As the below screenshot shows, despite the fact that Google drive doesn't appear to be doing anything (it's not syncing any data) it's using over 12% of my CPU (a core i7).

Google Drive CPU

The official documentation states:

Depending on your network connection and computer preferences, Google Drive may consume a large amount of CPU to complete its initial sync.

However it has been installed for over a month now and doesn't have anything new to sync. Why, then, does it use so much of my CPU?

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    Process monitor will tell you what system calls/files/registry entries it's operating on. – ssnobody Aug 28 '14 at 17:03
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    Google Drive is poorly written, full of bugs, and not at all able to compete on the level of dropbox. That might explain why it is being a resource hog. Like snobbish says, process monitor from sysinternals will give you the specifics. – Sun Sep 4 '14 at 3:22
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    It seems to be the bug as said with goggle drive sync here have a look at this discussion productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/drive/… which states it is a bug and it can avoid randomly by killing the process. – vembutech Feb 25 '15 at 15:01
  • I have the same issue, but with higher CPU usage, when there is nothing to sync. Frequently just kill the process to fix temporarily. Recommend switching to copy.com instead. – John Little Apr 7 '15 at 20:02
  • There is a new version of Google Drive Sync (1.21) that supposedly addresses this. You can download it here: tools.google.com/dlpage/drive/thankyou.html Source: productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/drive/… – Thomas Mueller May 6 '15 at 18:48

There is no question that this is a bug. The drive sync process somehow enters a state where the CPU activity is at maximum for the process. If you kill the drive sync process and restart it, the sync process usage will return to idle levels.

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    the sync process usage will return to idle levels temporarily -- FTFY – William Entriken Jun 28 '15 at 14:57

This is definitely not an initial sync problem. I have a personal folder sync'd to Drive from a single machine with no other users having write access to the account. The Google Drive systray application on Win7 x64 consumes large amounts of CPU in this scenario even when files haven't been modified for days. It also re-syncs files that have not been touched in weeks. The local modified date from NTFS says weeks ago for those files.

Simply put, Google Drive's change detection mechanisms are extremely inefficient and under-evolved compared to Dropbox and OneDrive. They should be event driven for local changes (Win32 API can event drive change notifications for local file changes rather than polling for example). Remote changes should use PUSH if possible rather than polling as well.

File permission issues should be gracefully handled (e.g. ACCESS IS DENIED shouldn't make Drive spin CPU like crazy).

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    I don't think this is just an inefficiency. I have only about 10 items (a couple of MB total) in my google drive, and googledrivesync.exe uses 25% (i.e. one core of my 4 core CPU) all the time. It seems to me like it's stuck in a tight loop. – Andy Dec 18 '14 at 15:20
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    Came he looking for answers. My Google Drive has been active on this machine for many moons and it still regularly eats up 12% of my CPU for no apparent reason. A quick look at it shows that it's not syncing anything. Extremely frustrating. – Dan Atkinson Feb 14 '15 at 15:56

EDIT 1: in my case, Google Drive was taking a lot of the CPU because I added 600'000+ (yes, more than six hundred thousand) files to my google folder in one time.

EDIT 2: after using it for about a year, I can safely say that I do NOT recommend using Google Drive. I am still regularly having issues synchronizing my files. Often the whole synchronization process simply stops & sometimes some files are re-added to my Google Drive folder. I might even have missed some other issues. I simply hope it did not delete any sensitive files.

How I fixed it:

Note: you might want to back up your file to an external drive before doing this.

On my computer: I zipped the relevant folders, and removed the unzipped version of these folders afterwards. From Google Drive online directly: I even removed the unzipped version of these folders via the Google Drive online web app, hoping it'd unload some work from the Google Drive app (not sure it whether it had a positive effect or not).

It then took a few tries to Google Drive to come back to a regular state but it seems like everything is good now (a few days later... after Google Drive app struggled to sync & even crashed a couple of times). Be patient, it might take it a long time to figure out "what the hell is going on".

Original answer:

Just got a 1TB Google Drive plan.

After uploading 140+ GB and working just fine, it is now going totally nuts: 88% of my CPU is being used... and it freezes my computer at some point.

I suspect it could be because I added a lot of file recently, from programming projects. Which means LOTS of files, all being quite small, some are extremely small.

Google Drive taking 88% of my CPU

  • I had a git repo in Google Drive. Was a very bad idea. I will move them out of my Google Drive, and push them directly to github/gitlab. That IS some kind of cloud service, but only for source code. So why not use it for it? – Ikem Krueger Jan 25 '19 at 22:33

Following is Google's take on the high CPU usage:

Depending on your network connection and computer preferences, Google Drive may consume a large amount of CPU to complete its initial sync. If your CPU usage becomes too high, try quitting and restarting the application. You can always customize your sync experience by choosing what syncs to your computer.

Google understands that the current version performs poorly, I expect they will work to improve it in future versions.

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    it's 2020 now. I still got this issue. restarting the application doesn't help – Hai Feng Kao Jun 21 '20 at 16:07

Quitting and then starting it up again has fixed the problem. No high CPU usage after syncing a FEW things, either. I think the high CPU usage might happen after syncing a LOT of items (hundreds).

After syncing is complete of those items, a workable fix may be to restart Drive until they improve the mechanism.

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