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How to Add Google Drive to Explorer Navigation Pane

When you install the Google Drive Sync client, the Google Drive folder is pinned to the Quick Access area, but it isn’t shown as a separate category.

Whether you’re using Google Drive sync in “Mirror” mode or the streaming/virtual drive-letter mode, you can add the Google Drive icon to the Explorer navigation pane as a separate item, similar to OneDrive or Dropbox.

This article provides the necessary registry files to add (or remove/unpin) Google Drive to the Explorer navigation pane.

Info: To Pin Google Drive to the left pane in File Explorer, you need to create a custom shell folder object and set the System.IsPinnedToNamespaceTree registry value to 1. No worries! We have readymade .reg files to automate the task.

Pin Google Drive to Explorer Navigation pane

To add Google Drive to the navigation pane, follow these steps:

  1. Download, unzip, and extract the contents to the desktop.

    There are three files enclosed inside the archive:
    • pin_google_drive_windows_32_bit.reg → This is for Windows 32-bit systems
    • pin_google_drive_windows_64_bit.reg → This is for Windows 64-bit systems
    • unpin_google_drive.reg → This is an “undo” file, for both Windows 32-bit and 64-bit.
  2. Choose the appropriate registry file for your computer.
  3. Edit the registry file using Notepad.
  4. Replace the paths for GoogleDriveFS.exe and “TargetFolderPath“. Be sure to maintain the double slashes for file/folder paths.


    If you’re using the “Stream files” mode, you can choose between the “Folder” and “Drive letter” options in Google Drive (“Streaming location”) preferences.

    Streaming Option – Folder or Drive letter?
    • Choosing “Drive letter” would create a virtual drive letter on the computer. In that case, point TargetFolderPath to Google Drive’s drive-letter ( e.g., G:\ ). In the REG file, you need to add double slashes in the path — e.g., “TargetFolderPath"="G:\\“.
    • On the other hand, choosing “Folder” would create the “Google Drive Streaming” folder here → “C:\\Users\\YOUR_USER_NAME\\Google Drive Streaming\\My Drive
    Mirror Option

    Or, if you’ve enabled the “Mirror files” option in Google Drive preferences, assign the Google Drive store folder path for the TargetFolderPath value.

    By default, the folder is located at “C:\\Users\\YOUR_USER_NAME\\My Drive“.

    GoogleDriveFS.exe Location

    The Google Drive icon comes from the module GoogleDriveFS.exe. To quickly find the path for the current GoogleDriveFS.exe file, you can open a Command Prompt window and type the following command:

    reg.exe query "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{6BBAE539-2232-434A-A4E5-9A33560C6283}"  /v InstallLocation

    Alternately, you can search for the file using this command in Command Prompt (Cmd.exe):

    dir "%programfiles%"\googledrivefs.exe /s /a /b

    Note: For Windows 64-bit, you also need to edit the paths under the “WOW6432Node” section of the file.

  5. Save the registry file.
  6. Double-click the Registry file to apply the settings to the registry.
  7. Close all instances of File Explorer and then open a folder.
  8. If the Google Drive icon is still not visible, log off and log back into your account.

You should see Google Drive Pinned as a separate item on the navigation pane.

If you decide to remove Google Drive from the navigation pane, run the undo REG file unpin_google_drive.reg.

Stop automatic pinning of Google Drive to Quick Access (Optional)

Google Drive sync client automatically pins “Google Drive” to the Quick Access area at every start. Regardless of how many times you unpin it, the item will be added again. However, there is a piece of good news. Google Drive update released in August 2022 has provided an option to disable the auto-pinning of Google Drive to Quick Access.

To stop the Google Drive sync client from automatically pinning its icon in the Quick Access area, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Google Drive notification icon.
  2. Click the gear icon in the upper right, and click Preferences.
  3. In the Preferences dialog, click the gear icon in the upper right. This opens the Settings window.
  4. Uncheck the option “Show Google Drive in Quick Access in File Explorer.”
  5. Repeat the steps for each drive, if you have multiple Google Drive accounts

Contents of the Registry (.reg) Files

(Windows 64-bit)

(Windows 32-bit)

(Undo file – For both Windows 32-bit & 64-bit)

(The above registry settings were last tested with Google Drive Sync Client, version, with the “Mirror” mode option chosen.)

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