Drive File Stream

For CWRU community members who use the Google Drive desktop application for PC/Mac to sync files between their local computer and the online Google Drive service.

Drive File Stream for cloud-based storage and Backup and Sync to synchronize local files to Google Drive on the web are now available, and can be installed at any time. Drive File Stream allows for streaming of My Drive and Team Drive files directly from the cloud, reducing sync time and hard drive data storage. With Backup and Sync, Drive content is synced locally to your computer and folders such as Documents and Desktop can be synced—serving the same purpose as the current Drive application. Backup and Sync does not support Team Drives.

Google is recommending Drive File Stream as an enterprise solution for organizations like CWRU that employ G Suite, and is directing general consumers to Backup and Sync. However, the applications can be used at the same time.

For download information and instructions using Drive File Stream:

For download information and instructions on using Backup and Sync:

Please contact the [U]Tech Service Desk with any questions at, 216.368.HELP (4357) or visit

Frequently Asked Questions

Generally, Drive File Stream is a cloud-based solution that streams files online, while Backup and Sync creates backups of folders and files stored on your hard drive. Drive File Stream will typically sync faster and uses very little hard disk space; Backup and Sync will allow syncing of local folders like your Documents folder. Note that Google recommends Drive File Stream for use at large organizations like CWRU, but both applications may be installed and used together. Here is a comparison chart:

Compare sync solutions

Feature Drive File System Backup and Sync
Access files in My Drive Yes Yes
Access files in Team Drives Yes No
Stream files on demand Yes No
Sync only selected files on My Drive Yes Yes
Sync only individual files in My Drive Yes No
Use native applications like MS Word and Photoshop Yes Yes
Sync other folders, such as Documents and Desktop No Yes

Use Box for any work files that need to be treated with confidentiality. Google is not appropriate for these type of information.

It may take longer to complete syncing when working on unusually large files. Try caching the file locally for quicker performance, i.e. save to your hard drive or another local drive instead of through the network / to the cloud, and if necessary do a network sync after work on the file is done.

Yes. Visit the instruction web pages shown above for download information.

In general, most all CWRU users using desktops/laptops supplied by the institution will meet the system requirements.

  • Drive File Stream:
    • Windows 7 and up (Windows Server editions not supported)
    • El Capitan (10.11) and up (instructions are available for High Sierra 10.13)
  • Backup and Sync:
    • Windows 7 and up
    • Mountain Lion 10.8 and up