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Google has two distinct Desktop applications for syncing your data to Google Drive and your Desktop. They are called Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync.The differences between these two options and guidance as to which would work best for your needs is discussed below. 

Drive for Mac/PC (the desktop application) is no longer supported as of Dec. 11th, 2017 and will completely shut down on May 12th, 2018. The web application will still be available and supported. 


Which should you use?


Drew University uses Google’s G Suite, therefore, employees and students have the option of using either Drive File Stream or Backup and Sync – or both. If you have been using the older Google Drive for PC/Mac utility to synchronize files between Google Drive and your workstation, but a significant number of those files aren’t needed on your workstation and are taking up a lot of space, you may find that Drive File Stream is a good choice as you can select individual files to synchronize. Additionally, if you use Google Team Drives or anticipate using them in the future, then Drive File Stream would also be a good choice as it supports synchronizing files from Team Drives to PCs and Macs, which Backup and Sync does not.


If you have been synchronizing folders on your PC/Mac from locations other than the Google Drive folder on the workstation, for example from your Documents folder or various subfolders, then the Backup and Sync utility may be a good choice as it supports this pattern of syncing whereas Drive File Stream does not.


You also have the ability to utilize both Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync. If you feel that this combination of features best suits your needs, make certain that you exercise care in configuring synchronization settings to avoid the two utilities working at cross purposes. See warnings related to this issue under the instructions for installing Backup and Sync.

We suggest that if you use the current Drive application, that you uninstall it and remove the Drive folder that you would use to sync your files. Be careful that you do not place files into this folder after uninstalling the application as they will no longer sync with your Google Drive. 


Drive File Stream

Drive File Stream is intended for use by G Suite users. You will be able to access both your files in My Drive and in any Team Drives that you have access to.

This is different from the consumer-oriented Backup and Sync because your files are not kept on your computer by default and allows for greater control of what files are synced.

For more detailed information, click the following link.

Installing and Configuring Drive File Stream on PC/Mac

Backup and Sync

Backup and Sync is intended for use by general consumers, but also can be used by G Suite users. You only have access locally on your PC/Mac to your My Drive – you don't have local access to any Team Drives – and it keeps all of your synced data on your computer.

The biggest difference from Drive File Stream is that you can choose to have folders such as Documents or Desktop synced to your Google Drive.

For more detailed information, click the following link.

Installing and Configuring Backup and Sync on PC/Mac


A brief list of differences between both applications can be seen below.