gdrive on the mac refuses to let you change the associated account

Ah google drive. Not exactly a Drop Box killer in any way, but with the conversion of google docs to the google drive many of us inherited it if we wanted it or not.

The first strike against this new imposition of gdrive rules is that apparently it doesn’t work so well with Google’s own Cloud Connect Product which integrates with Microsoft Office. But that wasn’t our particular problem with gdrive this evening. My problem with gdrive was that I was trying to cascade a laptop to one of my sons and it refused to let him log into the Gdrive with his gmail address. Even though all traces of the former owner had been removed, or so I thought…. (yes we uninstalled, reinstalled, Chrome, gdrive, rebooted, software updated, etc, etc….)

Mind you this isn’t google apps for business. This is a regular blah@gmail dot com type of email account that is also used for itunes etc. We uninstalled Chrome. Removed my other sons name from anyplace it appeared in System Settings on the Mac (OSX Lion 10.8.3). In particular I was sure to remove the former owner from all services under:

System Preferences / Internet & Wireless / Mail Contacts & Calendars

At this point after uninstalling Chrome and Gdrive both. Reinstalling Gdrive numerous times and changing everyone’s passwords I have been reduced to adding new aliases in my /.bash_profile file and my youngest son is like “Dad, it’s not that big of a deal I can just access it on the web site.” But no….. now I’m ticked.

Here is the error message and then the solution.

And for the search engines the text of the dialog box reads

"Google Drive. The account you entered does not match. Please sign in again with your account to proceed."

The catch is that account doesn’t exist anymore. Google drive was uninstalled as was Chrome. And gmail and web services are working fine on the new account when logged in to the web using Chrome or Firefox. It is JUST the Mac locally installed G Drive that won’t allow access.

The solution cobbled together from various blog posts. Using terminal with a sudo prefix:

sudo cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Drive

and you will see something like this:

LOCAL:~/Library/Application Support/Google/Drive
[Drive]$ ls -a
. CrashReports lockfile sync_config.db
.. cacerts snapshot.db

Just kill it all. From there is should be a matter of doing

cd ..
sudo rm -rf Drive

and then launching Gdrive on the mac again. This time it should prompt you to login with the new account associated with that computer. I can’t recall if we did a reboot in-between this step or not so consider that as well. And empty your Trash before you reboot because you probably need to do that anyway.

Two side notes learned over the years dealing with the Mac-n-Cheese-version-of-shiny-BSD-Aqua-Unix we call Macs (?rant? POSIX absolutely SHOULD be acceptable in WWF. Grrrrr.).

1) Do not EVER change your primary user admin home directory. Ever. You can change anything else on a Mac, but it will be a living hell trying to find every reference to the home directory baked into the OS. So if you buy a laptop from bob smith and his home directory is ‘bsmith” then either get OK with it, or rebuild the machine.

2) Gdrive, and google docs, are fine for personal use IMHO. So is DropBox. But neither have scaled for us at work even using google apps. Two alternatives I would encourage you to look at for business file sharing and syncing are SpiderOak and SugarSync. We are testing both although I am leaning heavily towards SpiderOak because it is lower cost and has better security. Of course like TrueCrypt or 1Password if you lose your key there is no plan B, but that also means your data is truly secure and you should invest in a lock box at a bank and (gasp) right down the authentication.