The Google Drive desktop app is a very helpful tool that not only lets you access and alter your Google Drive files, but also automatically back up any files on your computer. This guide will show you how to install, sign in and access your Google Drive files via the Google Drive desktop app.
Installation of the Google Drive Desktop app
Your computer may already have the Google Drive desktop app installed. If you click on the start menu and then search for "Drive" it may already show up as an option.
It may also show up in the bottom right corner as an icon like this.
(If you already have it installed, you can skip to the next section "Signing into the Google Drive desktop app") If you are not able to locate the application, you can download it from our "Software Catalog." Inside of the "PALCS" folder will be an icon for "Google Drive 57.05.0"
If you double click on that icon (or right click and select "Open" or "Repair") it will automatically install that program to your computer.
Signing into the Google Drive desktop app
Once the program is installed on your computer a pop up box will show up that will let you "Sign in with Browser." (If this does not open up in Chrome/your normal browser, you may need to change your computer's default browser.)
If you miss this window (clicking anywhere else on the screen will cause it to disappear), you can click on the grey Google Drive icon at the bottom right of the computer and a "Sign in" option will be there.
This will open up in your web browser and prompt you to select an account. If nothing shows up, put in your full @stu.palcsmail.org address.
Once you enter your Google account, it will send you to the PALCS Lobby to verify your account. Sign in with your normal student credentials.
It will then ask you to verify your identity. Click on "Continue."
Then it will prompt you to specifically sign into the "Google Drive for desktop" application. Click on the "Sign in" button at the bottom right.
When you have fully signed in you will get a screen like this. You are now signed into the Google Drive desktop application.
If you click on the icon at the bottom right it will now look like this.
A new "Drive" will show up in your File explorer window, your Google Drive or "G Drive."
Accessing and uploading files
This Google drive is exactly the same as if you were accessing it through the web interface.
All of your files and folders are there, accessible directly through Windows File explorer.
If you open one of the Google docs/sheets/slides items by double clicking...
...it will open it up with your web browser.
You can also transfer files to your Google drive by dragging files over.
When files are saved/moved in this manner, a little blue circle will show up next to files, indicating that the file is in the process of being uploaded/synced.
Once it finishes, a little cloud icon will show up on the file.
Backing up files and folders on your computer
One of the key functions of the Google Drive desktop app is to automatically sync and backup files and folders on your computer. To set this up, click on the drive icon at the bottom right of the screen, then click on the gear icon at the top right, then select "Preferences."
If this is your first time it will take you through a "Tour" of the app.
Part 1 of the tour.
Part 2 of the tour.
Part 3 of the tour.
Once the tour is complete, you can click on the blue "Add folder" button at the bottom of the screen.
This will open up a window where you can select a folder to backup/sync. (This can be any folder on your computer) A good idea would be to pick your "Documents" folder if you have a lot of files there or your "Pictures" folder if you have a lot of pictures.
Once you select the folder you want to backup/sync, click on "Select Folder." (This example is of a brand new folder, we will see a "full" folder later)
Make sure that the "Sync with Google Drive" option is selected and then click on "Done."
At the bottom right there will be a blue "Save" button. Click on that to save the Folder selection. That folder will now be backed up to Google Drive automatically. In this example we are moving new files into that synced location.
When they are first moved, they will have that blue icon indicating that they are being uploaded.
Once the upload is complete they will have a green check mark.
You can access these files and folders anywhere you are signed into your Google Drive. Click on the "Computers" tab and then "My Laptop" (this name may be different).
Inside of that folder will be any folders that you are backing up with the Google Drive desktop app.
Inside are all the files we moved to that local folder.
In this next example we will be adding a folder that already has existing files. On the Google Drive preferences screen, click on the "Add folder" button.
Select a new folder to backup, in this case we are picking the folder "Pictures."
As there are already files in this location, this is what it will look like. Again make sure the "Sync with Google Drive" button is selected and then click "Done."
Make sure to click on the blue "Save" button or it will not save the Folder selection.
That newly added folder will now show up in your Google Drive.
Any files and folders added to folders that are being synced with Google Drive will automatically be uploaded and saved. Caution, if you remove any files/folders from either location (either locally on the computer or from the Google Drive interface online) they will be synced and removed from the other location.
Google Drive desktop app is a great tool to make sure you don't lose any files.