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Sync large Google Photos Library to External Hard Drive
April 17, 2018
2:09 pm

Hello!  I am excited to join the community. I am in need of help retrieving photos from Google Photos.

Scenario #1:

I would like to download a large Google Photos Collection (nearly 100,000 Photos and Videos) 

  • Without using Google Takeout 
  • Without having to create albums and download them 1 by 1 (500 photos at a time).  
  • Without having the files take up space on my computer – I would like to use an External Hard Drive.

It can be a one-way sync.  I don’t need to have any changes that I make to the downloaded collection be reflected in my Google Photos account.  

Scenario #2:

Same as Scenario #1 however I would like to be able to make changes on the synced collection and have them be reflected in the Google Photos (cloud) collection.

April 18, 2018
12:40 pm
Forum Posts: 3401
Member Since:
July 2, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I think your answer lies with Google Drive and the Backup and Sync (BUS) utility. Here’s a video that shows installing BUS.

The video just shows the settings for uploading to Google PHotos. YOu want the section called Google Drive, and “Sync to My Computer”  Notice the setting for “Folder Location” – this is where you can specify an external hard drive.

As for the syncing, that would be the setting under My Computer for “Remove from Everywhere”

Let me know if this helps

April 21, 2018
10:08 pm

Thank you!  I have successfully downloaded BUS and can see where I can choose to sync to an External Hard Drive – so far so good.

However, it seems that I can only download from Google Drive – my Google Photos don’t appear to be in my Google Drive.  

A quick search tells me:

“By default, photos and videos stored on Google Photos are not available on Google Drive and vice-versa. This tutorial explains how you can fix this situation.”

First, is there a downside to making the photos and videos available in Google Drive?  

Second, can you confirm this is a necessary step for using BUS?

Thanks Again!

April 21, 2018
11:03 pm

Actually – I think that I have answered my own questions.  I was able to create the Google Photos folder in my Google Drive.  Then sync to my EHD.  Disconnect.  I was then able to delete the Google Photos folder from Google Drive without the photos being deleted from Google Photos.  This accomplished exactly what I needed.  Anything else that I should take into consideration?

April 25, 2018
6:20 pm
Forum Posts: 3401
Member Since:
July 2, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I’m so glad to hear back from you that it worked!

I just have one comment … you say you deleted the Google Photos folder from Drive – if you did that because you think it’s taking up your storage allotment of space, it doesn’t – it’s just a window into Google Photos. You could leave it there, it would see any new photos added to Google Photos and sync them to your computer.

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