Manage shared drives
This feature is available with G Suite Business, Education, Enterprise, and Drive Enterprise editions. Compare editions
Google shared drives are spaces where your teams can easily store, search, and access their team's files anywhere, from any device.
Shared drive files belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay exactly where they are so your team can continue to share information and work.
Note: Shared drives are turned on by default for new G Suite accounts. If your organization signed up for a G Suite account before July 2017, you may need to turn on shared drives for your domain or specific organizational units. Learn more
You can create a shared drive for your projects or team to share information and work.
|Find files even after an employee leaves||Files are owned by a team and organization, not by an individual. When an employee leaves the organization and their accounts are deleted, their files remain in shared drives.|
|Improved sharing rules||All members of a shared drive see the same content.|
|Content discoverability||When you add a user to a Google Group, that user is automatically added to all the shared drives that include that group.|
|Add external users to shared drives||
You can add external users to a shared drive.
Tip: As a G Suite administrator, you can also restrict people outside your organization from accessing files. Learn more
|Synchronize content on your desktop||Users can access their shared drives on their computer using Drive File Stream.|
|Shared drives||My Drive|
|What types of files can you add?||All file types*||All file types|
|Who owns files and folders?||The team||The individual who created the file or folder|
|Can I move files and folders?||
Users can only move files.
Administrators can move folders.
|Can I sync files to my computer?||
This depends on which sync solution you use:
|Sharing||All team members see the same file set.||Different users might see different files in a folder, depending on their access to individual files.|
|How long do deleted files stay in Trash?||
||Files or folders in the Trash remain there until the user selects Delete Forever.|
|Can I restore files?||Yes, if you have Edit access or full access.||Yes, if you created it.|
* Except Google Maps.
- Share content responsibly—Use shared drives to share content intended for public view. Keep personal and private files in My Drive.
- Improve collaboration—Create a shared drive for each project and assign the highest access level (such as full access) to all team members.
- Increase shared drives usage and visibility—Train your managers and employees on how to use shared drives.
- Organize content—Help users move all of their content from My Drive to shared drives.
- Migrate content in a timely manner—Ask your users to start migrating active projects or team documents, if they’re limited on resources or time.
- Sharing content in shared drives:
- When users are added to a shared drive, they can access everything in that shared drive. You can’t restrict access to subfolders. When different permissions are needed, create a new shared drive instead.
- Users can move any files they own from My Drive to a shared drive. If the file is owned by someone else, ask them to move it.
- Individual files within a shared drive can be shared directly with non-shared drive members. When this happens, the file appears in ‘Shared with me’ and other views for that user, but can’t be added in My Drive or to another shared drive.
- Control sharing of shared drives content.
If users in your organization ask you when to create shared drives, think about :
- Are the files of interest to most or all members of a particular project team?
- Do the files share a consistent theme?
If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, creating a new shared drive is a good idea.
If the files are for a variety of projects, create multiple shared drives. As the number of projects and teams increases, it can become difficult to find and manage content.
|Too many files at the root level||
If a shared drive has a large number of files at the root level, one of the following issues can exist:
The shared drive should be reorganized into several new shared drives representing individual projects and functional (or cross-functional) teams.
|Trying to map folders to projects||
Your users may try to create a shared drive to represent a portfolio of projects or programs, and then create individual folders for each project. They might ask you about setting different access permissions for each of the folders in the shared drive. This can indicate that the shared drive is being oversubscribed.
Each of the folders in this scenario should be reorganized into its own individual shared drive.
Note: To better support this reorganization, the G Suite team may look into providing more powerful controls for organizing large numbers of shared drives in the future.
|Teams debate how folders or files should be organized||
If multiple teams are having extended debates around how files and folders in a shared drive should be organized, it can indicate that there are too many projects and teams represented in the shared drive. The shared drive should be reorganized into 2–3 new ones:
|Include only group content in a shared drive||Users should avoid adding their personal content or notes into a shared drive. Shared drives are meant for shared project artifacts that would be of interest to an entire team or group.|
|Who should be members of a shared drive||
Avoid adding an entire organization to a shared drive, unless the content is highly focused.
For example, a shared drive containing U.S. benefits information for employees of a U.S.-based company could make for a good shared drive. Alternatively, creating a single shared drive for the entire company and then adding a folder called US Benefits can lead to issues with organizing and searching the shared drive.