Why Backup or Sync Files to Cloud Drive?
Nowadays, people have become accustomed to using computers for work, entertainment and recording important memories. When a PC is damaged or lost, the biggest loss may not be money, but the data stored on it.
However, the lifespan of a machine is limited. Even if you are careful with your computer, it will age one day, not to mention those unpredictable errors that may cause you to lose data. In this case, backing up or synchronizing files to cloud drive is an effective measure.
Unlike physical storage devices, a cloud drive like Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox enables you to access these files from anywhere, without the need to worry about system crashes, virus, hard drive failures, etc. What's more, a cloud drive offers different packages to suit different people's needs and budgets, which makes it generally more affordable than a physical hard drive.
What's the Difference between Backup and Sync Files?
Once you've signed up for a cloud drive, you can start using it for files storage. Usually there two approaches - backup and sync. What are the differences? Which is the better way to save files from PC to cloud drive? Here's a simple explanation.
Backing up files to cloud drive means to create a image file of the files on your PC, and save it on cloud drive. You can not use an backup image directly, you need to restore it first.
Synchronizing files to cloud drive refers to create an exact copy of the PC files with original format, and keep the synchronized files in cloud drive up-to-date. Meanwhile, you can access and use them directly.
That is to say, if you save these files to cloud drive just for double insurance, you can create a backup image which takes up less space. But if you want to view and use these files from anywhere and with different devices, file sync may be a better idea.
Best Freeware to Backup or Sync Files from PC to Cloud Drive
To backup or sync files from your PC to cloud drive, you can use the desktop APP of corresponding cloud service. However, they usually only support files upload (a.k.a. files sync) with few options to customize the task. If you want to operate the data transferring more flexibly, you may need a powerful cloud backup software.
Among the numerous backup programs in Windows, AOMEI Backupper standard is a simple and effective freeware allowing you to backup or sync files to all kinds of locations, including cloud drive.
For backup: it enables you to backup files/partitions/system/disk in full/incremental/differential mode, and it's convenient to set up a schedule to run the task automatically.
For sync: you can sync files and folders to could drive and create a schedule if needed. To obtain more advanced sync features like synchronizing changed files in real time, synchronizing changes in target directory and destination directory to the other side mutually, etc. you could upgrade to its Professional or higher editions.
Before you backup or sync files to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and other cloud-syncing service that integrates with Windows' File Explorer, you need a Windows PC (Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista) with corresponding desktop program installed.
How to backup files to cloud drive with AOMEI Backupper?
It only takes a few steps to backup files to cloud drives with the freeware. Here are detailed operations:
Step 1. Download, install and launch the cloud backup software. To backup files to cloud drive, just click Backup on the left pane, and select File Backup.
Step 2. Click Add File or Add Folder to add what you want to backup to the cloud drive.
Step 3. Then, select a destination to backup these files. To select a cloud drive, you can click on down arror on the right side of destination select box, click Select a cloud drive.
Choose a cloud drive that integrate in your Windows’ File Explorer as the destination path. Here we backup files to OneDrive.
Step 4. Customize the backup by options at the bottom. Click Start Backup to execute the task.
The steps to sync files to cloud drive are broadly similar:
Step 1. Launch the software, go to Sync tab and choose Basic Sync.
Step 2. Click Add Folder to specify the data you want to sync. You can hit the + button to add multiple folders.
Step 3. Choose the destination cloud drive. Similarly, you can choose Select a cloud drive in the drop-down menu. Then select the cloud drive as you like.
Step 4. If you want to keep the synchronized data in cloud drive up-to-date, click Schedule to add an automatic task. Then click Start Sync to execute it.
In Professional or higher editions, there are more powerful sync modes. Real-Time Sync will sync changed files from the source to the destination in real time without a schedule; Mirror Sync will always keep the destination directory exactly same as the source; Two-Way Sync will sync any changes in the source or destination directory to the other side.
The source folder and the target folder cannot have a containment relationship.
Please don't change the name of source folder once the sync task has been set up.
While Backup can be applied to different levels of data, Sync is mainly designed for files and folders. If you want to copy all the files in a partition to cloud drive, it's recommended to use Partition Backup. If you want to copy the entire disk for hard drive replacement, you can choose Disk Clone instead.
If you are a Windows Server user, you could use the specialized version AOMEI Backupper Server.