Google File Stream FAQs

fs8FCPS has been testing Google File Stream for several months as part of Google’s Early Adopter Program. Now that it is available for everyone it is our recommended and supported sync client for Google Drive. File Stream works differently than the Google Drive sync client in a few ways. Below are some FAQs I’ve been asked about File Stream.

How do I install Google File Stream?

  1. fs1Open
  2. Click the cog (Settings) wheel in the top right corner of the screen
  3. Click Download Drive File…
  4. Run the installer

Note: You have to have admin rights on your computer in order to install the client. If you do not have admin rights you can put in a Helpdesk ticket to have File Stream installed for you.

If you are are an admin installing File Stream for another user, have the user run the setup program while they are logged into the computer. Then, enter your admin credentials when prompted.

Update 11/30/17
I’ve gotten reports of some users running Windows 10 not being prompted to enter credentials. Instead they get this error:

If this happens to you follow these steps:

  1. rcBrowse to the location of the installation file
  2. Hold down your Shift key while you right click the installation file.
  3. In the menu choose Run as different user
  4. Enter credentials with admin rights when prompted.

Can I install Google File Stream on my personal computer?

Sure. Hopefully you have admin rights on it 🙂 Follow the steps above.

Once installed, how do I access Google File Stream?

This is one of my favorite parts. Your entire Google Drive shows up as a drive letter. Which letter may vary, but you can see it in File Explorer.fs2
So when you are opening, saving, or editing a file you can access the file the same way you would normally access one on your computer.

Read  New Membership Option for Google Team Drives - Content Manager

Can I access files in a Team Drive using File Stream?

Yes, When you open the drive the first two folders are  My Drive and Team Drivesfs3

Can I edit and save files in a Team Drive using File Stream?

If you have FULL access/permissions (default) to the Team Drive, you can add and edit files in the Team Drive using File Stream. For example, you could create a Word document, picture, or PDF and save it.

Currently, if you have EDIT access/permissions to the Team Drive, File Stream access to the the Team Drive is read only.

Do I need to choose which folders I want to access?

No, every folder and file in your Google Drive will show up in File Streamfs4
The files and folder are accessible, but they are not actually saved on your computer. The cloud on the folder tells you that the file is located in the cloud only. Notice my FCPS folder also has a blue head. That means its a shared folder. You can double-click on a folder or file to open it.

Here’s the files inside my Example Folder. You can see the same cloud image on the file images. Notice I have both Google Documents and Office Documents in the folder plus others.

Can I save and open files in File Stream directly from programs like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint?

Yes, just browse to the File Stream drive letter like you would for a file in Documents or your server folder.

Does File Stream make the “Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office” unnecessary?

Yes. Yes it does.

Read  Save a Google Doc to Multiple Folder Locations within Google Drive

If I save a file in the File Stream drive does it remain on my computer?

No. When you save the file it will be uploaded to the cloud. Once uploaded, the file on your computer is removed. The file will still be accessible like any other file in your Drive. This helps save space on your computer.

Can I make a file or folder available when I’m Offline?

Maybe you are using File Stream on a laptop that you sometimes use when not connected to the Internet or maybe you want to make sure you have a particular file available if you lose network connectivity. You can make necessary files and folders available offline.

  1. fs6Right click on the file you want available offline
  2. Click on Drive File Stream
  3. Click on Available offline


fs7The file icon will change to a blue circle while downloading and then change to a green circle with a check mark when done.

The file is now available offline. If you modify the file while offline, the file will sync the next time you connect to the Internet.

Note: You should NOT make your entire Drive available offline. Our Google Drive spaces are unlimited your computer’s hard drive is not.

Can I use Google Drive Sync and Drive File Stream at the same time.

Installing Drive File Stream does not automatically uninstall Google Drive sync. However, they should not both be used. Google Drive sync needs to manually be uninstalled. We are phasing out using Google Drive sync in FCPS. We will be contacting users with the Google Drive Sync client installed in the coming months to help them convert and/or remove the program.

13 Responses

  1. How is the experience if two users both decide to work on the same Word .docx at the same time. Does the file become locked to the other user until they save and close it ?

  2. Thanks for the great article. We have used Google Drive for years and sync our entire corporate library of files to my laptop. We also sync a big portion to our accountant’s (partial owner) laptop. Please don’t recommend we stop this, I get the unltd file storage online… We have installed new ‘Drive File Stream’ but have not stopped using Google Drive and its sync. The question is, can we migrate to the new tool without resyncing all our 25,000+ files that are already on my and the other laptop? Thanks for opinions.

    1. Hi Darrel,

      Sounds like in your case you want to sync everything or most everything. Unless you need access to Team Drives, changing to File Stream may not be a good idea for you. As to whether or not you could migrate, I wouldn’t try it. I think you would likely end up with duplicate files.

  3. Does anybody know if there is a way to choose which HDD/SSD File Stream uses to store files that are currently being backed up? For example, I’ve a 512GB SSD which is the drive I have installed Windows on. I want to be able to tell File Stream to use one of my 4TB HDD’s to temporally store files on whilst they are syncing.

  4. Anyway to change the default file stream offline data location? Ive got a D: drive where I keep all my data and I’d like for the offline data to be stored there but it looks like it puts it in appdata on C:

  5. When I do not have internet connection on my laptop, I cannot access the files I have selected for “offline access.” The Google DriveFS location disappears so I have no access to those files. Why would that be?

    1. Wait a minute: enabling offline mode in Drive is simply an indirect method of installing BackupAndSync, no? I don’t want to sync my entire folder, just a few selected files.

      And it will definitely get confusing to my users if they all have both BackupAndSync and FileStream installed.

      I was hoping to settle on FileStream, but encourage them to selectively pick certain googledocs for offline editing. Perhaps that’s a pipe dream?

      1. You can enable offline for an entire folder or just specific files. To make Google Docs available, I would just enable offline mode within the web interface of Google Drive.

Have a comment?