Google Drive is by far one of the best cloud storage services that you can get your hands on. Simply creating an account with Google will net you a cloud storage of 15GB, and if you have two or three Google accounts, well, then you’ll have quite a sizeable cloud storage. With that kind of storage you could allocate specific files to certain accounts.
Unfortunately, having only access to one Google account at a time while you’re using Google Drive can be a drag. It can be quite limiting when you want to upload pictures to one Google account and documents to a separate Google account at the same time. It can certainly save you the time, provided you have a network that can handle it.
However, this article wouldn’t be written if there wasn’t a workaround; in fact, you’ll find two methods that will allow you to run multiple instances of Google Drive.
Using Separate Web Browser Tabs
A really easy method to running multiple instances of Google Drive on Windows is using separate web browser tabs.
Now, you might be thinking, “You can’t, because you’ll just get redirected to the Google account you’re currently signed into,” and you would be right, but not unless you use Incognito Mode or Private Window. How so?
Opening a plain old web browser tab will indeed redirect you to your currently signed in Google account. That much is true. However, it isn’t true when you use Incognito Mode–that’s Google Chrome–or when you use Private Window–that’s Mozilla Firefox–or an equivalent. The reason it works this way is because private browsing doesn’t pull from your cache, cookies, history or so on. It’s like a freshly installed web browser.
Here’s what you do:
1. Start by opening your preferred web browser and head on over to Google Drive. Sign into your Google account, when prompted, if you aren’t already logged into Google Drive.
2. Now, open the same web browser but open it through private browsing. For example, if you right click on Google Chrome while it’s pinned to your taskbar, you’ll see “New Incognito Mode” as an option in the menu that appears. Or, alternatively, press together these keys: CTRL + Shift + N.
3. The same can be said about Mozilla Firefox. Right click on its icon while pinned to the taskbar, and click “New Private Window” from the menu that appears. Or, alternatively, press together these keys: CTRL + Shift + P.
4. In the second browser tab, the one that’s private or incognito, sign into a different Google account.
You can do this as many times as you have web browsers with some kind of private browsing tabs, provided your network and computer can handle all those instances of Google Drive and browsers.
Use Multiple User Accounts
In this day and age, you can run multiple accounts on your Windows PC. When you add a new user account, you can then run Google Drive from the newly created user account. Most applications will be able to run a second instance of a single application, like Google Drive.
Because the user account is separate from your own, you can run Google Drive and sign into a different account. Pretty clever, right? But first, you’ll have to learn how to create a second user account to run another instance of Google Drive on.
Here’s what you do:
1. Start by opening your Windows Startup Menu located in the bottom left corner of your screen, along your taskbar by default. Or, alternatively, you can press the Windows key.
2. With the Windows Startup Menu opened, click on Settings, the gear icon resting in the bottom left corner of the Windows Startup Menu.
3. In the Settings menu, choose Accounts. It has the tagline “Your accounts, email, sync, work, family” below it.
4. In the left hand column of the Accounts menu, choose Family & Other Users. It’s towards the bottom of the column. When redirected, choose “Add someone else to this PC.”
5. In the window that appears, choose “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.”
6. Next, click “Add a user without a Microsoft account.”
7. Next, under “Who’s going to use this PC?” type in a name. If you want it to be secure, then you can type in a password as well, but it isn’t necessary if security is not a concern. When you’re ready, click Next.
8. Now, back in the “Family & Other Users” page, click on the newly created user account. Doing so will reveal additional options. Choose Change Account Type. A new window will appear.
9. Change the Account Type to Administrator, then click OK.
10. Now locate Backup and Sync–that’s Google Drive, if you are unaware–and right click on the program’s shortcut. In the drop down menu, click “Run as different user.” In doing so, you’ll notice that two instances of Backup and Sync will appear in your disk tray.
11. Set up sync settings like you normally would on your primary account for your second user account. When you access certain folders, you will have to provide the password to your second user account, provided you set one up beforehand.
There are some limitations to be aware of, none that are life changing or problematic, thankfully. Limitations such as:
- You’ll have to alter the preferences of the second Google Drive app from the second user. You can’t do that from the primary account. And to be clear, you have to sign out, you can’t switch and change preferences.
- Whenever you boot up your Windows PC, Google Drive will usually startup as well, provided it’s been allowed to. The same cannot be said for the second user account you created. You’ll have to start Google Drive from the second user account–you can switch over–if you want to use it.
- You can’t shut down the second instance of Google Drive unless you do so from the Task Manager. To open it, right click on your taskbar and click Task Manager or press CTRL + Shift + ESC.