Backups are one of those things we all know we should do, but never get around to.
Only when our laptop is stolen or disk crashes do we regret not having made the backup. All our precious files and photos are gone forever.
Google Drive storage
Google storage and Syncdocs make it easy, quick and cost-effective to backup your data to the cloud.
Google has distributed, fast data centers around the globe. This makes Google storage a safe, reliable place to backup your data. You can easily access your files via the web and on most mobile phones.
So for less than $4 a month Google and Syncdocs give you 100GB online backup capability.
Go back in time
Syncdocs also stores previous versions of your files on Google, so you can easily go back to an earlier version.
Sync vs Backup
By default Syncdocs syncs your PC to Google and every other linked PC. This means that the Syncdocs folder on all your PCs and Google Drive are the same.
Backup is typically a one directional copy from your PC to Google.
How to setup Syncdocs to Backup Google Drive
This guide will walk you through the steps needed to backup your PC to Google Drive.
1. Select the “preferences” menu item in Syncdocs
Right click on the Syncdocs task bar (system tray) icon:
2. Select “Advanced Options”
You may not need this step if you are already seeing advanced options.
3. Un-check the options indicated below
Your files will now be backed up to Google Docs.
Whenever you make a change these changes will be synced.
You’re done. Simple as that!
Restoring your backed up files from Google Drive
Backups are pretty useless unless you can restore them. Here’s how to restore:
1. If you’ve only lost a few select files
Go to Google Drive on the web and save (download) from the web interface.
If you have a many list of files online, use the directory tree or the search box to find the file by name.
2. Restoring multiple folders
Check the “Download Google files to this PC” option in the preferences screen shown above. Click on “select” above and choose the folders to restore.
If these folders still exist locally and you want an exact copy of Google Drive to overwrite them, then delete them locally first.
3. Restoring everything on the same PC
Check the “Download Google files to this PC” option above. Then just Start the Sync.
If the data still exist locally and you want an exact copy of Google docs, then wipe it locally first.
4. Restoring everything on a new PC
Just install Syncdocs on it. The default settings will copy everything back as a sync.
5. Restoring a particular version
Click on the file in Google Drive then from the list of versions select the one with the date and time you want.
More Backup Options
Optional: Do not convert files to Google Docs format
If you are just backing up to Google Docs, then you probably wish to preserve the original document formatting, so don’t convert to Google Docs.
Optional: Back up once a day
Normally Syncdocs backs up changes to your files when you save them. You can also set a scheduled backup.
Syncdocs lets you back up changed files once a day to Google. Check the option below and select the time you want to backup to start.
Note that your PC needs to be turned on at the backup time, and Syncdocs needs to be running in the taskbar.
Limitations of Syncdocs Backup
Syncdocs is designed to back up data files, but not your operating system.
Syncdocs cannot backup entire volumes, so you can’t use it to backup your entire C: drive or ‘Windows’ directory. For this you need a drive imaging tool like Acronis True Image or Symantec Ghost.
Syncdocs also currently cannot backup locked files. These are typically Windows registry files, active Outlook PST files or in-use Microsoft SQL databases.
Please let us know what you think.
Update: there’s now an easier way to do this – see this post
Syncdocs works fine in parallel along with Dropbox. You can sync to both Google Drive and Dropbox simultaneously.
There are various reasons one might want to sync to Google Drive and Dropbox at the same time. The main reason is to get your Dropbox files synced with Google Docs and Drive. This means you can easily edit Dropbox files online and share them to anyone.
Another reason is Dropbox has better Mac/Linux support than Syncdocs, so you can use Syncdocs and Dropbox together to sync files from your Mac and PC to Google Drive. You might also want to sync to multiple cloud servers for redundancy. Syncdocs uses Google Storage to store your data and Dropbox uses Amazon S3.
Both Syncdocs and Dropbox use folder-based sync. You can setup either inside the other:
or just point the Syncdocs data folder to the same folder as you use for Dropbox data
Syncdocs asks you what folder you want to use during setup.If you want to change this folder after installation, right click on the Syncdocs taskbar icon, select ‘Preferences’ and then change the folder.
Administrative Users on Windows 7/Vista
On Windows 7 and Vista, Dropbox runs with Administrator privileges by default, while Syncdocs does not. So if both programs point to the same folders, you will need to run Syncdocs as Administrator, too. This is to give Syncdocs permission to see changes made by Dropbox.
You can run a Syncdocs as Administrator by right clicking on the desktop icon or Syncdocs.exe file and selecting “Run as Administrator”. There is also a shortcut in the Start menu to run Syncdocs as Admin.
Syncdocs will still sync if not run as Administrator, but will not detect new files or file renames created by Dropbox, so for full operation, run both as Administrator.
From 1 September Syncdocs is out of beta.
The new features and enhancements we’ve added in the last few months make the latest release a great solution for syncing and accessing the cloud from your desktop.
From today, new users can sync up to 250 files for free. Registering for only $9.95 gives unlimited quota and access to more features. This special price of 9.95 is a 50% off Introductory special.
The quota limit can also be increased to up to 10,000 by inviting friends to try Syncdocs.
Beta users have unlimited quota until 30 September. If they have not registered Syncdocs by then, Syncdocs reverts to the limited free version.
See the licensing FAQ for full details.
Get a little more organized?
Google tasks is a nifty little to-do list manager. Its a Google app that can help you get a little more organized.
Use it to create task lists and manage small projects.
The great thing is that you can view your task list on most devices:
https://mail.google.com/tasks/android – Android version
https://mail.google.com/tasks/iphone – iPhone version
https://mail.google.com/tasks/m – mobile version
You can also see tasks in your Google calendar app or Gmail sidebar.
Now you can create tasks right from Syncdocs too.
Often it is great to take your data around with you. You might not want to download your Google Drive to each PC you work on.
Or you might want to access your Google Docs or Google Drive files offline.
Syncdocs runs fine from a USB flash drive (memory stick). All your settings, data and files live on the flash drive. This means that you can carry your complete Google Drive around with you and sync it from any PC you want.
Here’s how to get it working
- Download latest the portable version here
- Run SyncdocsPortableInstaller.exe , and select the extract location to your USB memory stick.
- Run it SyncdocsPortable.cmd (this tells Syncdocs to run in portable mode)
- If it’s the first time you’ve run – you’ll see the normal setup screen asking you for your password
- Enjoy syncing – files and settings data is stored on the memory stick
Unplug – take your files and settings with you
- Plug in to another machine, just run SyncdocsPortable.cmd or Syncdocs.exe.
- For portable use, it is better to use OAuth (give Syncdocs permission to access your Google Drive account)
However you can still use a password in Syncdocs. Syncdocs may ask you to enter a password, as this is not stored on the USB stick.
- Enjoy syncing off the USB stick.
The portable version of Syncdocs stores all your files in its own folder (“My Google Documents”) on the USB stick. This is so that it can be plugged into multiple PCs with different drive letters. If you wish to set the data folder location, then run the non-portable Syncdocs.
The portable 64bit version of Syncdocs is a separate download.
Changing the default storage location
By default the Syncdocs portable version uses the USB drive folder it runs from as its default data storage location. This means that you can take your data and the program with you on the USB disk.
You can override this and store your data elsewhere by running the PortableOwnSyncFolder.cmd shortcut.
We recommend using OAuth with Syncdocs rather than entering a password. This is safer as Syncdocs never sees your password – rather you tell Google to give Syncdocs access to your files. However, we don’t force this option.
Syncdocs does not store your Google Docs password on the memory stick. It stores it in the secure Windows password vault on the PC. To tell Syncdocs to wipe your password from the PC when you’re done, run this version: PortableWipeVault.cmd
Note that the extra security means extra hassle – you’ll have to re-enter your password each time.
Updated version notes
The new version 4.x requires the -portable in its command line. Previously whether the version was portable or not was stored on the PC, but in order to save no settings on the PC, we removed this.
Running ‘SyncdocsPortable.cmd” will set this up automatically.
Google Docs lets you edit most Office format documents. A less well known feature is that it can view, but not edit, even more file formats.
Syncdocs interfaces with this Google Docs viewer. Use Syncdocs as a viewer to view files on your computer.
To View a file:
Simply right click on a file.
Select “View in Google Docs”
Syncdocs opens the file in a browser window. If the file is not already online, it will take a few seconds to upload it to Google first.
Here, the example .zip file is opened and the files inside the .zip file are shown:
What sort of files can I view?
Supported file formats for viewing:
- Office 2007/2010 Word, Excel and Powerpoint .docx, .xlsx, pptx
- Office 95-2003 Word, Excel and Powerpoint .doc, xls, ppt, pps
- Open/Libre Office/Open Document Writer and Calc .odt, ods
- Apple pages.
- Adobe portable document format .pdf
- postscript: .ps, .eps
- Microsoft .xps
- most bitmap image formats: .jpg, .bmp, .jpeg, .png
- vector images: .ai, .dxf, .svg, .mwf
- fonts: .ttf
- many video formats .flv, .avi, .mpeg
- .zip, .rar – you can view the contents of files inside these archives, too
What are the advantages of viewing files online?
For one, you are protected from viruses and malware that can lurk in Microsoft Office and .pdf documents. The files are safely opened on the Google server, not on your PC.
Secondly, once you’ve viewed the file online, it is accessible from many devices. You can view it on your phone or easily share it with others.
Thirdly, Google Docs has an easy photo album capability. Just click on the “Images & videos” menu to get it. You can use this to organize and view your photos and images.
We’re often asked how to automate tasks with Syncdocs. Using the command line with Syncdocs, you get more control over your Google Docs account.
- create a batch file to backup for a specific user
- call Syncdocs from another program to upload a file or folder
- share a folder with others
- view a local file in Google Docs viewer
- control Google Docs via a script
- automate deployment
Syncdocs is controlled via the command line with these options:
Command line options
Automatic Deployment and Account pre-configuration
For administrators who want to deploy and pre-configure Google Drive to their users, there’s an automated deployment guide. This describes command line options useful for deployment like:
-syncfolder -oauth -user -password -iacceptterms
Run once only
If you wish to run Syncdocs only once, for backup purposes, say once a day, you can add an item to the Windows scheduler.
The Syncdocs command line option to run once is –OnlyRunSyncOnce
This option is not case sensitive.
Standard shell error reporting is supported, exit code 0 means no problems, 1 a serious error.
Specifying another user
You can specify another user for Syncdocs with the –u or –user option.
The syntax is:
syncdocs.exe –u email@example.com
This will start Syncdocs with this user’s Syncdocs credentials and settings, the same as switching users in the Preferences menu.
If the user specified does not exist, then Syncdocs will ask the user for their details. If Syncdocs is already running, accounts will not be switched.
This can be useful for deployment.
If you use multiple accounts, you can create desktop shortcuts for each account using this command line.
Live command line options
The options below work fastest when Syncdocs is already running and synced. If Syncdocs is not running, it will take a few (5-60) seconds to log in first, before processing your command.
Creating new files
To create a new document on Google Docs:
syncdocs.exe create doc
In general the syntax is:
syncdocs.exe create [doc|sheet|presentation|email|calendar]
to create the new type you wish in a web browser on Google Docs.
Uploading existing files
To upload an existing file (of any type) from your PC to Google Docs:
syncdocs.exe upload “C:\path\filename.ext”
If exactly the same file (based on contents, file name and time) is already on Google Docs, then the file is not uploaded again. If the file is uploaded, it is uploaded to the “Direct Uploads” collection on Google.
To view a file
Similar to uploading a file, to view a file in Google Docs using the default web browser:
syncdocs.exe view “C:\path\filename.ext”
Google supports viewing:
- Office 2007/2010 .docx, .xlsx, pptx
- Office 95-2003 .doc, xls, ppt, pps
- Open/Libre Office/Open Document Format .odt, ods
- Apple pages.
- .pdf, .xps
- most image formats: .jpg, .bmp, .png
- vector images: .ai, .dxf, .svg
- postscript: .ps, .eps
- fonts: .ttf
- archives: .zip, .rar
see here for a full list
If exactly the same file is already on Google Docs, then the online version is used. If the file is uploaded, it is uploaded to the “Direct Uploads” collection on Google.
To open a file for editing
Similar to viewing a file, you can open a file for editing, if the file format can be edited and your current settings allow conversion to Google Docs.
syncdocs.exe open “C:\path\filename.docx”
Only formats supported for editing will be opened (most MS Office and Open files and text files, see Conversion section of FAQ for more).
If the file cannot be opened, it will be opened for viewing.
Similar to uploading a file, to share a file in Google Docs
syncdocs.exe share “C:\path\filename.ext”
If exactly the same file is already on Google Docs, then the online version is used. If the file is uploaded, it is uploaded to the “Public Share” or “Direct Uploads” collection on Google, depending on whether it is shared publically, or just to specific users and groups.
You can share entire folder trees in the same way:
syncdocs.exe share “C:\path\folder\”
Note the trailing slash “folder\”. Syncdocs will upload the whole folder tree on the next sync, if it is not already on Google.
You can easily use Syncdocs to sync your Google Docs to and from your PC. Syncdocs and Google Docs are both secure.
However, if you share a Google account with others, and want to keep your own cloud data private, take a look at Secret Sync. It encrypts all you data locally so that your data is completely private, accessible only to you on your local PC. Syncdocs still syncs all your data to Google Docs, but the chosen Secret Sync folders are encrypted on Google Docs and Apps.
We’ve posted a step-by-step guide to file and folder sharing here.