Cloud Export: Back Up Your Online Data To Your Hard Drive [Windows & Ubuntu]

online data back upBack up information you’re currently trusting the cloud with to your own hard drive. With support for most Google products and a few others, including Twitter and IMAP mail, Cloud Export is a piece of software every cloud computing enthusiast should probably look into.

The cloud is great, but it’s out of your hands. Most of the time that’s fine, but there is always the chance that something goes wrong cloud-side. As such, if you really want to know that your information is safe, you should back it up yourself. That’s why the Data Liberation Front, a service provided by Google, offers guides for backing up Google products.

Guides are nice, but automated software is better. CloudExport is based on what Data Liberation offers; it’s just automated. It comes in the form of a Windows executable (which is easy to use) and a cross-platform python script (slightly less easy to use, but not impossible).

Using Cloud Export

Get started by downloading Cloud Export. You’ll find a .exe file for Windows users and a Python script for everyone else. Windows users can install as usual. Keep reading to find Ubuntu instructions.

Fire up Cloud Export and you’ll see a simple user interface. Click “Add new account” to get started:

online data back up

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As you can see, you’ll need to pick which things you want to back up. Click a general category and you’ll be presented with individual things you can backup:

on line data back up

Select your services and enter your account information. Note that, to back up Gmail, you’ll need to enable IMAP in Gmail.

One you’ve go everything set up you can start the backup process. This might take a long time, especially if you’re downloading all of your email, so be patient:

on line data back up

Your files will be put wherever is configured in settings; by default a new “Export” folder is added to your user folder:

on line data back up

As you can see, I backed up my contacts, calendar and photos. I was particularly happy to get my high-res photos from Picasa:

how to back up data

Overall this is a great way to back up the cloud. Try it out yourself and let us know how you like it!

Currently Supported Cloud Backups

Cloud Backup supports a lot of services already. They are, according to the readme:

  • Normal Google accounts:
    • Contacts
    • Gmail
    • Reader
    • Picasa
    • Blogger
    • Health
    • Finance
    • Calendar
    • Talk
    • Docs
  • Google Apps accounts:
    • Contacts
    • Gmail
    • Calendar
    • Talk
    • Docs
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • XMPP/Jabber
  • IMAP (download email)
  • OFX

See an application you’d like to be included? You can request applications be added to CloudExport.

Ubuntu Instructions

Getting this working in Ubuntu is possible. You’ll need to install one package:


. Install this using apt-get.

Once you’ve done that you simply need to make the file

executable, then run it from the command line:


online data back up

The process should be similar on other Linux systems; feel free to leave information about this in the comments below.


Backing up your information is important, but how many of us regularly back up information we store on the cloud? It doesn’t matter how much you love and trust the companies that are storing your data for you; something could eventually go wrong. If that happens, you’ll be glad you backed up your information.

Do you think it’s worthwhile, though? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, along with any other tips for backing up cloud services.

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