Q. What is Google Drive?

A. Google Drive is a file hosting service where you can store, share, and sync your work files from any device. You can even work on Office and Google documents with others at the same time. Google Drive makes it easy to manage your work files, share them, and collaborate with others from any device.


Q. Does EWU IT recommend Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive?

A. IT supports both solutions and has no plans to end support for either product or require anyone to migrate from OneDrive to Google Drive or vice versa. In general, though, we recommend Google Drive over OneDrive for a few reasons, including:

  • Google Drive offers unlimited storage
  • Google Drive is supported on more platforms
  • Google Shared Drives are easier to use and sync than OneDrive Shared Libraries

However, circumstances vary, so please consult your IT Coordinator (faculty/staff) or the Help Desk for more guidance.


Q. Why should I consider switching from NetStorage (the N: and S: drives) to OneDrive or Google Drive?

A. Both OneDrive and Google Drive offer considerably more features than NetStorage currently or will ever provide, including:

 

More storage. Google Drive has unlimited storage. OneDrive has 1 TB of personal storage (OneDrive shared libraries offer effectively unlimited storage). NetStorage personal drives have 10GB of storage and shared folders are also limited.

 

Accessible from anywhere and anytime. Google Drive and OneDrive can be accessed from the web, mobile devices, or any Mac and PC. By comparison, NetStorage is only accessible when on-campus or by using the VPN and mapping a drive using the SMB protocol.

 

Real-time collaboration. With Google Drive or OneDrive, multiple people can work on a document without having to constantly email the latest copy. Instead, everyone has always has access to the latest version. NetStorage does not have this capability and never will.

 

Automatic Versioning. With Google Drive and OneDrive, changes to documents are saved automatically. If you, or someone you've shared the file with, makes a mistake, you can easily and safely revert to an earlier version (or even make a copy of an earlier version). NetStorage offers limited ability to restore documents through snapshots, which are only periodically taken throughout the day.

 

Sharing. Google Drive and OneDrive offer robust options to share documents and files with other EWU faculty, staff, and students and external collaborators. NetStorage offers limited options to share documents and files internally, requiring you to use our web tool to manage access. NetStorage does not allow you to share documents with external collaborators.

 

Automatic sync and backup. When you use Google Drive or OneDrive, your files are automatically synchronized and backed up to Google and Microsoft's servers. By comparison, your computer's files are only backed up if you are either working with them directly on the NetStorage servers or if you manually copy them there.


Q. What's a Google Shared Drive?

A. "You can use shared drives in Google Drive to store, search, and access files with a team. Shared drive files belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay in place so your team can keep sharing information and work anywhere, from any device." To learn more about Google shared drives, visit the Google Help Center.


Q. How much storage space do I get?

A. Google Drive provides unlimited storage space for both personal and shared drives.


Q. How do I access my Google Drive?

A. To access your Google Drive, go to inside.ewu.edu and click on the Google Drive link. Or, from any G Suite application, click the grid icon in the upper right corner and select Drive. If you have the Google Drive File Stream installed on your computer or mobile device, just launch the app or access the Google Drive folder in the Windows Explorer or macOS Finder. For instructions on installing and using the Google Drive File Stream client, see this article.


Q. Do I need to be connected to the VPN to access my files as I do with NetStorage?

A. No, you can work online with your files or synchronize files between computers or mobile devices and Google Drive with only an Internet connection.


Q. What devices does Google Drive support?

A. Google Drive is available for Windows, macOS, iOS and ipadOS, Android, and ChromeOS.


Q. Does Google Drive support Outlook?

A. Yes, it is supported on Windows and on the web. It is not supported on macOS. Learn more in our knowledge base article.


Q. What does it mean to Sync data to my local computer?

A. Syncing your data means that you will have a copy on a local computer as well as in the cloud. You can easily save documents directly into your local folder. The data is then "copied up" to the cloud.


Q. What is file streaming (also called Google Drive File Stream)?

A.  With Google Drive File Stream, your files are stored on the cloud instead of your computer and any changes you make are automatically synchronized with the cloud for quick easy access from any device that supports Google Drive (including mobile phones, tablets, other computers, or the web). Only the files that you access are downloaded to your computer, saving storage space on your computer and allowing you to access your Google Drive or shared drive folders without having to synchronize every file and folder first.

Google Drive File Stream is supported on both Windows and macOS. 
For instructions on installing the Google Drive File Stream client, see this article.


Q. What's the difference between Backup and Sync and Google Drive File Stream?

A. Backup and Sync only works with personal Gmail accounts, not G Suite accounts like your EWU Google account. Backup and Sync and Google Drive File Steam can be installed on the same computer.


Q. How do I make all files in my Google Drive available offline?

A. By default, only the files you've previously accessed from your computer will be available if you go offline. To make all of your files accessible offline, right-click on a file or folder and select Available Offline under the Drive File Stream menu. Note that doing so will store a copy on your computer, using up more of your hard drive space. In general, we do not recommend you do this, because, with unlimited storage, your Drive can get very large.


Q. Can I put sensitive data on Google Drive? Does Google Drive comply with FERPA or HIPAA?

A. Google Drive is a cloud-based storage solution that is a part of G Suite. The data is stored off-campus in a non-university owned data center. Eastern Washington University has an agreement with Google that protects data, making it safe for sensitive data. Files are encrypted both at rest (in Google Drive storage) and in transit (between your workstation and the cloud). G Suite is FERPA compliant. It is not HIPAA compliant. For HIPAA compliance, use OneDrive instead.


Q. How do I create a new folder?

A. From a web browser, click the +New button in the upper right and choose Folder. If you have the Google Drive File Stream client installed, you can create a new folder just like you normally would on your local computer.


Q. How do I upload a file?

A. You can upload a file or document by logging on to your account with a browser, and dragging/dropping a file into your Drive or Shared Drive. If you have the Google Drive File Stream client installed, you can add  a new file just like you normally would on your local computer.


Q. How do I share a file or folder?

A. To share a file or folder, select the document, file, or folder in Google Drive on the web and then click the Share button in the upper right. Enter the names or email addresses you wish to share the file with. For faculty, staff, and students, use their username@ewu.edu (@eagles.ewu.edu addresses will not work).


Note, you cannot share folders within a Shared Drive, only files. This is by design and not a bug. In those cases, just create a new Shared Drive instead.


Q. Can I share a file or folder with someone outside of EWU?

A. Yes, you'll just need their email address.


Q. How do I tell who I have shared a document with?

A. Select the document, file, or folder in Google Drive on the web and then click the Share button in the upper right. You can see who you have shared a file with from here. Click the Advanced link at the bottom of the window to see additional details. Shared documents will this icon  displayed next to them.


Q. Can Google Drive do real-time online collaboration?

A. Yes, Google Drive can do real-time online collaboration. You have to open the document using Google Drive on the web. In the upper right-hand corner, you will see when someone you shared the document with is also editing. You will see any changes or comments while the other person is typing.


Q. Can I create a new document in the browser?

A. From a web browser, click the +New button in the upper right and choose the appropriate document type (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.).


Q. What happens when I delete a file? Can I get it back?

A. When you delete a file, it goes into the Trash indefinitely. If you empty the Trash, it gets deleted permanently. To recover a deleted file, in Google Drive, click the Trash icon on the left and then select the document(s) you want to restore. To finish restoration, click the Restore button  in the upper right. 


Q. Are there any training resources available?
A. Yes. There are videos in LinkedIn learning, which is available to all faculty, staff, and students. You can also visit the Google Help Center for more information.