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What are the Google Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync desktop apps?


3.0 - Updated on 2020-01-30 by Jen Bellenger

2.0 - Updated on 2018-11-27 by Jen Bellenger

1.0 - Authored on 2017-07-12 by Jen Bellenger

Product Descriptions

Drive File Stream is a desktop application designed for organizations, that allows you to quickly access all of your Google Drive files on demand, directly from your computer. This means you'll use almost none of your hard drive space and spend less time waiting for files to sync. Drive File Stream allows you to stream files, similar to how you stream movies on demand.

You can also choose to keep certain files or folders offline for editing while you are not connected to the internet. The next time you connect, those changes will be synced to Google Drive on the web, and your work will be saved there.

Learn more about Drive File Stream.

Backup and Sync is the consumer successor to the Google Photos desktop uploader and Drive sync app, and is intended for your personal account. Backup and Sync backs up files and photos safely in Google Drive and Google Photos. It provides the same functionality as Drive for Mac/PC did, but also backs up any folder on your computer which you choose to.

Once signed into your Google account, pick the folders that you want to back up, such as Desktop, Documents, and Photos. This can also include attached devices such as drives, or SD cards. Each computer that you backup with Backup and Sync has its own named folder in Google Drive on the web, found in the ‘Computers’ section, which is separate from the ‘My Drive’ section where your Google Drive files are normally stored.

Which option is best?

In general, we recommend that bConnected users utilize the enterprise capabilities offered by Drive File Stream. Backup and Sync may be used by bConnected account holders, and is covered under our G Suite Terms of Service with Google. As such, while it is a consumer application, it may be utilized for UC P3 (Formerly UCB PL1) data. See Google’s side-by-side comparison chart: Choose a Sync Solution.


Can I use both?

You can use both Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream together on the same computer, but Google will prompt you to exclude File Stream from syncing processes.