IT Connect
Your connection to information technology at the UW

Google Drive

Please note: Due to changes by Google to their higher ed offering, major changes are coming to UW Google. These changes will affect Shared Drives and the use of Shared UW NetIDs with UW Google. Storage limits may be imposed on accounts associated with personal UW NetIDs. For more detail and regular updates, see UW Google Workspace Changes.

UW Google Drive lets you create, store, share, and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations online.  UW Google Drive is one of the core UW G Suite apps.  UW Google Drive is FERPA-compatible, but is not HIPAA-compatible and should not be used for Protected Health Information (PHI).

Using UW Google Drive

File and Folder Ownership in UW Google Drive

File and folder ownership is an important concept in UW Google Drive.  The owner of a file or folder has full control over permissions and can delete it.  By default, you are the owner of:

  • Files and folders that you upload into UW Google Drive
  • Folders that you create in UW Google Drive
  • Files that you create in Docs, Sheets, or Slides

When an individual separates from the UW and their UW G Suite account expires, all files owned by that account are deleted, including files that were moved to other locations after creation. This feature can result in files unexpectedly disappearing from folders.  Unfortunately, our ability to restore a fully expired account is very limited and often it is impossible to recover any files deleted in this way.

For more information on UW Google Drive and File Ownership, click here.

UW Google Shared Drive: The Best Place for Collaboration

If you are working on a group, unit, or departmental project or have institutional data that should not be tied to one user account, a UW Google Shared Drive is the best option.

Unlike files owned by individual accounts, all files in a Shared Drive are “owned” by the Shared Drive and the members of the Shared Drive.  See our page on UW Google Shared Drive for more information.

Sharing Data with Other Users

Files in UW Google Drive can be shared with any Google users, even those with personal Google accounts or other G Suite accounts.  You can find extensive information on how to share using UW Google Drive at the Google Drive Help Center.

Use Groups to Make Sharing Easy

The UW Groups platform is used extensively for UW G Suite sharing.  For information on using UW Groups to manage your UW Google Drive, see the UW G Suite Group Sharing page.


For more information on account expiration and other policy related issues, see the following pages:

Last reviewed June 16, 2021