Transition Backup and Sync users to Drive for desktop

In February 2021, we announced that we’re unifying our two 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 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.

What does this mean for my organization?

Backup and Sync will remain available until October, 2021, after which point users won’t be able to sign in to Backup and Sync. To continue syncing with Drive and/or Google Photos, users will have to move to Drive for desktop. Learn more about these Upcoming changes to Google Drive sync clients.

Please also note that any end users in your organization who are currently using both Backup and Sync and Drive for desktop will be automatically prompted to consolidate to only using Drive for desktop in July 2021.

What do I need to do?

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

To help you manage this change, we’ve drafted an example email to send to your end users (see below). You can also use this example script to see how many end users in your organization are still using Backup and Sync. 

FAQs

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

Use this script to see how many users in your organization are still using Backup and Sync.

What should I communicate to my users?

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

You can instruct your users to move their accounts using the wizard when they won’t need their computer, such as during lunch break or the end of the day, since the scan can take anywhere from a few minutes to multiple hours. The user doesn’t need to be at their computer during the scan and will receive a report when the scan is complete.

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:

Download and run Drive for desktop

  1. Download Drive for desktop.
  2. Run the installer and complete the installation steps.
  3. Start the application:
    • Windows: Open Startand thenGoogle Drive
    • macOS: Open Applicationsand thenGoogle 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 will be given the opportunity to move them all to Drive for desktop.
  5. If the account you are signing in with is also signed into Backup and Sync on your computer, a setup wizard will launch.
    • The wizard will copy your settings and guide you through set up.
    • If applicable, after Google Drive for desktop is set up, Backup and Sync will be 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 18th, 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, and clicking one of these notifications will launch the guided flow. The flow will ask users to sign into the account they wish to transition. If the user has multiple accounts, they will complete the following steps for each account:

  1. The guided flow scans their local and cloud corpus to detect out-of-sync files. This will take anywhere from a few minutes to multiple hours depending on how many files the user has. Users will see a time estimate and progress bar as the guided flow scans their files. The user doesn’t need to be at their computer while this process happens.
  2. Once the scan is complete, users will see a summary of their files and need to decide how they wish to sync their files. 
    1. Users who sync My Drive from the cloud may be asked how they wish to sync their files.
    2. Users who sync folders from their computer will be asked how they wish to sync their files, including whether they would like to back up to Google Photos or sync with Drive.
  3. After the user makes their choice, their chosen solution will begin to sync.
  4. Users can then launch Drive for desktop, which will sync files according to the settings they selected.
What should I recommend my users choose during the transition process?

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

You can recommend which option your users should choose, mirroring or streaming, depending on if your organization prefers to keep files primarily on the local disk or in the cloud.

How do I control this transition process and how is Drive for desktop set up?

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

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

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