On This Page
- Records Management: What Files Should You Keep?
- File Ownership: Yours or Shared with You?
- Finding Shared Files
- Finding Files Owned by a Specific Person
- How to Keep Shared Files
- Transfer ownership of your files
- Google Shared Drives vs Google Shared Folders
UW Google Drive, a part of UW Google, is a powerful tool for storing and sharing files, and collaborating on work. However, the frequent sharing of UW Google Drive files can also create confusion over file ownership. This page offers some tips for avoiding file loss in this modern file sharing environment.
When saving and storing files, it is important to keep in mind that the UW must maintain compliance with state and federal laws and regulations relating to the preservation and destruction of information created and received by the UW.
It is the general policy of the UW to:
- Create only the records it needs
- Retain records according to legally approved records retention schedules
- Maintain active and inactive records in appropriate storage equipment and locations
- Discard records when no longer required
- Preserve records of historical significance
- Identify and protect vital records
This policy applies as well to files that have been shared with you. Among the files that others share with you may be records that are subject to records retention requirements and should be preserved or deleted according to a legally approved records retention schedule. These records may also be responsive to an audit, public records request or litigation and as such must be maintained until the matter is resolved.
If you have specific questions about Records Management at UW, please contact Records Management Services.
If you have specific questions about Records Management at UW Medicine, please contact UW Medicine Records Management Services (RMS).
Not all files you see in your UW Google Drive 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. That’s fine for collaboration, but when an owner of a file is no longer a student or employee of the UW, their files will be deleted 20 days after their departure date from the UW.
If you depend on those files, it’s important to preserve them before your collaborator departs the UW. To do so, follow the process below.
Please note: This process should be followed for each individual who has already departed the UW and as a regular offboarding task when an individual is preparing to depart the UW.
Watch a video overview and/or follow the steps further down the page.
To find files you do not own in your UW Google Drive, click on Shared with me in the left column of UW Google Drive. Every file you see in this list is a file that is owned by someone else. As a result, every file listed can disappear without warning when the owner departs the UW.
Using Google Drive’s search box at the top of the screen, you can find files owned by a specific person. This can be useful if you know an individual is leaving the UW soon but owns files you depend on. To find all files owned by a specific person:
- Log in to your UW Google Drive.
- On the right side of the Google Drive search box, click the down arrow.
- In the search options screen that pops up, click the down arrow next to Owner and choose Specific person.
- In the box that appears next to Specific person, enter the email address of the owner you’d like to search for, e.g. UWNetID@uw.edu.
This will show you every file that is shared with you but owned by the individual you specified.
UW Google Drive offers several different methods for preserving files shared with you.
Copy or download a file
- Right-click on a file shared with you and choose Make a copy to create a copy that you own that will be stored in your personal UW Google Drive.
- Right-click on a file shared with you and choose Download to download a copy of the file to your device.
- Select multiple files at a time by selecting a file, holding down Shift, then using your mouse to select a number of consecutive files.
- Select a file then hold down Ctrl and select specific files out of a list files.
- Select a file and hit Ctrl + A to select all the files on the list.
Please note: The sharing settings and version history of copied files do not transfer.
Download a folder
- You cannot right-click on a folder shared with you and choose Make a copy; instead, you’ll have to open the folder and select the files to copy or download.
- You can, however, right-click on a folder shared with you and choose Download to download a copy of the folder to your device.
- The ZIP file created when you download a folder will maintain the folder structure of the downloaded Google Drive folder, i.e. all subfolders and files with reflect the folder structure on Google Drive.
- Google files (e.g. Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.) will be downloaded in Microsoft Office file formats, e.g. Google Doc file -> Microsoft Word file, Google Sheet file -> Microsoft Excel file.
Google Shared Drives and Google Shared folders have distinct differences in both the file and folder structure, and ownership. For more information on this topic, please see the Google Shared Drives vs Google Shared Folders page.