Done.

17:09 Rick Right, so now it will tell you in here, basically, what it's going to be doing. Right, so that will start, now My Drive syncing options -. Store all My Drive files in the Cloud and access them from (inaudible). Yeah, I would do 'Stream Files' not 'Mirror'.

17:30 Rick So, when you need to, you can right-click on the folder and choose to have it available offline and that's just the Cloud ones, not your my Documents. Your my Documents are going to sync as normal.

17:40 Chloe Right, okay.

17:41 Rick Alright. (little laugh) So I think that's it now. All set.

17:46 Chloe (laughter) I can't believe that. What an idiot I am.

17:53 Rick So what we will now see, I think, here is when we hover over this -. So now it's uploading, basically, stuff from your documents directory.

18:06 Chloe Wow. Okay, so if I, if I'm going through, say like in a couple of months time, there's stuff that I just realise I don't need anymore and I go to delete it…

18:18 Rick Yep.

18:19 Chloe Do I delete it from this Documents section or do I delete it from -. And that will automatically do that for the Cloud as well?

18:28 Rick Yes.

18:29 Chloe Oh my god.

18:30 Rick But if you then decide you want it back, you can go to the Cloud and go back a couple of months and say "Can I have that file that I deleted from -."

18:36 Chloe Oh really?!

18:39 Rick They will keep it to a certain level to, so that -. What they don't want to do is run out of space. I mean, I was just looking and you're paying, I think, £4 or £5 a month at the moment, and then the business level is, like, 8 quid a month.

18:52 Chloe Yeah.

18:53 Rick So, really, and that gives you 2 TB of storage. So if you wanted to, if you wanted to and have backup of everything I would switch up to that and then add all the folders and then not worry about it. Let it just sit there and get it all in the Cloud.

19:08 Chloe Oh my god (laughter). I think this is been one of the most eye-opening sessions we've had and, for you, it's probably something so simple.

19:16 Rick Well, no, this is the nice thing about, basically, talking about the things that are problems for you, because if they're a problem for you, then that's normal for a lot of people that there are issues when it comes to backup, knowing where files are, what you should be doing with them, you know, all that kind of stuff and yeah, I'm glad I can help.

19:36 Chloe Honestly, that is, yeah. I mean, you have helped me out a lot (laughter).

19:41 Rick There you go, there's a little bit of thought for the week. There's backup, what kind of backup are you talking? Are you taking advantage of stuff that's already available to you? You know, this is, again, the thing, you know, people don't know what they've already been given access to half the time.

19:56 Chloe I know. Especially if you're like me! (laughter) So, oh my god (laughter) Well, thank you very much! I'm just glad I'm a bit more secure with my, well I will be once I've sorted it all out!

20:08 Rick Yeah, get some of those files backed up!

20:10 Chloe My god, revolutionary (laughter).

20:13 Rick Nice.