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Drive for desktop

You can install Drive for desktop on your Windows or Mac computer as soon as you have access to Google Drive on the web. Drive for desktop is a desktop application that lets you stream My Drive and Shared drives files directly from the cloud.


  • Frees up disk space and network bandwidth.
  • Decreases sync time.
  • Minimizes the amount of company data stored on users’ hard drives.

With Drive for desktop, you can open and edit most document types directly out of Drive for desktop without having to download the file onto your computer. When you make edits to the file, the changes are automatically saved in My Drive.

You can also make My Drive and Shared drives files available for offline access. These cached files sync back to the cloud when you are online, so the latest version is available on all your devices.

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Limitations/Known issues

There are a few limitations and known issues with using Drive for desktop.

Shared drives file editing

If you share a document in a Shared drive with a person who is not a member of that Shared drives, that person will only have the ability to “edit” the file. Shared drives editors cannot edit any Shared drives files when they are open in Drive for desktop; they can only view them. To edit Shared drives files, the editor must open the file in Google Shared drives in a web browser.

Note: Starting July 19, 2021: Backup and Sync will support a guided flow to help users transition onto Drive for desktop.
Starting Aug. 18, 2021: Any users still on Backup and Sync will start to receive in-product notifications prompting them to transition to Drive for desktop.
Starting Oct. 1, 2021: Any users still on Backup and Sync will no longer be able to sign in to Backup and Sync. To continue syncing with Drive and/or Google Photos, users will need to transition to Drive for desktop. 
Last modified July 15, 2021