Google Drive vs Google File Stream

I’ve been using Google Drive for years on my Windows computer. UrBackup has worked quite well with it and I’ve been able to keep my own backup copies of all the data stored in my Google Drive. It’s worth noting, however, that Google Drive’s replacement client for Windows, Google File Stream, is completely different and UrBackup does NOT seem to recognize the drive letter or files stored there. So I’m no longer able to keep my own UrBackup copies of the files stored there.

I’ve not investigated whether or not a full image backup will retain that data. I suspect it may, as long as the image is restored to identical hardware and Windows can be started normally after the restore. I also suspect that I would not be able to recover individual files from the image unless the image was restored in full to identical hardware and Windows was started normally.

Anyone else using Google Drive/File Stream should be aware that they are probably no longer be getting file backups of the files stored in File Stream and their recovery options via image backups may be more limited than they were with Google Drive.

Hi, I haven’t tried the new client it myself yet, but I would start by checking:
-are the files stored locally, in the cloud only, or dowloaded one by one on demand?
-Have you entered a normal Windows path to the file location (like c:\blah\blah).
-Do NTFS permissions block URbackup client? (I really really doubt this, but you could try to temporarily assign everyone:full control to the root google drive folder).

Well…while GoogleFS is running, there is a drive letter that is mapped and you can access files similar to how you would access a local drive letter. However, the files are actually stored as cached “chunks” in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS\xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx\content_cache
along with metadata stored in an sqlite database. (xxxxxxx is a random string of characters.) As long as GoogleFS is running, the program emulates a drive letter and a familiar file system. But when GoogleFS isn’t running, all you have is a bunch of anonymous cache files that may or may not even be complete copies of the original files.

What I’ve found is that even when the files are configured to be available offline, UrBackup doesn’t recognize the GoogleFS mapped drive as a valid drive letter, so it’s ignored. At best, I might be able to back up the cached files. But the individual cached files would be pretty much useless. The backup would probably only be useful if I restored ALL of the cached files AND the metadata.

But since GoogleFS does seem to cache the files in the user profile, that does imply that either an image backup OR a full file backup could potentially restore the GoogleFS files. So at least I might possibly be able to just restore all of the files and folders in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS to maybe get access to the offline-readable files.

I’m not actually facing a problem right now. I’m just trying to protect against a situation where, for example, I’m lost access to my Google Drive account for whatever reason. With Google Drive, I could simply rely on UrBackup for a local backup copy. But that’s strategy has now become difficult with GoogleFS.

To answer your questions specifically:

  • The files are cached locally as described above. I’ve marked most/all of them as “available offline”, so they’re cached locally as well as available in the cloud.
  • GoogleFS has created a G: drive. I’ve configured UrBackup to back up G: as an optional drive if it’s available/mounted.
  • NTFS permissions…hadn’t considered that. But upon investigation…and not surprisingly…, GoogleFS doesn’t seem to support NTFS permissions since it’s not really an NTFS file system. (The cached files would, of course, since they’re stored on the NTFS Windows system volume…but the user would have the )

Thanks for thinking with me!

Hi Chad.

What a shame the Google Drive Filestream application works this way…
Like you, I use URbackup to backup drives from Google, using the Google drive client in Windows. I too had planned to replace the old drive with the new Google File Stream application.

BTW, I make backups because of my lack of trust in cloud providers. All major cloud providers had had issues, and I know from work experience how various other service providers act.

Back on track, the only suggestion I can come up with, is to uninstall the Google File stream application, and install the Google Backup and Sync client instead. But I haven’t tested it, so I don’t know if it’s any better. Or maybe buy the Insync client (, who have a Linux client as well.

Of course it would be great to see URbackup use an API in the Filestream client to retrieve data, if possible.

More to the point, I need to add sync to UrBackup so you do not need to use Google to store your files :wink:

Now I have tested it. Works fine.

So, I have two instances of Google Backup and Sync running. The actual client software installer from Google only needs to run once.
I recall there are some limitations to how many concurrent Google account Google Backup and Sync client accepts. I have tested with two accounts, works fine. Google it :-):sunglasses:

I agree with Chad_Neeper; there’s no way to get offline files, using the Google Drive File Stream client, in the files native format. The files can be cached locally, but in some encrypted rubbish format, not suited for local backup.