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How to Use Google Drive in Windows

Updated on December 31, 2017
amuno profile image

Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.

Google Drive is a free Google office suite for online and offline file processing, storage and synchronization. It allows you to create, edit and even collaborate in file processing of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides Forms and Drawing. The Google Drive project was launched way back in April 2012 making it possible for users to create and edit files without the limitations of traditional applications like Microsoft Office.

Google Drive Logo
Google Drive Logo

Drive services were initially possible when you were logged into your Gmail client account, but Google later made it possible for users to create and edit files in the offline mode, on condition that Google folder was installed in your computer.

When you have installed and set up Google Drive services, you receive 15GB free cloud storage and additional 100GB file storage can be purchased at a cost of $1.99 a month.

There are a number of reasons why you may want to set up Google's online service and file storage:

  • Google allows you to back up data away from your home computer and into Google Drive Cloud.
  • Google makes it possible for you to access online data from anywhere, anytime and on any device.
  • Google enables you share office files right inside Drive.
  • Google allows you to edit your work online and offline.
  • Google allows you integrate countless features to its editing tools by use of add-ons.

How to Install, Setup and Use Google Drive

If ever you decide to join the cloud file services you will have a variety of options to pick from.

Whereas a person with an active Hotmail account will find it appropriate to stick with One Drive from Microsoft, an Apple user will find it appropriate to stay with iCloud. Other rather choosy users will possibly prefer DropBox, Box etc.

If however, you are an avid googler, you own a Gmail account and prefer the ease of use that comes with Google Docs and Sheets, then Google Drive is for you. I believe a lot of users fall into this category.

Google Drive pricing
Google Drive pricing

In order to synchronize all your work efficiently, you will have to install a Google Drive client in your computer. Through the client, you will be able to use files uploaded to Drive on and offline

Setting up Google Drive in your computer is as easy as pie. Usually, you will be prompted to install Drive in your computer the first time you log into your new Gmail account. If however your Gmail account is much older, you can read along to install Google Drive.

  • First you need to be logged into your Gmail account.
  • From within your account click the Google Apps shortcut, the first item in the bookmarks bar and then click Google Drive. (see image 1)
  • Or simply install Chrome App Launcher to your Windows' Task-bar, and then click Google Drive. (see image 2)
  • Alternatively, click on the apps shortcut at the top right of the browser, and then select Google Drive. (see image 3)

Image 1: Google apps shortcut on the bookmarks bar
Image 1: Google apps shortcut on the bookmarks bar
Image 2: Google app launcher within the task-bar
Image 2: Google app launcher within the task-bar
Image 3: The app launcher at the top right of the browser
Image 3: The app launcher at the top right of the browser
  • You will be re-directed to a new page as shown below.

Choose between installing Drive into your computer or using online Drive
Choose between installing Drive into your computer or using online Drive
  • When you select No Thanks you will skip Drive installation but will be redirected to online Drive page. Even in this mode you will still have the choice to install Drive at a later date. (see image below)
  • When you select Download Drive you will initiate download and installation of Google Drive into your computer.

Install Drive folder from within Drive
Install Drive folder from within Drive
  • Whichever way you decide to install Drive, the end will justify the means.
  • When you click on Install Drive for PC, a googlesync.exe installer file will initiate and take you through the download and installation process.
  • After installation, you will have a Drive folder right on top of your desktop and a Drive icon in the Notification Area.

Google drive tile.
Google drive tile.
  • For Windows 8 users, a tile will also be created in the Metro Interface.
  • Google Drive will launch prompting you to log into your Gmail account.

  • After you have logged into your account, Google will prompt you to sync and customize Google Drive in the Preferences page. You have Advanced, Account and Sync options to configure.
  • You can decide which folders to sync or not sync in your desktop and whether Drive can start every time your computer starts.

Google Drive preference settings
Google Drive preference settings

Google Sync and Data Use:

NOTE: Sync your folders with the knowledge that huge data spikes will result if you decide to sync large files. Sync what you feel is necessary and disregard useless files.

  • You will now be able to access your folders in your mobile devices and on your desktop.

Google document shortcuts on your desktop
Google document shortcuts on your desktop

Google Drive Folder on the Desktop:

  • Your Google Drive folder on the desktop will show all your folders and files that have been synced across all your devices, and it is in here that you will create and name your sub folders appropriately.
  • You will notice the tick and double arrows:
  • Folders and files with ticks are already synced,
  • The double arrows indicate syncing in progress or folders and files that are not yet synced.

The new Google drive folder.
The new Google drive folder.

Google Docs Extension:

  • You can as well set up a Google Drive Quick Create extension in Chrome to make them accessible when your are browsing.
  • To create Google Drive Quick Create extension, head over to Chrome Webstore and install it.

Google Docs extension in Chrome browser
Google Docs extension in Chrome browser

Google Drive in Offline Mode:

  • You can also use Google Docs in offline mode.
  • Read here for more details.

Google Drive offline mode
Google Drive offline mode

What is your favorite cloud storage service?

See results

Google Drive Vs DropBox

© 2012 Alfred Amuno


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    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i tried but i find it not so useful

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 

      5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks Amuno for sharing this. I started using Google drive and I like it. There is no turning back.

    • Joseph Renne profile image

      Joseph Renne 

      6 years ago from Milton

      I love Google Drive!!! I backup all my Pictures and Videos with this service.

    • amuno profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfred Amuno 

      6 years ago from Kampala

      Any time Malik.

    • profile image 

      6 years ago

      This is very useful for us.Thanks for it.

    • amuno profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfred Amuno 

      7 years ago from Kampala

      Certainly not David. Dropbox has been around for quite some time and so has stood the test of time. If you want to take the free services all the way, you can adopt Drive, Dropbox, Skydrive and anything else out there, as long as you don't get mixed up.

    • profile image

      David Tayzon 

      7 years ago

      is there any issues if i use both dropbox and google drive?

    • amuno profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfred Amuno 

      7 years ago from Kampala

      I should say Google Drive supplements Google Docs quite well. What I like about Drive is the auto creation of cloud folder right on top of your desktop. This aspect makes it easy for just about anyone to implement the program. It's all drag and drop after that a folder has been created for you.

    • reagu profile image


      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      I use Google docs. Perhaps Google Drive would supplement that use. But I thought that many other companies have tried the storage business and failed. Maybe I'm missing something here.

    • amuno profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfred Amuno 

      7 years ago from Kampala

      You are welcome mj2991. Thanks for appreciating.

    • mj2991 profile image


      7 years ago from Pehawar

      Great this for helping

    • amuno profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfred Amuno 

      7 years ago from Kampala

      Yes, new kids on the block Google. Wish them luck and I'm already trying it out.

    • ahmed.b profile image


      7 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you for sharing this info. I didn't know about google drive before and was only using dropbox. Anyhow will give a try to this as well.

    • amuno profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfred Amuno 

      7 years ago from Kampala

      @iwriteforyou; thanks for appreciating. With Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Skydrive, iCloud etc. I know that more are coming.

    • iwriteforyou profile image


      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you for the walk through. Very helpful. I think there is enough space in this market for a few big cloud storage providers.

      More competition means lower prices for consumers so overall I think it's good news

    • amuno profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfred Amuno 

      7 years ago from Kampala

      Thanks Mommy. I appreciate.

    • mommy ara profile image

      mommy ara 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for this. Very useful.

    • amuno profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfred Amuno 

      7 years ago from Kampala

      Yes, you are right about the 'me too' game. Wanting to put their feet in everything. Google does particularly well as a search engine, and multiplication of 'jobs' is a little irritating! We do not want another Microsoft!

    • kev8 profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for that article,very interesting. Google just seem to be playing their usual "me too!" game. I think google drive will be popular for a year or so and will eventually fall by the wayside.I hope dropbox stay dominant.


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