How to Delete Files from Computer but Keep them Stored on Google Drive

Want to delete files from computer but keep them stored on Google Drive? This page covers two methods for you to remove files from PC while keeping them on Google Drive.


by Jonna Lasted Updated February 2, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

How Do I Keep Files Only in Google Drive?


My computer is on its last legs and I'm not in a position right now to buy a new one, so I'm looking into rearranging my storage. I'd like to store most of my things just on Google Drive but not on my computer. How do I delete files from computer but keep them stored on Google Drive?

Google Drive is a popular cloud storage platform that offers file sharing, file collaboration, real-time file editing, and other powerful features. With the Google Drive desktop app - Drive for desktop, you can upload data to the Google Drive cloud while syncing Google Drive files locally.

Google Drive

However, syncing cloud files locally is not always a happy thing. With all Google Drive files synced locally, the computer hard drive disk may be filled up. Relax! You can delete files from computer but not Google Drive to solve this problem. In this way, you can not only free up computer space but also keep files protected on Google Drive.

How to Delete Files from Computer but Keep them Stored on Google Drive

If you want to delete files from PC but keep them on Google Drive, you can follow the tips below.

Method 1. With the Google Drive desktop app

Luckily, the Google Drive desktop app has an option that can make “delete files from computer but keep them stored on Google Drive” happen. What you can do is to set all Google Drive files on your computer online-only. By doing so, you can make all files available online only and clear space on computer.

How to delete Google Drive files from computer with its desktop app? Follow these steps:

Step 1. Run and log in to the Google Drive desktop application on your computer. Click the Google Drive icon on the system bar and tap Preferences from Settings.

Google Drive Preference

Step 2. Under the Google Drive tab, tick the check box next to Stream files, and click Save.

Google Drive Stream Files

Step 3. Click on the Open in Explorer button under Google Drive to go to the Google Drive disk on your PC.

Step 4. Select all files in the Google Drive disk to right-click on them, hover over Offline access, and select Online only.

Offline Access Online Only

If you open these files on your computer or set them Available offline, they will occupy your computer hard drive space again.

Method 2. Using free cloud backup software - CBackup

How to delete Google Drive offline files from computer completely? While Drive for desktop's online-only feature can alleviate the problem of Google Drive files taking up local space, they will take up computer space again when files are opened or new files are synced locally. To thoroughly solve this problem, the best way is to use Drive for desktop alternative software to sync computer files to Google Drive without local synchronization.

CBackup is a free cloud backup and sync tool that is capable of doing one-way sync from computer to Google Drive. In this way, you can keep Google Drive data online and you can delete the data that you have uploaded on Google Drive to free up space. CBackup also comes with the following features:

Offer scheduled sync to make sure all changes and new files are uploaded to the cloud.
Backup entire computer to Google Drive automatically, instead of just files in certain locations.
Quick and easy data restore ensures you can get backed-up files in a short time.
Backup computer files to OneDrive, Dropbox, and other public clouds.
Provide cloud backups to migrate files between cloud storage easily and quickly.

Now, uninstall Google Drive for desktop and follow the how to stop Google Drive from downloading files locally below to deleting files from PC without removing them from the cloud.

Step 1. Free download CBackup on your computer, create a free CBackup account, and sign in.

Download CBackupWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. On the Storage tab, click Google Drive > Authorize Now, and grant CBackup access to the Google Drive storage.

Select Cloud Drive

Step 3. Tap on Sync > Sync PC to Public Cloud to create a computer sync task.

Choose PC To Public Cloud

Step 4. Select items that you wish to upload to Google Drive, and choose a folder in Google Drive as the sync target location.

Start Sync To Google Drive

You can enable PC folders auto sync to Google Drive in Sync Settings, where File Filter and Email Notification are also available for you.

Schedule Sync

Step 5. Press Start Sync to begin uploading data to Google Drive. After uploads are completed, you can delete files from computer but keep them stored on Google Drive for protection.

Bonus Tip: Better Way to Backup Computer Files Securely

Due to the two-way synchronization feature of Google Dive, you are very likely to lose your files if you use it in an incorrect way. In fact, to altogether avoid the problem, the best solution is to use professional backup software.

CBackup is a cost-effective and secure computer backup tool. It offers a backup feature that allows you to back up computer to CBackup Cloud, with 10 GB of free storage and 1TB/5TB expandable storage plans, for secure protection. And it uses 256-bit AES Encryption in data transfer to ensure that your personal data is tampered with or cracked.

Step 1. Run the CBackup application and log in.

Step 2. Go to the Backup tab and click on Backup PC to CBackup Cloud.

Select PC to Cbackup Cloud

Step 3. Add computer files and folders for backup. And then, click Start Backup to save important data to the secure cloud.

Click Start Backup To Cbackup


How to delete files from computer but keep them stored on Google Drive? There are 2 methods for you.

If you don't want to reset your files online only after each use, you can try the professional computer backup software - CBackup. It can not only help you easily complete one-way synchronization from your computer to Google Drive (you can delete your computer files after synchronization), but it can also synchronize Google Drive to OneDrive and other cloud storage easily.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna becomes a professional in the areas of cloud backup and restoration, data protection, etc. after years of learning and researching. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.

Free Cloud Backup & Sync Service

Transfer files between cloud drives, combine cloud storage to gain free unlimited space

Get Started Now

Secure & Free