Can’t Upload Files to Google Drive? Here are a Few Fixes

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Google Drive is up there with the most influential pieces of software in the last decade, single-handedly transferring the workspace for the average user from the hard drive up into the cloud. But it does have its problems, one of the most notable being upload issues, and not being able to transfer the files you want to the cloud.

Thankfully, we’re here with some fixes for when Google Drive uploads start letting you down.

Note: The below instructions are for the web version of Google Drive, as it’s prone to upload issues. Although unlikely, if you are facing upload issues with the desktop or mobile version of Google Drive, then shoot away in the comments, and we might be able to help.

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Google Drive is pretty good when it comes to uptime, and it’s very rare that the service itself isn’t working. However, it’s worth checking on G Suite Status Dashboard whether there are any outages to Google Drive before taking matters into your own hands. If you see that Google Drive is down, it’s just a case of waiting it out until it’s working again.

Backup and Sync is the new name for Google Drive’s desktop app, which sits quietly in the notification area of your screen (bottom-right corner in Windows, top-right corner in OS X).

If you’re having problems, you can click the Backup and Sync icon, then click the menu icon once it’s open and select “Quit Backup and Sync”.

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To reopen it, type “backup and sync” into Windows search in the Start menu and open the desktop app from there.

Alternatively, you can reinstall Backup and Sync altogether. Uninstall it by right-clicking the Start menu, clicking “Apps & features”, then uninstalling it from the list, then reinstall it by downloading it here.

This is usually my first solution for fixing many web problems, including the upload issue. A private window is isolated and doesn’t use stored cookies that might affect your regular browsing. Just open a private window in your browser and log in to Google Drive. Afterwards, upload the file again and see if it works.

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To open a private window, the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + N or Ctrl + Shift + P is used in most browsers, although you can also manually open the private window from the main menu of your browser.

Your browser saves cookies, cache, and other data to make it easier and faster for you to browse the Web. However, sometimes this data can also create browsing problems, like being unable to upload files. You should also go through this step if using a private window solved your problem.

I am going to show you how to clear data in Chrome. If you are using a different browser, then check to the instructions in this article.

From the Chrome main menu, click on “History” or press Ctrl + H. Click on “Clear browsing data,” and the options will open up. Alternatively, you can also paste chrome://settings/clearBrowserData in the address bar and hit Enter to directly access this window.

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Select “All time” next to “Time range” and ensure all three options are checked. Optionally, you can uncheck the “Browser history” option in case you want to keep the browsing history. Now click on “Clear Data” to delete the browser data, and then try uploading files in Google Drive.

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If the above solutions didn’t help, then try using a different browser. For me, Opera and Chrome work fine, you can try using one of these browsers and see if it fixes the problem. Additionally, the error might be occurring due to a temporary support issue with your browser or because your browser simply doesn’t support Google Drive. However, the latter can’t be true for popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge.

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If you are using one of the above-mentioned browsers and changing the browser fixed the upload problem, then try updating your browser to the latest version. If that doesn’t help, then wait for the next version update that might fix this issue.

For some reason, Google Drive stops working properly if images are turned off in the browser. You might be able to use it for editing and viewing data, but uploading and downloading won’t work. You can check my article about disabling images in your browser to learn how to both enable and disable images in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

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There might be an issue with your network instead. This is especially true if the file uploads but gets canceled in the middle with a network error. Restarting your router usually solves this problem. If that fails, try changing your IP address and also turn off the firewall. Using a VPN may also affect the upload process, so make sure your VPN is turned off.

If you are sure it’s a network error, then resetting your router might fix this. There should be a reset button (usually inside a hole) on your router that you can press and hold for five to ten seconds to reset the router.

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To confirm this, try uploading three types of files separately and see if they upload. If the files upload, then it’s definitely a problem with the file you want to upload. In that case, try changing the name and format of the file if possible. Also, make sure there are no characters in the file name (like ? < > / ).

If the file is huge in size (over 2 GBs), then try splitting it and then upload. A tool like 7-zip can help you with this task.

The above solutions should be enough to solve most upload issues in Google Drive. You might also like to try signing out of your Google account and logging in again. This helped me once for an odd reason, although there is a rare chance an authentication issue might interrupt the upload process.

13 comments

  1. Thank you for this thorough article! The private browser suggestion really helped in uploading files to google drive that were taking not only hours but days.

    Best, Tricia

  2. Hi there. I’m having an issue uploading onto Google drive mobile. I have a folder full of videos and they’ve been uploading fine. Now, suddenly, the few remaining videos I have won’t upload. They get all the way through the process and then either start over or get stuck in the “processing upload” phase forever. A few times they’ve eventually said “upload stopped.” I’ve tried deleting, stopping and starting again, doing one at a time. Help!

    • I just read your comment after I posted mine. Good to know it’s not a problem just for me! I hope this will be resolved soon.. so frustrating.

    • Im also having the same upload issues with drive for Android. Ive uploaded 50 videos and have plenty of space left on my account and now i get a notification saying unable to upload. I even tried using a different drive account and the same thing happens.

  3. Hi, having an issue on mobile. I am able to upload photos from Google Photos to designated folders in Google Drive but all of a suddenly I am not able to upload Videos. As soon as I try to it shows it’s preparing to upload and then an error message appears in the notifications that simply says it has been unsuccessful. This has suddenly started happening and it does with any videos I try to. Any tips to fix this?

  4. very good article — thanks — I thought I had my issue figured out when I tried to upload a different file/type and it worked. So, I changed the open office doc I originally wanted to upload to an excel file and changed it’s named. Tried to upload it and was still not able to see it when I finished. Maybe if a file has ever been open office it can’t be uploaded even if the name and format is changed? Those behemoth companies hate free software.

  5. Hey…I uploaded some pictures on my mobile drive 3 days ago…but it is still showing ‘waiting for upload’.what can I do now? As I deleted those pictures from my phone memory and these are something important.Where is the problem?

  6. I noticed that what I upload from my laptop can’t be viewed from my Android and vice-versa. When I opened up the web version of my Google Drive, all my files are in there. So, I don’t even know if it’s a synch issue or what. This oddity has occurred only within the past couple weeks.

  7. Hello, I’m on the mobile app for Google Drive. I’m trying to upload files from my gallery, but it instantly says “failed to schedule”. Whether it’s all the files or just one, that’s what it says. Does anyone know why?

  8. I am having problems with google drive on my mobile (android). Will not upload and says no connection-retry. I have panoramic wifi and I’m connected but drive wont connect. I’m not completely tech anal but rigjt now i sure feel like it. Plz help. Thanks. ~L

  9. Hi all, my problem is that while it was easy to save / share files from whatsapp or gmail to google drive until recently, now all files I share for saving are stuck with the message “waiting to upload” as if they are waiting for a wifi connection. Unfortunately even with the phone connected on wifi nothing happens… Thanks for help

  10. Having issues with google drive app. Unable to upload pictures, no matter the number… as it will continuously sit on waiting to upload, but never upload, despite wifi connection, clearing caches, disabling and enabling again… etc.

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