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Windows 7: Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive

25 Jan 2013   #1
Microsoft MVP

 
Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Onedrive

Keep your files, backup and sync'ing together and simple using Onedrive Desktop App for Windows which offers 7gb free cloud storage for each Windows Live/Hotmail ID and sells more for cheap.

It can be as easy as dragging anything you want backed up into its folder which lives both on your HD and in the cloud. But with a few more minutes configuration you'll have your files stored in the cloud ready to access on the internet and sync'd to any of your devices.

Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive-capture1.png

After trying several methods for over a year I've settled on physically moving the active User folders to the Skydrive folder with the steps in User Folders - Change Default Location.

You can also place the Skydrive folder on any other HD, but be aware that if it is moved from C and you use Windows 7 Backup Imaging it will force the inclusion of the data drive to which Skydrive and/or User folders are moved since they are System folders.

You can do the same on all your PC's and have one master set of files hosted and kept Sync'd this way by Onedrive, even access them from any device anywhere via the internet, share them publicly, by invitation, or link.

Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive-capture4.png

In using this method the only risk is if you'd delete a file or folder and have it sync on other devices before you realize you still need it. In this case the file/folder will be in each Recycle Bin.

An easy way to provide a backup archive is to use SyncToy to regularly back up all of the User folders externally, to another HD, and/or to another Skydrive "Backup" folder, using Schedule SyncToy to Run Automatically With Task Scheduler in Windows 7 - How-To Geek. I have it do this twice a week, choosing the "Contribute" method which updates everything that's changed but doesn't delete anything so that its a full archive.

Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive-capture5.png

Alternative method:

If you prefer not to move the User folders into Skydrive folder, you can also copy each one there, delete the content in the C: User folder, then rightclick each User folder in Onedrive to add it to the related Library - Include a Folder - Windows 7 Forums.

Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive-capture2.png

If you use this Library method, keep each empty C: User folder in the Library so you can visually monitor if any files land there and simply drag them over to the Onedrive User folder. You may want to leave some files which exceed the Onedrive size limit in C: user folder so they don't cause an oversize error message.

Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive-capture3.png

See also: SyncToy - Backup User Data



My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2013   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Hi Greg,

Sounds like a pretty nifty idea. I've got a similar idea and I'm sure there is a downside to it that escapes me at the moment, but instead of copying why not just change the location of your user's document folder from its default location, i.e. via right clicking on the folder, then properties, and then the location tab and choosing change location, and moving it to within your SkyDrive folder on your hard drive? I guess the down side would be every document you saved, unless you made a conscious effort to "Save As" in an alternative location, it would naturally if a document, be automatically saved in the "Default" user's documents folder, which now after the change in locations would happen to be the newly relocated user's "Documents" folder now inside the SkyDrive folder which gets synced to the cloud and you might not want it in the cloud. That's the only downside I can see. Can you think of others? I'm sure I got to be missing something...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2013   #3
Microsoft MVP

 

I have ended up Moving the User folders to Skydrive using the folder's Location tab, however this may not work for everyone because it will then make Skydrive a System folder which is forced to be included in a Windows 7 backup image.

If you don't care or use Windows 7 backup imaging then this should work OK, although some have also reported unfixable permissioning errors trying to run installers from a moved Downloads folder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


23 Feb 2013   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

That's one issue I did forget about Greg for I've had that problem with Windows backup having folders like DropBox, SkyDrive, GoogleDrive, and MyBox Files in my User Folder. I don't care much for the backup program either.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2013   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP in VM)
 
 

Greg, would a data drive using the 'include in library' avoid the permission error and the Windows backup problem? That way you could always have a folder on your data drive for folders you don't want in the cloud, and have a local backup for them or for all of them? Just thinking out loud.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2013   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

Yes, Steve, thanks for the feedback. I have just yesterday edited this to de-emphasize using Libraries since moving User folders to Skydrive has presented no issues in over a year now of testing that system. I also realized that there was no possible permissioning error having Skydrive as typical on the C drive.

However as you point out moving both Skydrive and User folders to another HD in a dedicated data partition would cause Windows 7 backup imaging to force that data drive's inclusion in the System image, so a better method in that case would be to link to copied User folders there via Library - Include a Folder - Windows 7 Forums.

This thread is a tutorial in the making, so if you have any suggestions for editing into the text this important addition I would also appreciate that. For now I have added this paragraph but it seems a bit disjointed where I placed it, so any feedback is welcome:
Quote:
You can also place the Skydrive folder on any other HD, but be aware that if it is moved from C and you use Windows 7 Backup Imaging it will force the inclusion of the data drive to which Skydrive and/or User folders are moved since they are System folders. This is remedied by using the Alternate Method below.
Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2013   #7

XP, Vista, W7, all flavors
 
 

Question about SkyDrive (and any other Cloud Sync Service)...

I would like to find a service to ARCHIVE my data to the cloud. I have several hundred GBs of old photos and home movies that I don't need to keep on my hard drive (And sync across devices), but I would like to keep.

Essentially, I am asking if there is a Cloud version of archiving to CDs/DVDs and removing from your PC.

Every service I know of, including backup services, requires you to maintain a copy of the file on at least one HDD of your synced devices. I essentially want to say "This folder, c:\SkyDrive\Archive\Photos2006, is ready to be archived" and then have the service copy it and verify it in the cloud, and then allow me to delete it (or, even better, delete it locally for me after verification).

Any ideas?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2013   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

I am now re-evaluating this method vs. the latest version of Jan Hanneman's popular method to Sync any folder to SkyDrive – Reloaded | Bitdisaster which had problems in its last version that led me to simply move the User folders into Skydrive folder.

I'll post here the comparison and recommendations, and welcome others' views of the two methods. It may be that having a junction point with surrogate replacement User folder is useful with keeping the User account fully populated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive





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