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Google Drive File Stream

You can install Google Drive File Stream on your Windows or Mac computer as soon as you have access to Google Drive on the web. Google Drive File Stream 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 File Stream, you can open and edit most document types directly out of Drive File Stream 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 File Stream.

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 File Stream; they can only view them. To edit Shared drives files, the editor must open the file in Google Shared drives in a web browser.

Conflict with ESET Antivirus

On a Mac that does not have BigFix installed, the computer will begin responding very slowly when you install Google Drive File Stream. The spinning pinwheel will appear and the computer will respond to your commands very slowly.

To immediately stop the problem, disable the system protection scan in ESET. Follow the steps below to do so.

  1. In the menu bar of the computer, click the ESET icon.

    Image of ESET icon
  2. In the menu, click Disable Real-time File System Protection.

    ESET screen showing option to disable
  3. Click Disable to confirm that you want to disable real-time file system protection.

    Screen confirming disable

To resolve the ESET conflict permanently:

  1. In the menu bar of the computer, click the ESET icon.

    Image of ESET icon
  2. In the menu, click Preferences.

    Screen showing Preferences on menu
  3. In the ESET preferences, click General.

    Screen showing ESET preferences
  4. Next to Exclusions, click Setup.

    Screen showing button to set up exclusions
  5. Next, click the plus sign in the lower left to add an exclusion.

    Screen with plus sign in lower left
  6. In the exclusion path, select Google Drive and then click OK.

    Screen showing Google Drive in exclusion path
  7. The path of the exclusion added in the previous step displays. Click OK to close the window.

    Screen showing exclusion path
  8. Click the ESET icon in the menu bar and click Enable Real-time File System Protection.

    Screen to enable real-time protection
Note: Occasionally, adding the exclusion in ESET does not correct the problem. In this case, uninstall Google Drive File Stream by dragging the application icon to the Trash.

Deprecation of Google Drive for Mac/PC sync tool

With the launch of Drive File Stream, Google deprecated the Google Drive for Mac/PC sync tool. Support for the tool ended in Dec. 2017 and the application is no longer available. As an alternative to Google Drive for Mac/PC, you can use the Backup and Sync tool from Google.

Last modified September 15, 2019