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.

Disable Ad Blockers for Google Drive

Fix Google Drive Upload Ublock

Ad blockers like AdGuard and uBlock Origin should in theory work fine with Google Drive. They generally rely on blacklists that block known sources of ads, and should allow you to upload files to Google Drive.

However, over the years various problems have been reported with browser extensions like AdGuard, which can sometimes block uploads or even block internet access for all your Google apps.

So if you’re having trouble uploading files and you have an ad blocker, try disabling it when you’re on the Google Drive website. Remember, don’t disable the ad blocker outright – just for Google Drive (and other Google sites, if experiencing problems) specifically.

Split Your Upload into Smaller Parts

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Google is designed to handle individual files as large as 5TB (unless they’re Google file formats like Docs or Sheets, in which case they’re 50MB). Generally Google is fine handling single large files and folders, though your internet might not like it if you try to upload a massive folder with hundreds of GB of data all at once. As you probably know, uploads put much more strain on a network than downloads.

If you find that uploading large folders leads to the Google Drive upload timing out or crashing, then try going into the folder, selecting everything inside, and uploading everything as individual files. Google Drive will queue them up automatically, and may handle the files better.

A good idea is to create the folder you want to put the files in on Google Drive before the upload, then chuck the files straight in there so you don’t have to organize them later.

Check the Status of Google Drive

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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.

Restart/Reinstall Backup and Sync

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.

Use Private/Incognito window

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.

Clear Browser Data

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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Use a different browser

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.

Make sure images are turned on

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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Is It a Network Issue?

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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The file might have an issue

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.

Conclusion

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.

This post is updated in June 2019.

15 comments

  1. I have been on student groups exchanging tutorial letters etc for 3 years and simply save once opened in whatsapp.. By pressing the little drive button at the top right of screen on my phone (huawei p20 lite… Same phone had it 6 months).. When select my folder… The save button is greyed out… Ie I can select folder but not click save

  2. I need to know why when I upload files to google drive sometimes I get more than 1 copy of some files.
    HELP!

  3. The issue is that after the latest update, there’s no obvious way to use mobile to to upload file. It seems to be stuck at the “waiting to upload”/spinning icon, just waiting for a WIFI connection. There used to be an option right on the file to bypass the wifi, but it seems they forgot to put this feature back in and now I just have a screen full of spinning icons…

    1. Any solution found? This is my EXACT issue. I think I’ve lost lots of files since I wasn’t aware that Google Drive was having this issue until AFTER I’d deleted the files from my phone to clear space!

  4. My first problem is I keep getting ‘ Sorry, Google Drive has unexpectedly stopped’.
    Sometimes I haven’t even been using it, I also get this popup for Google Play and Google Movie neither of which I ever use. This is just an annoyance but what really bothers me is when I’m trying to share music posts and Google Drive doesn’t respond at all.
    I record 1 to 3-minute music pieces on Voice Recorder – MP3 Record by Luciper, then share them to folders on Google Drive, maybe 5 or 6 in a row. Usually, the first 3 or 4 share fine, then the next one I can’t get thru to GD at all. Drive just will not open, I clear all apps, close everything then try again and same thing happens numerous times. Even restarting my phone does nothing, then all of a sudden it will work and my file will be shared. Please help!!

  5. i used to be a Picasa user but because in their wisdom google stopped suporting it weve all had to change to google photo and google drive
    its just a complete and utter load of crap, it wont allow me to load my photos from my camera like Picasa used to do , it was so simple but this new google system is just useless
    if I could go back to Picasa you wouldnt see me for dust, shame on Google

  6. Since April 2019, any scan or doc upload from my phone to Google drive just spins but never uploads. Come on Google… it’s been working great before the last update and now we’re stuck.

    Please email me with the solution.

    Thank you.

  7. Thank you! Switching to Incognito fixed the problem for me.

  8. I’m having trouble backing up a Galaxy note 3 to a new Gmail account. It’s been almost 48 hours and the backup and sync continues to indicate that it is backing up. Unfortunately there is no progress bar, so although Samsung customer service seems to think it is progressing due to the message, how do I know this is actually happening and isn’t this too long a timeframe. The phone had been cleared and given to my mother who uses this phone very little data work.

  9. Adguard was blocking this for me, disabled it and files started to upload.

  10. for the last one and half month, the pictures or documents which i want to upload in Google Driver, the same is not being uploaded showing a message waiting to upload

  11. I’m having the same problem, after a recent update almost all the files I try to upload just say “waiting…” Only 1 out of ten files actually uploads. This is a real problem for me and my business. Please fix it soon.

  12. Hi,

    If you are having this issue in a folder redirected environment then check the NTFS permission on the file server where the home directory is mapping. I had this issue and added user to the folder and gave it modify permission and that was the solution.

  13. I try pulling pictures up on my computer. It comes up picture file error. Any ideas what I can do to fix it.

  14. I’ve been trying to upload videos from my ipad but whenever I do it stops at “processing upload” and when that goes away I’m stuck wondering what happened. they can’t upload to my computer because they wont show when i connect them so now this is my only option unless i can find a new one.

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