Google Drive will simplify your file and folder structures by replacing files and folders included in multiple locations with shortcuts.
Previously, you could include files and folders in multiple locations in My Drive. The introduction of shortcuts simplified file and folder structures and created easy access to items. With shortcuts, it’s now easier for you to find and organize files and folders in multiple Google Drives while keeping the original version in one location. Learn more about finding files and folders using shortcuts.
How the replacement will work
- The replacement process will start in 2022. You’ll get a notification in Google Drive a few weeks before your replacement starts.
- The process will replace all but one location of files and folders that are currently in multiple locations. The files and folders will be replaced with shortcuts.
- The replacement decision will be based on original file and folder ownership, and will also consider access and activity on all other folders to ensure the least possible disruption for collaboration.
- At the time of replacement, sharing settings and file and folder ownership won’t change.
- The replacement is automatic and won’t require action from you or your Workspace admin.
- You can’t opt-out of the replacement.
Important: After the replacement, the original file’s permissions won’t automatically update when you create a shortcut to it. Remember to give any new people access to the original file. If you use Google Drive for work or school, you can try using Google Groups for greater control and safety when sharing access to files and folders.
Frequently asked questionsWhy is Drive replacing files and folders stored in multiple locations?
Shortcuts simplified file and folder structures in Drive by creating pointers to files and folders, rather than having files and folders in multiple locations. This helps create easy access to files and folders while reducing possible confusion about how files and folders are owned, managed, and updated. At the time of replacement, sharing settings and file and folder ownership won’t change.
All but one location of files and folders included in multiple locations will be replaced with shortcuts.
You’ll get a notification in Google Drive once the replacement is complete. You’ll also get more information about how to use shortcuts.
You can use advanced search to find files that were replaced.
- On your computer, open Google Drive.
- At the top, type
is:replacedin the search bar.
- On your keyboard, press Enter.
Shared files or folders you own might not be visible to everyone if they’re located in a shared folder. Drive will replace these with shortcuts. People won’t gain access to these items, but the names will be visible to everyone with access.
If you use Google Drive for work or school, your administrator will decide whether to create shortcuts for files and folders shared only with certain people or groups. If you have concerns about certain files and folders, contact your administrator.
If you use your Google account for personal use (for example, @gmail.com), you can choose whether shortcuts should be created for items in shared folders that aren't currently visible to all members of the folder.
- On your computer, open Google Drive.
- At the top, click Settings Settings.
- Next to "Options for replacing items with shortcuts," select Replace with shortcuts or Don't replace with shortcuts.
- On your computer, go to Google Drive.
- Click the file or parent folder.
- At the top right, click View details Activity.
Drive for desktop moves the offline version of the folder and its contents into the trash.
Important: Windows Files Explorer doesn’t sort shortcuts with folders. New shortcuts may appear in a different relative order in the file browser.
Important: If you restore a deleted folder from the trash, Drive for desktop doesn't keep the folder updated.
- Drive for desktop continues to show the folder as a shortcut in your file list.
- The folder changes its absolute path and moves to the “shortcuts-target-by-id” folder on Drive for Desktop. A local file system shortcut to the new location replaces the former parent directory, .lnk for Windows, Alias for Mac, or Symlink for Mac.
- When using external applications with Drive, make sure they follow the right path to access your folder.
- The folder isn't automatically available offline.
- If you stream files and want your folder and its contents available offline, to change your preferences, right-click the folder.