Using Gmail to Backup Files Online

Google GmailFor those of you who are not familiar with Gmail, you soon will be. Gmail is Google’s free email service, and it is one of many excellent services that Google provides. Most of the people I know already use Gmail as their main email service, and I suspect that many more will soon join the ranks of devoted Gmail users.

Google has always offered a tremendous amount of free storage space with each Gmail account, and with competition from Yahoo and Microsoft, they continue to add space to each account for free. Right now, I have 6,290 MB of space. That’s over 6 GB of storage space for free!

The catalyst for this post is my wife’s less than a year old Dell laptop. Sadly, the hard drive in that machine is beginning to show the telltale signs of failure. You know the ones – the terrible scratching sounds, the no drive detected errors, etc. Needless to say, we have been scrambling to find good ways to make sure her important business files are safe and sound. The first thing we did was save the files off to a USB flash drive. This is a good short term solution, but flash drives are easily lost. We have also started to use Google Docs more so local storage is becoming less of an issue.

Then something came to me. Why not use the 6+ GB of storage I have with Gmail to store my important files on Google’s servers? Using Labels in Gmail makes organizing all of your files insanely easy, and of course, Gmail comes with the power of Google’s search if you ever need to find a specific file. Follow these easy steps to save your important files in your Gmail account.

1. From your Gmail Inbox, click the More Actions drop down box and select New Label.
2. Enter a name for your new label like “Documents” or “Files.” This will help you find your files later.
1. Compose a new message and enter your Gmail address in the To field.
2. For the message Subject, use the name of the file you are sending to Gmail.
3. In the message Body, enter keywords or phrases that will help you find the file in the future.
4. Attach the file to the message.
5. Send the message.
6. The new message will appear in your Inbox.
7. Select the message by clicking the checkbox next to the message.
8. Click the More Actions drop down box and select the Label you chose for your documents.
9. Click the Archive button to remove the message from your Inbox.

Your file is now saved on Google’s servers. In order to access your files in the future, simply select the Label you chose for your documents. Labels are usually displayed under the Chat window on the left side of the page. Clicking on a Label will show all of the messages with that label so you will be able to see all of the messages you have saved with your important files. You can also use the search feature in Gmail to find a specific file. This is why using descriptive file names and adding good keywords is very important.

I hope this helps you get more out of your Gmail account and avoid the problems of a hard drive failure.