Using Google Drive File Stream

 admin
  1. Google Drive File Stream Menu
  2. Google Drive File Stream Missing
  3. Using Google Drive File Stream Mac
  4. How To Use Google Drive File Stream Offline

Finally, now you can tell Google Drive that you want to 'Sync My Drive to this computer.' Put a checkmark on this setting, as this is the one that adds Google Drive to File Explorer (1). Then, you get to see that the default Folder location for the Google Drive folder on your Windows 10 PC is set at 'C: Users Your User Account Folder Google Drive'. In Explorer, when I drag and drop a file into my G-drive and then right-click and go to Drive File Stream, it shows the file is available Online Only (Available Offline is not checked). Drive File Stream. Drive File Stream is an entirely new Enterprise-oriented application. It makes your entire Google Drive available on your computer while using none of your disk space. As long as you are connected to the Internet, you’ll be able to open and edit your Google Drive files right from your desktop. You are essentially streaming files, like you would stream video on YouTube or Netflix. You can also choose to keep certain files or folders offline for editing while you are not. Google Drive Sync would then sit there and delete all the files from one folder and re-upload them to the second folder, a process that could take many hours if carried out on large items, such as movie files. Enter Google Drive File Stream.

How do I install and use Google Drive (formerly File Stream)?

Modified on: Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 11:51 AM

Google Drive is an application that allows you to access all of your Google Drive files on demand, directly from your computer without having to synchronize your entire drive or shared drive (saving storage space on your device). With Google Drive, you can access files in your both own Drive and Shared Drives. With Google Drive, your files are stored on the cloud instead of your computer and any changes you make are automatically synchronized with the cloud for quick easy access from any device that supports Google Drive (including mobile phones, tablets, other computers, or the web).


If you have a university-provided computer, Google Drive should already be installed. If it's not installed or to install for your personal Mac or PC, follow the instructions below.


Download and Install


To download, choose your respective platform:



On your computer, open:


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


Follow the on-screen instructions. Login using your EWU NetID/SSO username and password (use [email protected] for both faculty/staff and students). Select Allow on the permissions prompt.


System Requirements

Windows: Windows 7 and up. Windows Server 2012 and up.

Mac: El Capitan (10.11) and up. For High Sierra (10.13) or newer, follow these additional steps:


  1. Open Drive File Stream.
  2. At the top left of your screen, go to Apple menuand then System Preferences and then Security & Privacy and then General.
  3. Next to 'System software from developer 'Google, Inc.' was blocked from loading,' click Allow.


Microsoft Outlook requirements


Drive File supports Microsoft Outlook version 2010 or greater.

Drive File supports Microsoft Outlook on Windows only.


Using Google Drive

Once Google Drive is installed, a folder called Google Drive will appear on the left in Finder or File Explorer. You will also find the Drive Menu in a different place, depending on what computer you use. On Windows, look for the icon at the bottom right of your screen. On macOS, look at the top right of your screen. Your computer's Google Drive folder will contain both your personal Google Drive and any Shared Drives you can access. The only difference between these files and any other file on your computer is that these files are not stored on your computer by default and any changes you make to them will automatically sync with your cloud storage.


You can install Google Drive on multiple computers and as long as they are all online, they will synchronize your files automatically between every computer.


For additional information about Google Drive, check out our FAQs.

Was this answer helpful? Yes No

Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.
Skip to end of metadataGo to start of metadata

Google Drive File Stream Menu

The ITS Helpdesk can Help

We have provided these instructions so you can perform an upgrade yourself on your own time. While there is a lot of information, we hope the background information and the context in the instructions helps explain why various steps are important.

However, if you would prefer to schedule time to work with the helpdesk to complete this process, we are happy to help!


Email [email protected] with several different hour-long windows of availability (three or more days lead time are helpful for scheduling) and we will make an appointment to assist with this upgrade.

Google software required for syncing files between your computer and Google's cloud storage is being updated. The original deadline for upgrading was March 12, 2018 which was then postponed to May 12, 2018. If you're interested here is Google's announcement and post about the upgrade.

You may be seeing the following pop-up alerts about the change:

Google File Stream basically works like Netflix on Demand. In Netflix there are tons of available movies which you can choose from right there on your TV. When you choose to watch a particular movie or series, it then streams the file to you instantly. That is exactly how Google File Stream works. The files don’t actually sit in your computer, although you can see the file in your folders like normal. Once you click a particular file, that’s when it is streamed to your computer. The best part, there is a way to allow files to be available offline even when you’re not connected to the internet as well.

We'll provide more information below about how to access files offline and configure Drive File Stream to show up in your favorites/quick access menus.

If you have not already started the process of installing Google Drive File Stream, following the steps below, in order, will help produce the smoothest transition. The instructions below are adapted from the instructions written by c2solutions.

Step 0 - Determine where you're at now

It is easy to check which version or versions of Google Drive software you have.

To check this, go to your list of applications and see what entries you have for Google Drive. In Mac go to Finder and open the Applications folder. In Windows go to the Start Menu for the list of applications and apps. 'Google Drive' or 'Google Drive Sync' are the OLD software. 'Google Drive File Stream' is the NEW software.

Once you've found your applications, find the correct description of your status to determine how to proceed:

  • You have NO Google Drive software
    If you have NO Google Drive items you don't have to upgrade. You can skip installing this completely, or to install now, complete step 2 only.
  • You have BOTH Google Drive AND Google Drive File Stream
    This means you have installed the new but have not yet removed the old - this is common. Complete Step 1 and Step 3, skipping step 2.
  • You have ONLY Google Drive and NOT Google Drive File Stream
    You have the old software and need to upgrade - complete all steps below.
  • You have ONLY Google Drive File Stream and NOT Google Drive
    You're all set! You can skip to the bottom of this article to learn new things about Google Drive File Stream if you like.

Step 1 – Unsync All the Old Files

Google Drive File Stream Missing

Google Drive Sync (the old/existing software) worked by physically downloading files and folders to your computer, where they would all take up space. To minimize the space they took, you had to choose which folders to Sync. The new system does not work that way, but you'll need to remove these existing files to make a smooth transition. The process described here helps do that while ensuring that any changes you've made on your computer are syncronized to the cloud before the files stored physically on your computer in this old system are removed.

  1. Make sure files are up-to-date
    This step helps double check all your files are up-to-date. If you rarely or never use Google Drive you can skip this step.
    1. Check drive.google.com (be sure you are signed in with your Carleton account).
      Alternately click the Drive Icon in the grid menu within Gmail or Calendar:
    2. Review the files and folders you see online and compare them to what you have on your computer.
    3. Make sure anything you've updated recently is reflected on both Drive in your browser and Drive Sync on your computer.
  2. Make sure synchronization is complete
    This step helps check that the Google Drive Sync is showing as Sync Complete so that no synchronization is running.
    1. Click the Drive Sync Icon (Windows / Mac, respectively)
    2. Check for the 'Sync Complete' with a check mark next to it (it might be grey and not green)
  3. Make sure syncing is NOT paused.
    1. Click the three dots to open the menu
    2. It should look like this and say 'Pause' (Not 'Un-Pause' or 'Resume Syncing')
  4. Un-sync all OLD Drive Files
    This will unsync all local folders in this OLD Drive location from you computer, recovering all that space. If you have files that are not yet synced, when you click “Apply” anything that hasn’t finishing uploading will first sync changes to the cloud before being removed from the computer.
    1. In the same menu shown in step 3, go to Preferences
    2. In the Sync options tab, select the 'Sync only these folders' option
    3. Un-check ALL Folders In the window (as shown above)
    4. Click Apply

Your Google Drive folder on your computer may still have files in it that are in 'My Drive' but not in any other folder, those will be removed later.

Step 2 – Download and Install Google File Stream

Already Installed?

When you complete this step you MAY get an error saying that Google Drive File Stream is already installed on your computer. If you receive that error, but are still getting a reminder message that you need to upgrade from Google Drive Sync, proceed to Step 3.

  1. Get the Drive File Stream Installation file
    1. Using Step 1 (in Step 1) above, open Google Drive in a browser
    2. At the upper right side of your Google Drive, click the settings cog icon:
    3. Click Download Drive file Stream for Mac/Windows (based on your computer)
    4. On the page that opens, click the button to Download for your Operating System
      (click image to view full size)
  2. Run the installation file
    Install this software as you would install any other application. This may take a few minutes to complete.
    Note: Windows users will be asked to provide their local admin account credentials.
  3. Sign in to Google Drive - use your full Carleton email address
    1. Once the install is complete, you will be prompted to sign in your account
    2. Enter you full Carleton email address
    3. You will see a Carleton sign-in screen - sign in with your Carleton username and password'
    4. You will be prompted to do a two-factor approval through Duo if you are student, staff, or faculty. You will ONLY have to do this once to link your account.
  4. Know the Important Drive File Stream Differences
    Google will typically give you a brief tour, showing you your Google Drive File Stream location on your computer.
    1. The NEW File Stream behaves a lot like Collab and Home used to - you will see it as a drive that is mounted, rather than as a folder in your user directory.
      Below are images of what you will see with File Stream as of spring 2018:
    2. Windows OS
      (Shown in Windows 7, similar in Windows 10)
      Explorer window on the left (Favorites is 'Quick Access' in Windows 10), and the Windows System tray on the right.
    3. Mac OS
      Finder on the left, Desktop on right, and the menu bar below.
      NOTE: For systems running High Sierra (10.13.x) you might see this error:
      IF SO - for High Sierra (10.13.x):

        1. Open Drive File Stream.
        2. At the top left, go to Apple menu and then System Preferences and then Security & Privacy.
        3. Next to 'System software from developer 'Google, Inc.' was blocked from loading,' click Allow.

Step 3 – Delete Old Version of Google Drive Sync

Still seeing Pop-ups?

If you have Google Drive File Stream, as shown above, but are still seeing the pop-ups shown in the 'What's Happening?' section above, then you NEED to complete this step to fully uninstall the OLD Google Drive Sync software. It is a good idea to review Step 1 and make sure you have fully synced and removed your files before completing this step.

This is not included in other instructions and skipping these steps can lead to confusion later.

Step 3a - Remove the Software

  1. On Windows 7:
    1. Open Control Panel (on the right-side of the start menu)
    2. Go to Programs --> Uninstall a Program OR Programs and Features
    3. Find and click on Google Drive NOT Google Drive File Stream
    4. At the top of the list of programs click 'Uninstall/Change'
    5. Complete the uninstallation as prompted
  2. On Windows 10:
    1. Click on the Start Menu
    2. Type 'Add or remove Programs' or 'Uninstall' - you should see the add or remove programs option appear in the Start Menu window.
    3. Click 'Add or remove Programs' to open the control panel window.
    4. In the list of software find and click on Google Drive NOT Google Drive File Stream
    5. Buttons will appear below the Google Drive entry. Click Uninstall
    6. Complete the uninstallation as prompted
  3. On a Mac:
    1. Open Finder and open Applications
    2. Find the Google Drive application and NOT the Google Drive File Stream application
    3. Drag Google Drive to the trash

Step 3b - Remove the OLD Drive Folder

  1. On Windows (7 & 10):
    1. Open Windows Explorer
    2. In the left-hand pane, in Favorites (7) or Quick Access (10) the colorful Google Drive Icon
      IMAGE COMING SOON.
    3. Select the Google Drive Folder (NOT the Google Drive File Stream icon)
    4. Delete the old Google Drive Folder
  2. On a Mac:
    1. There will still be an OLD Google Drive Folder in Finder
    2. Open finder and click on your username to go to your user folder
    3. Find the Google Drive Folder (NOT the Google Drive File Stream icon)
    4. Delete the old Google Drive folder.

G Suite Learning Center has a great introductory Google Drive course that explains many features like opening and editing files, adding files or folders to drive AND making files available offline.

Make Files Available Offline

If you know you'll want to edit a presentation while you're on a flight and don't want to pay way too much for go-go in-flight wifi, you can prepare ahead of time and make files or folders available offline. This will syncronize a copy to your comptuer that will be available even if you don't have network connectivity. If you edit and change the file, then the next time you do have network connectivity, those changes will be synchronized to the cloud. Be sure to only work on files that others will not be editing, or else you will need to manually reconcile the changes later.

  1. Right-click on the file or folder
  2. Click on the 'Drive File Stream' menu item
  3. Click 'Available offline'

Add 'My Drive' to Favorites or Quick Access

If you'd like to get your My Drive folder, or any sub folder, in your favorties area it is a simple drag-and-drop action.

Using Google Drive File Stream
  1. In Finder OR Windows Explorer, click on your new Google Drive File Stream icon
  2. You will see 'My Drive' and 'Team Drives' - click and drag My Drive into the Favorites area on the left panel of Finder or Windows Explorer
    IMPORTANT: Make sure you see the line between two other locations and do NOT select another folder

Using Google Drive File Stream Mac

Here is a video showing the process. Though recorded on a Mac the process is similar on Windows.

How To Use Google Drive File Stream Offline