Tag Archives: data backup tips google drive photos

Backing up my Google Data


After 10 years of heavy-lifting, my Gmail and other Google services combined to fill up my free Google storage. Primarily, I am addressing Gmail, Drive, and Photos.

I looked into third-party solutions to back up the data, to my own storage (which is in turn redundant, as I need multiple drives and media to ensure backups are retained).


In the old days I would have just installed Thunderbird, let it download my mail, and archive that store locally. However, I have way too many messages, and trying that, Thunderbird could not handle it. It would download 25 messages and crap out.

Sure, I could use Outlook, but then I am constrained to using Outlook should I ever need to access the data.

Fetchmail seems like a great option for a guy like me. But then, I understand how to run a Linux instance, on my Windows PC, and go all command(0) line…. The resulting text file it creates is usable by a variety of email client applications, including Thunderbird, so that would be one way to go.

However, those options only address email. It does not address my Google Drive files or Google Photos files.

Everything Else

Enter…Google itself.

Visiting https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout, I discovered that I could choose from any of the listed Google services there, asking the system to compile the items into a zip file, and await an inbound email, from Google, announcing the archive is ready. This is similar to Facebook’s method.

Last night I requested Gmail and photos, so I will see what happens and report back to the blog regarding the results.

It is worthy to note that Google Photos consumes no space at all if one allows Google to shrink the photos to smaller sizes. These smaller sizes are not all that small. The free-storage size of videos is 1080P, for example. I got myself into trouble by insisting on the real files syncing up there, which quickly consumed 7 GB of my total 17 GB of space. Drive files consume zero space if they are Google docs; other “real” files consume all the space. Thus, if you write something, in MS Word, and upload it, that consumes space, but if you write the document, as a Google doc, it consumes zero space. Same thing with Excel files vs. sheets, etc. Once I bring all this data down I will change my settings to store only the dumbed down pics, out on Google, since I sync the files directly from my phone or camera outside the Google channels anyway. I have already changed to constructing most documents within Google’s suite of offerings.


I will let you know how all this turns out. Bookmark this page, set an alert, etc. As soon as the data download is ready and I get a chance to look at the data I will update this section of the post.

Useful links

Manage your account preferences: https://myaccount.google.com/preferences

Interesting post on Lifehacker regarding Fetchmail: http://lifehacker.com/235207/geek-to-live–back-up-gmail-with-fetchmail