Installing and Accessing Google Drive File Stream

Get more out of Google Drive with File Stream. Learn how to install this syncing tool to allow for offline work, navigation through File explorer/Finder and more

If you use Google Team Drives, you may already be familiar with the vast features and conveniences it offers for collaboration. However, some users may be uncomfortable transitioning to working primarily in a browser. Many mistakenly think they can only access their files with an internet connection. Drive File Stream allows users to sync their Team Drives and individual drives to their computer for convenient navigation and improved offline capabilities. With File Stream, users can navigate to their files as if they are connected locally through File Explorer or Finder.

Below, we go through the steps for setting up a File Stream Sync for your Google business account.  


  • Before you begin, an Administrator at your company must enable File Stream for the company. If there are concerns about intellectual property, it is possible to limit File Stream only to certain devices.
  • File Stream will not work on certain versions of Windows 7 and requires Mac OSX 10.11 (El Capitan) or higher. Make sure you run updates as needed, and we recommend upgrading to Windows 10 for security and compatibility.
  • You must have administrator rights on the computer you wish to install on. If this is a company machine and you do not have local admin rights, contact your IT team to request this installation.

Download and run File Stream

First you will need to download the File Stream application. Follow the links below to start an automatic download.

For Mac:

For Windows:

Most browsers will display the downloaded files at the bottom which you can click to run. If not, go to your downloads folder and open the file DriveFileStream.dmg for Mac or DriveFileStream.exe for Windows.

Usually you can find this at the bottom left of your browser window.

Follow the installation prompts

First you will be asked to allow File Stream to make changes on your device. This requires administrator approval. (If it is a home computer, you most likely have the ability to do this by default.)

You will receive a prompt allowing you to decide if you want any shortcuts installed. Check or uncheck any boxes you choose, and then click “install”.

The default will have one box checked and the other unchecked.

A quick installation process will begin and will finishe by saying File Stream was successfully installed.

The green bar will show your progress. Click close once it is complete.

Access your account with your work email credentials

You will then be prompted to sign into your Gmail account. Enter your email, password, and authentication code (if applicable).

Enter the credential you normally would to access your work account.
Two step authentication is a great tool for added security.

File Stream will begin to sync your Team Drive files to be accessible through your computer. The time this will take will depend on how much data needs to sync and your internet connection.

At the initial install, File Stream will offer a few tips on how to use it.

Once the sync is complete, you can open your Google Drive folder from your computer. In the future, you can find Team Drives near your other drives such as the C: drive. If you have experience accessing a shared drive on a server in the past, this will look very similar to that. 

An example of files synced to the computer accessible through Windows File explorer.

Tips for using File Stream

Explore the added functionality granted with file sync. This gives you the ability to navigate to your online files and folders through any programs that use file explorer including Microsoft Office applications such as Word and Outlook.

You also have the ability to work offline. The default is for all files to be online only to save space and performance of your computer. We recommend only marking files for offline use on an as needed basis.

Using File Stream can have a major impact on adoption of Team Drives even for your more hesitant users. The more staff that are comfortable using this, the better collaboration and security for all.

Valiant Technology is the award-winning managed service provider to innovative industries in New York.

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