How to Download Your Google Drive and Back Up Your Files

A decorative image showing a Google Drive logo and a storage bar filling up with different types of files.

Editor’s Note

What better time for a reminder to back up your data than after a serious data loss event? If you are concerned about the safety of your Google Drive data after the reports of unexplained data loss by Google Drive users last week, then read on to learn how to download and back up your Google Drive.

More than one billion businesses and individuals use Google Drive according to, well, a quick search on Google. If most of those one billion people are like me, they save pretty much everything there. 

Whether the data is professional or personal, the end result is a lot of important files that aren’t necessarily backed up anywhere. Maybe your school is closing your account and you need to move all of your data somewhere else. Maybe your account gets attacked by cybercriminals. Or maybe Google goes down or loses your data. In order to protect your important Google Drive files, you need to understand how to go about downloading and backing up your account. 

In this post, you’ll learn some simple steps to achieve that, including how to download your Google Drive, how to back up your computer, and how to back up your Google Drive. We’ve gathered a handful of guides to help you protect social content across many different platforms. We’re working on developing this list—please comment below if you’d like to see another platform covered.

How to Download Your Google Drive

Most people have multiple email accounts, so first it is important to make sure you are logged in to the correct Google Account before you start this process. 

Once you’re signed in, you will want to go to Google Drive: From there, you can download individual files if you don’t have that many or do a bulk download.

To download individual files:

  1. Hold shift while you select all of your files.
  2. Right click and select download.

To do a bulk download:

  1. Go to your account at
  2. Go to Data & privacy.
  3. Scroll down to the section of the page titled “Download or delete your data” and click “Download your data.” This allows you to download all of the data in your Google account (not just Google Drive) via Google Takeout.
A screenshot of Google Drive settings showing where to download your data.
  1. Select Google Drive (and whatever other services you might want to download data from).
A screenshot of Google Drive settings showing how to select which Google suite data you want to download.
  1. You then have a few options to select:
    1. Multiple formats: Here you can tell Google the formats of the files you want to download. For example, if you want to download documents as .docx files or as PDFs.
    2. Advanced settings: Here you can tell Google to download additional data, including previous versions and the names of your folders. 
    3. All Drive data included: Here you can select all data, or deselect specific folders if you want to.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and click on Next Step.
  3. You’ll be prompted to specify your delivery method. Select Send download link via email.
  4. You can then specify your frequency. You can select a single export or an export every two months for a year. For our purposes, you can select a single export. (We’ll talk about options for backing up your data more frequently later.)
  5. Specify the file type and the file size you want to export.
    1. You can choose to have these files sent as a .zip file or a .tgz (tar) file. The main difference between the two options is that a .zip file compresses every file independently in the archive, but a .tgz file compresses the archive as a whole.
    2. The file size tells Google when to split your data into a separate file. Depending on the size of your data, Google may send you multiple emails with different sizes of files.
A screenshot of Google Drive settings showing where to set the frequency and file types of data downloads.
  1. Click Create export.

When most people think about downloading the data they store in Google Drive, they’re thinking about the documents, photos, and other larger files they work with, but (as Google Takeout makes clear) you have a lot more data stored with Google outside of Drive.

Here’s why you might choose to export everything: 

  • To have a copy of bookmarked websites. 
  • To have a copy of emails that may contain files you’ve lost over time. 
  • To have a copy of important voicemails from loved ones in Google’s Voice product that you want to keep forever. 

Also, when you download all of your data it is a good reminder of what information Google has of yours.

After you click Create export, you’ll get an email in a few minutes, hours, or a couple of days, depending on the size of your data, informing you that your Google data is ready to download.

How to Back Up Your Computer

You now have your Google Drive data out of the Google Cloud and on your computer. Next, you’ll want to make sure it’s backed up. Your computer can fail just like Google, so simply downloading it isn’t enough. Protecting your newly downloaded Google data with a good cloud backup strategy should be the next thing you do.

Make sure to have at least three copies of your data: two local including one on your desktop and one on a different storage medium, like a hard drive. Then, you should have one off-site, and these days that means in the cloud.  

Note that when we’re using the word “cloud” here, we specifically mean that you’re backing up to the cloud. Often using a “cloud drive” means that you’re syncing, and, as the current data loss snafu at Google shows, there’s a big difference between sync and backup.

How to Back Up Google Drive

Downloading your data once and backing it all up is a good step. But, you’re adding documents to Google Drive all the time, and downloading your data manually can get tedious if you want to make sure your work is consistently and reliably backed up. 

Of course, as we noted above, you can set your Google Drive bulk download frequency to a regular cadence. You’d still have to manually download your data and add it to your computer’s local storage, then back it up using the same method you would for your computer data. If you’re using Backblaze Computer Backup, which automatically runs in the background on your computer, those files would be backed once they entered your local storage. 

Still, that means that you have the possibility of losing files if your cadence isn’t frequent enough, and if you forget to manually download and replace those files sent to you in email, then you might run into trouble. 

Alternatively, there are a few services that will back up your Google Drive data for you. With something like Movebot, you can set up your Google Drive to sync and back up to a cloud storage service like Backblaze B2. If you’re a little more tech savvy, you can also use rclone to do the same thing. 

These tools are a bit more complex than using your Backblaze Computer Backup account, but you can configure these tools to back up your Google Drive at a frequency that makes sense for you to make sure new data is getting backed up as you add it.

Do you have any techniques on how you download your data from Google Drive or other Google products? Share them in the comments section below!


How do I download individual files from Google?

You can simply select the files you want to download, right click, and select Download.

How do I download my entire Google Drive?

You can use Google Takeout to download your entire Google Drive as well as any data you have in other Google services. Go to your account, click on Data & privacy, and click on Download your data to get started.

How do I back up my Google data once I download it?

You can back up your Google Data once you’ve downloaded it to your computer by using a trusted cloud computer backup service. Make sure to follow a 3-2-1 backup strategy by keeping at least two backups in addition to your data in Google drive: one local, on your desktop or on a hard drive, and one in the cloud.

How do I back up my Google Drive?

There are many backup software services available to help you back up your Google drive data. With something like Movebot, you can set up your Google Drive to sync and back up to a cloud storage service like Backblaze B2. If you’re a little more tech savvy, you can also use rclone to do the same thing. 


About Molly Clancy

Molly Clancy is a content writer who specializes in explaining tech concepts in an easy, approachable way. With more than 15 years of experience, she has a broad background in industries ranging from B2B tech to engineering to luxury travel. A deep curiosity drives her repeated success explaining what terms like OS kernel and preflight request mean so that anyone can understand them.