2. Apps‎ > ‎

d. Drive

Access, organize and share all your files from any device, anywhere


Where do I find Google's own information about Google Drive?

Details are on the Google Apps Learning Center here.

How much space do I have on my Google Drive?

Compared to Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive, your Google Drive limit is much larger... 30G.

What is Team Drive?

Team Drive is a new feature of Google Drive (March 2017) that overcomes two problems users often run into when using Google Drive collaboration in the traditional way:
  • When people who have shared Google Drive content leave the organization, their files disappear unless they or the SIL Google Admin team have transferred ownership of that content to someone else
  • When people move content to other folders or even delete content (move files to the trash, those files are rearranged for everyone.
Team Drive provides a place to put files owned by the team (not the individual), so that when a person leaves, any files they've placed on a Team Drive remain.  It also allows the Team Drive administrators to control who may move or delete files, so files remain in expected locations.
You will see an area labeled Team Drives in your Google Drive (online only).  You can create more than one Team Drive.
Comments and Best practices:
  • Use Team Drives to share material intended for public view with others.  Keep personal files and folders that others shouldn't see in My Drive.
  • For improved collaboration, create a Team Drive for each project and assign the highest access level to all team members.
  • For users who need to move large amounts of their content from their My Drive to Team Drives, contact SIL Google Admin for help.
  • Members of a Team Drive have access to everything in that Team Drive.  Access to subfolders cannot be restricted.
  • You can only move files to a Team Drive that you own.  You must ask the owner of files they own to move them to the Team Drive (if they are a member of that Team Drive).
  • Individual files within a Team Drive can be shared directly with non-Team Drive members.  When this happens, the file will appear in their "Shared with me".  They will not be able to choose "Add to My Drive" or add that file to another Team Drive.
Interestingly, there is no mention about a quota for a Team Drive and Google Support (as of March 2017) is saying there is also no impact on an individual user's Google Drive storage quota.
For more information on Team Drives, refer to details on the G Suite Learning Center. or Google's Managing Team Drives.

What are the limits for Team Drives?

  • A Team Drive can contain a maximum of 400,000 files and folders.
  • You can upload up to 750 gigabytes of files a day per Google Drive account. The same quotas/limits apply to Team Drive uploads.
  • A single Team Drive can nest up to 20 subfolders, but Google doesn’t recommended creating Team Drives with a folder structure that complex.
Visit Google's Help Center Article on Team Drive limits for the entire details
For known issues with Team Drives, visit here.  The most significant one is that members with edit access to a Team Drive can only view files in Drive File Stream.  To edit the files, these members must access them in Drive on the web.

What is Drive File Stream?

Launched to early adopters in March, Drive File Stream is a new desktop application that allows you quickly access all of your Google Drive files on demand, directly from your computer, meaning you use almost none of your hard drive space and spend less time waiting for files to sync and minimize the amount of company data stored on your hard drives if the device is stolen.

You can also make Drive files available for offline access. These cached files sync back to the cloud when you're online, so the latest version is available on all your devices.


  • Stream files on demand
  • Access files in My Drive
  • Access files in Team Drives
  • If you have more than one account, easily switch and use a different account
  • Sync only selected folders in My Drive
  • Sync only individual files in My Drive
  • Use native applications like MS Word and Photoshop

Click here for Google’s overview of Drive File Stream.  Click here to view a 90 second demo of Drive File Stream on YouTube though there’s not much covered.

Click here to download Drive File Stream.


Be aware that Google Drive for Mac/PC is officially deprecated and will no longer be supported after December 11, with final shutdown March 12, 2018.

SIL Google Admin has verified that the setting to enable Drive File Stream is on and that the download link for Drive File Stream should appear in the Drive interface when Google turns this on (some time after September 2017).  Since there is an option to allow downloading of Google Drive for Mac/PC, we expect to disable that download ability after we test/prove Drive File Stream.

According to Google Support:

  • If a user runs Drive File Stream at the same time as Drive for Mac/PC, the user is prompted to stop syncing My Drive in Backup and Sync (or Drive for Mac/PC).

If users follow this prompt, they access My Drive only with Drive File Stream. This:

    • Frees up disk space
    • Improves performance
    • Provides a cleaner user experience with a single, preferred way to access My Drive

If users don’t follow this prompt, they access My Drive with Drive File Stream and also sync My Drive with Drive for Mac/PC. This:

    • Nullifies the saved disk space benefit of using only Drive File Stream
    • Potentially leads to confusion, as users see multiple instances of the Google Drive folder and its files
  • If you try to show download links for both applications, only the Drive File Stream link is shown.
The SIL Google Admin team will also be switching from the Google Drive Desktop app to this new solution and share any “lessons learned” with you.  In particular, we hope to a) understand what Drive File Stream settings are available to the user and b) the best guidance about when/how to uninstall the Google Drive Desktop app.
System requirements are Windows 7 and up and Mac 10.11 and up.

What is Backup and Sync

Backup and Sync, like Drive File Stream, is a program that is installed on a computer but, in addition to syncing files to your Google Drive, provides some backup capability.  In some ways it is a replacement for the (now retired) Google Drive for Mac/PC program and has features similar to Drive File Stream.

SIL Google Admin prefers users use Drive File Stream.  We do not use Backup and Sync and can only point users to Google's documentation if you were to have questions or problems with this.

Installing Drive File Stream

  • There is no download link for Drive File Stream within the Drive interface as of October 2017.  The Gear icon still shows “Download Drive” which links to downloading the Google Drive Sync, with no mention that it is being replaced.

  • Open Drive File Stream menu by clicking Icon on System tray (right of taskbar in Windows)

  • Google Drive File Stream appears as a separate drive (e.g. G:) in Windows Explorer

  • To sync folders, right-click on folder name (My Drive or a Team Drive), then choose Drive File Stream and Available offline

It is possible to make all of My Drive available offline

  • If the Google Drive app is installed, after a couple of minutes of syncing Drive File Stream (with Google Drive Sync still running), the prompt appears:

  • Click Yes to disconnect Google Drive for Mac/PC or click No to continue using Google Drive for Mac/PC (in addition to Drive File Stream).

    • If you choose No, you may be prompted again later.


Other Google Drive resources