Once upon a time, it was all about Dropbox, but these days there’s a good few other apps out there that do the same job, too! As a VA, I always want to be a flexible as possible for my clients to help make their work as simple as efficient as I can, and to that end, it’s important that I’m able to work with whatever systems and processes they already have in place.

One of the things I’ve always found clunky is working with cloud file sharing solutions and having to login in to a web based portal to upload and download files every time I want to access them. This is not only time consuming and inefficient, but also defeats the object of keeping everything synchronised, preventing duplication of data and enabling real time editing of files.

To get the full benefits of Google Drive, you should definitely install the Google Drive desktop client. This allows real time synchronisation of your files as you edit them, and enables you to access the files directly from the file browser on your computer.

There are desktop clients available for both PC and Mac – so there’s no excuse not to use it!

It only takes a minute to do, and here’s how:

First up, double check you are able to install Google Drive for Mac/PC on your computer – any modern computer should be fine, but you’ll want to be sure you’ve got enough storage space on your hard drive for the files. You can see a list of supported devices and browsers here

Note: If you use GSuite for business, and plan to enable Google Drive for your whole organisation, you’ll also want to make sure that it is enabled, do this from the Google Admin Console

From the Admin console, go to Apps > G Suite > Drive > Data Access.

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Note: If you have the G Suite Enterprise, Business, Education, or Nonprofits edition, click the company you want to update settings for, otherwise, your settings will be changed for the whole organisation.

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Click Drive and select the option to Allow users to download, install and use Google Drive for Mac/PC (unless you are installing Google Drive for your users via distribution method, you’ll want to choose the option that allows your users to download and install Google Drive themselves, don’t choose the option to hide download links).

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Once Drive is enabled, download the Desktop Client from the Google Drive page here.

Depending on the device you are using, you’ll have the option to download either the Mac or PC version.You need to agree to the terms of service in order to download the file.

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Once downloaded, browse on your computer to wherever you saved the install file (if in doubt, have a look in the downloads folder!)

From here, simply double click on the downloaded file and follow the install wizard to install Google Drive on your desktop. If prompted, allow the security option to install the software on your computer.

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Once installed you need to sync your Google Drive account with the newly downloaded app. Click “Get Started” and enter the email and password for your Google account.

Once connected, you’ll be asked to choose settings for synchronising files and receiving notifications. Click The Sync options button to view settings.

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Here, you can choose which folders to sync from Google Drive to your computer.

  • Select “Sync everything in My Drive” if you want to download everything.
  • Select “Sync Only these folders” if you’d rather leave some files only accessible in the cloud (Tip: this can be useful if you don’t want to fill you hard drive with files that aren’t regularly accessed on your computer. This is particularly useful if you share files with clients who have a lot of image or video files  or large archives).

You then have the option to select the files you want. Once you’re happy that you’ve ticked the folders you need, click “Start Sync” and your files will start downloading.

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Then all you need is to wait for you folders to sync and your install is complete! The time it takes will depend on the size and number of files you choose to download. In future, files will synchronise in real time as changes are made, keeping everything update within the Google Drive so that they can be accessed on any of your devices or by colleagues and customers.

On the taskbar on your computer you’ll see a Google Drive icon, Google_Drive_Desktop4 hover over this icon to view sync progress or right click to access settings and update your sync status in future.

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