Shared drives

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What is a Shared Drive?

Shared Drives are special folders in Google Drive that you can use to store and collaborate on files within a department/unit/team. Unlike in My Drive, Shared Drive files are owned by the department instead of individuals. If members leave, the files stay in the Shared Drive so your group can keep sharing content and information without interruption. Additionally, Shared Drives exist outside the Life Cycle limits of individual Google accounts and have more granular permissions and roles.

Shared Drives Login

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Once you are a member of a Shared Drive you can access from the Drive interface

At a Glance

Key benefits:

  • Files are owned by the department/unit/team instead of individuals so that if a member leaves the Shared drive or the organization, the files remain in the Shared drive. 

  • All members of a Shared drive have access to all content in the drive

  • If you are using a Google Group to manage the membership or partial membership of a Shared drive, you can easily control access to the Shared drive by adding or removing the individual from the Google Group. 

  • You can use Google for Desktop to access your Shared drives. 

  • A Shared drive has five levels of permissions or roles for the members:
    • Viewer, Commenter, Contributor (Add and edit files), Content manager (Add, edit, move, delete and share content), and Manager (Manage content, people, and settings). For a more detailed look at permissions and roles, visit Google Shared drive permissions and roles

Known limitations:

  • Requires a temporary special permission for moving Folders from My Drive into a Shared drive. You can request this permission by completing this form

    • You will need to understand the security risks and potential permission changes on files.

    • You will need to be aware of potential content move failures or restrictions. See Google’s help document, Move your organization's content to shared drives for more information. 

  • Cannot use the file upload feature in a Google form owned by the Shared drive because folks completing the form are not members of the Shared drive.