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Synchronise your Google Drive files to your computer

**UPDATE: The Google Drive for Mac/PC tool has been replaced by Google Backup and Sync. Please see this newer blog post for information on how to install and use it.**

If you’re like me and store all your files in Google Drive, it can be really convenient to synchronise them to your computer. The Google Drive for Mac/PC tool allows you to synchronise either all the contents of your My Drive, or just selected folders.

When you install Google Drive for Mac/PC it adds a folder called ‘Google Drive’ to your computer. Files you put in your My Drive in the Google Drive web interface will automatically be downloaded to the Google Drive folder. Any files you put in the folder on your computer will be automatically uploaded to Google Drive and shown in the web interface.

The Google Drive for Mac/PC tool is particularly useful if you store non-Google files in your Google Drive (e.g. Microsoft Office files, PDFs, Photoshop files etc.). By synchronising these files to your computer, you can:

  • Easily open and work on them in their native applications: For example, you can open a Word file in Microsoft Word and make changes. When you save the file, the changed version will be automatically synced back up to Google Drive. This eliminates the need to download and upload non-Google files.
  • Access them offline: All synchronised non-Google files can be access without an internet connection. Any changes you make to these files will be automatically synced back to Google Drive when you are online again.
    Note: Google Drive for Mac/PC does not make Google files accessible offline (e.g. Google Docs). To access these files offline, you need to enable offline mode in Google Chrome.
The Google Drive for Mac/PC tool lets you access non-Google files offline & easily open & edit them in their native applications. Click To Tweet


Installing Google Drive for PC

These instructions are for installing Google Drive for PC. If you are using a Mac, check out this  video.

1. Access the Google Drive web interface. Click the Settings (cog) button and choose Download Drive.

Note: If you don’t see this option, it may have been removed by your domain administrator. Visit instead.

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2. Click Download for PC.

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3. Click Accept and Install to begin the download.

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4.Once the file has downloaded, click on the name of the download to start the installation.

Note: This assumes you are using Google Chrome. If you are using another browser, you may be automatically prompted to begin the installation, or need to click somewhere different.

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5. Google Drive for PC will install. You will be notified once installation is complete.

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6. Google Drive for PC should open automatically. However, if it does not open, you can find it using the search function in Windows 10.

Note: If you are not using Windows 10, find ‘Google Drive’ in the Start Menu

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7. Click Get started to begin setting up Google Drive for PC.

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8. Login using the Google account with the files that you want to synchronise.

Note: You can only synchronise files from one Google account.

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9. Click Next at the following three screens to continue the configuration.

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10. At the last screen, click Sync options.

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11. Choose if you want to synchronise everything in your My Drive, or just selected folders.
Note: You need to ensure that you do not choose to sync more data than the hard drive space you have available on your computer.

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12. Click Start sync to complete the configuration and begin synchronising your files!

Check out these instructions for synchronising your Google Drive files to your PC. Click To Tweet

Using Google Drive for PC

Viewing, editing & uploading files

After Google Drive for PC has installed, you will find a folder called ‘Google Drive’ on your desktop and in Windows Explorer.

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You can open and edit the files in this folder in their native applications (e.g. Word, Adobe Reader, Photoshop etc.). Any files you add to this folder will be automatically synchronised to Google Drive and shown in the web interface.


Viewing the synchronisation status

The Google Drive icon will be shown in the taskbar near the clock (bottom right corner of the screen). You can left-click once on this icon to view the synchronisation status.

Note: If you don’t see the Google Drive icon, click on the little arrow on the left of the task bar.

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Pausing the sync or changing settings

You can temporarily stop Google Drive from syncing by using the pause function. This is useful if you are using a metered data network (like the hotspot on your phone), or you are on a slow connect and the sync is using too much bandwidth.

To pause the sync, left-click once on the Google Drive icon in the taskbar (near the clock.). Click the three dots in the top right corner and choose Pause.

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From this menu you can also access the Preferences. Use this to change settings, including what files you are synchronising.

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