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Resolve common Google Drive issues

As the G Suite administrator, your users may contact you about the following questions or error messages. You can also check to see if your users are encountering a current G Suite Known Issue.

Where did all these files come from?

All the web-based Google documents (such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides) that you own or have uploaded are stored in the top level of My Drive in Google Drive on the web. You might have forgotten about some of these files if you haven't seen them for a long time.

When Google Drive for Mac/PC is installed, all individual items in the top level of My Drive are synced to the Google Drive folder on your computer. You can choose to sync only some folders via the Google Drive for Mac/PC preferences, but individual items at the top level will always sync. To avoid this, create a folder under My Drive, put all the items you don't want to sync in that folder, and then choose to not sync that folder.

Where are all my files?

Note that only the files and folders in My Drive on the web will be synced and downloaded to your computer and mobile devices. You can add files to My Drive by dragging them from Shared with Me or other views in Google Drive on the web.

If you can't find a file in Google Drive on the web, see Find your files.

I'm confused by what happens after I delete or restore files

If you delete a file in Google Drive on the web, it moves to the Trash or Recycle Bin on your local machine.

When you move a file out of the local Google Drive folder, in the simple case it is sent to Trash in the online interface. Trash is never automatically emptied, so you can restore the file from Trash or permanently delete it.

There are two exceptions:

  • If you remove an item from your local Drive folder that was shared with you but that you don't own, the file is simply removed from your My Drive view online. In this case, the file does not move to online Trash. You can add the file back to your Drive by finding the file in the online Shared with Me view and dragging it back to My Drive.

  • If you sync two folders that contain the same item, that item is fully downloaded in each folder. If you then delete the item from one local folder, the file is only removed from that folder. It still remains in the second folder and is not sent to Trash in Google Drive on the web.

It will normally work to restore a file by dragging it from the Trash back into your Drive, with one exception and one important caveat.

  • Exception: Unless you've enabled offline access, local versions of web-based documents (such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and partner web apps), are simply pointers to the online web resource. If you drag one of these local pointer files to the local trash and then drag it back to Google Drive, it will also restore the online document from the online Trash. However, if you have emptied the online Trash before the restore, there is no longer an online document to restore, so the local pointer file will no longer work.

  • Caveat: If you drag a local (not web-based) file to the local trash and then drag it back to your local Google Drive folder, a new copy of the file is synced online. You'll now have two versions of the file online: one in Trash (with the old revision history) and the new synced version in My Drive (without the revision history).

Files keep disappearing from a shared folder

If you drag a file from a shared folder into My Drive (or any other folder), the file is moved, not copied. The file is thus removed from the shared folder and other users with access to the shared folder will no longer see the file. See About moving content from shared folders to learn more, including steps your organization might want to consider if you use an extensive shared file structure.

My "Shared with Me" view doesn't contain everything I expect to find

The Shared with Me view shows only items that have been shared with you explicitly. This includes items shared with you via a small group (with up to 200 members). If an item is shared with a larger group, it won’t automatically show in your Drive unless you click the link in the sharing invitation email.

See Resolve sharing issues to learn more.

Some files didn't sync

Click the icon for Google Drive for your Mac/PC (in your system tray or menu bar). This will show you if there are files that didn't sync and, in some cases, why they didn't sync. Click Retry all when you think you've fixed the problem.

I want to move my Google Drive system folder

The folder chosen for syncing your Google Drive can't be moved without breaking the sync.

The workaround is to disconnect the Google Drive for Mac/PC sync client from the account (via Preferences > Account > Disconnect account in the Google Drive for Mac/PC settings) and then sign in again and choose a new empty folder. You will not be able to choose the same folder, and the old folder remains on your computer with all files until you delete it.

Google Drive for Mac/PC doesn't work at all. Nothing happens when I click the icon.

You might have a proxy that is blocking Google Drive. See Firewall and proxy settings to learn more.

I get a message that I need more online storage, but nothing in Drive uses much space

Check your Trash view in Google Drive on the web. Files in Trash still count against your quota. Trash is never automatically emptied.

Why can external users share items in our folders more widely than our organization allows?

External collaborators are subject to their own organization's policies when they create objects in folders, even if the folders are in your organization.

This can lead to the following situation:

  • You allow your users to share externally.
  • You do not allow your users to publish files on the web or make them visible to the world as public or unlisted files.
  • Your users share folders with external users who have more permissive sharing settings. The external users are then able to create public files in your shared folders, even though your users cannot.

If you're concerned about this situation:

  • Turn off external sharing in your organization.
  • Allow external sharing only as required for trusted organizational units. This feature is available with the G Suite Enterprise or Business or Education or Nonprofits edition.
  • Allow external sharing, but ask your users to share only files externally, never folders.
  • If appropriate, provide external collaborators with an account on your domain.
My users get this error: "This page isn't redirecting properly."

To resolve this issue, please disable Drive for a few minutes, and then re-enable the service.

This may affect your domain if you recently signed up for G Suite, or switched to another edition. If disabling the service for 24 hours does not resolve the issue, contact the support team.

My users get this error: "Google Drive needs to quit."

Users may see this error when syncing a very large number of files. This is particularly likely when files are being synced to Google Drive for the first time.

If you see this error, restart the Google Drive application. If you’re using a PC, check your Task Manager to ensure the application is fully closed before restarting it.

If you are syncing more than 100,000 items, or if you continue to see the error even after restarting the application a few times, try adjusting your sync preferences to upload a smaller set of files at one time.

My users can't access public document templates

If your users do not have access to public templates, they receive an error message when they attempt to view the available public templates, such as Sorry, your search didn't return any templates or Sorry, no templates match the selected filters.

To allow your users to view and use public templates, you must enable them to receive documents from outside of your organization. See Enable Google Drive templates to learn how.

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