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Sync Folders with Google Drive

As of January 2015, Google Apps for Education users have unlimited Gmail and Google Drive storage. This allows you to do things like sync your entire documents folders so that you can access your files from anywhere and your files will always be protected from a computer or hard drive failure. The following steps show you how to setup Google Drive, copy some files to it, and sync your entire My Documents folder under Windows 7.


Download and Install Google Drive

Google Drive is available after you login to your e-mail account. You can always access your Google Drive files from your web browser. You can also install the Google Drive app to your tablet or smartphone to access your files from anywhere.

  1. Once you login to your e-mail, click the Google menu button to access your other Google Apps
  2. Click the Google Drive link to open the Google Drive web interface
  3. Google is transitioning Google Drive over to a new interface. As of January 23, 2015, both interfaces are available. Depending on which one you get, the steps to download Google Drive may be different.
  4. If you get the old interface, the link to install Google Drive will be at the bottom of the left menu
  5. If you want to try the new interface, click the gear icon at the top right and choose Experience the new Drive
  6. If you are in the new interface, the link to download Google Drive is now under the gear menu
  7. Choose Download Drive and then select Mac and PC
  8. Accept the terms of service
  9. Save the file
  10. Once the download finishes, choose the Downloads button and double click the installer
  11. Choose Run from the open file dialog
  12. Login to your Google account. Use your full e-mail address and password
  13. We use Google Single Sign On (SSO), so you have to login again just to verify that it is actually you.
  14. Google Drive will now finish the installation and setup a new icon and folder on your computer.
  15. If you open up a file folder, you'll see a new Google Drive location in Favorites

Copy Some Files to Google Drive

Now that we have the Google Drive program installed, we'll sync some files from our computer to Google Drive.

  1. I am using some presentation files from the state as an example. I have copied the files to my Google Drive folder.
  2. The two blue arrows on the folder icon signify that the files have not synced yet to Google Drive. Depending on how many files and folders you add, it could take some time to fully sync. If you shut your computer down before the sync finishes, it will just continue where it left off the next time it is on and connected to the Internet.
  3. You can click the arrow at the bottom right of your Windows taskbar and then hover your mouse over the Google Drive icon to see the sync status. In this screenshot, it has sinced 45 out of 414 items so far.
  4. Once the sync has finished, the folder icons will change to a green check. This means your files are now synced to the Google Drive cloud and available from anywhere.
  5. If you now login to Google Drive from your web browser, you'll see all the folders and files we just synced. Click the list icon to show the items in a list versus the default grid pattern.
  6. Your files are all now available from any web browser or Google Drive program or app!

Sync All Your Documents to Google Drive

The real power with Google Drive comes when you setup your computer to automatically sync all your documents to Google Drive. When you have this setup correctly, you do not have to worry about saving to a particular folder, you just save to your default My Documents folder and Google Drive syncs the files automatically as long as you are connected to the Internet. If you are offline, the files will sync the next time you are connected.

  1. You first need to create a folder in your Google Drive for your My Documents folders and files. Just open your Google Drive folder, select New Folder, and name it My Documents.
  2. Now, click on Libraries over in the folder menu.
  3. Expand the Documents and My Documents folders. You can see all the folders I have in my folder. When we are finished, all these folders will appear in Google Drive.
  4. Right-click on My Documents under Libraries-Documents and choose Properties.
  5. Click on the Location tab.
  6. You should see the default Windows location for your My Documents. It is usually something like C:\Users\(computer_login)\Documents.
  7. Click the Move button.
  8. From the dialog box, click your Google Drive folder under Favorites and select the My Documents folder you created in step 1.
  9. Now click Select Folder.
  10. The location box should now show the My Documents folder under Google Drive.
  11. When you click OK, you'll be asked if you want to move your existing files to the new location. Select Yes.
  12. A copy files window will come up while Windows moves all your files to the new location. Make sure you let it finish.
  13. Once it finishes, you can open your Google Drive folder. You'll see the double blue arrows indicating that Google Drive has not yet synced all the files from that folder. Depending on how many files you have and how large they are, the syncing process could take hours or even days in some cases.
  14. I will create a new document in Microsoft Word now and save it to the default location and see if it syncs.
  15. You can see I am just saving to the default location that comes up in Windows when you save a file. I am naming my new file "Test Document.docx"
  16. If I open my Google Drive folder now, I see the test document in there. The green check mark indicates it has fully synced to Google Drive.
  17. If I login to the web interface of Google Drive, my document shows up there now too.

Sync Other Special Folders (Music, Pictures, and Videos)

There are three other special folders by default in Windows 7: Music, Pictures, and Videos. You can also setup these folders to sync automatically to Google Drive. To do this, follow the steps above, except substitute the appropriate folder anywhere you see My Documents. To do all your pictures for example, create a new folder in your Google Drive called "My Pictures", expand Libraries-Pictures, right-click on My Pictures, choose Properties, select Location and Move just like you did in the previous article.

google/drive_sync.txt · Last modified: 2015/01/23 11:31 by jlester