I would like to take a Time Machine backup, under a folder called "Backups.backupdb" and click and drag it into Google Drive. I am wondering if this process will cause any hard links or anything like that to be deleted? My question basically is, if I were to upload it to Google Drive, then download it in the future, would it be readily usable as a backup to restore a computer?
A copy operation doesn't change the source, so if you copy a timestamped folder from within
Backups.backupdb the Time Machine backup itself will not be touched, and you theoretically get a full backup copied into Google Drive.
Emphasis is on theoretical though, because
- you may not have read permissions on some files/directories in a TM backup
- Google Drive may not support all file/directory attributes and ACLs required for a TM backup to be stored.
Even if you can overcome these obstacles one way or the other, you basically face the same issues again if you want to move the backup back from Google Drive into TM. And with TM being rather picky about access rights etc the chance that you afterwards can restore from such a backup is rather small.
You may be better off using SuperDuper!/Carbon Copy Cloner to create a full image on an external drive now and then.