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Google Drive Tip
Syncing multiple accounts to one computer with Google Drive

I use Google Drive with multiple Google accounts, my work account and my personal account. And I'd really like to be able to sync my Google Drive for each of those accounts to the same computer.

Unfortunately, the Google Drive client software only supports syncing one account :(

But here's a solution:
(This at least works in OS X, I'll leave it to someone else to figure it out on other operating systems)

Short version:
Setup multiple user-accounts on your computer, setup Google Drive client software under each user-account, syncing with a different Google account from each one. Share the folders with your main account. As long as you keep the other user-accounts logged in, Google Drive will keep syncing for all the accounts you've set up.

Details:
1. Install Google Drive
https://tools.google.com/dlpage/drive?pli=1#eula

2. Add another user account on your system
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/8235.html

3. Setup Google Drive for under each account on your system, use a different Google account for each one
https://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2374989&topic=2375050&ctx=topic

4. Give access to the second accounts Google Drive folder to your main account
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1549?viewlocale=en_US (lots of details about sharing here, but all you really need to do is change the file permissions on the folder)

5. Add a link to the second Google Drive folder in your main account
In terminal:
ln -s /Users/<second username>/Google\ Drive/ Google\ Drive\ -\ Work

Simple as that!

Now I have both Google Drives working, syncing, and accessible from my main account. Yay!

Let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, suggestions, or more!

#google #googledrive #protip #tip
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Friedrich Schwittay's profile photoMicah Halter's profile photoMike McBeath Jr's profile photoShailendrra Guptaa's profile photo
55 comments
 
This will work in windows too. (not the commands, but the principle of 2 accounts)
 
Cool +Dietrich Duke , I would have guessed it would, but didn't want to claim it would without trying it. Have you given it a try?
 
This is a very poor solution. That means I need to create another account and make sure that it's logged in, which is really annoying when I restart my computer.
 
Fair point +Michel Boudreau. I'm with you hoping the Drive team is able to add multiple account support to the client applications. But I'm pretty happy with this workaround for the time being.
 
Why not just share the folders in your work google account to your home? Google allows you to share folders and sync the shared folders in your drive?
 
+Jason O'Dell I would be against that since that would be a security risk for our company for employees to share things to their personal account.
 
Nice workaround, but what hit are you seeing on resource use? I would worry that it would kill performance on my Windows laptop. Google really needs to do a better job at supporting multiple account. I'm a fan of Google Apps, but as various organizations I work with/for began adopting Google Apps, I've begun cursing Google on a daily basis trying to juggle them. I'm not sure if Office Live does this any better, but its not good that I am thinking of taking the time and effort to find out. I really hope that Google can solve its issues with multiple account management, because I otherwise like the Google Apps services.
 
+Syncdocs allows you to synchronize multiple Google Drives concurrently. No need to manually switch back and forth. While I don't find Syncdocs performance quite as good as Google Drive, it solves the most important issue with Google Drive.
 
Josh, This is an awesome solution for my needs works great and requires two extra clicks and does everything I need. Keep up the good work.
 
+Paul Easton i haven't seen much performance lost with shared folders between accounts at all
 
There is an easier solution but it is not free. Look for the Gladinet software. I've used it in the past to manage multiple Amazon storage accounts.
 
Small typographic error that might hang up newcomers: in the terminal command, it should be "Users/" instead of "User/".

but thanks for the tip. I have it up and running.
 
Another great approach +Aryo Karbhawono! Thanks for sharing!

I do hope Google Drive makes this all work easier for us, but it's great to see creative solutions coming from users :)
 
Insync sounds good but "free for beta only" scares me. 
 
Meliza Uy,

On your suggestion I used Insync and love it. It works great. Thank you.
 
+Brian Bulkowski read the comments, there are several programs mentioned like +Syncdocs and +Insync. Oh, I guess you don't need to read the comments anymore, but you probably should in the future.
Insync
 
+Aryo Karbhawono Does the Google Drive client sync iWork files correctly? Unfortunately, iWork and (most) Mac apps have their "files" as really folders so while it syncs it to GDrive, it's going to sync it as a folder unless it is changed to a zip format before syncing.
 
I started working +Insync today. So far I'm impressed.  I posted my questions on their support section so hopefully I get a response pretty quickly. 

I'm still scared about the "free for beta". I hope they don't bend us over when it exits beta.
 
Heh, I guess my hope is it will be a flat price and not a monthly charge. I used Gladinet in the past and I was happy with the flat price, but in the end their support forced away from them.
 
Maybe Google are afraid people will use too many accounts together? (since they only provide limited space per account)

I suggest Google to add to their Google-Drive-Desktop-Client the option to sync , lets say, 3 accounts per User... sounds reasonable, no?
 
+Dietrich Duke Maybe there is a Windows script that Log-in multiple users accounts? (of course - run such script on Administrator logon...)
 
+Aryo Karbhawono Adding support for .pages on our next release -- as a direct result of your feedback :)
 
Just tried this on my Windows 7 PC. It works! I created a new administrator user on my PC & downloaded Google Drive again using the new user & signed into Drive with my 2nd Google account. I shared the new Drive folder with my main Windows user account, and created a shortcut on my desktop for both of them. I wasn't able to rename the Google Drive folder but I could rename the shortcut, and I could rename it in my "Favorites" folder on my PC. Yay.

I also wanted to mention that I can access the new folder even if the 2nd user account is logged off.
 
Glad it works +Corrie Angell.  To your last point, about accessing the folder when the 2nd account is logged off... that works for me to on Mac, but when the 2nd account is logged off that folder doesn't get synced – so beware, if that is the same for you.
 
I'm using 2 different services: Dropbox for personal and Google Drive for work. Seems to work well.
 
Another option for "sharing" and syncing, based on a "hidden" feature of Drive:

If you hold CTRL when dragging a file/folder, instead of moving it, the item will be "copied" -- but not copied like in a physical file system, but instead like Gmail (or original Documents) labels, where it's more like a reference to the original.  You can confirm this by looking at the URL -- it'll be the same between folders.
* Note - I'm not quite certain, but I think the order of where you drag things matters, relating to deletions...

Regarding syncing across accounts:
1. share something between your accounts (from 2ndary to primary)
2. log in to your primary account (the one being synced)
3. go to "Shared with Me"
4. CTRL+drag the desired item into the appropriate folder
5. as this shared item is now "part" of your Drive docs, it will get synced to your desktop along with everything else.

* Note - if you do not CTRL+drag, it will actually remove it from the shared folder entirely (meaning the other shared accounts won't be able to see it) -- it will actually warn you about this and give you the option to undo it, so pay attention.
 
can anyone give me a walkthrough of "Add a link to the second Google Drive folder in your main account"?  i'm not familiar with using terminal and it keeps giving me an error
 
I did +Josh Estelle 's original proposal, but ran into permission issues and I wonder if there's an easy fix:
- I added my main user account to the Drive folder's permissions, everything worked great.
- The 2nd account has shared folders with a peer user. The peer updated a file, and when it synced to my machine, it just had the 2nd account's permissions and not my main one.

So every time I want to access any file updated via the 2nd account from the web, I have to manually change the permissions and add my 1st account again. Assuming its the Drive app that resets these permissions every time it writes the file. Any way to force it to save with the desired permissions?
 
So here's the deal. I have two accounts by accident. But it's impossible to merge them because Google doesn't support merging of existing accounts.  I also can't sync both of them to the same account on my computer. So I have to follow this clunky work-around.  Google, I would have thought you could do better than this.
 
+Kathryn Laskey if you are only trying to merge the drive data from 2 accounts, I think a solution could be to just sync one account to your machine (or export all existing files from the browser interface, in case the Google Docs native types don't fully copy to the drive). Then disconnect it and connect your other account, then drag all the files into it. 
 
Having two Domain Google Apps accounts and two drives was imperative. Our goal was to have both drives data on a mounted encrypted USB drive, connected to each Google Drive account.

We tried many different ways, including running multiple GD apps by code signing, similar to running Multiple Google Notifiers which works flawlessly. However, the Google Drive app would not work this way.

We ended up using InSync, and NOT running Google Drive app. InSync is a great tool, and we hope it remains FREE. InSync has some weird drawbacks (see below) but manages to smoothly sync both accounts without any technical voodoo. InSync is just a transport mechanism, so we feel somewhat secure our data is not able to be compromised.

We HIGHLY recommend InSync, and think you should try it out.

DRAWBACKS:
▶ Creates a folder using your account email sign-on that cannot be renamed. Exposure issue we feel.
▶ We are happy Mac users, and .pages, .key etc are changed without permission or selection to MS Office extensions. Big issue we feel. Same goes for OpenOffice files like .odt etc. AND interestingly - .gdoc .gsheet ARE also changed to MS Office. NEVER NEVER NEVER change files without asking!!!!! Period.

Summary: InSync is a fantastic lightweight tool, and overtime the developers can achieve great success for Google Drive users with multiple accounts. They MUST update the app to allow users to select how they want their files downloaded/synced.
 
There is also a pretty simple solution and still stay with syncing only one account on your machine.  Sync your personal account on  your PC or Mac.  Share any necessary folders from your work account to your personal account.... voila!
 
I mention one problem I've been running into with this approach – sometimes the permissions get wonky – where some of the files in the shared Google Drive won't be accessible by both of my OS X accounts.  It's usually pretty quick to fix, by authenticating as super-user in Finder and fixing the permissions, but it'd be nice if I could get that to not happen.
 
I tried this on my old Windows XP Pro desktop PC and couldn't get it to work. When I finish installing the GD program for the user I set up for my other Google account, it thanks me for trying Google Drive but there is no Google Drive folder anywhere to be found. Anybody else tried this with XP? Thanks.
 
Hi. I have 3 user accounts on my Windows 8 laptop. I want them all to sync with Google Drive to separate accounts (they're different family members). Unfortunately, When one works, the others don't. Is there a work around?
 
Same here: Windows 8 Multi-User does NOT work simultaneously. If "Google Drive for Windows" is running on one account it does crash on the second, leaving a stale notification symbol which disappears after moving the mouse to it.
 
I use insync since I have several accounts, a couple of which are for work.
 
I created a folder in the 2nd account titled the account name (ex. "Google Drive - Work") and put everything in the 2nd account into that folder and shared the folder to my main account. Then it will show up on the desktop app as a new folder that you can use as your 2nd account. Works great so far, no problems! I have both in my Finder sidebar and it just like having 2. Also, the 2nd account will not take space from your main account as far as I can tell. :)
 
My Google Drive - Work folder is showing up as an alias doc, not a folder. Anyone know where I went wrong?
 
Michael, what OS?   If Windows 8, look at taskmanager and see googlesync is running - will likely see two of them if it's running.  If not try logging out/in to see if it starts, or you can just try running it from the programs folder.  I normally find that it shows stale when sync is not running.  Are multiple users trying to run it on your system?
 
AWESOME. Thanks for the tip!! I've set this up for Win7, haven't tried OS X yet but will probably soon...

Love it!!
 
I don't think it's ever too late to recognise an excellent solution. Thank you ever so much, that's done exactly what I want it to do. Good man!
 
the second account doesn't actively sync when you're logged into the main account. It looked like it just copied my other Google Drive made it accessible from my main account, but it's not actively syncing all the files
 
+Ark Shadö are you also logged into the secondary account? I've had some trouble making sure both drives are syncing, but I know I needed both system accounts logged in.
 
i'm going to assume not. Any way to stay logged into both accounts actively?
 
+Ark Shadö I find I just have to remember to log into the second account each time I restart my laptop, which isn't ask that often for me =P
 
Well it seems I got it to work. This is great! Thanks a ton m8! +1
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