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How to Add a Shared Google Drive to Windows File Explorer

If you and your team or coworkers use a shared Google Drive, you may want quick and easy access to it. In just a few minutes, you can add this shared drive to File Explorer on Windows.

This is a convenient option because it eliminates the need to open your browser, sign in to Google Drive, and navigate to the item in the shared drive that you need. Just pop open File Explorer and go.

Note: As of May 2022, shared drives are available to Google Workspace accounts including Business Standard and Plus, Enterprise, Education Fundamentals, Teaching & Learning Upgrade, Standard, and Plus, Nonprofits, and G Suite Business; Essentials.

Download and Install Google Drive for Desktop

The first step in accessing your shared drive on Windows is to download the application. Visit the Google Drive for Desktop site and click “Download Drive for Desktop” which should automatically detect your platform.

Google Drive for Desktop download page

Access your downloads via the folder or toolbar for the browser you’re using and open the GoogleDriveSetup.exe file.

Google Drive desktop setup file

When prompted, click “Yes” to allow Windows to run the installer for Google Drive on your computer. 

You’ll then be asked if you want to add an application shortcut to your desktop or shortcuts for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Check the boxes per your preference and click “Install.”

Install Google Drive prompt

When the process finishes, you’ll see a prompt to sign in. This is necessary to connect your Google account to the application. Click “Sign in With Browser.”

Sign in With Browser prompt

Select and sign in to the Google account you want to use or add another account if you don’t see the correct one in the list. 

List of Google accounts to sign in

Next, you’ll receive a message with three statements that you should confirm for your safety. When you’re ready, click “Sign in.”

Prompt for safety and to sign in

Upon successfully logging into your account, you’ll see a message of such in your browser. You can then close that browser tab or window.

Success message after signing in

You’ll also see a pop-up confirmation message from the Google Drive application. Click “Close” to acknowledge and continue.

Google Drive desktop installed prompt

Additionally, you may notice a smaller alert that Google Drive is loading your files. If so, you can click “OK” to acknowledge and close the notification.

Google Drive loading files message

Open Google Drive in File Explorer

You can then open File Explorer on Windows as you normally would. You’ll see Google Drive listed on the left below This PC by default. You can expand Google Drive to display My Drive and Shared Drives. Select “Shared Drives” to view your items.

Google Drive in File Explorer

If you opted to place the Google Drive icon on your desktop, you can double-click it as an alternative. This will open File Explorer with Google Drive selected for you.

RELATED: How to Open File Explorer on Windows 11

Adjust Your Google Drive Preferences

Once you install Google Drive for desktop, you can make adjustments to the preferences if you like. This includes changing the drive, mirroring files versus streaming, launching on system startup, adding another Google account, and more.

Open your System Tray and select the Google Drive icon. Click the gear icon and pick “Preferences.”

Open Google Drive Preferences

Choose “Google Drive” on the left to see the first set of settings. For more, click the gear icon on the top right.

Google Drive Preferences

Make the changes you want and click “Done.”

More Google Drive Preferences

Allow Offline Access to Shared Drive Files

If you have particular files in your shared Google Drive that you want available for offline access, it takes just a couple of clicks.

RELATED: How to Use Google Docs Offline

Open Google Drive in File Explorer and select “Shared Drives” to view your items. Right-click an item, move your cursor to Offline Access, and pick “Available Offline” in the pop-out menu to put a checkmark next to it.

Make a shared drive file available offline

Having Google Drive right on your desktop is handy for those who use it regularly. So, being able to see that drive in File Explorer makes it even better.



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