How to use Drive to back up photos and videos to Google Photos and Drive

Google Drive for desktop on Acer Chromebook Spin 514
(Image credit: Android Central)

Google Drive is one of the best cloud services you can use to back up your data. In order to upload your images and videos to Google Photos or Drive on your desktop, you need to install the desktop app called Drive on your computer. Let's walk through the steps involved in installing Drive and using it to back up your photos and video clips.

How to install and set up Drive on your Windows PC

1. Go to

2. Click Download Drive for desktop and download the installer file.

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2. Double-click the installer file once it has downloaded and install Drive for desktop.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

3. Log in to your Google account after Drive is installed.

Now that Drive is installed, you can set it up to back up your photos.

How to set up Drive to back up photos and videos

With Drive for desktop installed on your PC or laptop, you're ready to start backing up all your photos and videos.

1. Find Google Drive in your system tray.

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2. Click on the Drive icon in your system tray.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

3. Click on the little gear icon and select Preferences.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

4. Press the Add folder button.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

5. Find and select the folder containing the photos and videos you'd like to back up.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

6. You will be asked if you want to Sync with Google Drive or Back up to Google PhotosIf you select both options, your photos and videos will go to both places and essentially take up twice the space. Click Done after choosing your preferences.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

7. Once you have selected all the folders you want to back up and selected their destinations, click Save.

Going forward, your computer will automatically sync the folders you have selected and back them up regularly to both Google Drive and Google Photos as per your settings.

Should you upload to Google Drive, Google Photos, or both?

Google Photos logo on mobile screen

(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

There are a lot of reasons why you'll want to back up your photos. For example, if your computer becomes damaged or disabled, you'll have your photos and images still in Google's excellent cloud storage. We don't recommend saving your files to both because it makes no sense to have two copies of your data occupying twice the amount of space.

Now that Google has unified its free 15GB associated with your Google account, Photos is included in that limit. Chances are, that base amount isn't going to cut it for your back up and you'll need to upgrade to a paid Google One plan to increase storage.

But where should you upload your pictures and videos, Photos or Drive? Both cloud services will protect your photos in the cloud. They'll be available on all of your devices, as long as you have an internet connection.

Google Photos offers the advantage of displaying your photos in the interface, making it easier to show them to others on your device. You can also search them by context, like searching for photos of your dog or your car. You can also edit photos directly in the app. Another powerful feature that Google Photos offers is called Live Albums. Live Albums allow you to sort your photos by person, place, or even pets automatically as you add them.

Meanwhile, backing up the photos to Google Drive gives you more of a file tree view of your photos. So if you're uploading photos for work or want to keep them separate from your personal photos, this is a good way to do it. Also, if you plan to make these images available on your PC, saving them to Google Drive makes more sense since entire folders can be made available offline on your PC automatically. That means you won't have to deliberately download them.

When it comes to sharing photos, Google Drive allows you to share groups of files or folders where the photos are stored. Google Photos requires you to select a day or select multiple photos and generate a shared link. If you plan to share images based on the day, Photos might be a good option. If you plan to share folders worth of photos, Drive is probably your best bet.

Namerah Saud Fatmi
Senior Editor — Accessories

Namerah enjoys geeking out over accessories, gadgets, and all sorts of smart tech. She spends her time guzzling coffee, writing, casual gaming, and cuddling with her furry best friends. Find her on Twitter @NamerahS.