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3.0 - Updated on 2019-10-29 by John Kelly

2.0 - Updated on 2018-11-07 by John Kelly

1.0 - Authored on 2017-11-14 by John Kelly

Google has rebranded Google Drive File Stream to be Google Drive for Desktop. 

Google Drive for Desktop is a tool from Google. This tool allows you to gain access to your Google Drive files using Windows Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).

With Google 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 saved 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 offline files sync back to the cloud when you’re online, so the latest version is available on all your devices.

Drive for Desktop also provides you with a free backup tool for your Desktop or Documents folders to Google's Cloud.  

To learn more about using both the Streaming functionality and the backup functionality, including the setup for each, please see this article.

System Requirements: see the Google support page in the Install section below. 

To install 

Go to this Google support page and download the appropriate version for your machine. You must complete the Log in steps below to connect Google Drive for Desktop with your NetID@nd.edu account. 

During the installation, you will go through a few steps. Below are some tips to help with your installation.

  1. When prompted to Log In (which may take several seconds), enter your NetID@nd.edu and leave the password field blank. You will be directed to Notre Dame's Okta screen where you will enter your NetID and password
  2. Click Allow for what Google Drive for Desktop needs access
  3. If you are not prompted for a login, find the Google Drive for Desktop icon and click to complete the setup. For Windows machines, the icon is in your System Tray in the bottom right. You may need to click the up arrow to find it. For Macs, the icon is in your Menu bar

Icon for Google Drive for Desktop Google Drive icon 

To uninstall

After you uninstall Google Drive for Desktop, you can still find your files at google.nd.edu. Please make sure you complete the step where you Quit the Google Drive for Desktop tool in step 2.

Mac

  1. Click the Google Drive for Desktop icon located in your menu bar and verify that all your files have synced/changes updated before proceeding to step 2. Files that have not synced only exist on your machine's hard drive and not in the cloud
  2. Locate the Drive for desktop app in the Top Menu
  3. Click the icon and select the gear icon (or 3 dots) > Quit
  4. Open Finder
  5. Check this path: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS - look in the DriveFS folder - if you find files in here, they have not synced to the cloud and only exist on your hard drive. Be sure to copy these files to a different location (maybe a folder on your desktop, for example). You will want to upload these files to the cloud if they have not synced in order to not lose your work
  6. Go to your Hard Drive - under Locations - on the left. May read Macintosh HD
  7. Now follow this path: /Library/Application Support/Google
    1. If you do not see the Library folder
    2. Within Finder > Go > Home
    3. Now click View in the menu > Show View Options
    4. Click the check box for Show Library Folder
  8. Within the Google folder, you should see a DriveFS folder. Delete that folder
    1. This will not delete all your drive content that exists in the cloud. See step 5 above for what it may delete. 
  9. Reboot your machine
  10. Look to see if Drive for desktop auto-logged you in; look in your Top Menu
  11. If you are logged in, you need to give Drive for desktop some time to rebuild and populate the Google Drive (under Locations in Finder) again.
    1. You can periodically check by clicking the icon to see if all content is done (you will see that) or still syncing
  12. If you are not auto-logged in, open Spotlight Search (magnifying glass; upper right) and type - Google Drive. You should see Google Drive.app. Drive for desktop is actually named Google Drive on your machine. It's an app. 
    1. Click to open and log in if need be.

Windows

  1. Click the Google Drive for Desktop icon located in your menu bar and verify that all your files have sync'ed/changes updated before proceeding to step 2. Files that have not synced only exist on your machine's hard drive and not in the cloud. 
  2. Locate the Drive for desktop icon in your System Tray (possibly try the up arrow) - lower right
  3. Click the icon and select the gear icon (or 3 dots) > Quit
  4. Open File Explorer
  5. Before you clear the cache - check this path: C:\Users\<NetID>\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS folder - look in the DriveFS folder - if you find files here, they have not synced to the cloud and only exist on your hard drive. Be sure to copy these files to a different location (maybe a folder on your desktop, for example). You will want to upload these files to the cloud if they have not synced in order not to lose your work
  6. Go to this path C:\Users\<Your NetID>\AppData\Local\Google
    1. If you do not see the AppData folder, right-click your NetID folder and choose Properties. Under the General tab, select Hidden and the OK button 
    2. Another option is to click the View menu and then see if you find Hidden Items in the ribbon at the top. Click to mark the checkbox
  7. Within the Google folder, you should see a DriveFS folderDelete this folder
    1. This will not delete all your drive content that exists in the cloud. See step 4 above for what it may delete. 
  8. Reboot your machine
  9. Look to see if Drive for desktop auto-logged you in; look in your System Tray.
  10. If you are logged in, you need to give Drive for desktop some time to rebuild and populate the G: drive again.
    1. You can periodically check by clicking the icon to see if all content is done (you will see that) or still syncing
  11. If you are not auto-logged in, click the Windows button in the bottom left and type Google Drive. Drive for desktop is actually named Google Drive on your machine. It's an app. 
    1. Click to open and log in if need be
    2. Give the app time to rebuild and populate the G: drive again