Fix Google Drive sync problem

Dropbox is super awesome. Google Drive, well, is far behind in terms of speed and reliability. I continue to use Google Drive because of its very good integrations with Gmail (Google Apps for Business) as well as continued integration on the Android OS. There are however three significantly frustrating issues that I continue to experience with Google Drive:

No Google Drive client for Linux

Since April 2012 Google have been working on a Google Drive sync client for Linux. To date there is yet to be any emergence of this software. There are versions available for both Windows and Apple. The lack of a Linux version is particularly surprising as the Operating System used within Google is a customized version of Ubuntu.

Google Drive is slow to sync

I originally wrote about the slow sync speed of Google Drive in November 2012. Although the initial sync is slow (e.g. upon bootup), Drive does seem to sync files quickly once it has been running for awhile.

Dropbox syncs files very quickly upon startup so why can’t Google get Drive faster?

Google Drive uses 100% Disk

An ongoing issue I have is that my computer suddenly becomes very slow to respond. When I go into Windows 8 Task Manager I notice that the Disk graph is at 100% utilization. When clicking Open Resource Monitor it shows multiple instances of the googledrivesync.exe image that collectively are using 100% Disk I/O (other people have reported that this same image uses 100% CPU or 100% memory). The googledrivesync.exe image is essentially the Google Drive software.

Manually stopping the googledrivesync.exe image can be time consuming and complicated when a computer becomes very slow to the point of being almost unresponsive (because of the 100% disk utilization). I therefore have placed a batch file on my desktop that I double-click which then stops any googledrivesync.exe images (this also stops Google Drive however Google Drive will restart again on next boot assuming that Google Drive is set to startup upon login).

Here is how to create the .bat file to stop Google Drive when it’s using massive resources on your Windows 8 PC:

  1. Open a text editor.
  2. Enter the following into the window:
    taskkill /IM googledrivesync.exe /F
  3. Save the file to your desktop with the extension of .bat e.g. The name of my file is GoogleDriveSync.bat

Whenever my Disk is at 100% I merely double-click the bat file as created above and a few seconds later my computer is back to its usual quick response times.

Is Google Drive worth it?

Because I use Gmail for all my email I find that the ability to save files attached to a message directly to Google Drive a great time saver. I do think that the positives outweigh the negatives of Google Drive if you use Google services or Android alot. I just wish that Google would resolve the problems with Drive and make it a better product like Dropbox.


    • says

      For two reasons:
      1) My computer becomes so slow that it’s quicker to have a BAT file on the desktop to double click than wait for the options to appear when right-clicking.
      2) More importantly, I’ve noticed that quitting the app doesn’t always kill all instances of googledrivesync.exe whereas the batch file kills all instances.

  1. Konstantin Starojitski says

    You write “this also stops Google Drive however Google Drive will restart again on next boot assuming that Google Drive is set to startup upon login”

    You don’t have to wait till next boot or login. Restart Google Drive in the same batch by adding

    start "" "C:\Program Files\Google\Drive\googledrivesync.exe"

    as last line

    • Konstantin Starojitski says

      You don’t even need to wait for the disk to be at 100% utilization and run that batch manually. Schedule a windows task to run the it every half an hour or so… :)

  2. Florisz says

    Thank you both! The killing and starting batch file works perfect. Instantly change of 100% CPU to 2%.
    Than Google drive starts again in statuses:
    – Not signed in
    – Prepairing sync
    – Scanning files
    – And finaly; ‘In sync’
    These steps take about 1 or 2 minutes, when CPU is 100% again, but after that CPU goes back to normal 2 or 4%.

  3. Nick says

    I must say, Google Drive is embarrassing. The sync frequency appears to be a black box. Changes on the local PC don’t make their way to the cloud until doing something drastic like restarting the service or the computer. From searches, it appears this is a common problem.

    I’ve been a Google user for a long time, but I’m now looking at other options.

  4. massiveloop says

    NICE! Process killed and I have my CPU % back to normal! Thanks for the tip.

    Honestly, if this keeps happening, I’m just going to uninstall the local app and use the web portal when I need it.

    For those looking for a good (free) alternative, take a (another) look at MS OneDrive. I know what some of you are thinking (“I used SkyDrive, that’s real crap!”) but they actually got their act together and it’s working a lot better now. Plus, the web Office apps are great for writing quick papers or handling intermediate-sized spreadsheets and they all save in Office formats instead of openOffice.
    Finally (the biggest use for me), is OneNote for FREE, accessible from anywhere you can connect to your OneDrive. I use it all the time for school.

  5. Nicolas says

    Hi all,

    Same issue for me and for many others since a long time it seems. I can’t understand how such a big company cannot fix such a simple issue for a standard sync process.

    My guess is that it is intentional from Google: they may have things to compute requiring enourmous amounts of CPU and they use your CPU via this widely spread client (at least one of your CPUs as I guess many people do not even notice that one of their multiple cores is occupied by googledrivesync.exe).

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