How to Delete Files on Google Drive on My PC Without Affecting the Web Stored Files

Delete Files on Google Drive on My PC

If you are using Google Drive Back up and Sync on your PC, you might have asked the question how to delete files on Google Drive on My PC that without affecting the web stored files. This’s because syncing is essential when we use cloud storage services and it’s part of almost all cloud storage providers. You may have also synced your files. What happens to it when you delete the files from your PC? It’ll also vanish, if you are careless.

Recently I have written an article that shows how to encrypt and protect your cloud stored files. I am happy to know that it was useful for many of you from your email responses. But do you know there are some minor things that users do not take care while using cloud services? There are certain things that you must take care to save your data stored on the cloud.

If you are using Google Drive on your PC, you may have stored lots of images or other files to it already. Do you notice one thing that when you delete one file / files / folder / folders on your Google Drive folder on your computer, it automatically get deleted from the Google Drive web application / services too? Yes it happens! It happens with all cloud storage services in syncing mode.

Delete Files on Google Drive on My PC

Delete Files on Google Drive on My PC Without Affecting the Cloud Stored Files on the Web

So if you don’t want this to happen with your Google Drive, just remove the syncing. This is the answer to your question how to delete files on Google Drive on my PC without affecting the web stored files.

Before deleting the Google Drive stored files on your Computer for any reason, you must remove the syncing first. Other wise you will loss your files stored on the web too. Here we can see how to remove the syncing of Google Drive.

Steps to Delete Your Google Drive Stored Files on Your PC without Affecting the Files Stored on the Web

Step 1:  Click the Google Drive icon, now it’s called “Back up and Sync”, on the taskbar on your computer and select Preferences from the settings.

back up and sync preference settings

Step 2: Uncheck the box next to Sync My Drive to this computer.

Remove google drive syncing

Step 3: Click OK to Apply changes.

Now You are OK to Delete the Google Drive Stored Files on Your PC

Now you can delete all the files stored on the Google Drive folder on your Computer without affecting the files stored on on the Web.

Next time if you think to sync your Google Drive again with your desktop, my suggestion is remove the Google Drive app completely from your PC. Then again download and install it and sync.

You can also consider to re sync from settings, preferences and again enable the “Sync My Drive to this computer”. This will also work.

Important Update on 13.09.2017

The Google Drive app got lots of changes since my above tutorial on Feb’2013. But between I made some modifications to the above tutorial. But I think I should add some more to this as per the latest Google Drive capabilities. See it below.

How to Keep Some Files On Google Drive on PC and Delete Others Without Affecting the Web Stored Files?

The above method is to remove Google Drive from your PC without affecting the web stored files. But now if you want to keep the Google Drive on your PC and delete only few files, there are other method.

Now you have more control over the files you delete from your computer on Google Drive!


Go to preferences from the settings as detailed in the first part of this tutorial above. Screenshot also given above.

Now look for an option “removing items”.

removing items setting google drive

There are three options.

  1. Remove items every where
  2. Don’t remove items every where
  3. Ask me before deleting items every where.

The second option, i.e., “Don’t remove items every where” will do our job.

That’s all.


  1. I recomend : Don’t use syncing, but use the “Upload” function. Upload any file from your PC. Now you can delete this file from your PC, the copy in the Google drive (the remote one, NOT in the “Google drive” folder on your PC) will still exists.

    • Oops! Oh my…. My solution doesn’t work. It is possible to upload a file to the remote google drive, but the “smart” SW will immediately copy the uploaded file back to your PC, to your “google drive” folder on your PC.

    • Think about it. The thief would have to be simultaneously stupid and smart enough to:
      1. Connect your computer to the internet.
      2. Login using your account and not change the sync options.
      3. Wait for your (non-existent wipe command) to finish.

      With the existing software, you would have to delete all your files from My Drive, wait and hope…

  2. So the article doesn’t make sense and doesn’t work. Once you attempt to upload some more files, it will delete the ones no longer in the Drive folder on your PC. This is getting confusing. I want to keep the thousands of files I’ve synced and shared but I want them off my computer. Can’t figure it out.

    • Hi Tim,
      First of all thanks for the drop by and you find time to comment. That’s important!
      What I meant by my tutorial is how to remove Google Drive from your PC without affecting the web stored files. Once syncing removed means Google Drive on the web has no control over your files on your PC. So you can uninstall Google Drive from your PC. But you should check whether you have installed Google Drive on multiple devices.
      Now the important part.
      I have updated the post with as per the latest Google Drive features. Now without removing the syncing or uninstalling Google Drive on PC, you can delete files on your PC that without touching the web stored files. Google added new options to its desktop application. Check the last part of my tutorial for the update again.
      Thank you.

      • Yes, I’ve been communicating with someone who has informed me that I should just be uploading my files and not using the sync app. I found in settings a place where you could choose “Change general settings
        Choose how items are deleted” “Don’t remove items everywhere: When you delete something on your computer, it will stay on”. Actually that doesn’t work, I tried it. Deleted it from my PC and it disappeared on the web after changing to these settings. I was told that the files were still there (where? in trash?) but couldn’t not be shared.

  3. I have taken all these steps – ‘don’t remove from everywhere’ – and it is still deleting from the Google Drive. Really frustrating – it seems like such an easy thing to ask!


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