Transfer Drive files to a new owner

As a G Suite administrator, you can change who owns files in Drive. 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.

As an alternative, we recommend using Team Drives to store files. All files in a Team Drive are owned collectively, meaning if one person leaves, other Team Drive members can still access the files. This prevents files from being deleted when their owner’s account is deleted.

Learn more about Team Drives, including requirements & access levels and how to migrate existing content to a Team Drive.

Transfer one file

As an administrator, you can also transfer individual files using the Google Drive APIs.

Transfer all of a user’s files 

As an administrator, you can transfer all of a user's files to a new owner.

Notes:

  • Google Photos and Maps are not transferred.
  • Files and folders in the user's Trash are not transferred, so move files out of the Trash if they should be retained.  Otherwise, files in the Trash are deleted when a user is deleted.
  • Only files owned by a user can be transferred to another user, who becomes the new owner. 
  • You can also migrate a user’s content to a Team Drive. Files in a Team Drive are not deleted when a user account is deleted since the content is collectively owned by all participants. 

Learn more about Team Drives, including how to migrate existing content to a Team Drive.

Before you begin

Current owner's account

  • We recommend that the current owner's account be suspended.  This helps ensure new content isn't being created or moved in during the transfer. 

New owner's account

Transfer ownership

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenDrive and Docs.

  3. Click Transfer ownership.
    Note: You need the Drive service privilege and the Data Transfer privileges to see this option.

  4. In the From field, enter the current owner’s username and select their domain.

  5. In the To field, enter the new owner’s username and select their domain.

  6. Click Transfer Files

    • The files are automatically added to the new owner’s Drive. They appear in a folder named with the previous owner’s email address.

    • The original owner can still edit the files, unless their account is deleted or their permissions are changed.

    • Do not suspend the new owner's account during the transfer.

    • An email is sent to the administrator, and to the new and old owners.  The email describes if the transfer succeeded or failed.

 

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