How to View Google Photos Library in Windows File Explorer

Google Photos is a popular cloud-based photo storage service that allows you to store, organize, edit, and share your photos across devices. If you use Google Photos on your phone or tablet, you may want to access your photo library directly in Windows File Explorer on your computer.

Why Access Google Photos in File Explorer

There are several benefits to accessing your Google Photos library in File Explorer on your Windows PC:

  • Easy transfers: You can easily drag and drop photos between Google Photos and your local folders. This makes transferring photos simple.
  • Photo management: Managing a large photo collection is easier when you can access the files directly in File Explorer. You can view metadata, add captions, organize into folders, etc.
  • Sharing and editing: It’s faster to share photos via email or social media when you access them in File Explorer. You can also open photos in editing software installed on your computer.

Challenges with Accessing Google Photos in File Explorer

Unfortunately, Google Photos does not natively integrate with File Explorer. So accessing your library is not straightforward. Here are some key challenges:

  • No direct sync: There is no official sync client to connect Google Photos and File Explorer. The old Google Photos desktop uploader provided this functionality but is now deprecated.
  • Cloud-based service: Google Photos is a cloud-based service, so your photos are not natively stored in local folders accessible by File Explorer.
  • Requires workaround: You need to use a workaround, such as the Backup and Sync app or Takeout, to download photos to your computer’s local storage.

Solutions to View Google Photos in File Explorer

Despite the challenges, there are a few possible solutions to access your Google Photos library in File Explorer:

1. Use the Backup and Sync App

The Backup and Sync app from Google allows you to download your Google Photos to a folder on your Windows PC. Here is how to set it up:

  • Download and install Backup and Sync app on your computer
  • Sign into the app using your Google account
  • Choose the option to backup your Google Photos folder
  • Select a local folder on your PC to save the photos

Once configured correctly, the app will download all photos from Google Photos into the selected folder on your PC. You can then access them directly in File Explorer.

2. Use Google Takeout to Export Photos

Google Takeout is a service that allows you to export copies of your Google data. Here is how you can use it for Google Photos:

  • Go to and sign-in
  • Deselect all services except Google Photos
  • Choose export format as “.zip” files
  • Export photos to your local Downloads folder
  • Unzip the files to access your photos in File Explorer

Takeout provides full-size, original quality exports of all your Google Photos which you can then organize locally as you wish.

3. Sync Google Drive Folder to Your PC

If you have the Google Drive desktop app installed, you can sync your Google Photos folder in Drive to your PC using these steps:

  • Open Google Drive and enable “Sync My Drive to This PC”
  • Right-click on “Google Photos” folder and choose “Available offline”
  • The folder will sync to a local folder on your PC
  • Access the local Google Photos folder in File Explorer

This leverages the built-in integration between Google Photos and Drive to give you local access to your photos.

Tips for Managing Google Photos in File Explorer

Once you can access Google Photos in File Explorer, here are some tips for effectively managing your photo library:

  • Use folders to categorize photos by year, events, people, etc.
  • Add captions, ratings and color labels to photos for easier searching
  • Open photos in editing software like Photoshop Express for quick adjustments
  • Drag photos into new folders to organize your library
  • Share photos directly via email or social media
  • Use the search bar to quickly find photos
  • Back up the local folders to external drives for redundancy


Accessing your Google Photos library in Windows File Explorer provides many benefits for managing, editing and sharing your collection. Though Google Photos does not directly integrate with File Explorer, workarounds like Backup and Sync, Takeout, and Drive folder syncing provide local access. Once available in File Explorer, you can fully leverage Windows tools and features for organizing your precious photos.