Reminder: Google Drive File Stream

Updated May 8 - As previously announced, the old Drive desktop sync client for Mac and PC (officially known as “Google Drive for Mac/PC”) will be decommissioned starting May 12th, 2018. Google is decommissioning this tool as improved sync solutions have since been introduced for Drive users. Here are some important things to know:

If you haven’t already, upgrade to a newer sync solution.
Google recommends non-consumers (e.g. UAlberta G Suite accounts) to use Drive File Stream, as this solution provides access to content in Team Drives. Backup and Sync which is primarily intended and designed for consumer users is also available. Backup and Sync syncs and stores Drive content locally on your computer which may require additional disk space. For more information on choosing the right sync solution see the comparison chart at the end of this article.

Once the old client is decommissioned, your Google Drive folder will stop syncing.
When the legacy Google Drive desktop sync client is decommissioned, it will stop syncing the Google Drive folder to Google Drive. The local Drive folder (containing any files) will not be deleted from the machine, but changes made inside this folder will no longer sync to Drive.

All About Google Drive File Stream

Available now to UAlberta users! Drive File Stream is a new desktop application that allows users to quickly access Google Drive files on demand, directly from their computer, without the need to wait for files to sync and use up large amounts of hard drive space. 

With Drive File Stream, users can:

  • Quickly see all their Google Drive files in Finder/Explorer (including Team Drives).
  • Browse and organize Google Drive files without downloading all of them to their computer.
  • Choose which files or folders they'd like to make available offline.
  • Open files in common apps like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.


  • Windows 7 and up. Windows Server editions are not supported.
  • MacOS El Capitan (10.11) and up. MacOS High Sierra is currently not officially supported but a workaround is available at
  • NOTE: You must also be signed in with your University of Alberta CCID to access the download/support page.

Download Drive File Stream here.

With this launch: 

  • The previous Google Drive for Mac/PC application is officially deprecated. It will no longer be supported starting on December 11, 2017, and it will shut down completely on March 12, 2018 May 12, 2018. 
  • In October, Drive for Mac/PC users may start seeing messages in the product notifying them that Drive for Mac/PC is going away.
  • If a user is running both Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync on the same machine, they’ll be prompted to stop syncing My Drive with Backup and Sync in order to save disk space.

Known issues and limitations:

  • Team Drive editors won’t be able to upload or edit their Team Drive files when they’re opened in Drive File Stream; they’ll only be able to view them. To edit these files, they’ll need to open them in Drive on the web.
  • Currently, users can't duplicate Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides with Drive File Stream.
  • Collision detection is currently not supported with Drive File Stream. For example, if User 1 opens a Word document and User 2 then opens the same Word document, there is no warning someone else has it open. The copy of whoever saves last is the one that is kept as the active copy. A previous saved copy can be restored with the Managed Versions feature, learn more here.
  • Drive File Stream does not work with endpoint encryption software (e.g. McAfee).
  • Adobe InDesign files are not compatible with Drive File Stream and may get corrupted.

Comparison chart:

Feature Drive File Stream Backup and Sync
Access files in My Drive
Access files in Team Drives
Stream files on demand
Sync only selected folders in My Drive
Sync only individual files in My Drive
Use native applications like MS Word and Photoshop
Sync other folders, such as Documents or Desktop

Drive Help Center - Drive File Stream:
Sync work or school files to your computer with Drive File Stream:

Drive Help Center - Back up & sync files with Google Drive:


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