Here are common questions for admins who manage Google Drive for an organization, about streaming or syncing Drive files to users' devices.
If you use Drive File Stream, your Drive files are moved to the cloud, freeing up disk space and eliminating the network bandwidth needed to keep all your files synced from your computer to the cloud. You can stream Drive files on demand, or make them available for offline access.
If you use Backup and Sync, your local files will remain in your Drive folder on your computer, and a synced copy is also stored online. You can also configure Backup and Sync to delete local files and keep them safe in the cloud.
With Drive File Stream, files are stored in the cloud and don’t need to sync with online versions, saving network bandwidth. Files that are cached for offline access will sync back to the cloud when you’re online.
Backup and Sync doesn't throttle bandwidth by default, but you can choose to limit your bandwidth settings. You can also pause syncing at any time if Drive is consuming too much of your Internet connection.
See Back up & sync files with Google Drive to learn how to limit bandwidth.
Yes. As the administrator, you can turn on or off Drive File Stream, Backup and Sync, both, or neither. See Turn on sync for your organization to learn more.
Yes, if both applications are allowed in your organization. Learn what happens if you allow both applications.
Backup and Sync supports APFS, HFS+, and FAT (on OS X), and ReFS, NTFS, and FAT (on Windows). There is currently no support for network volumes (e.g. SMB or NFS).
Files deleted from Drive File Stream will be purged from the system trash after 30 days.
The Drive File Stream content cache supports connected APFS, HFS+, or NTFS file systems. File Stream currently doesn’t support network volumes (for example, SMB or NFS).
File Stream creates a virtual Drive, which appears as a FAT file system.
Note: FAT has some file size limitations. For example, the largest possible file for a FAT32 drive is 4GB (minus 2 bytes).
- You can’t upload a folder larger than the available storage in the partition where the cache folder is located.
- File stream will show a limited Drive quota (even for unlimited accounts), according to the available space in the local drive where the cache is located.
We recommend that you use Backup and Sync, as File Stream cache and FAT limitations might cause errors. In any case, please always keep a copy of the original (use copy/paste, not cut/paste), as we can’t recover files that never made it to the cloud.
Furthermore, if you try to drag a .gdoc or .gsheet file from your desktop into a shared drive in your browser, you will see the error message "Can’t duplicate filename.gdoc.” Instead, to add a file to a shared drive, use a web browser and follow these instructions.