Google Drive and Docs Tips

Change the Google Drive default folder Click for larger image and screenshots

Change the Google Drive default folder

Use this tip to change the default folder location in Windows

When you download Google Drive to your PC a default folder will be created in C:\Users\[your name]\Google Drive. If you want to change the name or location of this folder you can do so by following the steps below. This tip is useful if you need the Google Drive folder to have a standard url for all your company - for 3rd party apps for example.

  1. Click on the Google Drive icon in your system tray (usually bottom right of your Windows task bar)
  2. Choose Preferences
  3. Choose Disconnect account, your Drive will be disconnected but your files will stay on your PC
  4. Click on the Google Drive icon again
  5. Sign in when asked, step through the set up until you reach screen 2 of 2 - then click Advanced setup
  6. Click Change to choose the folder name and location - if you choose an existing folder it must be empty
  7. Your files will now be re-synced down to your PC in this new location
  8. Delete the old folder and files - if you want to.
An alternative method, without disconnecting your account:
  1. Click on the Google Drive icon in your system tray
  2. Choose Quit Google Drive
  3. Now move the Google Drive folder within Windows Explorer to a new location
  4. Restart Google Drive from Start --> All Programs
  5. Google Drive will warn you that it can't find the folder, click on the Google Drive icon again and choose Error - Google Drive folder is missing
  6. A window will open up, choose Locate folder and go find the new Google Drive folder.
Let us know if you have any other tips on moving the Google Drive default location in the comments.

Power tip New!


Paulo Leonardo
It worked. Smooth and quick. Thanks.
25 October at 10:31 Reply to this comment
Molliez Falla
thanks this really helped.
18 October at 06:50 Reply to this comment
Sam Booth
My Google Drive on Windows 8 has no Preferences option. How do I change the Google Account Google Drive is using without the Preferences option?
16 October at 19:15 Reply to this comment
Glenn Yeaw
Please add the fact that Method 2 DOES NOT WORK if you are changing drives!!!
07 October at 00:21 Reply to this comment
Mark Timberlake
Thanks for the help. :-)
02 October at 12:32 Reply to this comment
Kevin Reith
This will now update the original file on the C drive that was uploaded to google drive?
30 September at 19:19 Reply to this comment
J.David Correa R.
Great tip, very useful to keep my data safe in a second hhd partition and backed online up.
28 September at 14:37 Reply to this comment
George Walker
First option worked perfectly. Thank you!
19 September at 16:18 Reply to this comment
Simon Conway-Smith
I just tried method #2, exiting GD, moving the folder to another location on the same disk (C:) and restarting GD, BUT... it recreated the folder under c:\Users\username\Google Drive! It didn't ask me where I had moved the folder to, and is now re-syncing >2000 files into the recreated folder.
16 September at 11:20 Reply to this comment
Liam Dodd
while the top set of instructions worked for me fine, don't do this if you're in the middle of something important - all of my windows tasks had been restarted!
14 September at 20:22 Reply to this comment
Greg Burton
It moved the folder alright - but it HAS TO DOWNLOAD EVERYTHING AGAIN!
04 September at 09:39 Reply to this comment
Mark Kelly
Well that is supremely annoying!!! Vital info that moving the drive must be to a location with the same drive letter is buried in the comments!!!
30 July at 23:40 Reply to this comment
Dean Morrison
Does anyone know if the name of Google Drive needs to be Google Drive. I am trying to find a Way to Sync two cloud folders as one and so far placing them inside each other just causes problems. I am wondering could I use this method and instead of moving and re-selecting the folder called Google Drive I could choose another folder like Creative Cloud?
23 July at 17:50 Reply to this comment
Federico Aragon
Google Drive is terrible....having to create a new folder to resync in a new location is ridiculous. Fix it, or Box and Dropbox will always be better that you.
22 July at 16:40 Reply to this comment
Alexander Mikheev
Haha! As always from Google - nice services and dumpy apps.
21 July at 08:15 Reply to this comment
dania bdeir
Hello! Someone just shared with me a very large folder on Google Drive. I would like to download the contents straight to an external harddrive because I do not have enough space on my computer. How can I change the download destination for just that folder? I do not want to have to change all my files locations, just this one. Thanks!
14 July at 18:36 Reply to this comment
Tomas Shippy
Excellent. Thanks.
25 June at 10:52 Reply to this comment
Misti Hope Wudtke
Worked like a charm. Thanks.
19 June at 18:54 Reply to this comment
Mark Roome
Mark W - thanks for your prompt reply. As well as selectively selecting which sub-folders I want to sync, can I also change the location of this local folder to another drive besides C:? i.e. following this article.
10 June at 13:50 Reply to this comment
Mark Roome
Can someone confirm whether it is meant to be links or files stored in my Google Driver folder on C:\Users\[name]\Google Drive that syncs with the cloud? I have read in numerous places it is only links but in my case this folder contains all the files ie the folder is a mirror of the cloud Drive (which has now taken all space C: drive space) or have I got this wrong?
10 June at 13:20 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams Hi Mark, The Sync is files, with the aim being you store a local copy of a file on your C Drive - so you can work offline and open files such as Office or PDFs without the need to download first. So, if you chose to sync everything, your C Drive may well have filled up. You can select to only sync certain folders - which is what I recommend you do.
10 June at 13:31
niku jomiru
thanks,it worked
27 May at 11:57 Reply to this comment
niku jomiru
thanks,it worked
27 May at 11:57 Reply to this comment
niku jomiru
thanks,it worked
27 May at 11:57 Reply to this comment
niku jomiru
thanks,it worked
27 May at 11:57 Reply to this comment
niku jomiru
thanks,it worked
27 May at 11:57 Reply to this comment
Gerrit Barrere
Worked perfectly, thanks! I would put the alternative method first though -- it seems more straightforward.
25 May at 00:36 Reply to this comment
Akis Katsoupakis
Many Thanks ! This worked at once, and on Mac (10.8.5) ! In fact, the only difference on the mac is that upon signing in, Advanced option is in the last screen.
20 May at 08:40 Reply to this comment
Michael Champion
Well, I guess it didn't go thru!!! Here it is... Method 1 will work under all circumstances, but *must* re-download *all* the data. Method 2 will work *only* under the circumstances when the original Google Drive Folder is MOVED ON THE SAME DRIVE LETTER. That is to say if you *move* - not copy - the folder from its original location under c:\users to anywhere else on the c: drive - and only the c: drive - then Google will reconnect to the folder just fine. This same behavior is exhibited with NTFS permissions. If you *copy* a folder, whether on the same drive letter or a different one, the underlying meta data will be created anew and will not be identical to the original. If you *move* a folder to a different drive letter, you are technically doing a copy then delete, because of how NTFS perceives the nature of drive letter structure. Thus the underlying meta data is again, created anew. But when you move a folder (and all this applies to individual files as well) on the *same* drive letter, the actual folder and its files and sub-folders are never touched and stay in their original place on the drive - only the top-level directory pointer is changed. That's why very large moves on the same drive letter are instantaneous. Thus, if after a folder action, the underlying meta data of the original Google Drive folder remains unaltered, the Google sync software will pick it back up again without a problem. But if you perform an action that causes NTFS to change the underlying meta data, the sync software will refuse it as being "not the original". It is best to consider carefully on which drive you want the folder to be *before* setting up the sync. The advanced option *is* presented on the install, but I didn't notice it even myself the first time I installed it. If you lose your initial opportunity to place the folder, then it is best to stop the initial sync asap, move the folder according to Method 1 in the article, and then restart the software on an empty folder located on the desired drive. Don't waste time on the initial sync - you will lose it anyway. There are times when setting up a cloud sync folder (regardless of which product being used) where you desperately want to avoid very large amounts of download time - hundreds of gigabytes can take *days* to download. It is particularly frustrating when you have a full local copy of exactly what is in the cloud. You wish you could just copy your version to the new Google Drive folder and Goggle would say "Hey, everything's exactly the same! There's no work to do". This is called "pre-seeding". Pre-seeding requires "master-slave" and hashing features, which most of the popular cloud file sync products, including Goggle Drive, do not have. So when you *copy* a folder to a new location, you are in effect, pre-seeding that new folder location, which Google Drive cannot handle. Because of the associated risks, Google Drive will always refuse to initiate on anything but an empty folder. If you attempt to trick Google Drive with some kind of pre-seeding action, then you end up with *everything* that was pre-seeded duplicated. With Google Drive, this will look like Filename.txt and Filename(1).txt, or FolderName and FolderName(1). The reason for this is that it is too complex and too time consuming for Google to *guarantee* that no non-duplicate data was not deleted - it is possible to have two file versions with the exact same name, dates, and sizes, but not the same contents. Consequently, Google refuses to assume pre-seeded files are *exactly* the same, and which on future file activity, would get deleted or overwritten.
03 May at 04:41 Reply to this comment
Priscilla Allan Thank you - this explains my problem - trying to move Google drive from C to D. I cut and pasted, but now I can see even if I "moved" the outcome would be the same. So I need to start a fresh - but that is ok now I understand why! Thanks Heaps Michael the Champion.
26 August at 10:19
Michael Champion
Hmm... Did my long post about why Method 2 only works on the same drive letter not come thru to you or did you reject it for some reason?
03 May at 04:30 Reply to this comment
Michael Champion
Hmm... Did my long post about why Method 2 only works on the same drive letter not come thru to you or did you reject it for some reason?
03 May at 04:30 Reply to this comment
Graham Taylor
the google drive app for windows has in my opinion been updated since this help file was written, please check and correct if neccessary...
01 May at 21:51 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams Graham, we do check. This tip still works for us. What didn't work for you?
02 May at 09:16
Joe Bradfield
This worked great. Now you can keep the Windows files on C and then use this as a cloud location on a different partition without eating up all of the C:\ drive.
25 April at 18:03 Reply to this comment
Allen Lantz
11 April at 03:02 Reply to this comment
Jimmy Jawbone
Alternative method doesn't work for me. I received an error message saying "This is not your original Google Drive folder. Please find and locate the original."
10 April at 23:26 Reply to this comment
Jimmy Jawbone that is "Please find and SELECT the original."
10 April at 23:27
Jimmy Jawbone
Alternative method doesn't work for me. I received an error message saying "This is not your original Google Drive folder. Please find and locate the original."
10 April at 23:26 Reply to this comment
Rich Pasco
In my prior post, the formatting was omitted. The error message was "This is not your original Google Drive folder. Please find and select the original."
08 April at 08:36 Reply to this comment
Rich Pasco
I followed exactly the directions in the "alternative message" but when I followed step 6 I got the error: This is not your original Google Drive folder. Please find and select the original. It was the folder in its new home after I had moved it per step 3. So I quit Google Drive, moved it back to its original location and tried again, got same error message.
08 April at 08:35 Reply to this comment
Jerry Banfield
Thank you this worked!
04 April at 16:34 Reply to this comment
Jeroen Burgmans
I would like to use a location on a network disc but GD says it cannot access this. How to solve?
03 April at 19:32 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams You can't solve this unfortunately, the app can only be added to a local drive, it won't work on a network.
04 April at 09:05
Sandeep Gurram
thanks bro.. !!!
31 March at 14:17 Reply to this comment
Sandro Amashukeli
Great job, thanks; I wondered why drive does not ask for location to be installed as most other programs do. that should be fixed. otherwise works perfect :)
27 March at 18:59 Reply to this comment
Brian Ward
I have 89GB. It really stinks to have to resync it all.
23 March at 18:12 Reply to this comment
Jessica Lace
How can I choose a folder over a network?
18 March at 23:17 Reply to this comment
David Dozier
Great suggestion, worked perfectly on m Windows 8.1 system! Thanks much.
14 March at 20:48 Reply to this comment
Eric A.
07 March at 16:00 Reply to this comment
Wouter Bongaerts
02 March at 10:14 Reply to this comment
Rajas Gujarathi
Main method works perfectly fine in Windows 7... I just now tried it....
21 February at 06:19 Reply to this comment
Marat Avetisyan
The second method also failed. When I located the folder in its new location the error message came up...Find and select the original folder. It is really ridiculous. Any ideas?
16 February at 13:16 Reply to this comment
Marat Avetisyan
I used the 1st method to relocate my SkyDrive folder from C:\Users\Username\Google Drive to D:\ hard drive but when D:\ is selected as the new destination I get the error message like the folder is not empty. So I would like to know: A: Is it possible to change the location right into the drive without selecting any empty folder in it? How? B: If I use the second method, will that work for me if I just copy the Google Drive folder right into D:\ drive and then point to the new path? Thanks
16 February at 10:59 Reply to this comment
Keila Cunha
eu to gosta bem agora google+
29 January at 17:53 Reply to this comment
William Hagerman
The alternative doesnt work. must locate orignal drive.
18 January at 17:49 Reply to this comment
Ryan Edel
Main method works in Win 7, but not exactly as written. After disconnecting my account, I had to replace Step 4 with uninstalling Drive and then reinstalling. Relatively painless, though - all other steps remain the same, though, and it appears to be working fine. Also, a quick tip: I recommend pausing your Dropbox Sync on ALL your computers until you've completed the Google Drive setup and allowed enough time for your Drive folders to sync from Drive on ALL computers. Or, alternately, you could simply choose one computer that will sync your Google Drive to Dropbox, and then other computers can keep Google Drive in its own folder (to prevent confusion.) One potential issue I foresee is that Dropbox might sync from one computer, and then Google Drive will lose track of what's been synced and then start downloading extra copies to Dropbox. But I don't know if this will happen - I'm still waiting for all my syncs to complete. (But I need Drive in the Dropbox folder on both my computers because one stays home and the other travels, and I usually don't like waiting when syncing Drive PDF's to Dropbox to get them on my tablet...yeah, sometimes I hate my life...)
13 January at 04:28 Reply to this comment
Alfred Schmidt
The drive must be NTFS formatted. This precludes using most SD and USB memory storage devices. This is an ouch since I have a tablet and would like store my files on an SD rather than use limited space on the installed memory.
10 January at 15:04 Reply to this comment
Eric Sebera
Thank you, It works.
06 January at 12:31 Reply to this comment
Many thanks followed your instructions and it worked first time on my iMac.
30 December at 22:48 Reply to this comment
Kevin Kirchner
Alternative Method doesn't work with Windows 7.
10 December at 16:08 Reply to this comment
Mark Walton
Anders has described the error that occurs when the "Locate Folders" button is selected. Look at the "Disconnect Account" option and it says the new location must be an empty folder. Is that the problem in the alternative account method? And it still requires downloading already synched files?
30 November at 19:17 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams
Hi Artur, Anders The alternative method should work. Do you not see a "Locate folder" button? The 2 PC question, you can only sync Drive to one PC - ie if you have 2 Google accounts you need to choose one to sync to one PC - you can't sync files from both. If you have 2 PC's and 1 Google account then that is fine - log in to your Google account on both PC's. Hope this helps.
29 November at 14:17 Reply to this comment
Artur Fernandes
I have almost 200Gb of data stored in Google Drive. The disk where the folder is located is presenting issues and I replaced it. I moved all the files to the new folder in the new disk and it will be insane to download all the data from the web. When I try to do the alternative method I face the same error Anders mentioned. How to solve this problem?
29 November at 02:19 Reply to this comment
Anders Svarrer
The alternative method doesn't work, When you locate the new Google drive folder, you are told: This is not the original Google Drive Folder, please locate the original folder. A question: if you have Google Drive to sync on two PC's which one decide what should be on the google drive on the net? for example if I delete something, on on PC the other update the file I have just deleted, and if I delete it on the net, it is sync'ed from the local drive before deleted in both places ( or all 3..) The only way to clean up in files and folders are to, as far as I can see, to delete local drive folders, stop sync/ first of course, and then clean up and re assign to your account from scratz. Can be very confusing, I tried but then I all of a sudden had doubles of all files on the net, that then again sync'ed to the local drive and than I also had doubles there..
18 November at 12:58 Reply to this comment
Ronald Schleich
awsome! thanks for helping all us non-tech savy peeps
17 October at 15:38 Reply to this comment
Ali Adeeb
after changing folder location, I lost all my file in PC.
14 October at 19:39 Reply to this comment
Likhith Salyan
14 October at 12:26 Reply to this comment
Maxim Serbu
Sorry to say but none of the tips work if you have already the full drive folder on the computer and just reinstalled the app it will not resync with your existing folder. Please try to make it better because everything else works fine but this is kind of stupid from Google. All the errors are already posted here so no further mention will be necessary.
14 October at 10:32 Reply to this comment
Ashish Wadhawan
Excellent information sharing being done this website - Thank you
12 October at 02:08 Reply to this comment
Wouter Gevaert
The first method worked perfectly on mac os x. Thanks
26 August at 10:21 Reply to this comment
Alternative method worked for me, clean and simple.
22 August at 11:56 Reply to this comment
Torsten Pihl
The alternate method, Google Drive demanded that I locate the original folder. I tried the first method and it said that the folder must be empty, so I move the files out, located the new empty folder, move files in, and started the synch. Then it started creating new folders and files with "(1)" appended to the name. Bah!
19 August at 20:49 Reply to this comment
Jose Fernando Rodrigues Jr
"if you choose an existing folder it must be empty" - Why that? I wish I could set a different folder for each folder in google drive.
07 August at 19:36 Reply to this comment
David Silverman
Thanks. The alternative method worked like a charm!
05 August at 07:29 Reply to this comment
Thomas Theil
Is it possible to use a drive that is just connected by wi-fi?
19 July at 07:49 Reply to this comment
George Snodgrass
When I first downloaded Google doc I ask to change to D: drive because my C: drive is short on space. I cannot find a Google drive on my D: drive. The tips above are not correct or very difficult to understand..
12 June at 17:03 Reply to this comment
David Wehrle
Many of us are looking for Windows Explorer "left pane folders" functionality for Google Drive. Because the Google Drive folder is a top-level folder in the user account (C:\Users\ \Google Drive) it does not automatically appear in the new "Libraries" folder hierarchy in Windows Explorer. This means that you must "dig" and expand many folders under "Computer" and "Local Disk" to get to the Google Drive folder hierarchy. If you are looking for a quick way to get a "sticky" folder view of the Google Drive folder hierarchy in Windows 8, you have the option to create a new "Library" in the new Windows Explorer. The way to do that is to right click on Libraries. In the context menu, select "New" and "Library." Name the new library whatever you would like. ("Google Drive" is probably a good idea. ;-P ) When you click on the new library, the right pane will display the message " is empty" and an "Include a Folder" button. Click on the button and you will be presented with the "Include Folder" dialogue that will let you browse to and select your Google Drive folder. Once you have completed this process, you will have a new Google Drive library under Libraries in the Windows Explorer. This new library will allow you to expand and collapse the Google Drive folder hierarchy so that you can now drag and drop to those folders while viewing another folder in the right-hand pane. Just like you probably do already with all of your other folders. No need to more the Google Drive folder on your PC at all!
24 May at 16:36 Reply to this comment
ClipFlair admin
there is an other alternative method, based on #1above. After connecting the account again to GDrive, set the option to choose the folders to sync (not sync all) and don't select ANY folder there. Then after you finish setup it will say all is synced. Then move the contents of the old folder (found at c:\users\YOURACCOUNT\Google Drive on Win7 for example, for older OS see c:\documents and settings\...). Then at the taskbar tray right click the google drive icon and select to see settings, then set the option to sync all folders (instead of specific ones) to the cloud. Then it will compare the cloud contents with the same contents that you just moved from the old folder (will take some time), but won't download the stuff again
19 May at 18:06 Reply to this comment
ClipFlair admin oops, sorry, seems GDrive is sill enough to make a new folder for each of the subfolders you had and copy the stuff again!
20 May at 12:44
Justin Lewis
I tried the alternative method and received an error at step 6 saying that this is not my original Google Drive folder. Has anyone found a solution to this? I chose the alternative method because I don't want to go through the entire process of downloading the cloud content from Google to my local machine.
09 May at 14:43 Reply to this comment
D Kennedy
I used the first method. It was quick and easy to follow.
06 May at 09:50 Reply to this comment
Kevin McDonnell
I tried the alternative method and received an error at step 6 saying that this is not my original Google Drive folder.
25 April at 19:29 Reply to this comment
Stephen Kent
Agree with Tom Collins - the easiest and quickest method is the 'alternative' method. This should be top of the page.
23 April at 00:16 Reply to this comment
Donna Bratschun
Beware. This tip is incorrect. You cannot change the name of folder from Google Drive. You can only change the location of that folder.
11 April at 22:50 Reply to this comment
Tom Collins
I think the alternate version would be quicker. The first version will re-copy everything from your online G-Drive, and you'll have to delete the old folder.
11 April at 21:32 Reply to this comment
Ruben Kannan
Straight forward, to the point. Thx..
09 April at 10:35 Reply to this comment
Elie Kfouri
Muito bom, torna o uso mais familiarizado com os Meus Documentos.
12 September at 13:47 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams obrigado!
12 September at 13:55