Solve the Mystery: How to Fix tmp.drivedownload Folder Issue

What is the tmp.drivedownload Folder? Am I the first person out there to understand what’s happening with the  .tmp.drivedownload Folder?  Is it a virus? Well, it is but let me explain to you what happened in my case. 

**** This article was originally written in 2017 when Google Drive was just a place to store a few items in the cloud. Many facets from the original article still hold true. There are a few updates at the end of the article which discus the NEW Google Drive Desktop Application which makes matters easier when searching for the virus.

How and Why the  .tmp.drivedownload Gets Created

From my understanding the   .tmp.drivedownload Folder is created in Windows in c:\users\username\Google Drive and quickly removed in order for files from your Google Drive to transfer to your Windows device. The tmp.drivedownload is a temp folder that is supposed to be automatically removed once all files go to their specified folders in your c:\users\username\Google Drive.  The problem with the  .tmp.drivedownload occurs (at least in my case)  if your Windows anti-virus finds a virus. It could occur if the file is corrupted or for other reasons that will not allow a file to be copied over.   As I said before the  .tmp.drivedownload only gets deleted once ALL files have been transfered.  Your Windows anti-virus will quarantine the infected file that got transfered into  the  .tmp.drivedownload folder. Now you will have a situation where the files that are on your Google Drive do not match what is in your c:\users\username\Google Drive.  


In order for you to correct this  .tmp.drivedownload from appearing, you must find the offending file on your Google drive itself. You must connect to your Google drive through the browser and delete the offending file. If you’re uncertain which file is causing the issue, please give us a call and we will be glad to assist.

In my case, many years ago I installed spying software for a client of ours who wanted to see what their employees were doing. I left a copy of the software on my Google drive to make things easier for installation.  Years passed and it was still on my drive. Google doesn’t recognize the file as a virus however Windows Defender does.


I recently updated the backup and sync from google     (  and saw that it will make life easier for anyone having sync problems.   So if you haven’t yet, please update your version of “Backup and Sync” so you can  now easily locate the file in question that is leaving behind the .tmp.drivedownload.

In the bottom right-hand corner of your screen (next to the time) look for the icon of a cloud with the arrow pointing up and  right-click on it and you should get a window similar to the one below.

So just look for the file that cannot sync according to the Backup and Sync and remove it from your local drive and the cloud drive, and that’s it (it might only appear in one place which is is why you got this error so don’t worry).

ADDENDUM DECEMBER 2021 – Google Drive Desktop

So “Google Drive Desktop” has replaced “Backup and Sync” : .  If you are getting a message that you have a virus on your Google Drive  check the bottom right-hand corner of your screen (next to the time) look for the icon for Google Desktop with the colorful triange and  right-click on it and you should get a window similar to the one below. Click on the notification tab and see which file is not transferring and delete that file (if you don’t need it).