Deploy Google Drive for desktop

This article is for administrators. To learn how to use Drive for desktop, see the user Help Center.

Deploy Google Drive for desktop to your organization for a quick and easy way for you and your users to access your Drive files from your computer.

How it works

With Drive for desktop, you stream your Drive files directly from the cloud to your Mac or PC, freeing up disk space and network bandwidth. Because Drive files are stored in the cloud, any changes you or your collaborators make are automatically updated everywhere. You’ll always have the latest version.

You can also make Drive files available for offline access. These cached files sync back to the cloud when you're online, so the latest version is available on all your devices.

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Install or deploy Drive for desktop

  1. Verify that Drive for desktop will work for your organization. You can use Drive for desktop on these operating systems:
    • Windows: Windows 7 and up. Windows Server 2012 and up.
    • Mac: El Capitan (10.11) and up. For High Sierra (10.13) or newer, follow these steps.

    Note: Drive for desktop does not yet support Apple M1 devices.

    For the best user experience, we recommend that you upgrade to the latest OS version available for your machine. Also make sure to use a supported browser

  2. If you haven’t already done so, turn on sync for your organization. Make sure to allow Drive for desktop and specify whether users can see Drive for desktop download links.
  3. (Optional) At the same Admin console page where you turned on sync, check Only allow Drive File Stream on authorized devices. This restricts access to Drive for desktop to only devices owned and managed by your organization
  4. (Optional) At the same Admin console page, check Allow users to enable real-time presence in Microsoft Office from Drive File Stream. This lets users see when someone is editing shared Microsoft Office files, and can help prevent editing conflicts.
  5. Install Drive for desktop on each user's computer using one of these options:

    • Let each user install Drive for desktop on their own machine. For this option, users need administrator rights to their computer. 

    • Download the .exe file and deploy it in silent mode:

      Windows
      1. Download GoogleDriveFSSetup.exe.
        Download now
      2. Run the installer in silent mode:
            GoogleDriveFSSetup --silent --desktop_shortcut

        The desktop_shortcut flag for Drive for desktop is optional. Users can also find Drive for desktop in the Windows Task Bar.

        Drive for desktop includes desktop shortcuts to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides by default. You can turn the Docs editors shortcuts off by adding the
        --gsuite_shortcuts=false parameter to the installer.

      3. (Recommended) Uninstall Backup and Sync in your organization.
      4. (Optional) Delete the Google Drive folder at \Users\%USER%\Google Drive. Use caution deleting this folder, as it may contain content that has not yet been saved or synced.

      Note: Drive for desktop is currently not supported on Windows laptops and tablets with ARM processors.

      Mac
      1. Download GoogleDrive.dmg.
        Download now
      2. Run the installer in silent mode:
        hdiutil mount GoogleDrive.dmg; sudo installer -pkg /Volumes/Install\ Google\ Drive/GoogleDrive.pkg -target "/Volumes/Macintosh HD"; hdiutil unmount /Volumes/Install\ Google\ Drive/
      3. (Recommended) Delete the Backup and Sync applications.
      4. (Optional) Delete the Google Drive folder at ~/Google Drive.

        Note: Use caution deleting this folder, as it may contain content that has not yet been saved or synced.

    Drive for desktop comes packaged with Google Update (Windows) or Google Software Update (Mac) to automatically update Drive for desktop on your users’ computers. You can configure policy settings for these applications if you don't want Drive for desktop to automatically update.

If you have problems installing Drive for desktop, restart the computer where you're having trouble and try again.

Tip: As an administrator, you can find information about the Drive for desktop installation in the Admin console. You can verify the version number, last sync date, or the amount of offline data on a device.

Uninstall or reinstall Drive for desktop

Uninstall Drive for desktop

After you uninstall Drive for desktop from your computer, you can still open your files on the web at drive.google.com.

Step 1: Sign out and quit Drive for desktop

  1. On your menu bar, click Google Drive ""and thenSettings "".
  2. Click Preferencesand thenSettings "".
  3. Disconnect account.
  4. In the pop-up window, click OK.
  5. After you are signed out of Drive for desktop, on your menu bar, click Google Drive ""and thenSettings "".
  6. Click Quit.

Step 2: Uninstall Drive for desktop

On a single computer:

Use standard procedures to uninstall the Drive for desktop application. Consult the OS instructions for your computer if you need assistance.

Across your organization:

  • On Windows, use the command:
    %PROGRAMFILES%\Google\Drive File Stream\<VERSION>\uninstall.exe --silent --force_stop

    The --force_stop argument is required if Drive for desktop is currently running. The --silent argument is optional. It will suppress uninstall dialogs and skip end-user confirmation of the uninstall.

    The UninstallString registry key for Drive for desktop, (Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{6BBAE539-2232-434A-A4E5-9A33560C6283}), points to the uninstall.exe.
     
  • On macOS, right-click /Applications/Google Drive.app in Finder, then Move to Trash.

Step 3: Clear files cached on your computer.

Before you clear the Drive for desktop cache, create a backup copy in case you need to later restore the folder. For example, you can copy your existing cache and rename it "DriveFS_old".

Once you’ve verified your reinstallation of Drive for desktop is successful, you can delete this old cache file. If your new installation doesn’t succeed, you can contact support to try to recover your old cache.

The cache folder is found here:

  • Windows: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS

  • Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS/

    On macOS, the library folder may be hidden. To find it:

    1. Open Finder.
    2. On your keyboard, hold Option.
    3. In the menus at the top of your screen, click Goand thenLibrary.

Warning: Be cautious about clearing the Google Drive for desktop cache to try to fix general problems. Files are moved here before they're uploaded. If you clear the cache before an upload is complete, that file will be lost.

Reinstall Drive for desktop
  1. Uninstall Drive for desktop, as described above. Make sure to complete step 3, to clear cached files.
  2. Redeploy or reinstall Drive for desktop.

Known issues

  • You can't currently duplicate Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

  • Drive for desktop currently doesn't support ARM-based Windows laptops and tablets, including the Microsoft Surface Pro X. And Drive for desktop does not yet support Apple M1 devices.

  • Anti-virus software: Certain virus detection and security software can interfere with the operation of Drive for desktop. If you have virus scan software running on your computer and repeatedly see the error "Drive File Stream encountered a problem and has stopped", try excluding the Drive for desktop from your virus scan. If that doesn't work, reach out to support for instructions on how to make Drive for desktop work with your antivirus software.

  • Pop-ups: Some users on Drive for desktop version 41 and prior may report seeing repeated pop-ups to sign-in. This can happen if they've had their account deleted or disabled. If you no longer wish to continue using Drive for desktop and are encountering this issue, we recommend uninstalling Drive for desktop.

    On Windows, you may have to manually stop Drive for desktop from running in order to uninstall it.

    Steps to address this issue on Windows:
    1. Make sure Drive for desktop is running in the background.

    2. Open the Task manager by right-clicking in the empty area of the task bar and selecting Task Manager from the menu.

      Notes:
      • Don’t click any icons or options, as this will display a different menu.
      • If Windows doesn’t respond, hold down CTRL + Alt + Delete and select Start Task Manager from the menu
    3. Click the Processes tab at the top of the screen. Note: On Win10, the processes are listed in 2 groups.

    4. Look for Google Drive for desktop under Background processes. There might be multiple instances of Google Drive for desktop.

    5. Right-click on each process one-by-one and select End Task. Repeat this step until all instances of Google Drive for desktop are gone.

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