I have reinstalled Windows and I have a lot of data on Google Drive (~60 gb). I have backed up the contents of my Drive folder and put them in the same location on my hard disk after reinstalling Windows. Unfortunately, once I reinstall Drive it starts syncing all over again and overwrites the files on my hard disk which is redundant and a waste of time. I want Drive to keep the current files in my hard disk after I reinstall windows.

Dropbox has a solution to this problem (Dropbox - how to retain files but reinstall dropbox?). If you point Dropbox to the correct folder location, it doesn't do a redundant sync, which is the sensible thing to do.

Is there a way to do this with Google Drive? I came across a workaround (Prevent Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive, files resyncing when reinstall operating system), but is there a built-in setting to do this? I would prefer not to use this 'hack', and it seems like an obvious feature that Drive should have (especially if Dropbox has it).

  • In the settings for google drive you can disable offline sync, i dont know if this works for the program as well but its worth a try – Englishman Sep 8 '16 at 8:36
  • I couldn't find this setting. Also, I don't understand what 'offline sync' is. I thought sync was only possible when online. – Bourbaki Sep 18 '16 at 18:53

Since I haven't received any answers, it seems like there are only 2 options:

1) Rough it out and re-sync everything. Google Drive doesn't have a feature to avoid redundant sync. Very frustrating.

2) Switch to Dropbox, which is more expensive.


Did you wait a couple of minutes? You asked this question in 2016, but even back then they've added a comparison feature. All you have to do is install Google Drive into an existing folder.

Once you approve the installation it takes a couple of intense minutes, but eventually you should see something like:

enter image description here

This was reported by this blogger, before this week's new major upgrade, which led to a new question: How does the new Backup and Sync treat existing Google Drive users?

  • I waited at least 5 minutes and if I remember correctly Drive re-downloaded and replaced existing files. Anyway, thanks for the blog link. May be helpful in the future. – Bourbaki Jul 17 '17 at 21:42

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