Has Google Drive lost some people’s data? That’s the question swirling around the internet right now as Google announces that it’s investigating “syncing issues” with Google Drive for desktop. on monday Record observer Trending post On the Google Drive forums where one user claimed that months of Drive data suddenly disappeared, and their files were back to the state they were as of May 2023. A few other users talked about the same issue, and the worst of it was: “This is going to cause me big problems if I was unable to recover the files. That’s all my work over the past year or two. All my work, all my personal files. Everything, just disappeared. “There must have been 100 files that suddenly disappeared.”
Google has it Post up The Google Drive help forums acknowledge the problem in one form or another. The post, titled “Drive desktop (v22.214.171.124 – 126.96.36.199) sync issue,” says, “We are investigating reports of an issue affecting a limited subset of Drive desktop users and will follow up with further updates.” Google adds an ominous list of things not to do in the meantime such as:
- Do Don’t click Disconnect Account within Drive desktop
- Do no wipe up or It moves Application data folder:
- Windows: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS
- Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS
- Optional: If you have space on your hard drive, we recommend making a copy of the application data folder.
These instructions seem to be intended to preserve any possible file cache that exists on your computer. Calling this a “sync” issue doesn’t really make any sense, because no matter what, Drive’s web interface should display all your files and let you download them. If the issue is with the upload, you should still have your local files.
What really complicates the issue in terms of resolving the issue and trying to parse through user complaints is that Drive for Desktop has two completely different modes of operation that can cause issues. One is the traditional “mirroring” mode that works like Dropbox, where files on your hard drive are uploaded to the cloud, downloaded to all your other devices, and stay on your computer. It’s hard to imagine losing files in this mode, because ultimately they remain files on your hard drive. However, mirroring is not the default option. In recent years, the default settings have shifted to “file streaming,” where most files aren’t actually stored on your computer, and instead you only get fancy shortcuts to files that reside exclusively in the cloud. You’re expected to have a constant Internet connection, and when you try to open a cloud file link, the actual data is quickly streamed to your device so apps can access it. File Stream maintains a cache of “Recently used and frequently used files“, but otherwise, Drive will be active Remove files from your computer.
This is all to say that if Google loses data, and you are in File Streaming mode, there is a high probability that you don’t have your files anymore. Dropbox and Drive Mirror mode keep local copies of the file on your computer, but File Stream often doesn’t. Is File Stream deleting or moving files without uploading them first? That would be tough.
For a service that needs to be reliable and durable, Drive has had a tough year. Besides whatever problem this ends up being, Google also tried to cut Drive costs this year by capping the number of files (in addition to the usual byte size limit), which was later reversed after it received press coverage. Google enacted this file limit as a complete surprise and didn’t talk about it for months, which left some companies with broken settings scrambling to try to figure out what was going on. The whole idea of cloud storage sales is that you should trust your big-tech storage provider to take care of your files and act responsibly, and Drive didn’t make that sales pitch this year. With additional paid storage available through Google One personal storage and Google Workspace business accounts, more people are paying monthly to use Drive.
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