I recently installed Google Drive in my Windows 8 Pro and there is a folder for Google Drive. When I put my files into this folder it got uploaded to Google Drive. When the uploads were completed, I deleted the files from my Google Drive folder in my computer.

Then after some time I logged in to my Google Drive account and was unable to see my uploaded files there. Why is this?

  • So you basically want something like Dropbox’s selective sync feature, right?
    – Alex
    Apr 3, 2014 at 12:02
  • Since this question was asked, Google Drive has added a "Trash" feature. Items deleted from the Web or your hard drive will go to Trash and stay there for 30 days, unless you specifically delete them from there.
    – ale
    Jan 12, 2016 at 14:24

6 Answers 6


The Google Drive folder is a local representation of what files you currently have uploaded into your Google Drive storage.

If you delete a file in your Drive folder on your computer, it is reflected on the Drive website.

  • Is it possible to avoid it ? I mean is it possible to delete a file in the Drive folder without getting it deleted from the Drive ?
    – TomJ
    Feb 15, 2014 at 5:52
  • 4
    @TomJ Why would you want that? The whole idea is that everything stays synchronized.
    – slhck
    Feb 15, 2014 at 9:08
  • 1
    @slhck, it's probably a case of "I'd like this file available if I'm ever away from home and suddenly have a need for it." The same way you're less likely to need access to a document on a flash drive if you're sitting at your desktop computer. Feb 15, 2014 at 9:43

I mean is it possible to delete a file in the Drive folder without getting it deleted from the Drive.


  • Uninstall the Google Drive software from your machine.
  • Do all future uploads to www.drive.google.com manually

Under this approach, you can upload from folders on your machine with any name that you like (including Drive). But there will not be any synchronisation: if you change the local version, then the on-line copy will not be updated until you load a new version for it.


When I decide that I no longer need a file or folder on my computer but it's synced to Google Drive (the Cloud), and I want to keep a copy of on Google Drive (in the Cloud), I simply log into Google Drive through my browser, find that file or folder, and move it out of the synced folder to where it won't be synced with my computer. That way nothing I do on my computer will affect it on Google Drive. It will automatically be deleted from my computer but if I need it again I can either download it manually from Google Drive or move it back into a synced folder (or sync the folder it's in). Since it no longer exists down here on Earth, it's only in danger if Google Drive loses it, I stop paying Google for my storage and they, rightfully, delete it, or I delete it from Google Drive myself and empty my trash.


Here was my work around. What I do when I want to retain files permanently in my Google Drive, but remove them from my laptop is this:

  1. Create a new folder in only Google Drive.
  2. Copy the content from my PC and place in the new folder on Google Drive.
  3. Confirm content is fully copied on my Google Drive.
  4. Delete original folder on my computer.

This only works for me because I have had Google Drive on my new computer for a while and not all of my folders sync to the computer. I store files by year so once I need files for historical use only they go to the drive only.


On your computer ; go to your Google Drive preferences and uncheck all the folders you want to be able to delete from your computer but keeping them in the cloud. Apply changes. Then you can erase the unchecked folders in your Google Drive folder on your computer and they will stay in the cloud because they are not part of the "sync" option on your computer.

  • 1
    Actually, you won't have to delete them manually, because Google Drive will delete the local copy for you.
    – ale
    Jul 3, 2015 at 15:37

You could go into the Google Drive folder, create a folder called “sync”, then go into Google Drive preferences and select to only sync the “sync” folder you just made. That will delete all the other files from your Google Drive locally on your computer, but keep the ones up in the cloud for you to access at anytime via the web browser or phone devices.