Friday, May 25, 2012

Moving from Google Drive to SkyDrive

I’ve been a Google fan-boy for years now. I was on Gmail from the start, Google Docs, Google Apps, Page creator and JotSpot which would become Google Sites. I’ve managed to always get my employer to forward my internal mail (which invariably comes from an Exchange server) to Gmail, so haven’t had to use Outlook on a daily basis for many years. I have been slowly transitioning from Microsoft to Google, putting more and more of my files in Google Docs.
I welcomed the eagerly awaited Google Drive, so I could finally integrate all my files into a single hierarchy, and have a usable interface (Windows Explorer), to organize all my Google Docs files.
At the same time, the “Plusification” of everything Google to be more like Facebook, my having had more than a couple experiences where I shared information that I did not intend to, and the paradoxically “search-challenged” Google Drive web interface making it impossible to search for files that are shared with others to manage sharing, I have recently become somewhat disenchanted with “The Google”

Re-enter Microsoft into my consciousness-

Microsoft countered the Google Drive launch by offering 25GB of free storage to current Skydrive users. After some frustrating experiences with Google Drive not synchronizing properly, I took a closer look at Microsoft’s SkyDrive, and found it to be quite cool. Microsoft has given us hosted Office for free to compete with Google Docs, and, unlike Google docs, you can edit your documents even if you are not connected to the internet with Microsoft office, which, let’s face it, still a much more capable product than Google Docs. So I decided, for now, I’m moving all my files from Google drive to SkyDrive. This isn’t too difficult, but there are some gotchas that you need to be aware of, so you don’t lose files.
First, if your “Google Docs” and you “Other” files are mixed together, you can’t simply move them from one folder to the other. Doing so will effectively delete ALL you files from Google Docs, including all your Google Docs! The problem with that, is that your Google Docs are not editable in Windows. They live in your “Drive” directory simply as links to the file in the cloud. But if you remove them from the Drive folder, they will be deleted from the cloud! (actually they will be moved to the Google Drive trash folder, but still probably not what you intend) So, you need to separate your “files” from your “Google Docs links” Then you can convert all you Google Docs to Microsoft Office files if you want to move them as well. The way I did this was as follows. Be careful. Always double check what you are doing before you delete.

  1. Disconnect account” from Google Drive. This will allow you to change the files in your Drive folder, without those changes being reflected back to the cloud.
  2. Move all the files from your Drive folder to your Skydrive folder. This will move the links to Google Docs too, but because you disconnected your account in Step 1, they will not be deleted from the cloud, so they will still work as links to your Google Docs. The only problem is this is that the link will not be updated if you delete or move the file in Google Drive. I will convert these files later, so next, I need to remove them from the SkyDrive folder.
  3. Remove Google Docs links from SkyDrive folder. This can be done in Windows by searching for the Google filetypes, and deleting them. Search for .gsheet, .gdoc, .gslides, and .gdraw. (There may be other types. I don’t use forms, so check for the filetype for that one) Now you should have no more Google Docs links in your SkyDrive.
  4. Remove foreign files from Google Drive. Now that you have all your files on Skydrive, you can delete them from Google Drive, but retain Google native Google Docs files. The Google Drive web app is very limited search capability (for instance, you can’t search for -.gdoc or -.gsheeet, with a “-“ prefix to search for everything except, because these filetypes are not used in the cloud), so you have to search for filetypes you want to delete like .doc, .exe, .mp3, and .jpg. This could be done easily by reconnecting the Google Drive application and removing the files with Windows search, but if you don’t want to waste the time and bandwidth to redownload many Gigabytes of data, just to delete it, try to delete as much as possible from Google Drive on the web.
  5. Reconnect your Google account to Drive. Now that you have deleted most foreign files from Google Drive, reconnect and allow Google Drive to resynchronize. When you have Sync Complete, do a windows search for any remaining foreign files. This time, search for [NOT .gsheet NOT .gdoc NOT .gslides NOT .gdraw. ] this will find all the foreign files to delete.
  6. Delete all the empty folders in Google Drive. The easiest way I have found to delete empty folders is with a free utility called Remove Empty Directories.

That’s it. You can download and convert the rest of your Google Docs, delete them from Drive, and move them to SkyDrive if you want. I did that for some. I will continue to have shared files in Google Drive, but now all the rest of my files are editable on or offline with Office. Skydrive is working well for me.


1 comment:

Halman Freud said...

I think that both are good spaces, I have found an of google drive for windows phone and it is quiet good.