[HELP] Google Backup and Sync Stopped Working

Category: Backup

A reader, Dave, is having a peculiar problem. Ever since the April 2018 Update of Windows 10 (version 1803), Google Backup and Sync has been acting erratically, he says. Now he cannot get it to run at all. Should we blame it on the software or call it user error? Let’s see if we can help Dave...

Problems with Google Backup and Sync

It’s tempting to blame the 1803 Update. After all, we just learned that Microsoft has thrown quality control out the proverbial window. (See my article [WARNING] Don't Click This Button! for details on that.) But a Google search reveals that this problem predates the 1803 Update. The update may still be causing Dave’s issue, but it cannot be the only cause.

Another possibility is Microsoft’s OneDrive, which added features very similar to Backup and Sync in August, 2018. Any of the known conflicts between the two apps could cause either or both to misbehave. Is that the problem here? No, Dave says that he does not run OneDrive, but the app does exist on every Windows 10 machine.

I had Dave open Task Manager (Ctrl-Shift-Esc) and check its Startup tab to see if the OneDrive service was being loaded at startup. It was disabled, as the screenshot below shows. But look at the highlighted item in the screenshot. Googledrivesync.exe is also disabled! That filename stands for Google Drive Synchronizer, better known as Backup and Sync from Google. No wonder Dave can’t get it to run.

Dave doesn’t know how that process got disabled, and neither do I. But if it was done by Microsoft the sabotage would have been widespread; it would have been detected by experts and publicized far and wide. It is more likely that Dave disabled the process, wittingly or unwittingly, and forgot he did so. That’s OK, Dave, we all do such things.

Backup and Sync stopped

Enabling googledrivesync.exe, re-installing the Backup and Sync desktop app, and restarting the machine cured the problem for Dave. His data is again constantly backed up to Google Drive. When files are deleted from synced folders on either Dave’s laptop or Google Drive, the changes are reflected in the other location. His synced folders are available on his Android phone, and the phone’s files are available on his laptop.

As I said above, there may be multiple causes of a problem with Backup and Sync. A bit of research shows there are some common problems, including "Files not syncing between your computer and My Drive", "Backup and Sync stuck on Preparing for Sync", and "Backup and Sync client stops suddenly".

Not familiar with Google's Backup and Sync app? See my article Protect Your Files With Google Backup & Sync to learn about one easy way to make sure that the documents and photos on your Windows or Mac hard drive are automatically backed up to cloud storage.

Fortunately there are some solutions for these problems that have worked for different people:

Install Backup and Sync with administrator privileges. After downloading the installbackupandsync.exe file from Google, right-click on that file and select “run as administrator.

Delete the Drive cache on your computer, open the folder %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google and delete the subfolder named “Drive.” This will not delete any data on Google Drive, only temporary cache files stored in the Drive folder. An empty Drive folder will be created when it’s needed.

Uninstall Backup and Sync, re-start your computer, and re-install Backup and Sync.

Google provides a troubleshooting page that details solutions to these Backup and Sync problems.

One or more of them may cure your Backup and Sync issue, too. Are you using Google's Backup and Sync, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox as part of a backup regimen? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "[HELP] Google Backup and Sync Stopped Working"

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

I just could not read this article any other way than in the voice of Hal as he / it speaks to Dave in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

Or Cheech and Chong... "Dave's not here!"


BTW, I blame Microsoft for Dave's problem.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

I have had numerous problems with google drive...one which I found very annoying...excessive CPU power usage. After trying to contact google about the problem several months ago...with no response or cure.
Finally removed the drive app from all devices. Always used Box...and never had major issues, and if I have problems Box will at least respond to your call for HELP!

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

Bob, another great article, as usual, but the link to your "Protect Your Files With Google Backup & Sync" article needs to be corrected. Currently goes to "_blank" instead of "new_google_backup_sync.html".

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

Hal...er...Bob, you should tell Dave Google Backup and Syn ceasing to work may be a blessing in disguise. I trust anything from Google about as far as I can spit upwind in a class 5 hurricane. Google is a giant security hole. Btw, I don't trust MS anymore either.

FreeFileSync (my preference) or SyncToy are far better and safer than Google B&S.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

You're scaring me, Bob. I have been running Google Drive and two copies (one personal, one business) of OneDrive side-by-side for quite some time with no issues. Should i be worried?

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

You're scaring me, Bob. I have been running Google Drive and two copies (one personal, one business) of OneDrive side-by-side for quite some time with no issues. Should i be worried?

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

OneDrive and Google Backup and Sync have always played nicely together on my Windows 10 Home machine.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

I think JimK should indeed be worried as his messages are now being duplicated.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

Bob, thanks for the info. I have been using One Drive for several years now with no problems.
However, I have been considering Dropbox as a back-up to the One Drive back-up. Just in case.

Posted by:

08 Nov 2018

I've been experiencing the same problems as Hal. I've tried a couple of recommended fixes, which didn't work. I'll give the ones you suggest a try. Thanks.

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