Backing Up Your Files With Google Drive

We in the technology & innovation department are tremendously excited about the staff-assigned laptop upgrades that are taking place in early to mid-May.  Such a large undertaking, however, also creates potential pitfalls that we’ve been working hard to avoid.  

One of the steps that staff members can take to ensure that the upgrade process goes quickly and smoothly is to back up your files prior to the laptop upgrade date.  Since our Google Drive accounts offer unlimited storage, we’re strongly recommending the use of the Google Drive application to back up any and all files that you want to keep to your Google Drive account, and then after the upgrade the Google Drive application can be used to download those files to your new computer.  

Check out the video (below) for a detailed, step-by-step demonstration of how to: 

  • install the Google Drive application
  • connect it to your Iowa City Schools Google account
  • configure the application on your current laptop
  • move or copy files into your Google Drive folder, which will then automatically be backed up to your Google Drive in the cloud
  • check the status of the synchronization
  • download files from Google Drive to your computer

This video also includes answers to some common questions, including where to find files on your computer.  

For those of you who prefer written instructions, follow the steps below.  I’ll note that the video offers more depth in terms of explanations of common questions and roadblocks, so if you run into problems with these instructions, I’d recommend taking a look at relevant parts of the video: 

  1. From an in-district computer, open a web browser and go to http://kbox
  2. Log in (if prompted) with your district username (lastname.firstname) and password; this should be the same username/password you use to log in to district computers
  3. Click the “Want Software?” button
  4. Click the “Self-Install Google Drive Applications” link
    1. Google Drive should install, after a short wait, and a confirmation window should appear
  5. Click the Start button, and search for Google Drive or find Google Drive in the Programs list; open Google Drive
  6. Sign in with your district Google account
    1. Your username should be your district email address (i.e., 
    2. Your password should be the same password you use to log in to district computers
  7. Click the “Get Started” button, and then the “Next” button, until you reach the screen where it prompts you to choose a folder location.
  8. Use the default folder location.  You can choose to download everything that already exists within Google Drive (recommended) or only to download certain folders.  
    1. You generally would only want to select certain folders if you have a very large Google Drive.  In the video (above), I chose specific folders only, because my Google Drive was larger than the available storage space on my computer.  
  9. Click next until the setup window closes. 
  10. A “Google Drive” shortcut should have been created on your desktop; open this folder. 
  11. Anything that you add to this folder will be automatically synchronized to Google Drive.  Copy or move any folders/files into this folder that you want to make sure to back up from your current computer. 
    1. You may wish to create a file structure within your Google Drive folder to organize the files that you are copying from your current computer
    2. In the video, the approach I use is to create an “Old Laptop” folder, and then to copy entire folders from my profile (detailed below) into that “Old Laptop” folder
  12. Common file storage locations include folders within your profile folder, which is usually a folder with your name that appears on the desktop (this is illustrated in the video).  Folders within that profile folder that generally contain your documents include: 
    1. Desktop
    2. Documents
    3. Pictures
    4. Music
    6. Videos
    7. Other sync services (such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive)
  13. Once you’ve added files to your drive, you can click the multi-colored triangle icon on the right side of your taskbar to view synchronization progress.  Further, files within your Google Drive folder will have a circular arrow sub-icon (for waiting to sync) and a green checkmark (for synchronized), to show you the file’s sync status. 
  14. Once you receive your new laptop, you just need to log in to the Google Drive application – already installed on all new laptops – and the files you’ve stored in Google Drive will be automatically downloaded to the new computer. 
  15. You can also access the files you’ve uploaded at any time through the Google Drive web interface at 

For more information, you can check out the Google’s support page for Google Drive.  If you run into problems with any part of this process, you can call the Helpdesk from any in-district phone at x4357, or you can submit a support request online from an in-district computer at http://kbox.