Implement mount remote Google Drive disk with downloading files on demand


Very often people want to work with only few files in Google Drive, but now we must select folders to download and wait when download is finished.

Better way is make the remote mount feature, that will create a disk (on windows) or folder (on linux, mac) that will show remote file structure without downloading file contents.

This is already implemented in some popular cloud providers (Seafile Drive, Dropbox, Yandex.Disk, Webdav, SMB).

There are already exists some opensource solutions for this way of mounting:

But they at now have few feature list and some problems. So will be good to see better implementing remote mounting Google Drive feature from Insync team.


I’d suggest against this.

As you mentioned, there’re already many free alternatives (including rclone) to mount Google Drive, therefore it wouldn’t be a very worthy investment of time & effort for Insync to re-do the same work.

On the other hand, Insync is the only flexible third party real-time two-way sync client. I’d much rather see Insync further improve in this regard.


Hey @Murz,

Mounting Google Drive currently isn’t in our development plans. To support what @Hawk said, we’re currently focused on quality and that means making sure every feature we have right now is the best version it can be. :slight_smile:


Unfortunately rclone does whole-file transfers. There is a need for a ‘remote mount’ facility which does not keep a local copy of everything (except as a limited cache for performance) and this is currently awkward to handle with insync.


It’s extremely difficult to get around whole file transfers, if possible at all.

You’d certainly want to use other software to open your files. Most software expect that they’re interacting with a complete file, some even put a lock on the entire file. For this to work, either

  1. the entire file must be downloaded, or
  2. you pull some serious filesystem trickery to fool these other software.

Option 1 is what rclone does, and what (almost?) all other mounting solutions do.
Option 2 is basically magic. I’m not aware of any existing filesystem and/or framework that can do this. It’s utterly unrealistic to expect Insync (or rclone, or any other small/medium sized project) to do this magic by themselves. AFAIK, even Google’s official client Drive File Stream can’t do this.

Also beware that any effort Insync put into developing new fancy features is effort NOT spent on maintaining / improving existing features and bug fixing.


Thanks for the answer, @Hawk!

While we understand where you’re coming from @POC, our current focus is on improving Insync’s overall quality which is why we’re not developing any remote mount facility. We definitely appreciate the feedback though and we’re always happy to hear your thoughts on how to make Insync better! :slight_smile:


I do understand the argument. I’m merely expressing a need for something we currently don’t have. It may not even be possible to achieve with Google Drive as it presently stands, though other cloud services do have this option. This obviously is not Insync’s fault. My particular frustration is that I’d like to use GD for backup using rsync, but that is currently very inefficient (any change to a large file causes the whole thing to be uploaded). However, that’s another topic.


I see what your problem is, but I think you’re looking for the wrong solution.

Google Drive does not support differential sync, period. There’s no amount of smart trickery on client side that can change this. Conversely, services that do support differential sync (e.g. Dropbox, iCloud) do not make a “sparse file mount” any easier.
Differential sync and remote mounting are two completely different problems. One does not solve the other.

If you just want a backup, and not necessarily a sync, you should look into deduplicated backup software. They can truly solve the problem regarding small changes in a large file. My preferred solution is restic with rclone:gdrive backend.

Rsync is the wrong tool for cloud backup, as it uses a client/server model, and requires full access to both sides.


Thanks. I’ve been experimenting with Borg Backup ( as a dedupe solution, using Rclone. I’ll take a look at Restic.


I have found good free tool for Windows RaiDrive that do mount of Google Drive folder without downloading all files. But still missing solution on Linux :frowning: