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Posted on September 23rd, 2013 by Darien Graham-Smith

Driven to despair by Google Drive

Google Drive

Last month I wrote a disappointed blog post about how Google seems to be losing sight of the user focus that once made it great. Over the weekend I experienced another example of this.

First, a bit of background. I love Dropbox. Everybody loves Dropbox. But over the years I’ve found its free space allowance a bit of a squeeze. I’ve tried SkyDrive as an alternative, but I don’t like the online interface. I’ve tried Barracuda Networks’ Copy service, which certainly gives you plenty of space – but it hasn’t proved wholly reliable when it comes to syncing file A to computer B.

So last week, when Google announced that anyone setting up Quickoffice before 26 September would get an extra 10GB of storage for the next two years, I decided to switch to Google Drive as my everyday tool for keeping my work PC, home PC and laptop in sync.

Big mistake. Huge.

Copies, copies everywhere

In fairness, I probably didn’t set up Google Drive in the expected way. Since I already had copies of my data on all three computers, I figured I could save myself a day of syncing by installing the Google Drive client on each of them, then copying the files directly into each one’s Google Drive folder.

This didn’t have the time-saving effect I’d hoped. Instead, it apparently prompted Google Drive to try to send a copy of every file to every computer. When I checked my Google Drive folder the next day I found it full of second and third copies of files, with “(1)” and “(2)” suffixes.

This was a pain, not least because uploading everything in triplicate had maxed out my Google Drive account – a bad situation to be in, since Google shares your online storage quota across its various services. When I checked my Gmail, I saw an ominous warning advising that if I didn’t clear out some space (or buy some more), I’d no longer be able to send and receive email. So this wasn’t a situation I could ignore.

Well, I thought, there’s a simple way round this. On my desktop PC, I spent a few minutes clearing out the unwanted duplicates from my Google Drive folder; then I made a complete backup copy of the folder on my hard disk, went into the Google Drive web interface, sent everything to the trash and hit Empty Bin. Bam: day zero.

Finally, with my space freed up, I copied my files back into the Google Drive folder, sat back and waited – like I probably should have done in the first place – for the syncing engine to do its thing.

Even though I thought I had backups of all my files, I’ve managed to permanently lose dozens of documents

It was a simple solution, but not, it turns out, a wholly effective one. All my local files are now safely up in the cloud, including all the .gdoc and .gsheet files that represent my Google Documents and Spreadsheets. Unfortunately, on trying to open them I’ve discovered that these files don’t contain any actual data. They’re merely links to cloud-based originals. Originals which were purged, along with everything else, on day zero. With no possibility of recovery.

So here I am. Even though I thought I had backups of all my files, I’ve managed to permanently lose dozens of documents, including personal projects I’d been working on for more than a year.

In fairness, when you empty the bin, an alert does pop up advising you that “Google Docs [...] are links to files stored online”. Naively, I took this to mean that deleting these files would not remove the online Docs, like deleting a shortcut to a website. I don’t know, maybe that’s my own mistake. See what you think:

Delete confirmation requester

The sad lesson

Regardless of Google’s phrasing, ultimately I’ve no one to blame but myself. I entrusted the safety of my data to a free, third-party service, and under pressure I hit the delete button without properly understanding the ramifications.

All the same, I can’t help but feel let down. If I was complacent about my data, it was only because years of experience with Google services had taught me to implicitly trust them to do the right thing. In the event here’s what I actually took away from my Google Drive experience:

• Syncing doesn’t work, at least not in a sane way. I’ve never seen Dropbox, SkyDrive or Copy go spawning duplicates all over the shop when a file is found to exist on two PCs.

• Delete means delete; unlike in other syncing services, deleted files in Drive are gone for good. Yes, a recycle-type bin is provided, but since its contents count towards your quota, in a situation like mine you have little option but to empty it. Your best bet for mitigating the risk of losing something important is to back up your files locally, but even if you have such a system in place…

• Your online documents aren’t backed up anywhere. With the standard Drive / Docs setup, if you accidentally delete the wrong online file, your backups won’t help you. It is technically possible to make Google Docs available offline, and to back them up yourself; but that process isn’t automatic, it’s certainly not well exposed within the interface, and it relies on the Chrome Drive app – so the estimated 80-odd percent of the world that uses a different browser needn’t apply.

In all, I have to say my Google Drive experience has been a dead loss. Far from solving my problems, it’s led to me losing countless hours of work. Once again, I must remind myself that the Google brand doesn’t automatically promise a high-quality, user-centric product. Maybe it did once, but it doesn’t now.

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69 Responses to “ Driven to despair by Google Drive ”

  1. Paul Bradley Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I signed up for QuickOffice and the extra 10Gb, and got a different but equally frustrating problem. When I try to open files in my Google Drive from QuickOffice I eventually get the message ‘Folder could not be found’ on two separate Android devices (HTC Desire Z and Asus Fonepad).
    Seems like they have released a beta without actually calling it such, very unusual for Google…

  2. Philip King Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I bit the bullet and started paying for Dropbox monthly. I’ve not looked back. The unlimited number of file rollbacks is worth the entry price alone.

    Is there any way you could recover your files from your hard drives? Maybe they’d have older copies available from before the Google Drive switch?

    I have to say I worry that services like Dropbox do tend to make me too complacent about backup. I tend to just sit back and think “It’s in the cloud, what could go wrong…?”

  3. Chris Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    “Doesn’t keep local copies”. I suppose you’d assume that if you weren’t curious like me, but Drive is very new to this game and wasn’t initially a file-sharing service, so I’d say it makes sense to kick the tyres before trying what this blog post talks about.

    I’ve pretty much given up on Drive for everyday use, Dropbox is the way to go. But I live in hope that Google may see the light and open up Drive APIs to third-parties, so that innovation starts to happen. It’s surprising you can’t even tweet links from the interface or any of the cool stuff third-parties provide from Dropbox. It’s all being used to promote Google+, which, with the best will in the world, nobody I know uses.

  4. don't blame Google Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Wow your bitching about Google when clearly it was all your fault. That warning clearly states you’ll lose Everything.
    Yes Google’s synching might not be the best, yes they could have a 30 day file recovery like dropbox but end of the day it’s a free service. Live with its quirks. If your paying for it then it’s a different matter.

  5. Andy Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Google do have a bin where all files deleted are kept.

  6. Paul B Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Another alternative to Dropbox, which I’ve found to be quite good, is SugarSync. It has advantages over dropbox including the ability to choose your own sync folders and a 5GB free limit. The only drawbacks are that if you go near your limit a pop-up will appear nagging you to upgrade your allowance.

    Apart from that it’s worked great syncing files between a PC and a Mac, and the copy files first to save on syncing later method (as outlined in the article) worked for me with this software without creating duplicates.

  7. mr_chips Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I don’t fully tust in Cloud services for this very reason. Even if you are careful about what you upload you still aren’t in full control of the data. If there is a service outage or the company gets raided because of another user’s account on the same server, or they go bust chances are you lose the lot. Isn’t it still far simpler to carry a copy of these documents on an 8GB thumb drive? I think so.

  8. Rob Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Funny that a journalist at a PC magazine doesn’t make backup copies of his projects before experimenting…..

  9. Roger J Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I with Philip King on this one. I was an early adopter of Dropbox and am reluctant to tamper with what works for me.

  10. AdamD6 Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Agree that Sugarsync is a great alternative. I like the way it backs up existing folders – no need to move files – I’m surprised it’s not closer competition to Dropbox

  11. Bob G Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    I have no faith in cloud services. Dropbox seems to be the best, but it is too expensive for my ~2TB of data. I found a product on Kickstarter called Transporter from the folks that did Drobo and have never looked back. I purchased two each with 2TB drives for a bit more than Dropbox would charge me every year for 500GB of space not to mention I have full privacy and control of my data (sorry NSA).


  12. Chatan Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I’ve been using Google Drive for a few months now, and whilst I’ve generally found it pretty good it is very limited. Two issues I’ve found:
    1. It doesn’t support authenticated proxy servers (on Mac anyway). So it can’t sync when I’m at work. Real pain!
    2. It doesn’t have bandwidth throttling. Google Drive will take up ALL my bandwidth at home (about 8MB) if it has lots of data to upload – which I do as I decided to put my photo’s in there.

    I’ve also tried:
    - Sugarsync, which I still pay for,
    - Dropbox but a bit limited
    - Box – but no auth proxy support. Really!? For a business product!?

    All much of a muchness to be honest

  13. Steven Dale Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    One thing to clear up – Dropbox has selective sync so you can choose to sync different folders on different devices but have all your files in the Cloud still. That’s what I do with work and home computers and it works fine for me. Secondly, I never trust everything to just one Cloud service – I use Google Drive (paid), Dropbox (paid) and local storage, including a backup drive and DVD’s – call me paranoid but at least I will have a copy somewhere if disaster strikes.

  14. Chris Lewis Says:
    September 23rd, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I have found Google Drive to be an absolute pain. It popped up when I chose to send large files as attachments and it was the first I’d heard of it. Because I was using a gmail account, it offered this solution, and I thought Google ‘why not’. I cannot believe that four 5-10 minute videos, took a week and a half to upload. Absolutely ridiculous. I can plainly see that the ambiguity of their interface could have caused you such grief. I think they should have spent another year developing it before its release. It’s pathetic.

  15. AnonnyMuss Says:
    September 24th, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Your comment re: SkyDrive and not liking the web interface – you should almost never need to see the web interface. You’ve got apps for all major platforms, you can install the sync client into Windows 7/8 and Windows 8.1 comes with native skydrive integration.

    I’m sure there’s even a Skydrive client for Mac.

  16. Bill Maslen Says:
    September 24th, 2013 at 10:51 am

    To be honest, I am perfectly astonished you didn’t back up your local Google Drive files before conducting such a broad experiment. I’m lucky enough to have a large Dropbox account (thanks to Samsung), and use Dropbox extensively for all sorts of less important stuff. But the whole lot gets backed up to an external HDD, just like all my other documents and all my other Cloud account folders, e.g. my files in iCloud and the files in my business-specific Soonr account (kind of like Dropbox but with knobs on). No cloud supplier is worth entrusting with your most precious data – especially not with projects you’ve been working on for extensive periods of time.

  17. BrownieBoy Says:
    September 25th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Simply unbelievable.

    So, the author signs up for a syncing service and then proceeds to manually copy his files everywhere, rather than waiting for them to, you know, sync. What could possibly go wrong with that?

    Copies everywhere? No excrement, Mr Holmes!

    And this guy writes in a serious computer magazine? He should not be allowed another column until his he’s had a severe whack around the head with the clue stick.

  18. Duncan Smart Says:
    September 25th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    TL;DR – the author is an idiot

  19. mick Says:
    September 25th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Very sad, but before you do something like this again, pack up your computer/tablet/iPhone and send it back.

    Leave computing to the professionals.

    A clue for the clueless – keep multiple backups in multiple locations. Ensure there are at least 3 generations so that even if a backup fails and corrupts nothing is lost. Also check your backups are recoverable, but be careful, in case you ovewrite the orginal.

    As for critical, non-recoverable data, well take even more precautions.

    What do they teach in the educational establisments these days?

    Funniest thing I’ve read in ages.

  20. David Says:
    September 26th, 2013 at 12:01 am

    I’m a little more sympathetic than some of the others who’ve commented. But, interestingly, I’ve done the exact opposite.
    I found DropBox very unintuitive. Mainly because others would share DropBox folders with me and I very quickly went over my limit and couldn’t use it. Then, when I went to clear it, it was hard to figure out what happened with shared folders. In the end I scrapped DropBox and moved to Drive, which works well for me. Everything on it is backed up by Apple Time Machine as well as regular bootable duplicates of each of my drives.
    A general observation I’d make of all these cloud-based storage systems is this: they make them very easy to use in a simple non-critical way, but they all have traps like this when things get a bit more complicated. So it’s important to sit down and read their documentation so you really understand what goes where.

  21. Matt Says:
    September 26th, 2013 at 7:18 am

    If you love DropBox, it works and does what you want, don’t be so tight? Just upgrade to a paid service with more space. What’s the point getting frustrated for the sake of $9.99/m?

  22. DaveyK Says:
    September 26th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    You’re aware that he DID take a backup yes? The problem is that GoogleDrive only places a link to your Google Docs files in Google Drive (so making a full backup only gives you the links), yet if you empty your Google Drive, it’ll follow those links and will delete the cloud-stored files as well. Hence unless you make your Google Docs available offline then store them on Google Drive, there’s no way to back them up and yet an easy way to purge them all.

    Some blame should be taken by the author, but way Google Drive/docs handles these files is clearly not ideal from a data integrity point of view.

    And Google Drive being unable to compare the hashes of two files and determine they’re the same (and don’t both need syncing back and forth to give you two copies) is also a weakness.

  23. Stuart Says:
    September 26th, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    If a Google drive solution is what your looking for and need to keep physical files on your local drive (not just links) try insync at I have it to be flawless with excellent support.

  24. Jo Says:
    September 28th, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I cannot agree more, in pursuit of a consistent front end across all apps everything is getting a degraded user experience. Googole maps on android is so much less usable than it was 6 months ago. I simply dont trust google to do its best for the user any more.

  25. isofa Says:
    October 4th, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    “Delete forever”, “Permanently deleted…” “You cannot undo this action” Not sure how much clearer the dialog could be…

  26. Doom Says:
    October 7th, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Oh how I miss Live Mesh. It really was the bee’s knees.

  27. Simon Humby Says:
    October 7th, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Much sympathy – some may criticise but I say that we all make mistakes and your article is an example of 1st class journalism in that it will help others to avoid the same situation
    I owe you a pint

  28. SteveG Says:
    October 7th, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I also love Dropbox, but just yesterday I started trying Bit Torrent Sync. and so far I am very impressed. I actually did exactly the same as you – loaded a large folder (9GB) onto two machines to save upload/sync times, and it worked perfectly! I suspect that I might not be renewing my Dropbox paid for account…

  29. aa111 Says:
    October 7th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I’m much more sympathetic with Darien than some others commenters. Obviously he should have been more careful and made some mistakes, but who doesn’t.

    I don’t use Google Docs myself, so I was really surprised to read that .gdocs synced to your local machine are just shortcuts. I can see how this could fool even experienced users. You can happily keep backing up local version of your files, save them in 3 different places, etc, etc and have no slightest idea that instead of your precious files you are backing up just pointless shortcuts. This is really flawed system IMHO.

  30. Paul Brasington Says:
    October 8th, 2013 at 12:52 am

    I’ve just abandoned SugarSync because I wanted to use a Linux machine alongside Windows and Android. In any case there were a few irritations with the way it works, including persisting tmp files even after you’ve closed your work. Because I’ve recommended lots of other people I have over 5gb of free space on Dropbox and I have to say that it is by far the easiest cloud service to configure and use, I keep all my current working files there, knowing there will then be copies on all three of my regular content creation machines, knowing too there are backups for deleted files (with backed up copies on an external hard disk too). Skydrive and GoogleDrive both seem clunky by comparison perhaps and exactly because their respective parents are trying to tie them into their proprietary apps. Dropbox then remains my preferred cloudy thing by a country mile…

  31. Linda Says:
    October 8th, 2013 at 4:38 am

    My experience with Drop Box was like David’s. It was used on one job I had and so I signed up to be able to share folders with co-workers. Not only was my account maxed out all the time due to the content in shared folders but people thought they were downloading copies of files when in fact they were moving them out of dropbox. Even worse, sometimes they realized they had accidentally removed something, looked for it on their computer and restored some older copy of my file.

    I have had no problems whatsoever with Google Drive, but I don’t use the synching options. It’s simply a file sharing option for me.

  32. Harry66 Says:
    October 10th, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Anyone else here using from Barracuda networks? I only installed it last week.
    You get 15GB of FREE, with an additional 2GB by tweeting during the initial setup. And another 5GB for installing the desktop or mobile app.

  33. Andrew Says:
    October 22nd, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I found this article really helpful. I agree that Google totally confuse the issue by using the term ’sync’. Sync to me means that google will create synchronised copies on my PC’s hard drive and that I will be able to view these in my web browser offline. This actually used to be a feature in labs and worked quite well about four years ago. I can understand how someone could easily make the mistake of assuming google has kept copies on their hard drive and not shortcuts. Why google can’t create copies on my hard drive is beyond me. It would be really helpful when my internet connection drops and seems to happen automatically on my android device.

  34. Ovi Demetrian Jr Says:
    October 25th, 2013 at 2:05 am

    I ended up losing all my Google Docs files because of the way the syncing interface works. I posted my story here:

  35. Claudia Says:
    November 13th, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I am in a similar situation but with hopes to find out where google drive stores the documents locally.

    I was saving tons of my work straight (from MS Word and others) on GoogleDrive (installed in my laptop).

    Some how my laptop broke and when I thought I was ‘ok because I had been saving all my data straight on GoogleDrive,’ I was shocked to see that none of my googleDrive docs were saved in the GoogleDrive (accessed via GMail).

    I am just praying and hoping to access my laptop’s hard drive separately and locate where Google stores local GoogleDrive docs.

    if any body has any word, it would be appreciated. I am using Windows 7.

  36. DonS Says:
    November 21st, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Wow, what a horrible experience. Unfortunately mine was as well. I tried GoogDrive to replace DBox based on cost alone. Dragged my DB folder over to GDrive and all it did was sync the folder tree–not the actual files… WTF? So I created a new folder and dragged files one-by one and that worked/synced, but that manual process would take weeks. After a while, it suddenly prompts me to sign in to GDrive (already in GApps). It then guides through GDrive set up (as if I never did it before) and tells me I need to empty my GDrive folder… WTF? Google supports answer to this is to rename the folder, let GDrive create a new folder , and then copy the contents in. So in other words, re do everything… That’s the official fix. What a mess this company has become. Oh, and there’s no iphone sharing… Huge fail by Google. This should be an embarrassment.

  37. GeorgeC Says:
    November 22nd, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I couldn’t even get GDrive to sync one (count ‘em, 1) 5Kb file (KeePass DB) between 2 computers. Computer A’s (Windows 7) updates were seen by Computer B (Vista) but not vice-versa. Could there be a simpler test case?? Back to DropBox, never to leave.

  38. FinnMK Says:
    November 23rd, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Yes, I was similarly disappointed. I used Google Drive for a private project that I wanted to access from home and work PCs as well as tablets. On moving to China I found out that connectivity to Drive is bad (and I had confirmed that the installed client slowed down my system) so I wanted to migrate the content so Skydrive.

    First, I made a local copy and thought I had a copy. This worked for the legacy Word documents in the project but not for the native Google document format. These were only copied as links to the cloud.

    I think I have to copy and paste the content of these files manually to new documents in order to properly get them out of Drive.

    Skydrive under Windows 8 work beautifully. It creates a local folder that synchs with the cloud and does the everyday work really fast. The syncing is done reliably in the background. Works great cross machines, too. I never thought I would say something like that about a Microsoft product compared to a Google product.

  39. FinnMK Says:
    November 23rd, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Just found the way to move files away from Drive properly. It is described here:

  40. Ara Says:
    November 26th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    In all honesty. You just made a big fool of yourself. I’ve used Drive since day one and I love it. I’ve not experienced any of your problems.

    reading your blog all I can think is “Bought a car, didn’t have a single driving lesson, didn’t read the manual and tried to speed up to 120 km/h without switching gears..”

    Instead of writing a big negative Blog about it, realise.. You brought this upon yourself and ur a little whiner for blogging about it in this negative way.

  41. NilesG Says:
    November 30th, 2013 at 11:50 am

    BTW skydrive’s Mac client is Lion or higher only. Snow Leopard users left out.

  42. landsome Says:
    November 30th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Lost documents on GW (recovered prefinal draft from trash, though). But what annoys me most is the fact that when I move around multiple files from one folder to another it often resyncs them completely. Did that frequently in DB – many move operations of individual files or sub/folders in quick succession – and so far it never fully resynced previously synced filed.

  43. MacGag Says:
    January 12th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    try and use to connect google drive via CloudHQ into dropbox. You will have all your documents synchronised between google drive, dropbox and your desktop (on your desktop are real files you can work with offline). If anything goes wrong on dropbox or google drive you will still have your files either on the other cloud and on your desktop ;-)

  44. dockdweller Says:
    January 16th, 2014 at 5:25 am

    I don’t understand. If he ‘copied’ as he stated his original files into the google drive folder before the debacle started why would those files not still be there locally regardless of what happened to those in the cloud or the links in the google drive folder?

  45. Darien Graham-Smith Says:
    January 16th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    @dockdweller Those files were indeed safe. It was the files that had originally been created in Google Docs (and so had never resided on my hard disk) that were lost.

  46. Chris Thorn Says:
    January 18th, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    My problem for some reason was deleting documents from Google drive.It seemed to pick up every document I printed without asking me. I found by accident long press on document, in box delete long press on delete box to confirm you want to delete. Using an Android tablet.

  47. Tore Christiansen Says:
    January 26th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I have a large number of files of various types stored on Googles Cloud drive and have never had any problems,until a few days ago when I wanted to set up a permission link to a stored file. Since then I keep getting a message that this service is presently unavailable???

    I have clients depending on these links and I now have to send any requested file manually by email?

    How long is this supposed to last?


  48. Frank Says:
    January 29th, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I gave up on SugarSync once they started charging. I had a paid account as well, but they were just too pricey. I tried Google Drive but it was slow, so I have been using Copy. They start you with 20 gigs of space if you use this link and verify your email account (I get 5 free gigs also):

    It’s much faster than Google Drive ever was.

  49. J Tyson Says:
    February 14th, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Emptying your trash can unless you have immediate need for more space is a HUGE MISTAKE. The whole point of a trash can is to save your ass when you delete things by accident. Furthermore, even when your hard drive is full emptying the entire can is usually ANOTHER HUGE MISTAKE, since you can usually get by by just deleting the very biggest files.

  50. Ed Says:
    February 17th, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Long time drive user with 70GB accumulated and continuing to add files.

    I’m not about to leave Drive for another service or go back to local storage as my live data but neither Drive nor any of its major competitors are yet suitable for other than enthusiasts. Hopefully, Google are working, as a priority, on a proper lossless, local backup capability rather than leaving us all to repurpose Sync and a bunch of other kludges for the empty native file links.

  51. Dan Says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    +1 for being brave enough to share a mistake with us knowing what obnoxious comments you’re going to receive.

  52. Ruth Sanders Says:
    March 17th, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Well, I don’t see why I should limit myself to just 1 cloud storage service.
    Since most of them offer 5-10Gb for free, I use most of them (GDrive, SkyDrive, Box, Dropbox… etc.).
    When I run out of space in one of them I use a nice service to move content around – It’s called “Cloudsfer”. I’ve tried it and it was super simple, it lets you just transfer whatever you want from one could to another:
    But I’ll be sure to not delete files before I make sure they’re backed up somewhere ! :)

  53. Bill Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I’ve used Dropbox from the beginning, 2008.
    Love it. Mainly because “it works”! We have too much BS in our lives anyway to mess with this stuff. I use others, G Drive, Copy, Skydrive, etc. BT Sync is great too! It always works. G Drive’s lack of data up throttle was a deal breaker to me. Copy is good, but for whatever reason, at times simply does not work! It will just fail to sync. No idea why. Good discussion.


  54. Dan Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Here’s the ultimate solution for everybody. Use:


    The software is still in Beta, but works beautifully. It syncs all your files securely between your devices, and for free. You host it on your own computer, so you’re hosting your own cloud. NO THIRD PARTY.

    In addition, use This is free or costs a few bucks a month depending on your settings, but its a set-it-and-forget-it backup solution that runs in the background and prevents exactly the kind of data loss that happened here.

    I’ve got a raspberry pi ($40 on amazon) running a personal web server with BTSync permanently on, and another raspberry pi permanently running crashplan. So I’ve got my own cloud with unlimited storage running without a third party, and if everything goes down I’ve got everything backed up with crashplan offsite. It cost me a little money and time to set up, but its been working without maintenance for about a year now, and I have great peace of mind. It would also be free except for the couple bucks a month I pay for crashplan’s offsite service.

  55. Bill Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I agree with Dan! BT Sync works very well. I work for several radio stations, and use it to sync several computers. A finished audio file can easily be downloaded into the BT Sync folder, and in seconds end up in the PC at the station, and no cloud, no emailing attachments! Direct A to B. Works great.


  56. Bill Says:
    March 22nd, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Anyone seen this??

  57. Alex Says:
    March 24th, 2014 at 3:58 am

    No offense, but this is basically the user’s fault. This is equivalent of saying: I deleted a file and now it’s gone.

  58. Edward Says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I’m really surprised at some of the comments on this.

    Saying that by deleting a shortcut to a document, you should know you are deleting the actual document is crazy. No other system that uses shortcuts works this way.
    Can you imagine the uproar if Microsoft deleted the original file when you deleted the shortcut to it? They’d be ripped a new one and deservedly so; yet we have commentards defending Google doing exactly the same thing!

  59. Sho Says:
    April 8th, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Please, help anyone!! my pictures have been compromised , woke up this morning and looked at my pictures on my google autoback up, and found somebody’s picture super imposed (for lack of a better word)into 2 of my pictures, I use my phone alone and have not left it for anyone else to use, just wonder if anyone can help explain this or has experienced this before

  60. Phil S Says:
    April 9th, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Sho, you have been Hoffed

    I use Drive from Chrome, and have set each client to save Offline. Works perfectly on Windows, Linux amd Chromebooks.

    Of course on Chrome devices, you have to pick the files you want saved offline.

    The author has not tried to findo out how this works. He probably climbs onto a plane with a new laptop and wonders why he cannot read his e-mail.

    Sorry, Darien, but a total fail!

  61. Phil S Says:
    April 9th, 2014 at 7:06 am

    That should have been “Of course on Android devices”…

    My fail!

  62. Anando Says:
    April 10th, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Yes i completely agree…its becoming ridiculous , the number of copy files with (1)(2) is idiotic and taking up huge HDD space of mine.

  63. PureJHC Says:
    April 19th, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Am I truly the only person that doesn’t want their files, some very personal to be mined and hoarded across the internet with no actual proof who may really have access to it.It seems like i’m constantly battling with settings and permissions. If we’re really not in control of anything and own nothing, I’d rather be told the truth, not be asked to have blind faith. Control may be a form of allusion, but its sometimes all we have. I don’t like where this is headed folks.

  64. John Says:
    May 1st, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    DROPBOX ? Hell No !
    If Dropbox or box or any Cloud solution works well for very small amount of data it is just not working if you have over 5gb or 10gb of data and an ISP at home.
    It took me a week to upload over 8gb of data on Dropbox. A nightmare. I gave up as I had more to upload and will buy an external drive as it will take a few minutes. I am very surprised to see so many positive comments on these services. As far as Dropbox, the interface sucks and so does their service. Everybody talks about how much storage (GB) is in the plan but hardly nobody talks about the time to upload.

  65. Henry Says:
    May 26th, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Guys, I have been trying out Copy for the past year. It is quite good and give you plenty of storage to you for free. Copy is the new Dropbox now.
    Use this link to sign up for an additional 5GB of free space for a total of 20GB:

  66. Jesper Ordrup Says:
    June 30th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Neither of Dropbox or Google Drive should be used as backup solutions. They are perfect for what they do – sync content. But what you need is something that saves you if you delete stuff by accident.


  67. Phil Says:
    July 10th, 2014 at 5:34 am

    This is clearly user error. First, did you read a simple How-To or help file before treating Google Drive like Dropbox? Dropbox/Box/SugarSync etc are just cloud storage of your local documents. Those antiquated systems will pass when better users encryption option are available from cloud first systems like Google Drive. You experience very much remind me how some people try to treat the content inside a browser the same as a desktop program (double click to open, right click save, etc). Just watch a few videos & read a few help files. Any reasonably coherent person should be able to sort it out after 5-10 minutes of reading instructions.

  68. Alexander Melsi Says:
    August 23rd, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I too made the mistake thinking that the name “Google” means “you are safe”! I installed google drive and suddenly after a few months everything is deleted both localy and online. Every single file is lost. What’s interesting is that past activity/history has also dissapeared on google drive.

    I would like to let others know this:


  69. Someone Says:
    October 20th, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    The images don’t load quick enough and get broken. Google Drive is free and now I see why.


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