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SABBAR: Move data from an old computer to a new one with Google Backup and Sync

SABBAR: Move data from an old computer to a new one with Google Backup and Sync


If you have a new computer and want to migrate your data from your old one, using Google Backup and Sync is a great way to do that. You must have a Gmail login to do this.

On your old computer, if you haven’t already done so, install Google Backup and Sync as follows: 1. Go to (or Google “Google Backup and Sync” and look for the link.)

2. Click the big blue “Download Backup and Sync” button.

3. Click Agree and Download

4. Save the installer in your Downloads folder or a location of your choice.

5. When it has finished downloading, open the file to start the installation process.

6. When finished, click “Close.”

Launch Backup and Sync to make a backup of your files to the cloud (internet.) Note that this makes a COPY of your files on the internet and leave the originals on your computer. Note that this is different form Google Drive FS (FileStream) which will suck your files up to the internet and leave only pointers (shortcuts) on your computer hard drive but NOT the original files. This is why I recommend Backup and Sync.

1. For Windows users, the Backup and Sync icon will show up in your systray — the area at the lower right corner of your screen. You can also search for it. It looks like a cloud with an upward pointing arrow on it.

2. When you launch the program, it will ask you to login; use your gmail account.

3. You will be prompted to determine which files from your computer you want to have backed up. The default is to back up your desktop, documents, and photos and to use “original quality” which is actually HIGHER than High quality. If you have a lot of photos and personal gmail account, you may run out of space using Original Quality, but if you value the quality of your photos, it’s worth a try. Also decide if you want to have Google put your photos into Google Photos rather than just Drive more generically.

4. Click Next

5. If you already have a Google Drive account under that login, it will prompt you whether you want to download the items in Drive to your computer. It will tell you how much space they use, so choose carefully.

6. Click Start

7. You may be prompted to enable a Google Extension

8. Your files should begin to sync; you will see the cloud icon with spinning arrows in it. This may take quite a while complete, depending on the volume of data you have.

On your NEW computer, repeat the installation and synching instructions in the steps above. Watch especially for step 5 in the synching instructions, as this will show you how much data will be transferred from your old computer. As always, make sure to allow time for everything to come over, and verify that all of your needed files are there. Note that this will only copy over DATA but not PROGRAMS; those will need to be re-installed.

Carol Sabbar is the director of computer services at Carthage College. Send email to


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