Drive File Stream

What is Google Drive File Stream?

File Stream allows the contents of your Google Drive cloud storage to be streamed on demand to your Mac or PC, providing local access to the data you need while freeing up disk space on your local computer. Because Drive files are stored in the cloud, any changes you or your collaborators make are automatically updated everywhere. You’ll always have the latest version.

With File Stream you can:

  • View and organize files in your computer’s native file system, such as Explorer in Windows or Finder in Mac OS X.
  • Open files in their native applications installed on your computer (like Microsoft Office).
  • Mark specific files or folders for offline usage so that they are accessible when you know you will be without internet access.
  • See all of your files in Google Drive without using storage space on your computer.


Before continuing with the File Stream configuration process, please disable the old Google Drive sync app first. Instructions can be found in the FAQ section.

How does it work?

File Stream is powered by an application installed on the local computer, similar to the old Google Drive sync app. When signed into the app, File Stream maps to drive letter G: which can be found via the Start menu > “Computer” or by clicking on the File Stream icon (seen below) located in the system tray at the bottom right in Windows, or at the top right in Mac OS X.

Why move to File Stream?

File Stream is a faster, more efficient way to manage files stored on the cloud. Streaming files on demand as opposed to keeping multiple copies of files “synced” across devices decreases storage needs and potential for data loss!

In addition, Google is deprecating the old Google Drive app and it will cease functioning completely in May ’18, necessitating the need for Allegheny College to move to a new solution.

How do I access File Stream?

File Stream is already installed on all college owned Windows PCs and can be accessed from the Start menu under “All Programs”.

Mac users running OS X version 10.11 and up can download File Stream here. (Note that non-Administrative user accounts will require the assistance of a User Support technician for installation. Please contact the InfoDesk).

Learn More

Additional questions? Check out the FAQ first

Ready to start? Watch a short tutorial here

Contact the InfoDesk by phone at x3768

or email