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Transition Backup and Sync users to Drive for desktop

In February 2021, we announced that we’re unifying our 2 existing Drive sync clients—Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream—into a unified sync client called Drive for desktop.

Starting July 19, 2021, Backup and Sync will support a guided flow to help users transition onto Drive for desktop. We recommend that you deploy Drive for desktop to your users currently on Backup and Sync and encourage them to transition to Drive for desktop before August 18, 2021. Any users still on Backup and Sync after that date will receive in-product notifications prompting them to transition to Drive for desktop.


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What does this mean for my organization?

Backup and Sync is available until October 2021, after which point users won’t be able to sign in to Backup and Sync. To continue syncing with Drive or Google Photos, users will have to move to Drive for desktop.

Please also note that starting in July 2021, any users in your organization who are currently using Backup and Sync and Drive for desktop are automatically prompted to only use Drive for desktop.

What do I need to do?

To control the rollout of this change in your organization, deploy Drive for desktop to your users on Backup and Sync and encourage them to complete the facilitated transition before August 18, 2021. The user is prompted to uninstall after their account has been successfully moved. You should not uninstall Backup and Sync until the transition is complete. 

Note: Drive for desktop was previously called Drive File Stream. You may see references to Drive File Stream and DriveFS in the settings.

To specify custom options for users in your organization, see Configure Google Drive for desktop.

How do I find out how many users will be required to move accounts?

To see how many users in your organization are still using Backup and Sync, use this example script.

Note: This script is not developed or supported by Google.

What should I communicate to my users?

To provide guidance specific to your organization about this process, modify the email template below and send it to your Backup and Sync users.

Template of email to send to users

As an organization, we’re moving from Backup and Sync to a new file syncing app called Google Drive for desktop. Drive for desktop allows you to sync local folders to Google Drive and Google Photos. It also allows you to sync files between your computer and the cloud and to upload files to Google Drive and Google Photos from external devices.

Before August 18, 2021, please complete the following steps:

  1. Download Drive for desktop.
  2. Run the installer and complete the installation steps.
  3. Start the application:
    • Windows: Open Start Google Drive
    • macOS: Open Applications Google Drive
  4. Sign in when the application starts using the account that received this email.  If you have multiple accounts signed in to Backup and Sync, you are given the opportunity to move them all to Drive for desktop.
  5. If the account you are signing in with is also signed in to Backup and Sync on your computer, a setup wizard launches.
    • The wizard copies your settings and guides you through the set up.
    • If applicable, after Google Drive for desktop is set up, Backup and Sync is uninstalled.
  6. Click Open Drive for desktop at the end of the wizard to get started.

We are asking everyone in our organization to complete this transition by August 18, 2021. If you have questions or run into issues, please reach out to us.


By when will users be required to move accounts?

Starting August 18, users will receive in-product notifications prompting them to transition to Drive for desktop. The transition period lasts until October 2021, when any users still on Backup and Sync will no longer be able to sign in to Backup and Sync.

If my users don't transition by October, will they lose their synced files?

No. Starting in October 2021, any users who haven’t transitioned from Backup and Sync to Drive for desktop will no longer be able to sign into Backup and Sync. Also, syncing behavior will stop until the user transitions onto Drive for desktop. Any previously synced files will be unaffected.

What does the transition process look like for users?

When Backup and Sync auto-updates to the latest version on Windows computers, a guided flow will appear to help users transition to Drive for desktop.

MacOS users not already running Drive for desktop will need to take an additional step of installing Drive for desktop to launch the guided flow. 

Note: This application requires admin privileges to be installed.

Users will see in-product notifications asking them to transition to Drive for desktop. To transition:

  1. Click one of these notifications to launch the guided flow. 
  2. Sign in to the account you wish to transition to.

The guided flow scans your local and cloud corpus to detect out-of-sync files. This takes anywhere from a few minutes to multiple hours, depending on how many files you have. You see a time estimate and progress bar as the guided flow scans the files. After the scan, you see a summary of your files. 

Note: You don’t need to be at the computer while this process happens.

  1. Select how you wish to sync your files. 
    • Users who sync My Drive from the cloud might be asked how they wish to sync their files.
    • Users who sync folders from their computer are asked how they wish to sync their files, including whether they would like to back up to Google Photos or sync with Drive.

The chosen solution will begin to sync.

  1. Launch Drive for desktop, which syncs files according to the settings you selected.
What should I recommend my users choose during the transition process?

The wizard helps your users transition their accounts from Backup and Sync to Drive for desktop. It recommends specific settings based on the user’s local storage, current syncing preferences and attempts to minimize changes to users’ workflows. The guided flow might recommend mirroring files in order to reduce user change, because this is how Backup and Sync operated.

You can recommend which option your users should choose, mirroring or streaming, depending on whether or not your organization prefers to keep files primarily on the local disk or in the cloud.

Related topics

Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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