If your Windows computer is filled with irreplaceable documents and photos, it’s important to protect those files with a backup.
And it's best to do so BEFORE something goes horribly wrong and you lose everything.
However, finding the best Windows cloud storage solutions to keep your files safe can be a time-consuming process of trial and error.
Trying to help you find the best option, I've researched several Windows cloud backup options - and now, I can showcase the best ones around.
These are the best Windows cloud storage solutions:
- Microsoft OneDrive (Windows-integrated cloud storage with full syncing across devices)
- Google Drive (inexpensive cloud storage with the Office Suite for team editing)
- Dropbox (versatile storage space that supports file versioning)
- Box (app-driven cloud solution with excellent data security)
- Carbonite (automatic scheduled backups with unlimited storage)
Free (up to 5GB)
Recommended for syncing across devices
OneDrive is Microsoft’s built-in cloud storage solution for Windows 10 and comes fully integrated into the File Explorer and all Microsoft Office 365 applications. That means that you can save files directly from Microsoft Word or Excel to the cloud or easily drag-and-drop files within the File Explorer to upload them.
Thanks to this seamless integration, OneDrive is extraordinarily user-friendly and doesn’t require any third-party plugins to function fully.
The platform also shines is in syncing multiple Windows computers. For example, OneDrive can back up Windows system and application settings and use them to sync settings across devices. In addition, photos taken on a smartphone running the OneDrive app can be instantly shared across all of your Windows computers and accessed from your online OneDrive account.
Perhaps the best feature of OneDrive for Windows is the inclusion of Files on Demand. This service allows you to access your OneDrive folders and view your files by name, but to only download the files you actually want to open.
OneDrive users also benefit from the platform’s comparatively inexpensive storage options. Users receive 5GB per account for free, and paid plans start at just $1.99/month for 50GB.
- Fully integrated into Windows 10
- Files on Demand saves hard drive space
- Up to 5 GB storage for free
- Inexpensive storage plan pricing
- Requires additional app for iOS and Android devices
2. Google Drive
Free (up to 15GB)
Recommended for editing and managing team files
Google Drive is more than just a cloud for Windows users – it includes a full suite of document, spreadsheet, and photo editing tools similar to Microsoft’s Office 365 platform. That allows Google Drive to serve as a one-stop-shop for file sharing, simultaneous editing by multiple users, and cloud storage.
For users who need to work outside of Drive, Google offers the Backup & Sync desktop app to automatically copy files between the cloud and your hard drive. However, there is currently no way to preview files from your desktop without downloading them.
One of the primary advantages of Google Drive over Microsoft OneDrive is price. Google Drive users receive an impressive 15GB of cloud storage space for free and paid plans start at just $1.99/month for an additional 100GB of storage space. Even better for users with a lot of files, any files created using Google Drive’s suite of apps won’t count against your storage quota.
However, there is a downside to Google Drive: security. Google doesn’t allow users a way to encrypt uploads to the cloud and activity on Drive may be used for Google’s ad targeting business.
- Includes full suite of office applications
- Backup & Sync app for desktop
- Up to 15 GB storage for free
- Many files won’t count against storage quota
- No way to encrypt uploads and activity is not private
- No way to preview files on a desktop without downloading them
Free (up to 2GB)
Recommended for teams that need file versioning
Dropbox is a highly convenient and unobtrusive Windows 10 cloud storage option, although it struggles to compete with Microsoft’s or Google’s offerings on value.
The main advantage to Dropbox is versatility. It’s easy to access your files from any computer and the Dropbox app for Windows makes it simple to drag and drop your files between the cloud and File Explorer. In addition, Dropbox is compatible with nearly every app out there, including Office 365, IFTTT, Zapier, and most email clients.
Another feature of Dropbox that makes the platform simple to use is its file sharing functionality. Users can easily put expiration dates on sharing links and the platform keeps a versioning history of multi-user changes to documents on the cloud for up to 120 days.
On top of that, Dropbox boasts excellent security features. For example, users can be required to log in with two-factor authentication and links can be password-protected.
The downside to Dropbox is that it is one of the pricier Windows cloud storage solutions.
Users only receive 2GB for free and the most basic plan starts at 3TB for $12.50/month.
- Drag-and-drop desktop application
- Compatible with a wide range of applications
- Versioning for 120 days
- Excellent security features
- Only 2GB of storage for free
- Paid plans start at 3TB
Free (up to 10GB)
Recommended for data security
Box is a user-friendly and secure Microsoft cloud storage solution that incorporates many of the best features of Dropbox and Google Drive.
The platform offers a desktop app with a clean and simple drag-and-drop interface to migrate files between the cloud and your computer.
But the real heart of Box’s platform is its web app, which includes a wide array of features and app integrations to allow you to do much more than simply view and share files. The web app includes functions to create and edit new documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows, as well as a music player to listen to music right from your cloud folder.
However, Box does not support simultaneous editing features like those found in Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.
One of the major advantages to Box is that you can rest assured your data will be secure. Box supports 256-bit AES encryption upon upload and there are a variety of third-party plugins available that allow you to audit access to your Box cloud space.
Another advantage to Box is that it offers up to 10GB of storage space for free. While free users are limited to uploading files smaller than 25 MB, a paid plan costs just $10/month and offers up to 5GB uploads and 100GB of space.
- Responsive and simple desktop and phone apps
- Web app supports a wide range of third-party apps and an office suite
- 256-bit AES encryption
- 10 GB of storage for free
- Web app does not support simultaneous document editing
- Free plans are limited to 250 MB uploads
From $6.00 /month
Recommended for automatic scheduled backups
Carbonite is a great Windows 10 cloud storage solution for users who prefer to schedule automatic file backups over copying individual files to the cloud.
Getting started with Carbonite is easy thanks to an interface that walks you through setting up automatic backups for your entire computer or specific folders. While the continuous backup option is quite effective at keeping your files up to date, there are no options for scheduling hourly or weekly backups. That said, the interface offers a simple status indicator for your backups so you always know how long they will take and whether your cloud backup is up to date.
One of the primary advantages to Carbonite over other Windows cloud storage options is its security. Carbonite uses 128-bit AES encryption to protect your files during upload and you can require two-factor authentication to access your files. In addition, Carbonite allows you to create your own encryption key so that no one at the company can access your files.
Unfortunately, Carbonite does not offer any free storage quota. Instead, plans start at $6 for unlimited storage for a single computer.
- Simple to set up automatic backups
- 128-bit AES encryption
- Option to manage your own encryption key
- Unlimited storage with the basic plan
- No file sharing features
- No hourly or weekly backup options
- No free storage options
5 Windows Cloud Storage Solutions: Which One is the Right for You?
Choosing the best Windows cloud storage option to protect your files comes down to things factors such as how much space you need, whether you need collaborative sharing options, and how important scheduled backups are to you. Here’s how the five Windows 10 cloud storage solutions stack up:
- Microsoft OneDrive is for Windows users who want to sync files and settings across all devices
- Google Drive is for users who want inexpensive cloud storage with simultaneous editing capabilities on shared files
- Dropbox is for users who need a high-capacity storage space that supports file versioning and security protocols
- Box is for Windows users who want to work primarily through a web app and need excellent data security
- Carbonite is for users who prefer scheduled backups from a single computer and don’t need file sharing options
Have another Windows cloud storage solution in mind that you’d like to see on this list? Leave me a comment below!
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