Many people have multiple Google Drive accounts – say, for work and personal use – but Google doesn’t let you run two instances of Google Backup and Sync app on a single PC. Therefore, users have been paying for third-party apps just to sync multiple Google Drive accounts simultaneously.

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However, in my view, paying for a feature that should have been offered by Google years ago (like Dropbox) doesn’t feel right. And so, after many experiments, I have managed to come up with simple solutions that allow you to sync multiple accounts simultaneously without using a third-party app. Let’s get straight to it.

Use different user account

You just need to create another user account in Windows and open another instance of Google Drive desktop app under the new account’s privileges.

Windows allows you to open another instance of most apps in the same account as long as it’s opened under the privilege of a different user account.

Below I’ll show you how to create a new user account and then open another instance of Google Drive and syncs data.

For demonstration, I’ll be using Windows 10. If you are on Windows 7 or 8, then follow these instructions on Microsoft support page instead. Make sure you create an administrator account so you may have full access to the data.

  1. Go to Windows Settings from the Start Menu and click on Accounts.
  2. Now select Family & other people from the left panel and click on Add someone else to this PC under Other people.
  3. add new user
  4. Another window will open up where you click on I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
  5. I don't have this person's sign-in information
  6. Afterward, click on Add a user without a Microsoft account.
  7. Add a user without a Microsoft account
  8. On the next page, provide username and password for the new account and click Next to create the account.
  9. provide username and password
  10. To set this account as administrator, click on Change account type below the created account.
  11. Change account type
  12. Now select Administrator in the Account type drop-down menu and click OK.
  13. select account type

Run another instance of Google Drive desktop app

If Google Drive isn’t open already, then launch it and sign in with your primary account. You can only open another instance of Google Drive from the Google Drive execute file in the file explorer. Either manually access it from the Program files, or right-click on the Google Drive Start menu shortcut and select Open file location in More option. Afterward, follow the below instructions.

  1. Hold the Shift key and right-click on the Google Drive app shortcut.
  2. You’ll see a new option in context menu named Run as different user, click on it.
  3. Run as different user
  4. Now enter the username and password of the new user account you created and click OK.
  5. enter the username and password

Another instance of Google Drive app will open up and you’ll see its icon in the taskbar.

another Google Drive app running

Set up sync on secondary Google Drive app

As this instance of Google Drive app is opened under a different user account, things may seem a bit different. Let me guide you through the sync process:

  1. Open the second instance of the app and sign in using the secondary Google account that you want to sync.
  2. sign in using the secondary Google account
  3. Now click on CHOOSE FOLDER and you’ll be able to select a folder from the PC that you want to sync.
  4. CHOOSE FOLDER
  5. If you want to access data of your primary account, then go to Users in Windows drive and open your primary user account. When prompted, click on Continue.
  6. access data of your primary account
  7. Just provide the password/pin for the primary account and you’ll be able to access its data.
  8. primary account data accessed

Once you have selected the folders you want to sync, click on Next and finish up the syncing process.

finish up the syncing process

Your data in the secondary Google Drive account will be saved in a separate Google Drive folder listed in the new user account’s folder. And anything you add in the synced folders will automatically sync.

Google account syncing

You can repeat the above process to sync as many Google Drive accounts as you like.

Important note: Make sure you go through the above setup process when you launch the second instance of Google Drive app. For some reason, Windows won’t allow you to set it up from the same user account in the future (more on it below).

Drawbacks

By now, both of your Google Drive accounts will be running and your data will be synced. However, there are few limitations that you should be aware of:

  • You can’t open or manage preferences of the secondary Google Drive app from the primary user account. Nothing happens when you left or right click on it (the primary account works fine). If you want to change your preferences in the future, you’ll have to sign out and log in to the secondary user account and tweak Google Drive settings from there.
  • You’ll have to manually launch the secondary Google Drive app every time you’ll restart your PC.
  • If you want to quit the secondary Google Drive App, you’ll have to do it from the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc).

Concluding thoughts

So with this little setup, you can use as many Google Drive accounts on your PC as you like without spending a single penny or using a third-party app. If we look at the drawbacks, they are very minor and won’t limit your usage in any way.

If you manage to find a way to make this process even smoother, do share with everyone else in the comments below.

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How to Run Multiple Instances of Google Drive on Windows for Free