How to add Google Drive to File Explorer

Starting with Windows 10, you can seamlessly access your files in OneDrive cloud storage directly from File Explorer. What if you could do the same with Google Drive? Google Drive for desktop makes it possible, and this tutorial shows you how to use this app to add Google Drive to File Explorer.

Why use Google Drive for desktop

  • It eliminates the need to launch a web browser to access your files on Google Drive. Instead, you can do it from your local system using Finder on macOS or File Explorer on Windows.
  • Allows the selection and synchronization of files/folders between your device and Google Drive.
  • You can back up your photos directly, including screenshots and RAW images, to Google Photos with Drive for desktop.
  • You can simultaneously sign in to up to four different Google accounts, giving you access to their respective files and settings, and increasing your computer’s virtual storage capacity.

Now let’s see how to install Google Drive in File Explorer using Google Drive desktop app.

How to add Google Drive to File Explorer

  1. Download and install Drive for desktop.
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions to sign in to your Google Drive account from your browser and confirm that you’ve downloaded the Google desktop app. If your Google account has two-step verification enabled, you may need to approve the login from your smartphone.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Accept the terms and sign in

Google notifies you that “you are signed in to Google Drive” once it verifies your identity. Then you can start using Google Drive for desktop on your Windows computer.

Add Google Drive to File Explorer Login successful

Open File Explorer. You should see Google Drive listed as a normal drive in the “Device and drives” section of “This PC.” Google Drive also appears as a disk partition in the “Quick Access” section of the sidebar. Use any of these links to access your files stored in Google Drive.

Add Google Drive to File Explorer Google Drive in File Explorer

How to Add a Google Drive Shortcut to the File Explorer Sidebar

If you want Google Drive to appear as a separate, non-removable entry similar to OneDrive and Dropbox in the File Explorer sidebar, follow the steps below.

The folder path structure in this method contains double backslashes and not a single backslash.

  1. Back up your Windows registry to ensure that you can restore the registry to its last working state in case something unexpectedly goes wrong.
  2. Access the Google Drive scripts page in Windows Explorer on GitHub through a web browser and download the ZIP file of the script; press “Code”, then select “Download ZIP”.
Add Google Drive to Github File Explorer Download Code
  1. Locate the ZIP file you downloaded and extract its contents. We will need the “Google Drive.reg” file from this set in step #6.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Compressed Contents Extracted
  1. Locate the Google Drive app on your PC using File Explorer. To do this, go to “C:\Program Files\Google\Drive File Stream\” and open the folder with a numerical name, such as This number corresponds to the version of the installed application.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Locate the folder
  1. Then copy the full path to this folder from the context menu of the path bar.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Copy File Path
  1. Open the “Google Drive.reg” file from step 3 with Notepad or any other text editor.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Open file with Notepad
  1. Replace each instance of “C:\Program Files\Google\Drive File Stream\” with the full path you copied earlier.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Replace location in Notepad
  1. Change each instance of the “TargetFolderPath” value to “G:\\Google Drive”. If you’ve installed Google Drive on a different drive, replace “G:” with the appropriate drive letter.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Replace Essentials in Notepad
  1. Save the “Google Drive.reg” file and exit Notepad.
  2. Run the file by double clicking on it. When the UAC prompt appears, select Yes to allow the new data to be added to your Windows Registry.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Click Continue
  1. Registry Editor informs you that the new keys have been added to your Windows Registry. Now press OK.
Add Google Drive to File Explorer Accept further notice
  1. Open File Explorer. If you followed the steps correctly, you should see Google Drive listed as a separate entity in the File Explorer sidebar.
Add Google Drive to Google Drive File Explorer in Navigation Pane

Frequent questions

Is it safe to use Google Drive?

Yes, Google Drive is completely safe to use. However, you should be aware that Google searches your files for data that it can use to create a profile about you for advertising purposes. So Google Drive might not be for you if you think it’s too intrusive.

Who can see what’s in my Google Drive?

Only you can access the files in your Google Drive, unless you’ve shared them with others. However, be careful with your account information because anyone with access to your email and password can also see your files. To prevent this, enable two-factor authentication on your Google account.

Does Google Drive work offline?

How do I delete Google Drive if I don’t want it anymore?

If you choose to uninstall Google Drive, you must first run the “Remove Google Drive.reg” file you extracted earlier if you decide that Google Drive does not appear as a separate shortcut in File Explorer. You can then uninstall Google Drive from the Control Panel as you normally do with any other application.

Image credit: Google

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