Posted by: Yosef B. | January 5, 2016

How to Setup an Automated Syncing & Archiving system using Google Drive, DropBox, etc.

I’ve been experimenting with a new way of synchronizing and archiving documents between devices and wanted to share what I’ve learned thus far in case it’s helpful for anyone.

My issue is this – my main computer is my company laptop that I use during the workday. In the evenings & weekends I have both my home laptop and documents server that I use. However, there are many times during the week when I’m on my company laptop that I need to create a personal document of some sort. I have a personal folder on my company laptop to hold onto these working items – most of them are items which I might need for a week or two but then they really need to be moved from my company laptop to my personal machines – mostly to be archived.

I’ve tried many different synchronizing ideas over time. I’ve tried using an external hard drive & backing up these documents on a weekly basis & then manually trying to move them off the external to my personal machines to archive them. I’ve tried using Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. to keep copies of my stuff. I’ve even tried emailing documents to myself.

All of these attempts have issues including:

  • Manual steps that I need to remember to do
  • They don’t really archive because it leaves documents behind on the company laptop (unless I manually remember to delete)
  • In the case of the cloud services, they require duplication of files in multiple places – not necessarily something I need & they have size limits unless I want to pay for more storage

Therefore – as I initially said – I’m experimenting with a new way of moving & archiving files without the need for any manual intervention.

Here’s the basic setup:

  1. Setup a cloud drive service (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) on the computer you are normally working on (e.g. my company laptop) and on the computer you want to archive to.
  2. Create a working document folder in this cloud drive. This is where I put all of my personal documents that I’m working on on my company laptop.
  3. This folder will automatically be synchronized & duplicated on both machines.
  4. Create an archive folder on your archive computer (e.g. my personal server).
  5. Setup a batch script (see below for example) to move any files & folders that are older than 60 days from your cloud drive folder to the archive folder.
  6. Setup a scheduled task to run the batch script on a daily basis (see a previous post for more info on how to do this here).

The end result is I now have an automatically synchronizing folder that keeps my working files on both my company & personal computers and automatically removes old working files from my company computer to an archive folder structure on the personal computer.

The batch script I used is:

robocopy "C:\Google Drive\Working Files" "C:\Google Drive Working File Archive" /move /minage:60 /copyall /s

Breaking it down:

  • robocopy is short for a batch command called Robust File Copy
  • The /move flag moves (and deletes from the source) all files
  • The /minage:60 flag filters files for any that are older than 60 days since their created date
  • The /copyall flag ensures that all file attributes are copied
  • The /s flag copies sub-directories (excluding empty directories)

As always, I’m curious to hear if this helps you or if you have another approach you want to share!


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