If you’ve used Google drive at all, you know that you can access your files through a web browser. You’ve also been able to access them using the Google Drive desktop application, which synchronizes files between Google Drive and your desktop computer. That means that every time you added files to Google Drive, it consumed more of your local disk space. Google Drive File Stream works differently. On Windows computers it appears as a drive letter in File Explorer, typically drive G: if that letter is not already taken by another device.
On Mac computers it appears as a link under Devices in Finder.
With Drive File Stream, instead of storing files locally and syncing them with Google Drive, files are streamed on demand as needed. So the files are actually located in your Google Drive in the cloud. They appear to be local to your machine, much like a network drive such as your H: drive, when logged in to a university computer. You can double-click on a Word file and it will download the file immediately and open it in Microsoft Word. You can double-click on Google documents and they will open in a browser window, just as they would if you were using the browser interface to Google drive. You can also copy and paste files into this folder and they will be synced up to your Google Drive. Basically, treat this folder just as you would a network drive. Another added benefit of using Google Drive File Stream is that it not only provides access to My Files, but also Team Drives.
If you’re syncing large files or large numbers of files for the first time, it may take a little while for it to synchronize with Google Drive. You can always check the synchronization status of File Stream by clicking on the File Stream icon () in the lower right-hand corner of your Windows screen. The icon will be animated if there is syncing activity occurring.
The first time you run the program and login to Google, the program should start automatically every time you login to that machine. If your Google Drive File Stream no longer shows up in Explorer or Finder, you may need to restart the program. In Windows, click on the start button and look for Drive File Stream in the list of programs and click on it. On a Mac, open up Finder, go to Applications and launch Google Drive File Stream.
Files that you need to use when you do not have Internet access must be made available off-line in advance. Making files available off-line stores a local copy of the file or folder on your computer, so it is available without Internet access.
On a Windows computer, right-click a file or folder in Google Drive and select Drive File Stream | Available offline:
On a Mac, Ctrl-click the file or folder and then select Drive File Stream | Available offline:
Installing Google Drive File Stream
Google has now retired the Google Drive Sync desktop application. If you’ve been running it, you’ve been prompted to upgrade to Google Drive File Stream. I would encourage you to go ahead and do that. Just follow the instructions as provided by Google. You’ll basically uninstall the old Google Drive Sync application and install Google Drive File Stream in place of it. Files that were on your local drive will remain there. If you’ve never installed Drive File Stream, you can find a link to the files to download by opening Google Drive (https://drive.cedarville.edu) and clicking on the settings gear in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
If you’re using a university-owned computer, Drive File Stream should already be installed on your system. If it’s not, you can install it by opening the CedarNet app on your desktop and clicking on Network Utilities and Google Drive File Stream Installation. You can start the program by clicking on the Start menu and running Drive File Stream. It will prompt you to enter your email address and then take you to the CedarNet login screen. Enter you credentials and it should be ready for use in a minute or so.
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