Back Up Your Google Drive Files with Rclone

Trust, but always make backups.

Google Drive is one of my favorite apps for storing and editing documents and spreadsheets. If don’t currently use Google Drive in place of Microsoft Office, I would recommend checking it out!

That said, while it’s a useful tool, your files are being stored on somebody else’s computer, which means that if your Google account should get hacked or suspended, you will lose access to your files. Not good.

In this post, I will show you how to back up the contents of your Google Drive onto your filesystem. You will need a medium level of knowledge and some experience with the command line for this.

Installing and Configuring Rclone

First, start by downloading Rclone. Rclone is a command line app for managing, copying, and syncing files across over 40 different cloud providers. In addition to Google Drive, it has support for Dropbox, AWS S3, Microsoft OneDrive, and a whole list of cloud providers that I’ve never even heard of!

Once you have Rclone downloaded, start up its configuration wizard by typing:

rclone config
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The Importance of Having More Than One Backup

Many years ago, I wanted to make sure my data was secure, so I purchased a fireproof media safe from a (now defunct) company called FireCooler. I thought it would be a good idea to have a UL 125-rated safe which could keep an internal temperature of less than 125 degrees over an hour long fire. I regularly made backups to DVD and stored them in the safe.

Well, sometimes the best laid plans can go awry, and that was the case the other day when I went to put something in my safe, and found that it was flooded with water:

IMG_3372 IMG_3374

How did this happen? Did something in the safe suck in tons of moisture? Did the basement somehow flood and not cause water damage elsewhere? To this day, I am still not sure. I did not see any evidence of flooding in my storage area–nothing else was damaged.

Before I switched over to WordPress, one person pointed out that the safe my have been insulted with “water glass”, specifically from US Patent US7459190:

Outer wall composed of water glass sodium silicate solution that is 40% solids, 60% water, and having a silicon oxide:sodium oxide ratio in the range of 2:1 to 4:1, calcium chloride, and an additive chosen from calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide […] After curing, water released from the solidified insulation can migrate to and leak from pinhole defects which sometimes occur in the plastic shell.

Patent US7459190

So that’s a possibility, but I am not a chemist, so proving such a thing would be beyond me.

The takeaway here is that I had backups stored elsewhere so no actual data was lost. I recommend that everyone reading this, if they care about their data, to do the exact same thing. Here are a few resources for backups:

Happy Backups!