November 14, 2018

Action required to avoid loss of shared UW Google Drive and UW OneDrive for Business files

The following email was sent to UW students, faculty and staff and the UW Medicine employees.

In our ongoing effort to modernize the University’s email, productivity and collaboration services, the next phase of the Email Modernization Program (EMP) will take place on November 27, 2018 and involve the deletion of files stored by former students and employees on UW Google Drive and UW OneDrive for Business. This is your final reminder that you may need to take action to avoid loss of UW Google Drive and UW OneDrive for Business files that have been shared with you by former students and employees.

It is important to note that not all files you see in UW Google Drive or in UW OneDrive are owned by you; many will be shared with you, and appear to be your files, but are actually owned by another individual at the UW.

The University has a standard practice of deleting files stored on UW Google Drive (part of UW G Suite) and UW OneDrive for Business (part of UW Office 365) once the file owner has departed the University.

In keeping with this practice, on November 27, 2018, UW Google Drive and UW OneDrive for Business files that were owned or created by individuals no longer at the University — alumni, retirees, former students, former faculty, and former staff – with the exception of Emeriti Faculty and Emeriti Librarians — will be permanently deleted. This includes any content or files they may have shared with current UW students, faculty and staff.

To find out whether any files or content shared with you may be deleted and learn how to preserve them, please refer to instructions below:

IMPORTANT: The deletion of files affects only those UW Google Drive files and UW OneDrive for Business files that were owned or created by someone no longer at the UW. Any shared files you have on other drives/file storage platforms (this includes Google Team Drive, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online) or files owned by current UW students and employees will not be deleted.

Remember, you must take action prior to November 27, 2018 to ensure that you continue to have access to these important files. Once these files have been deleted, they cannot be recovered.

Preserving important records

As you review files that have been shared with you, take care to preserve or delete them according to a legally approved records retention schedule. In addition, these records may be responsive to an audit, public records request or litigation and must be maintained until the matter is resolved. This management of information should be a regular off-boarding task when an individual is preparing to depart the UW.

For further information about Records Management and retention of these records at:

In the future, to ensure you do not lose access to shared files, we recommend you follow the steps referenced above when it is known that a colleague is leaving the University.


If you need help, please contact:

  • Your department/unit IT support, or
    • The UW-IT Service Center (available 24×7)
    • with “Shared Files” in the subject line
      206-221-5000, option 5

Thank you for your assistance with this important initiative.

UW-IT Email Modernization Program Team