How to Upgrade from Google Drive Sync to Google Drive File Stream

Today I want to talk about something we’ll all have to be doing very soon. It’s the upcoming upgrade from Google Drive Sync to Google Drive File Stream, which which will affect all Google Drive users. Although some may feel apprehensive of this change, it is actually big improvement on the existing Google Drive Sync and is quite easy to do.

We’ve watched a few of the existing videos about this on Youtube and we couldn’t find any that really covered all the steps you should practically think about and do. So in this document and video we’ll show you how to do it properly.

Major Features of Google File Stream

It allows you to sync Team Drive which Google Sync, the old tool, couldn’t do

Google Team Drives are shared spaces where teams can easily store, search, and access their files anywhere, from any device. Basically it is like Google Drive but unlike files in My Drive, files in Team Drive belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay exactly where they are so your team can continue to share information and get work done.

It reduces the footprint of files in the computer

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.

Steps on How to Upgrade from Google Drive Sync to Google File Stream

Step 1 – Unsync All the Old Files

Let’s go into my Google Drive and see side by side, the files that are synced in my computer with the Google Drive Sync. As you can see, a bulk of the files are sitting in my computer even if they are not being accessed. To ensure that you have the latest files uploaded into the cloud and to lessen your storage space in your PC, the first step is to unsync all the old existing files.

How to Unsync Your Google Drive Sync

  • Make sure that the Google Drive Sync is showing as Sync Complete so that no synchronization is running
  • Make sure the sync tool is not paused to ensure that the sync has been up-to-date
  • Go to Preferences, and this will load all your folders
  • In the Sync these folders only section, Un-tick All Folders Below
  • Make sure all files in the target folders are un-ticked
  • Then click Apply

This will then unsync all your local folders from you computer, recovering all that space.

Now here is the interesting part most people don’t mention. What happens when you have files that are not yet synced when you click “Apply” to unsync your Google Drive? Well, if you go through the above steps and ensure that the Drive sync is running, then if there is anything in your folders that hasn’t finishing uploading it will first sync the files first before closing down.

So all your folders should now be unsync (which removes them) from your local computer Google Drive folder. The only thing that will remain is any files sitting inside the root of your Google drive folder, as there isn’t an option to control the unsyncing of those files.

Step 2 – Download and Install Google File Stream

In your Chrome browser, log into your Google account, and go to Google Drive. From here you can install the new Google File Stream app.

At the upper right side of your Google Drive, click the cog icon, you can see the Download Drive file Stream for Windows option.

If you can’t see this download link, it is because your Google Drive Administrator has disabled it for now as they are the ones in control of when these updates are going to be rolled out in your company. If you can’t see the download link, you can ask the Google Administrator in your company when they will have it available.

So from the cog icon, click Download Drive file Stream for Windows, then on the next screen choose if this is for Windows or for Mac.

Run the file and this will now install your Google Drive File Stream, which may take a minute or two to complete. Once complete, you just need to sign in your account that you want to sync in your computer.

It might prompt you to do the 2-step verification to complete if that is set-up for your company but otherwise you won’t see this step.

You can now see a Google File Stream Drive (usually called G: Drive) on your computer which syncs your My Drive and Team Drive into your computer. The files will “appear” here like normal files on your computer.  When you click to open a file, it will be streamed to your computer on-demand.

The noticeable problem with Google File Stream, is if you are attempting to open a large file. While this is not a problem with those with very fast internet, it can still affect the speed of your experience if you are using a slower internet.

However, this can be fixed by making folders with large files available offline. If you want a certain folder or file to be available offline, you can just right click on the folder and go to Google File Stream and select Available Offline and then this folder will be downloaded offline to your computer.

Any changes you make in the folder will automatically sync up to Google. It will only take seconds or two to initiate synchronisation and the upload speed will just depend on how fast your internet is.

Step 3 – Delete Old Version of Google Drive Sync

Now that you are all done with the setup of the new tool, it’s time to do some cleanup. This is often not covered in other videos we’ve seen on Youtube.

The last step is to delete the old version of your Google Drive. You need to go to:

On a PC go to:

Control Panel → Add Remove Programs → Programs and Feature → Google Drive → R/click and Uninstall

That removes the old program and keeps the new Google File Stream program.

Now there is only one bit left. That is the old files left over from the old sync that use to be done with Google Drive Sync tool. Go to this OLD Google Drive folder on your PC and delete it. DO NOT delete the new Google Drive File Stream folder as you’ll lose files from your actual Google Drive.

In Summary

That covers the complete walkthrough of upgrading from Google Drive Sync to Google Drive File Stream. We’ve discussed all the things you need to consider and different scenarios that could happen to your existing files when upgrading.

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