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Access Free Cloud Storage with Gmail Drive

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/9/2010

Gmail Drive provides a free alternative to expensive cloud storage systems - backup your data to your Google Mail inbox!

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    Get Extra Storage with Gmail Drive

    The powerful browser-based email solution Gmail offers around 8GB of storage space per email account – a vast space that can be pretty difficult to fill.

    This is where Gmail Drive comes in – basically, this free utility lets you add your Gmail account as a network drive in Windows.

    With email size limits being what they are, in most cases you won’t get anywhere near filling your email account. Hosted at a remote location, Gmail accounts can be retrieved from any connected device with a browser, or even through a desktop email client.

    It’s basically cloud storage – data saved at a remote location and accessible from anywhere.

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    Gmail Drive Explained

    GMail Drive can add remote storage Basically, Gmail Drive creates a virtual filesystem, with your Gmail account as the storage. As you might imagine, this is a powerful solution to many storage problems, and offers many MBs of space for you to archive data.

    With the utility installed, you can connect directly to this online storage from your Windows desktop, where Gmail Drive displays your Gmail storage as a new drive letter. Sending data to the new drive is a simply a case of selecting it as a destination for your data, just as you might when choosing to save to a floppy disk or USB stick, or by copy/paste from within Windows Explorer.

    New data in your Gmail account appears as an email with an attachment – naturally the attachment is the data you have transferred to the drive. Using labels or folders you can sort your data within your email inbox so that it doesn’t get in the way of other messages, particularly useful if you regularly use Gmail.

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    Using Gmail Drive

    To use Gmail Drive, you will need to download it. Visit to download and then install the application. The file is only 372kb so shouldn’t take long at all.

    Once unzipped, run the setup.exe - this will automatically setup and install Gmail Drive as a Shell extension, which basically means it will be instantly ready to use as it is not a full program, rather a new drive letter that adds itself to context menus and Windows Explorer.

    Once installed, open Windows Explorer, and double click the Gmail Drive. You will be prompted for your Gmail username and password – once entered and saved, your new online storage is accessible from your PC!

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    Things to Remember

    Gmail Drive login screen There are certain security considerations to bear in mind when using Gmail Drive – check the help files after installation to find out more. Adjustments may be need to your Internet Explorer configuration in order for you to use this system successfully.

    Although you have a massive amount of email storage to play with, Google has never approved the use of Gmail Drive. While they have also avoided condemning it, this is probably most likely down to the fact that few are using it.

    As such, employing Gmail Drive as a permanent storage solution is not a good idea. Naturally, vital information should always be backed up to a local physical disk in the event of hardware failure or disaster, so as long as you observe these practices, any future removal of data added to your Gmail account with Gmail Drive should be overcome.

    If this is something that has piqued your interest, however, remember that there are other cloud storage solutions out there – see Benefits of Cloud Storage for more