There’s a good chance you may already have a cloud storage account that you aren’t using. If you have an Outlook.com, Hotmail, LiveMail or MSN.com e-mail address, you are already the proud owner of a OneDrive Account. If you have a Gmail address, you already have Google Drive storage just waiting for you to use it.

Let’s check it out. If you have a Microsoft e-mail address, I want you to go to www.outlook.com.  and log into your account. Even if you don’t have an account, you can quickly sign up for one by clicking Sign up now. Then fill in some basic information to create your free account.

outlook-sign-up

Click the little square of squares at the top left of your e-mail inbox.

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You’ll see icons for free Microsoft Office programs to use online as well as a blue icon with a cloud in it for your OneDrive.  Click on it.

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With your Outlook.com e-mail address (or HotMail, LiveMail or MSN account) you get 15 free GB of online storage space in OneDrive. If you have a subscription to Office 365, you get 1 TB.

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The same holds true for those of you with a Gmail address. Even if you don’t regularly use Gmail, you might still have a Google account to use in the Google Play store for your Android phone or tablet.  Go to http://www.gmail.com and log into your Google account. Just as with Outlook, if you don’t have an account, you can create a free one in a minute or so.

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In the upper-right, you’ll find a square of squares, similar to the one in Outlook. Click on it.

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Then choose Google Drive.

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Not only do you have 15 GB of free cloud storage available…

google-drive-welcome

…you also have online access to a full office suite with a word processor, presentation software and a spreadsheet.

google-drive-office-suite

There’s nothing stopping you from having both a OneDrive and a Google Drive account. That’s 30 GB of free storage space. You can back up a lot of photos and documents there, even music.

Think about it, even though your stuff may be backed up on an external drive or flash drive, if disaster strikes like a fire or tornado, you’re backup drive will likely be in the same place as your original drive.  Now I’m all for physical backups, too. But cloud backup is just an extra safeguard.

In our next article, I’m going to show you how to easily use those cloud accounts to save files.

~ Cynthia