Solved: Google Drive Taking Up Hard Drive Space | 5 Ways

To fix Google Drive taking up hard drive space, reasons and 5 useful ways listed here can help you. Additionally, you can try CBackup to upload files to Google Drive while saving local space.


by Jonna Lasted Updated April 10, 2024

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Why is Google Drive taking up so much space?


I'm running out of space on my Windows PC, and I suspect Google Drive might be gobbling it up. Why is Google Drive taking up space on my computer? How can I check which files or folders from Google Drive are taking up space on my hard drive? Any ideas on how to deal with this? Thanks!

- User case from

Google Drive is an excellent file storage and sync tool, but some users may find Google Drive keeps filling up computer hard drive.

The reason why is Google Drive taking up hard drive space may be numerous Google Drive files or caches due to its two-way sync feature. Additionally, the disk storage could be impacted by Google Drive shared files. But don't worry, you can free up storage space while syncing files to Google Drive with the following solutions with ease.

Google Drive Taking up Hard Drive Space

5 ways to solve Google Drive taking up hard drive space

If you find your disk space is going to run out due to Google Drive, you can try the following 5 workable ways to make Google Drive free up local space.

Way 1. Clear Google Drive cache

Google Drive, particularly when utilizing the streaming feature, generates a local cache of recently accessed files, storing them in a discreet location on your device. This enhances the Drive performance but at the expense of consuming additional hard drive space. So how to clear Google Drive storage on pc? You can opt to clear Google Drive cache. The cache is typically found on Windows at the following location:

  • %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\DriveFS

If you notice these hidden folders taking up a substantial amount of space, it's possible that you have an outdated cache that hasn't been cleared. You can try the below steps to clear cache for Windows to fix Google Drive taking up hard drive space.

1. Press Windows + R key, paste the following command in the Run box and hit Enter.

  •  %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\

Delete Google Drive File Stream Cache Folder Windows

2. Select DriveFS folder, and choose Delete.

Delete File Stream Cache Folder Windows

✦ Note: Generally, it's safe to delete the DriveFS folder, but be sure to close any files currently open from Drive before doing so. Google will then need to re-download any files you wish to access from Drive.

Way 2. Change Mirror files to Stream files

There is a critical setting when configuring Google Drive, that is, choosing Mirror files or Stream files. This configuration setting is often the primary reason for Google Drive occupying your disk space unexpectedly.

  • Stream files: Google stores your files in Drive, allowing you to free up space on your computer while retaining access to the files.
  • Mirror files: The mirroring option involves having two copies of a file, one on your local device and another on Google Drive's servers. If mirroring is enabled on multiple devices, each will store a copy of the file, quickly consuming storage space.

To change this setting, you can follow the guide below:

1. Access Google Drive for desktop, and navigate to the Settings menu.

2. Select Preferences, and then choose Google Drive. Now opt for the Stream files option, and click Save.

Google Drive Stream Files

Way 3. Make files online only in Google Drive

Even though Google Drive file stream generally doesn't consume your hard disk space, certain files and folders may still be available offline, leading to significant local storage usage. For how to clear Google Drive storage on PC, you can make files online only in Google Drive disk with the following steps:

1. Input Google Drive in the Search icon located in the taskbar. Then click My Drive folder in the virtual Google Drive disk.

2. Right-click on the files you wish to store only in Google Drive cloud, and select the Online Only option under Offline access.

Offline Access Online Only

Way 4. Delete Google Drive duplicate files

There is a common issue with mirrored files on Google Drive which also takes up too much of your hard drive space. That is, the duplication of files and folders when you only intend to have a single copy. This occurs when multiple devices are each mirroring files through Google Drive. This issue is often triggered when you copy your local Google Drive mirrored files to a subfolder.

After syncing, you have multiple instances of the same files and folders across different devices, leading to a messy and complex replication. To resolve this matter and free up your hard drive space, please follow the guide to removing duplicates on Google Drive:

1. Create a new parent folder structure accessible across all your devices. Begin by tidying up your files on one machine and disabling Google Drive sync on your other devices.

2. Once you've fixed the folder structure and removed any duplicates from the hard drive and Google Drive of the machine, delete the Google Drive folder on your other machines and restart the sync.

Way 5. Remove the copy of shared files in Google Drive

Google Drive allows users to share files with others. Files shared with others do not occupy space on the devices of the recipients, except for the owner.

However, what if you need an editable copy of a file shared with you? In such cases, you can opt to create a copy for yourself. But if you create a copy and save it in My Drive, it will consume space on your Google Drive. This is because the copy becomes an independent file and is no longer just a shared item. All you need to do is to right-click and select Remove the unintended copy of shared files.

Google Drive Remove Duplicates

Best way to upload files to Google Drive with saving disk space

To sync files with Google Drive without taking up hard drive space, you can try the free cloud backup software CBackup, designed for seamlessly backing up and syncing files to various cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and more.

With this tool, you can easily set up Google Drive one-way sync from local to cloud in Windows, saving your local storage space.
It offers you 10GB of free CBackup Cloud backup space. You can also combine cloud storage to increase Google Drive space for free.
Furthermore, you can manage multiple cloud storage accounts with one single login.
In addition to transferring files from PC to cloud, you also can move files between cloud storage, like transferring files from Google Drive to OneDrive.   

Here is a step-by-step guide to solve how do I stop Google Drive from taking up hard drive space by using CBackup:

1. Download and install the CBackup desktop app > sign up for free and sign in to your account on its desktop app.

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

2. Access the Storage tab and select Google Drive, click on Authorize Now and follow the instructions to grant CBackup access to your Google Drive account.

Select Google Drive

3. Choose the Sync tab from the left-hand menu, then select Sync PC to Public Cloud to create a new sync task.

Choose PC -to Public Cloud

4. Customize the task name if necessary, select files/folders you wish to sync, and designate a specific Google Drive folder as the target. Finally, click the Start Sync button to easily sync files to Google Drive and don't need to worry about Google Drive taking up hard drive space.

Start Sync to Google Drive

The Settings section (located in the lower left corner) offers additional functionalities:
Enable the Scheduler to create scheduled sync task at regular intervals (e.g., One time only, Daily, Weekly, or Monthly).
Turn on Email Notification to receive alerts about the sync results when the task is completed.
Utilize the File Filter option to exclude or include specific file types from syncing to cloud as needed.  

Sync Scheduler Pro


If you're facing issues with Google Drive taking up hard drive space, and there is not enough disk space for you to store files, consider using the 5 suggested methods mentioned above.

Alternatively, you can opt for a more efficient approach, using CBackup, to auto sync files to Google Drive without occupying local space. Furthermore, in the event that your Google Drive storage is reaching capacity, you can expand your Google Drive storage at no cost with this tool.

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.

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