How to install Google Drive for desktop

Download printable PDF version of these instructions [PDF, 404 KB]

Check if Google Drive for Desktop is already installed

  1. Log onto your Windows computer.
  2. See if the Google Drive icon Triangular google drive icon.  is on the right-hand side of your task bar - you may need to select the arrow to view hidden icons:
    Arrow pointing up on bottom of computer screen to google drive icon.
    If the Google Drive icon is on your task bar, go to the instructions Setting up Google Drive for desktop.
    If Google Drive is not on the list, continue below.

Download Google Drive for desktop

  1. Open your browser.
  2. Search “Download Google Drive” in your browser.
  3. Click on any result from Google.com.
    You will now see something like:
    Screenshot from google drive reading safely store your files and access them from any device.
  4. Click Google Drive for desktop to download Google Drive (Figure A).
  5. Once the download is complete it will look like this:
    Screenshot of complete file download called Google Drive Setup.exe.

Install Google Drive for Desktop

  1. Click on the download (bottom left of your screen - Figure B). it will show
    Googledrivesetup.exe (Windows) or GoogleDrive.dmg (Mac)

    You will now see:
    Screenshot of google drive installer saying 'do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?'.
  2. Click Yes (if you do not have admin rights, contact your IT administrator for assistance).
  3. Choose your preferred shortcuts.
  4. Click Install.
    You will see a progress bar for the installation, and then:
    Google drive popup reading 'sign in with browser'.
  5. Click on Sign in with browser.
    You will be asked to choose your account (see Figure E), or to log in to Google Drive for Desktop.
    Choose an account screen with 'demo account' selected.
  6. Choose your account and/or log in as instructed.
    You will see:
    Screenshot reading 'Make sure that you downloaded this app form Google' with a sign-in button.
  7. Read the pane carefully.
    If you downloaded Google Drive from Google.com:
  8. Click Sign in and log in.
    You will now see:
    Screenshot reading 'Success! You've signed into Google Drive'.
  9. Close the Success pane (Figure G).
  10. Select the installation pane.
    Screenshot reading 'Google Drive successfully installed'.
  11. Click close.
  12. Continue to the instructions Setting up Google Drive for desktop below.

Setting up Google Drive for Desktop

  1. Click the Google Drive icon Triangular google drive icon.  on your task bar - you may need to select the arrow to view hidden applications:
    Arrow pointing up on bottom of computer screen to google drive icon.
    The Google Drive app will open.
    Screenshot with 'Preferences' selected.
  2. Click on the Settings Cog on the top right of the app (‘1’ in Figure 10).
  3. Select Preferences (‘2’ in Figure 10).
    If this is your first time in Google Drive for desktop, you will now see Figure 11.
    Screenshot reading 'Get started with Drive for desktop' with 'Take Tour' selected.
  4. Click Take a Tour to get an overview of Google Drive for desktop.
    When you have completed the tour, you will see:
    Screenshot reading 'Safely back up your files' with 'Add folder' selected.
  5. Click away from this Window to close it.

Choose syncing or backing up

The next guide you use will depend on which option you choose (you should only choose one, and your school may choose for you).

  • Syncing is for people who mainly work with their documents in Google Drive online and want the option of accessing and working with files on their computer. This is the recommended option for people who have reliable internet access.
  • Backing up is for people who are using Google Drive to backup documents that they create, edit, and store on their computer. This is the recommended option for people with who mostly work offline.

Next steps

Follow the instructions in either:

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