Andy Wolber thinks that Google Drive for Desktop is a must-install app for individuals who use Google Workspace with Home windows or macOS techniques.

Illustration: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

The Google Drive for Desktop app provides individuals who use Home windows or macOS gadgets streamlined entry to Google Drive folders and information. The app handles duties beforehand supplied in two separate apps, the Google Drive File Stream app and the Backup and Sync app. The app could also be added to a system both by a person or deployed by an administrator to organization-managed gadgets. On Home windows, the app seems within the system tray (decrease proper nook), whereas on macOS, the app shows within the menu bar (prime of the display screen).

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As soon as put in, the Google Drive for Desktop app delivers 4 key options for individuals who use Home windows or macOS gadgets. First, it allows you to entry Google Drive out of your native system (i.e., both Apple’s Finder on macOS or Microsoft’s File Explorer on Home windows) with out the necessity to open an online browser. Second, it means that you can choose and sync information and folders between your system and Google Drive. Third, Drive for desktop additionally gives the power to backup pictures (together with screenshots and RAW pictures) to Google Photographs. Fourth, chances are you’ll now check in to as many as 4 completely different Google accounts directly, which provides you entry to information and distinct configuration choices for every account. The next sections cowl key factors of every of those options.

(Observe: Needless to say a Google Workspace administrator could management organizational entry to Drive for desktop. If you cannot entry the Drive for desktop app with an organizational account, ask your Workspace administrator to assessment settings within the Admin console | Apps | Google Workspace | Drive and Docs | Google Drive for desktop.)

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1. You may have native file system entry to Google Drive.

The Drive for desktop app allows you to browse Drive folders and information, simply as you browse information and folders saved in your system’s native storage (Determine A). Meaning chances are you’ll open and save gadgets from Drive a lot as you’d different information in your system. With out the Drive for desktop app, you’d have needed to open a browser, go to, choose a file, then obtain it to your system. Or, conversely, undergo comparable steps after which choose a file to add it. The Drive for desktop app obviates all of that: Simply navigate with the usual file system controls to work with Google Drive information.

Determine A

Upper left screenshot from Windows shows both a G: drive (for one Google account) and an H: drive (for a second Google account), with My Drive and Shared drives folders displayed. Lower right screenshot from macOS shows a single Google Drive, with My Drive and Shared drives folders displayed.

The Google Drive for desktop app allows you to entry information and folders on Drive out of your native file system, as proven right here within the Home windows 10 File Explorer (higher left picture) and macOS Finder (decrease proper picture).

2. You may customise offline merchandise entry.  

With Drive for desktop, chances are you’ll select both to Stream or Mirror information from Drive to your system (Determine B). Select to reflect information solely when you’re sure you could have sufficient native space for storing for an area copy of every little thing you could have in your Google Drive. In case you select the Mirror choice, the system syncs your Google Drive storage together with your system. Excellent news: Meaning you may have entry to your whole mirrored information–even if you’re offline. Unhealthy information: You might want to watch your storage.

When you have a dependable web connection, I like to recommend most individuals select the stream setting. Once you select to stream, the Drive for desktop app nonetheless exhibits you every little thing saved on Google Drive, however solely downloads gadgets as wanted. This feature means chances are you’ll use a pc with little or no native storage and as a substitute depend on Google Drive principally as a distant cloud drive. 

Importantly, even when you choose the stream choice, chances are you’ll manually choose folders and information to sync. For instance, if there is a specific folder that accommodates gadgets you all the time need accessible, chances are you’ll choose it after which right-click (on Home windows) or control-click (on macOS), then modify the offline entry to make it accessible offline.

Determine B

Screenshot of the initial Drive installation screen that explains the Stream files and Mirror files options. Stream stores items in the cloud, while Mirror syncs everything for offline access.

Within the Google Drive for desktop app, chances are you’ll select both to Stream or Mirror information between Google Drive and your native storage.

3. You may configure Photograph backup.

Google Drive for desktop can also backup pictures out of your system to Google Photographs. Similar to the Google Photographs apps on iOS and Android, you’ll be able to select to add pictures both in unique high quality or in a compressed model, labeled as “storage saver” mode. 

Two different photo-related choices allow you to select whether or not or to not add screenshots or RAW pictures to Google Photographs (Determine C). RAW pictures could also be considerably bigger than conventional jpeg or heic format information, which may have each storage and bandwidth utilization implications. Uncheck the RAW pictures field to forestall the app from importing RAW format photograph information. The screenshot setting, nevertheless, is useful if you need to maintain Google Photographs largely targeted on photos you both seize with a digital camera or create with an app. Uncheck the screenshot checkbox to maintain screenshots from being uploaded to Google Photographs.

Determine C

Screenshot of the Drive for desktop Google Photos settings, with Upload size options, as well as file type checkboxes for Upload screenshots and Upload RAW files.

Choose both Storage Saver or Unique High quality for pictures uploaded to Google Photographs.

4. You may entry information from as much as 4 accounts.

Google Drive for desktop helps as much as 4 completely different work, college or private Google accounts. Meaning chances are you’ll use the app to entry each a Google Drive for work and a Google Drive private account, with each accounts signed in concurrently (Determine D). For instance, on Home windows, your work account could be added as a G: drive, whereas a private account is the H: drive. You might configure settings, comparable to real-time presence indicators for Workplace modifying, for every account individually.

Determine D

Screenshot of Drive for desktop Preferences page, with three of the author's accounts displayed: Two are paid Workspace accounts, while one is a personal account.

Add as much as 4 accounts inside the Drive for Desktop app. These accounts could also be a mixture of organizational and private accounts, as proven right here.

What’s your expertise with Drive for Desktop?

In my view, the Google Drive for Desktop is a must-install app for individuals who use Google Workspace with Home windows or macOS techniques. In case you’ve put in and used Drive for Desktop, what has your expertise been? Have you ever discovered the up to date and consolidated app to work easily in your macOS or Home windows system? How has the app modified your workflow? Let me know what your Drive for Desktop expertise has been, both within the feedback beneath or on Twitter (@awolber). 

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