The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
NOTE: In this article I often refer to “Dropbox or Google Drive.” I picked those two simply because they are the most popular online file storage services. The same things can be said about many other services as well. However, there are a few services that are different; they make true backups.
A newsletter reader asked, “I don’t know Google Drive. Do you consider it primarily a ‘backup’ service or a ‘storage’ service? Can it be used for either? Does this persuade you to drop Dropbox for Google Drive or would you keep both?”
My answer cannot be condensed to one or two sentences. I decided to write this article which, hopefully, provides some in-depth information about the differences.
Google Drive and Dropbox are primarily file replication services. That is, their primary function is to automatically copy files from one computer to another computer (or to multiple computers).
Neither Dropbox nor Google Drive are very good backup services. What’s the difference? Neither Dropbox nor Google Drive backup everything. Specifically, they do not back up the computer’s boot sector, file metadata, hidden files, or the Windows Registry. They may or may not back up the operating system, depending upon which options you choose. However, in all cases, they cannot restore all the files in a Windows or Macintosh computer. If your computer dies, do you want a collection of files that only includes your data files, or do you want EVERYTHING?
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