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How to Uninstall and Remove Google Drive From Your PC or Mac

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Need to uninstall Google Drive from your computer? Perhaps you don’t want to use Google Drive anymore or need to reinstall it to fix a problem.

We’ll show you how to remove Google Drive from your Windows PC or Mac. In case you don’t need this nuclear option, we’ll also cover disconnecting and pausing Google Drive.

Google Drive vs. Backup and Sync

Before we explain how to uninstall Google Drive from your computer, we should mention that the desktop app for Google Drive has gone through a few different names.

While the app was originally called Google Drive, Google changed its name to Backup and Sync in 2017, though the software retained most of the same functionality. A separate app, Google Drive File Stream, offered additional tools for business users.

As of 2021, Google has combined all past Google Drive desktop functionality into one app, again named Google Drive.

Thus, if you still have the older Backup and Sync app on your computer, the steps to uninstall Backup and Sync might be a little different. For best results, update to the modern Google Drive app before continuing.

How to Disconnect Google Drive From Your Computer

Before you completely delete Google Drive from your computer, you should disconnect your current machine from your Drive account. This is also a useful standalone step if you don’t want to fully remove the Google Drive app yet.

To disconnect Google Drive, you’ll need to open the software. However, searching for it won’t work, as this just runs the app. Instead, you’ll need to click its icon when the app is running.

On Windows, you’ll find Google Drive’s familiar green, yellow, blue, and red triangle icon in the System Tray at the bottom-right of your screen. You may need to click the arrow to show all icons.

On a Mac, you’ll see the same icon in your menu bar at the top of the screen. However, the Google Drive icon doesn’t have any colors on its macOS app.

If you don’t see this icon, Google Drive isn’t running. To run it on Windows, press the Windows key and type “Google Drive”, followed by Enter, to launch it. On a Mac, press Cmd + Space to open Spotlight, then type “Google Drive” followed by Return to launch it. Once the app starts, you should see the icon.

No matter your platform, click this icon to open a panel with info about Google Drive. On this, hit the Settings gear, followed by Preferences, to open Google Drive’s options menu.

In Google Drive’s preferences panel, click the Settings gear icon again. Now, choose Disconnect account. You’ll see a warning that any files in My Drive, as well as mirrored files, will remain on your PC but that future changes won’t sync to Google Drive. Click Disconnect to confirm.

Now, anything you do in your Drive account on other devices won’t reflect on your current computer, and changes you make to files in your Drive folder on your computer won’t sync elsewhere either. You’ll need to reconnect your Google account in the app to start syncing files again.

How to Uninstall Google Drive

Decided you don’t want Google Drive or need to reinstall the software? Here’s how to delete Google Drive from your computer.

Note that removing the Google Drive app prevents your files from syncing with the cloud, but it doesn’t delete your existing files. You can delete or move them as needed after uninstalling, which won’t affect the copies in the cloud.

If you’re uninstalling Google Drive because of problems, check out our fixes for common Google Drive errors.

Uninstall Google Drive on a Windows PC

To remove Google Drive from Windows, you’ll just need to uninstall it like any other program. On both Windows 10 and Windows 11, open Settings (using the Win + I shortcut if you like) and browse to Apps > Apps & features.

Use the search box or scroll down to find Google Drive. Click it, followed by Uninstall, then walk through the steps to remove Google Drive from your computer.

Once this is done, you’ll need to reinstall the app if you want to start syncing files to this computer again. Your Google Drive folder will stick around, but it’s cut off from your account.

In case you get an error that Google Drive is still performing operations, you should quit Google Drive before uninstalling it. To do this, click its icon in your System Tray as described above, then click the Settings cog in the resulting menu. In the dialog box that shows, click Quit to stop Google Drive from running. Then you should be able to uninstall it without issue.

Uninstall Google Drive on a Mac

The process to remove Google Drive from your Mac is just like uninstalling any other macOS app. Open Finder and navigate to the Applications folder. If you don’t see it on the left sidebar, it’s also available under Go > Applications on the menu bar, or by using the shortcut Shift + Cmd + A.

Inside Applications, find the Google Drive app and drag it to the Trash on your Dock, or right-click it and choose Move to Trash. This deletes the app from your system.

If your Mac warns that you need to quit the app first, this is easy to do. Click the Google Drive icon on your menu bar, followed by the Settings cog. Then choose Quit from this menu to quit Google Drive. It should now uninstall without a hitch.

How to Pause Google Drive

If you just want to stop Google Drive from syncing for a short time, you don’t need to disconnect or uninstall it. Both the Windows and Mac apps let you temporarily pause Google Drive if needed.

To do this, click the Drive icon again, as discussed earlier. Under the menu for the Settings gear, select the Pause syncing option. This will stop Google Drive from uploading and downloading until you repeat the steps and choose Resume syncing. Once you resume, it will sync all the changes made while the app was paused.

You can also stop Google Drive from syncing by choosing Quit from this menu, as we mentioned above. When the software is closed, it won’t sync until it opens again. However, keep in mind that if you have Google Drive set to run at startup, it will automatically run again the next time you turn your computer on.

See how to manage startup items on Windows or how to change your startup programs on a Mac to keep Drive from running at system startup, if you desire.

Turn Off, Quit, and Delete Google Drive

Now you know how to remove Google Drive from your computer, as well as how to disconnect the app for less extreme cases.

In general, you should only uninstall the app for troubleshooting or if you’re sure you don’t want to use it anymore. Disconnecting is sufficient if you want to make extensive changes to local files without changing what’s in your Drive. And pausing is a good short-term solution when you don’t want Drive to commit temporary changes to a folder, for example.

To get more out of the service, there are tons of Google Drive tricks you should know.

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