Sync Google Drive with Your PC (Overview)
Google Drive is a popular cloud service for file storage and sharing. You can select multiple folders on desktops or laptops to sync them with Google Drive. Thus even if your PC breaks down, these files will stay safe. And if you sign-in the same account on another device, you can sync files in Google Drive to that PC easily.
Compared to direct upload & download, synchronization is a more convenient way and usually implemented by a desktop app of the cloud service. Google once has 2 clients to do this - Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream, but now they have been combined into Drive for desktop, which can sync computer to Google Drive or vice versa.
In the following article, I’ll introduce how to sync Google Drive with PC folders using Drive for desktop, and also an easy alternative in case you want a more flexible solution to manage data between computer and cloud.
How to Sync Google Drive with PC Using Drive for Desktop
Google Drive for desktop is a convenient tool enables you to sync computer to Google Drive and sync Google Drive to computer. It’s practical, easy-to-use, yet also has some deficiencies:
◆It supports you to sync all the files with Google Drive, but any changes made to selected folders will be auto synchronized, and it’s difficult to retrieve an earlier version.
◆It also enables you to back up photos, videos to Google Photos, thus the changes made to the PC folder won't be synced. But this backup option doesn't apply to other types of files. For example, you cannot backup the operating system in case of system failures.
◆Google Docs (Sheet, Docs, Slides) are only available online. You can't view them without internet connection.
What’s more, this app only works between Google Drive and computers. It’s fine with a loyal user of Google, but if you own more than one cloud drive or storage device, you may need an alternative with wider application range to manage data transferring.
By and large, it is an effective and convenient tool for Google Drive synchronization, here's how to set it up.
Step-by-step to sync or backup computer folders with Drive for desktop:
1. Download Drive for desktop here. It can back up all of your content to the cloud, easily access your files in Google Drive and your photos in Google Photos.
2. Launch it and click Sign in with browser. Enter your Google account and password in the web for authentication.
3. Then you can complete the installation properly. After that, click on the Drive for desktop icon on the right-bottom corner, hit the Settings button and choose Preferences, now you can start the setup.
4. First you can choose Add Folder in the My Computer tab. It allows you to specify the certain PC folders to sync with Google Drive.
5. Then you can choose to Sync with Google Drive or Back up to Google Photos. Either one you choose, Google will provide continuous data protection to these files, but there are some differences:
- By the first option, you can sync computer folders to Google Drives while all the changes made to the local folders will also by synced.
- By the second option, you can make a backup of photos and videos to Google Photos, and changes made to them won't be synced. However, this option is not available for other types of files in the selected folders.
6. If you want to do it the other way around - sync Google Drive to PC, you can go to Google Drive tab. It enables you to Stream files or Mirror files from My Drive to your PC. Both options will auto sync changes.
- "Stream files" will store all files in cloud and allows you to access them from your PC. You can also make certain files and folders available offline.
- "Mirror files" will store all files in both cloud and your computer. All the files and folders will be available offline and of course, it will take up more of your disk space.
You can choose according to your needs. For example, you can sync Google Photos with PC via the Stream files option, because phots and videos are usually more space-consuming.
7. Click Save to confirm all the settings and perform the synchronization. It may require a restart to make the changes take effect.
After you set up Drive for desktop on your computer, it will create a Google Drive shortcut with drive letter in Windows Explorer. With it, you can easily access your files and folders in My Drive.
All in all, Drive for desktop is more convenient and comprehensive than the former Backup and Sync, but as you can see, the backup & sync options are still not flexible enough. Also, there are some missing features, such as excluding certain files from selected folders.
FAQ: Why is Google Drive not syncing with my computer?
If you encounter problems along the way with this tool, such as files not syncing between your PC and Google Drive, Drive for desktop stops or quits suddenly, and some other unexpected errors.
In this case, you can try to restart (or reinstall) Drive for desktop, disconnect and reconnect your account, restart computer, or check the Internet connection.
For details, you can view the troubleshooting page of Drive for desktop and find corresponding solution for each symptom. If the problem can still not be solved, maybe you can try the alternative.
Free Alternative to Sync Google Drive with PC in Windows 11/10/8/7
As a free data protection & disaster recovery solution for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista, AOMEI Backupper Standard is not limited to backup and restore, but also integrates file sync feature allowing you to sync Google Drive with PC, or vice versa.
☛ With it, you can create multiple backup & sync tasks at the same time to build a flexible data protection strategy. Not only Google Drive, you are allowed to manage more storage locations such as OneDrive, Dropbox, external hard drive, USB drive, NAS, local PC, etc.
☛ For sync, you can sync folders to cloud drive manually or automatically with a schedule. In advanced editions, you can even sync changed files in real time.
☛ For backup, you can set up a schedule backup to save different copies of files/partitions/system/disk on regular basis. It will run incremental backup by default to save only changed files and therefore save your space.
Download the free Standard edition to have a try:
How to sync Google Drive with PC folders:
1. Open the software, click Sync on the left pane and choose Basic Sync. This mode is available in all editions, with it, files will be synchronized from source directory to target directory quickly and securely.
2. Click Add Folder to select folders you want to sync. You can repeat this process to add multiple folders.
3. To sync computer to Google Drive, click the small triangle beside the destination select box, choose Select a cloud drive in the drop-down menu, select Google Drive in the popping out window and click OK.
✎Note: If you cannot find Google Drive here, please try sharing My Drive folder (This PC > Google Drive > My Drive > Give access to > Specific people...) to use it as a network path. Thus you can choose Add Share or NAS Devices in the select box, and then enter the path to sync or backup with Google Drive.
4. Set up a schedule on Daily/Weekly/Monthly basis and click Start Sync to start synchronization.
✍ Helpful tips:
- In this way, you can sync Google Drive with PC folders automatically. If you want to do it another way around – sync Google Drive to PC, just select the source directory as the Google Drive folder on PC.
- If you want to backup PC to Google Drive, just switch to Backup tab, choose File Backup/Partition Backup/Disk Backup/System Backup as you like.
- Other than the cloud drives offered by third-party providers, you can backup files to AOMEI Cloud. It offers you 1TB free storage for 15 days after you sign up for an AOMEI account.
To sync Google Drive with PC continuously, you could use Drive for desktop developed by Google to specify the folders you want to sync. It supports Google Drive to computer sync as well.
However, this tool is only for Google Drive, and there’s also some inconvenience using it. If you have multiple cloud drives or devices to manage, or you want to backup PC to Google Drive in addition to synchronization, AOMEI Backupper is a good choice with high compatibility and complete features.
With it, you can also sync network folder to Google Drive, sync NAS to Google Drive, sync cloud drive to external hard drive, etc. Even if you want to backup Windows Server to cloud, there’s a Server edition can help.