For those who haven’t heard, Google has rung the death bell for the Google Drive Desktop client. AKA Google Drive File Sync. Support for Google Drive Sync already ended back in December, but the APIs that allow the tool to continue to function will be shut down on May 12, 2018.

We don’t know exactly what the shutdown in May will look like functionality-wise, but we’d rather not wait and find out. We’re strongly encouraging all of our customers to start proactively switching users to the new Google Drive File Stream client now before Drive Sync disappears.

Google Drive File Stream and Google Drive Sync have two significantly different ways of going about the process of offering you files on your local machine from Google Drive.

Google Drive Sync copies files and keeps them synced to your computer constantly, taking up a potentially significant amount of space.

Google Drive File Stream, on the other hand, creates a false drive and populates it with stub files to make the file system navigable, but takes up very little space until you actually try to use a file. Once you attempt to use a file, Google Drive File Stream downloads it and makes it available to your application.

Keeping these different processes in mind, there are a few steps that you’ll want to do in order to successfully switch to using Google Drive File Stream from Google Drive Sync.

google drive sync advantages vs drive file sync

1) Uninstall Google Drive Sync

Start by uninstalling the Google Drive Sync client from your computer. This will stop any syncing processes from Google Drive and should leave you with your old Drive folder full of files. Make absolutely sure that Google Drive Sync is completely uninstalled from your computer before moving forward, or you will be in for a world of hurt.

2) Verify your files in Google Drive web interface

WIth Drive Sync uninstalled, we want to make sure that you still have all your files before we move on to the next step. Open up your Google Drive in Chrome. Run a few checks to make sure that your most used files are present and current. Once everything appears valid, we can keep moving along the process.

3) Delete your Google Drive Sync folder

This part’s the real nail biter. You need to delete the files in your Drive Sync folder, where you were previously syncing from Google Drive to your computer. This will free up space on your computer and also make sure that you don’t run into any revisioning issues or conflicts after installing Google Drive File Stream. Now would be a good time to double check that the sync client is uninstalled. If it’s not, you may lose all of your files in Google Drive, because your deletion of the files on your computer will be pushed back into Google Drive and deleted there too.

4) Install Google Drive File Stream

With all those old files gone, you’re now ready to install Google Drive File Stream. You can find the installers for both Mac and Windows computers available here. Simply run the application and follow the prompts to install.

5) Optional: Open your most used documents

As mentioned, File Stream works a little differently than Google Drive Sync. You should see icons for all of your documents again in your Google Drive File Stream drive, but the files aren’t actually “there,” and won’t be until you try to access them. I’d suggest making sure you’re connected to a fast internet connection and opening your most used files to get them actively synced back to your system for faster access next time.

As you switch your teams over to the new Google Drive File Stream tool, now is a great time to refresh them on how to use and optimize Google Drive. As always, if you need any help training your teams on Drive, we can help with that too, just drop us a line. Do you have other thoughts in mind? We’d love to hear the other different ways utilize Google Drive File Stream in the comment section.