We replaced Google Drive with Google File Stream in November 2017 shortly after it was released, and noticed that it is indefinitely syncing files. See screenshot below.

Google File Stream Always Syncing

Even though we were not losing any local hard drive space due to the syncing we did notice that Google File Stream was slowing down our computer, as you can see in the activity monitor screenshot below, Google File Stream was eating away 9.3% of our CPU. This number would vary from time to time and could be as low as 2% of CPU.

Google File Stream CPU Consumption Activity Monitor

After a month of continuous syncing, we decided to call the Google Drive support team to get some answers about why the syncing is taking so long, and we finally got the answers we were looking for, so we want to share them with you!

Why is Google File Stream Syncing Forever?

We have 800GB of files on our Google Drive, so we only wanted to sync 2GB of these files with Google File Stream on one of our Mac’s, and for the rest of the files (798GB) we selected the “Online Only” option. This is done by right-clicking on each folder/file – going down to Drive File Stream – and selecting Online Only. See image below.

Google File Stream CPU Consumption Activity Monitor google file stream syncing online only files folders

We asked Google Drive support why it was taking over a month of 24/7 syncing to sync 2GB of files?
They told us that this is normal because Google File Stream will always and forever be syncing files that are on Google Drive over and over even if they have not been updated since the last time they were synced. We asked why is this? They told us that this is because Google File Stream is continually looking to see if any of the files on Google Drive have been updated, and is syncing them regardless if they were updated since the last sync or not.

The Google Drive support person told us that the Google File Stream was created from the idea their customer had where they wanted to have access to their Google Drive files without taking up space on their computer.

We asked how long does it take to sync 800GB of files from Google Drive to Google File Stream, and they told us about 2 hours. Google File Stream does not actually download any files to your computer in order to sync them, it is simply mirroring files so they show up in Google File Stream for easy accessibility through the desktop app.



If you have any Google File Stream or Google Backup and Sync questions/issues, the Google Drive support team can be reached  at

Toll Free, Canada only:
Worldwide, charges may apply:



You will also need a call-in PIN which Google provides in your Google Admin console.
Google Admin Support Number for google File Stream

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Google File Stream, Software


  1. Daniel Bouchard on May 28, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    In our case with BitDefender, this forces the scanning of all synced files, thereby putting the disk usage up at 100% constantly. No solution yet for us.

  2. Daniel Bouchard on May 28, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Found the solution with my last post: Disable SSL scanning in Bitdefender.

    • admin on January 16, 2019 at 1:29 am

      Thank you for your input. This is very interesting. Any idea of the implications of disabling SSL scanning in Bitdefender?

  3. Stephane van der Aa on June 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

    This doesn’t really make sense if you program the tool using best practices for this type of functionality.
    Based on the explantation is sounds like Google is using a “batch” processing approach where each time a batch is executed it goes over ALL the files both locally and online and looks for changes and then makes the appropriate changes based on the differences found.

    A better approach for this functionality is to actually use triggers and listeners where Google File Stream “listens” to changes both online and local changes that are sent out by triggers to which Google File Stream listens to. This eliminates the need for batch processing which requires more time as a batch has to go through all the files whereas this approach only processes files with changes.

    What actually makes even less sense is that the behaviour I experience with Google File Stream corresponds with the “Listener” programming design pattern. When you make a change, let’s say upload a new file for instance, the file appears almost instantly locally and online. This hints towards Google File Stream using the “Listener” approach.

    So in the end I’m still puzzled why File Stream is syncing all the time.

    • admin on January 16, 2019 at 1:23 am

      Great observation Stephane,
      We were also puzzled as to why Google File Stream could not update only files that have changed, rather than scanning all files… The Google support team rep told me, that is just the way the technology works as of now and that Google is always working on improving its products. I am sure they will be working on speed optimizing File Stream because there have been many complaints about the speed issues it is creating for users.
      Thank you for your input and hopefully, someone from Google is listening to us : )

  4. Dave on February 25, 2019 at 10:15 am

    I noticed a similar performance hit, but it was lowered dramatically (down to < 2% on my MacBook Pro) when I disabled the option below.

    Real-time presence in Microsoft Office
    Show who is editing Office files, and share with other editors if I am editing

  5. vincenzooo on August 26, 2019 at 9:37 am

    The article doesn’t really solve much, and also it is not true in my experience, but thanks for sharing the experience.
    I have used Backup and Sync, or File Stream on a number of computers and I normally don’t experience constant syncing.
    The software is smart enough to keep an index and, while updated files are synced quite quickly, only the ones that are changed are
    actually touched.
    In a couple of circumstances (including now), I have experienced the situation described in the article with constant syncing and
    high CPU usage.
    I had been able to fix it following some procedure found on the internet (that now I cannot find again and I am desperately looking for).
    It was something as easy as removing some temporary files and restarting, or at most reinstalling, but cannot find it now.

    • Wisevu on December 13, 2019 at 12:15 am

      Hi Vincenzooo, thanks for your message. The information we shared was obtained from Google File Stream support team so we are not making this up. They did advise that if the provided recommendation doesn’t work, that we can try to reinstall the Google File Stream plugin and try again. If you figure out the solution on your end please do share. Thanks

  6. Drew McPherson on November 10, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    You cannot use the “USB devices & SD” cards option with any real amount of data. It will clog your entire CPU for months on end, and never, EVER actually coomplete the simple task of backing up the drive. It spends most of its time scanning and scanning and scanning again. I unchecked this option, mapped the USB drive to a drive letter [M:] and then selected it in the “choose folders to continuously back up” dialog. This allowed it to actually complete backing up, but there are two problems still with this option. ONE: it still spends a ridiculous amount of time doing it’s scanning thing every so often. and TWO: there is no way to keep any versions of files, so if you accidentally delete something, or overwrite a file and want to revert, you’d better have DAMN quick hands or yank the ethernet cable (if you’re not on wireless) otherwise Google will DESTROY your backup for you.

    There needs to be a latency option if you’re gonna refuse to allow versioning so that the “continuously sync” is not within milliseconds, but rather a configurable time frame, like 30 minutes or a day or something, so that the backup is actually just that.. a useful BACKUP for when you glitch out and overwrite the wrong file (like I just did). Hence why I’m reading about all this stupidity.


  7. Johannes on November 21, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Just add The Google Drive Volume to the exceptions (/Volumes/Google Drive). The local persisted Data is anyway stored in your Library Folder, so the File Structure on the Google Drive Volume is virtual anyway.

    0% CPU… 😉

    • Wisevu on December 13, 2019 at 12:27 am

      Hi Johannes, thanks for your comment. I am aware that the file structure is virtual on Google Drive, but would you mind sharing how exactly to add Google Drive Volume to the exceptions? Thanks

  8. Mike S on December 5, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    I had a problem similar using Drive File Stream. I went to google for support and was told to turn off virus scanning. They said that virus scanning was causing File Stream to think the files were change. We have G-suite and I noticed that my time zone was wrong (was in sheets using the =now() and my time was off by a few hours). I changed this in the admin tool and have not had the continuous sync issue since. Not sure if there is a time zone for photos or non G-Suite Drive users or not.

    I did have to let sync finish syncing what it thought was wrong after updating the time zone setting.

    Best of luck

    • Wisevu on December 13, 2019 at 12:30 am

      Thank you for sharing your solution Mike S. I have heard this fix before as well. Which virus scanner were you using? And do you have to keep your virus scanner off while using Google File Stream? This solution is not really practical as virus scanners are essential nowadays, especially for businesses. Thanks again, looking forward to your reply.

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