Transfer Drive files to a new owner

As an administrator, you can change a file's owner in Google Drive, but only among accounts managed by the same organization. For example, if someone leaves your company, you can transfer the files they own to someone else. That way, you can save their files before deleting their account. Transferring files does not affect who has access to the files. You can’t transfer Google Photos or Maps files.

Before you begin

  1. Consider moving the files to a shared drive instead—All files in a shared drive are owned collectively by all participants. If a user leaves or is deleted, other members can still access the files. Learn more about shared drives, including how to move existing content to a shared drive.
  2. Suspend the current owner's account—This action prevents new content from being created or moved in during the transfer if admins choose not to allow users to migrate files to shared drives. For details, go to Suspend a user temporarily.
  3. Make sure that the new owner's account is active—You can't transfer ownership if the account is suspended or deleted. If needed, temporarily restore a recently deleted user or a suspended user.
  4. Make sure the file hierarchy structure of the previous owner is the same for the new owner—If there are other owners in the hierarchy, you need to transfer those files separately. 
  5. Tell the new owner not to add files to Drive during the transfer. 
  6. Make sure the new owner has enough Drive storage—If needed, redistribute the files among several users or add Drive storage.
  7. If you need to transfer files that are in Trash—Move the files out of Trash. Otherwise, they’ll be deleted when you delete the user.
  8. If you need to transfer orphaned files (files that have lost their parent folders):
    1. In Drive, in the search box, enter is:unorganized owner:<username>.
    2. Move any files that you want to transfer to the user’s My Drive.

Transfer one file

Transfer all of a user's files

Note: If you transfer ownership of a lot of files and folders at the same time, it might take some time to see the changes.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenDrive and Docs.
  3. Click Transfer ownership.
  4. In the From user field, enter the current owner's email address and select the user from the results.
  5. In the To user field, enter the new owner's email address and select the user from the results.
  6. Click Transfer Files

After a transfer...

  • You and the new and old owner of the files will get an email when the transfer is complete.  
  • The new owner can find the files in a folder named with the previous owner’s email address.
  • The original owner can still edit the files, unless you delete their account or change their permissions. 
  • Even if previous file owners' accounts no longer exist, you can find a file's ownership history in the version history or the Drive audit log.

Note: If the original owner has no files which he owns in My Drive, the folder isn't created on the new owner's My Drive.

Related topics

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?

Need more help?

Sign in for additional support options to quickly solve your issue

Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
Search Help Center