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Sync Google Drive Files to Your Computer

Several years ago, Google released two standalone products, Google Drive for Mac and Google Drive for PC, which synchronize data between your computer’s hard drive and Google Drive in the cloud.  These products are now being deprecated, and replaced by two new products - Google Drive File Stream and Google Backup and Sync.

  • Google Drive File Stream lets you stream My Drive and Team Drive files directly from the cloud. You can also make Drive files available for offline access. These cached files sync back to the cloud when you're online, so the latest version is available on all your devices.
  • Google Backup and Sync is a straightforward sync tool that syncs and stores Google Drive content locally on your computer’s hard drive.

A comparison of functionality is available from Google. Note: none of these applications are required to use Google Drive on the web, but they have been tools that some people find useful to enhance their experience with Drive.

Timeframe for Changes

  • The earlier sync client, Drive for Mac/PC, is no longer supported. It will shut down completely on May 12, 2018.
  • Google has started making notice to users of the Drive application that they should convert.  Based on the information in this document, you will soon need to upgrade.


  • For Mac, there are some known issues with Google Drive File Stream listed below that are impacting people who use some antivirus tools.  Our current recommendation is to delay upgrade until May so that Google might improve its antivirus compatibility with Brown’s recommended Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) client.  Alternately, you can download and install Google Backup and Sync to achieve similar functionality and avoid conflict with antivirus software.
  • If you are a Mac user with OS X 10.10 Yosemite or below, you should use Google Backup and Sync as Google Drive File Stream requires OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
  • For Windows, allowing normal conversion of Google Drive to the Google Drive File Stream will provide the best user experience going forward.

Known Issues

  • Windows: Google Drive File Stream requires Windows 7 and up. Windows Server editions are not supported.
  • Mac: Google Drive File Stream requires OS X 10.11 El Capitan and up.  (Google Backup and Sync is recommended for OS X 10.7 to 10.10.)
    • To use Drive File Stream on macOS 10.13 High Sierra:
      1. Open Drive File Stream.
      2. Open System PreferencesSecurity & Privacy.
      3. Next to "System software from developer "Google, Inc." was blocked from loading," click Allow.
  • Mac: If installing on a Mac with Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) installed, the system may become unresponsive. Adding the /Volumes/Google Drive/*.* path to SCEP exclusions along with turning off “Scan on: File open” under Real-Time Protection will permit Google Drive File Stream to operate without causing the system to become unresponsive. However, if issues persist, it is recommended to uninstall Google Drive File Stream.

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