Drive for Desktop

What is Google Drive for Desktop?

Google Drive for Desktop 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 Drive for Desktop 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.
  • Access the contents of any Google shared drives to which you have access.

Name Change

In January 2021, Google discontinued the name “File Stream” for a similar product. The new name is Google Drive for Desktop. Over time, as Google updates their documentation, LITS pages will be updated to reflect the new name.

How does it work?

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

Why use Drive for Desktop?

Drive for Desktop is a faster, more efficient way to manage files created on your computer, like MS Word, and 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!


How do I access Drive for Desktop?

Drive for Desktop 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 Drive for Desktop 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

Contact the InfoDesk by phone at x3768

or email webhelp@allegheny.edu