Fix problems in Drive for desktop

If some or all of your files are not syncing between your computer and My Drive, follow the troubleshooting steps below to fix the problem.

Basic troubleshooting

You might encounter these general problems with Drive for desktop:

  • Files not syncing between your computer and My Drive.
  • Drive for desktop stops or quits suddenly.

Try to fix the issues with these basic steps:

  • Checking your computer's internet connection.
  • Restarting Drive for desktop.
  • Restarting your computer.
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting your account.
  • Reinstalling Drive for desktop
Check your internet connection
Ensure your internet connection is stable. Certain firewall, proxy, and other network settings may interfere with Drive for desktop's operation. Learn more about Drive’s firewall and proxy settings.
Restart Drive for desktop
  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
    1. Mac: In the top menu bar, click Settings Settings and then Quit.
    2. Windows: In the bottom right taskbar, click Settings Settings and then Quit.
  2. Reopen Drive for desktop
Disconnect & reconnect your account
Important: Any files that failed to sync previously may have been moved to your Lost & Found folder, which will be deleted when your account is disconnected. Before you disconnect your account, copy those files to a safe location.
  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
  2. Click Settings Settings and then Preferences and then Advanced Settings Settings.
  3. Find the account you want to disconnect.
  4. Click Disconnect account.
    • If file sync is unsuccessful, Drive for desktop offers to move unsynced files to Desktop to avoid data loss.
  5. Sign in again.
  6. Choose a new location for the Google Drive folder.
Reinstall Drive to desktop
  1. On your computer, go to the Drive download page.
  2. Download the most recent version of Drive for desktop.
  3. Install the application.

Drive for Desktop Onboarding

Download Drive for Desktop

Important: Before you start, check that your operating system is compatible with Drive for desktop.

  1. Download Drive for desktop:

    DOWNLOAD FOR WINDOWS DOWNLOAD FOR MAC

    1. On your computer, open:
      1. GoogleDriveSetup.exe on Windows
      2. GoogleDrive.dmg on Mac
    2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Install and open Drive for Desktop

Install Drive for Desktop

On your computer, open:

  • GoogleDriveSetup.exe on Windows
  • GoogleDrive.dmg on Mac

Follow the on-screen instructions to install the Drive for Desktop.

  1. Install the application on your computer.
  2. On your computer, you'll find a folder called "Google Drive."

Open Drive for desktop:

When you install Drive for desktop on your computer, it creates a drive in My Computer or a location in Finder named Google Drive. You can find Drive for desktop File in a different place, depending on what computer you use:

  • Windows: At the bottom right of your screen.
  • Mac: At the top right of your screen.

Any new files or folders you create in Drive or Drive for desktop sync and appear on all your devices.

  1. Click Drive for desktop > Tap your name > Open Google Drive.
  2. In My Drive or Shared drives, double-click the file that you want to open.

Sign in to Drive for desktop

When you open Drive for desktop for the first time to log in:

  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
  2. Click Sign in with the browser.
  3. Sign in to the Google Account you want to use with Drive for desktop.

Fix error messages

Can't add files to shared drive
View the Shared drive limits in Google Drive article for more information on shared drive limits.
Your disk space is low or your storage is almost full
You must have enough local storage to sync files via Drive for desktop. Local storage includes your hard drive and any removable devices (USBs, external hard drives, etc.) that you use.
If you get a low disk space error, free up space on your hard drive:
  1. Delete files on the drive listed in the message, for example, C: drive in Windows.
  2. Exit Drive for desktop.
  3. Restart Drive for desktop.
You can also unpin files managed by Drive for desktop and use offline files .
Google Workspace storage is full
If you don’t have enough Google storage, free up space or get more storage from Google One.
This error can also occur when you try to sync changes to a file you don’t own and the owner doesn’t have enough storage. To sync changes, contact the file owner to either transfer ownership or ask them to manage their storage.
You don't have permissions to sync files
You don’t have sufficient Google Drive permission to sync changes you’ve made.
To sync changes to these files, contact the owner of the file or folder you want to modify and request edit access. If the file or folder is in a shared drive, contact the shared drive’s admin or manager for access.
Your computer won't allow you to sync files
Drive for desktop needs permission from your computer to sync files.
To sync these files, be sure you have permission to read and write in the file or folder.
  • On Windows:
    1. Right-click on the file or folder.
    2. Click Properties.
    3. Check the “Security” tab.
  • On macOS:
    1. Right-click on the file or folder.
    2. Select Get Info.
    3. Check the “Sharing and Permissions” section.
On macOS, you may have to grant access to specific Folders or to your Apple Photos collection by changing your “Security & Privacy” settings in System Preferences. Learn more about macOS requirements.
Files are too large or too small

These items can’t be backed up to Google Photos:

  • Photos larger than 200 MB or 150 MP
  • Videos larger than 10 GB
  • Files that are smaller than 256 x 256 pixels

If your file is too large, you can:

  • Reduce size of photo/video.
  • Delete photo or video.
  • Move photo or video to a non-syncing folder.

If your file is too small, you can:

  • Delete photo or video
  • Move photo or video to a non-syncing folder
Tip: Some applications automatically create photo thumbnails or other files below the size limit.
Can’t locate folder

If you moved the Google Drive folder to a new place on your computer

  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
  2. On the notification, click Locate.
  3. Select your renamed version and then click Open.
  4. Google Drive will reconnect.

If you renamed your Google Drive folder

  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
  2. On the notification, click Locate.
  3. Select your renamed version and then click Open.
  4. Google Drive will reconnect.

If you deleted the folder you are mirroring your My Drive to

  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
  2. On the notification, click Stop syncing this directory.

If you don’t want to sync that folder anymore

  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
  2. Go to Preferences and then select the folder and uncheck Drive and/or Photos.

After you locate your missing folder, it will take some time for Drive for desktop to complete.

Can’t locate files in the cloud
Changes can’t be synced because the file has been deleted or unshared with you in Drive.
  • To sync changes, ask the owner to reshare the item with you.
  • If the item has been deleted, remove it from the syncing folder and add it back.
  • If you don’t want to sync changes and want to resolve the error, delete the file from your computer.
Can’t locate files on your computer

Changes can’t be synced because the file may have been deleted or moved to trash on your computer.

To sync changes, restore the item from your computer’s trash.

Files exceed bandwidth, upload, or download limits
Some files can only be downloaded a limited number of times per day. Further, Drive users are subject to a daily upload limit.
In these cases, Drive for desktop will automatically retry later, which will sync the file. If it does not, wait a day and restart Drive for desktop.
Can't upload Google files

The Google file you’re trying to sync has been corrupted. Since Google Docs (.gdocs) and other Google files' content aren't stored on your computer, using a third-party editor to make changes to these files can corrupt them. To resolve the issue, make a copy of the original Google file in Drive Web and delete the invalid Google file on your computer. You may need to reshare the file with collaborators.

Fix a corrupted directory on Mac

Important: You need to be an administrator for your computer and enter your computer password to complete these steps.

If you use Drive for desktop on MacOS Mojave or High Sierra, permissions required to sync Drive files can get corrupted.

To resolve this issue:

  1. On your computer, click Finder and then Applications.
  2. Open the Utilities folder.
  3. Click Terminal.
  4. Enter sudo kextcache -clear
  5. Press Return.
  6. Enter sudo mv /private/var/db/KernelExtensionManagement /private/var/db/KernelExtensionManagementBackup
  7. Press Return.
  8. Enter sudo kextutil -l /Library/Google/DriveFS/dfsfuse.kext
  9. Press Return.
  10. Launch Drive for desktop.
Can't load account

Some reasons your account won't load include:

  • You aren’t connected to the internet.
  • You don’t have any available drive letters (Windows only).
  • Your proxy settings don't allow Drive for desktop to run.
  • Your admin doesn’t allow Drive for desktop for your organization or on your device.

To load your account:

There was an issue with your streaming location
The streaming location you selected is already in use or can’t be found.
If the streaming location you selected is a drive letter, it may be in use by another device. Drive for desktop will select the next available drive letter. To use the drive letter you picked, disconnect the device that uses that letter.
If the streaming location you selected is a folder, ensure that the folder is empty and that Drive for desktop has permission to access that location.
Can’t sync file or can’t save changes to original file
Your original file isn’t accessible, but a copy of the file with your edits exists under its original parent folder. If the original parent folder is no longer accessible, the file is moved to the root of My Drive. In certain cases, the file may be moved to Lost & Found.
This error happens when:
  • Your local changes are incompatible with changes in the cloud.
  • The original file has been deleted or moved.
  • You no longer have permission to edit that file.
  • You move a file into a deleted folder or a folder you don’t have permission to edit.
To sync your changes, make sure you can access the original file. If you do not own the file, request access from the owner of the file or folder. If the file or folder is in a shared drive, contact the shared drive’s admin or manager for access.
Can’t sync file/ folder - moved to “Lost & Found”
In rare cases, Drive for desktop is unable to upload a file due to permissions, network errors, or other reasons. The unsynced file is copied to a “Lost and Found” folder on your hard drive. When this occurs, there is a notification shown with a link to open the “Lost and Found” folder. By default, this folder is located at:
  • macOS: /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS/<account_token>/lost_and_found
  • Windows: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS\<account_token>\lost_and_found
Important:
  • For macOS: The “Library” folder is hidden by macOS by default. If it’s hidden for you, you can access this folder by opening Finder, then at the top-left corner, clicking Go and then Library.
  • For Windows: You can find the AppData folder by typing %AppData% in the address bar directly.
    • The <account_token> folders correspond to each of the accounts that are signed into Google Drive. The folder name is a long string of numbers.
      • For example, folder name: 1245555729303
In order to sync your changes, review the files in the “Lost and Found” folder. Move these files back into My Drive to retry syncing, or to another location on your computer.

Important: If you disconnect your account, any files stored in your “Lost and Found” folder are lost.

Drive for desktop encountered a problem & stopped

Certain virus detection and security software can interfere with the operation of Drive for desktop.

If you have virus scan software on your computer and repeatedly get the error "Drive for desktop encountered a problem and has stopped," exclude Drive for desktop from your virus scan.

  • For Windows: The default streaming location is G:, but may be another location that you've configured.
  • For macOS: The default streaming location is /Volumes/GoogleDrive, but may be another location that you've configured.

Advanced troubleshooting

Google Drive can’t back up or sync your folder
You must give the selected folder read and write permissions for Drive to sync your folder.
  • For macOS:
  1. Select your folder in Finder.
  2. At the top-left corner, right-click or select File.
  3. Select Get Info.
  4. In the table under “Sharing & Permissions,” make sure your username has “Read & Write” privilege.
  • For Windows:
  1. Select your folder in File Explorer.
  2. Right-click.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Click the Security tab.
  5. In group or user names, click your username, make sure you have “Allow” for all the permissions and no check marks under “Deny.”
  6. To edit your permissions, click Edit.
  7. Click OK.
Google Drive can’t start due to a configuration folder error
Drive uses the configuration folder to store critical application settings and data; you must give this folder full permission and ownership for Google Drive to start.
  • For macOS:
Grant permissions to these folders. To grant folder permissions, use the steps in Google Drive cannot back or sync your folder.
Important: The “Library” folder in macOS is hidden by default. If it’s hidden for you, you can open Finder, at the top-left corner, click Go and then Library.
  • /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Google
    • If you don’t have permission to this folder, you won’t have the DriveFS folder. Once you grant permission to this folder, you ‘re able to start the app and the app will create the DriveFS folder.
  • /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS
  • For Windows:
Grant permissions to these folders. To grant folder permissions, use the steps in Google Drive can't back or sync your folder.
  • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\
    • If you do not have permission to this folder, you won’t have the DriveFS folder below. Once you grant permission to this folder, you are able to start the app and the app creates the DriveFS folder
  • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS
Tips:
Local cached files directory isn’t accessible
  1. Navigate to your local cached files directory specified in the notification, or the path that's shown under the local cached files directory setting.
  2. Navigate into the local cached files directory, make sure each of these folders has read and write permissions.
    • You find a folder or folders with a long string of numbers as the folder name
      • For example, folder name: 1245555729303
    • Each of these folders is for each of the accounts that are signed into Google Drive.
  3. Navigate into the account folders and find a folder named “content_cache.”
    • Make sure each of the “content_cache” folders within your account folders have read and write permissions.
Troubleshoot startup failure with File Provider

Google Drive is unable to start when it encounters a File Provider initialization error. This error is an error from macOS. If you encounter this error:

  1. Update your macOS operating system to the latest version
  2. Restart your computer

Send feedback

  1. On your computer, open Drive for desktop.
  2. Click Settings Settings and then Send feedback.
  3. Type your feedback.
  4. To give us insight into what is wrong, click Include diagnostic logs.
  5. Click Submit.

Send an error report to Google

Learn how to capture Google Drive for desktop logs for support.

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