Google Drive: Compare Shared Drives to My Drive

Google Drive offers two ways to create, share, and store files: Google shared drive and Google My Drive. Google shared drive should be used for files that should remain at the University after a person leaves. Google My Drive should be used for files that an individual uses that do not need to be retained by the University when the person leaves. Learn about each below.

Google drive offers two storage options: My Drive and shared drive

Google Drive Options

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Google Drive Options

Google shared drive

Who can use Google shared drives 

  • Faculty and Staff can create shared drives. 
  • Student organizations who need a shared drive, can request that a faculty or staff sponsor create the shared drive on their behalf
  • Collaborators can be invited to be members of shared drive by the shared drive Manager
  • Shared Drives are allocated 100GB of storage. Files stored in shared drives do not contribute to an individual's Google Workspace My Drive allocation total.

Benefits of Google shared drives

  • Seamless transitions when a collaborator leaves. Files stored in shared drive remain in the shared drive even when a member leaves the University or your project. 
  • Permissions can be set for inclusive and/or exclusive access to the shared drive, its folders and/or individual files. Shared drive folders and files can be shared with collaborators who do not have a University of Minnesota email address. 

How to request Google shared drives

To create a Google shared drive, complete the request form

How to use Google shared drives

  • Create folders, files, and/or upload files to your shared drive. 
  • A manager of a shared drive can assign different roles to collaborators, each with varying levels of control and access: 
    • Manager 
    • Content Manager 
    • Contributor 
    • Commenter 
    • Viewer 
  • Set exclusive access to specific documents for specific people in the group. 
  • Comment on, edit, or delete documents within the Shared Drive. 
  • For more information about Shared Drive permissions, visit Google’s Workspace Learning Center. 

What happens to files stored in Google shared drive when people leave the University 

  • Files remain in the shared drive. 
  • The person who leaves the University will lose access to the Google shared drive when their University email and Google Workspace account closes. 

Learn more on the Google shared drive webpage.

Google My Drive

Who can use Google My Drive

  • UMN students, faculty, and staff
  • Collaborators 

Benefits of Google My Drive

  • Files are owned by an individual 
  • Temporary collaboration is available 

How to use Google My Drive

  • Create folders, files, and/or upload files. 
  • Collaboration – use this feature if you want to give someone temporary access to your file so that they can provide editing and feedback. 

What happens to files stored in Google My Drive when people leave the University 

  • After students, non-emeritus faculty, or staff members leave the University, they will have a transition period determined by their role and affiliation with the Health Care Component. After the last day of their transition period, their accounts will close and they will no longer have access to email and Google Workspace. See the Review When Your Access Will Change section of the Leaving the University self-help guide. 
  • During the transition period, the account owner can download or transfer personal files stored in My Drive to a personal account or device. Restrictions apply for people in the Health Care Component. See the Move or Delete Your Personal Files and Data in the Leaving the University self-help guide for guidance and instructions. 
  • After the transition period is over and the account is closed, if the UMN Google Workspace account owner did not transfer ownership or place My Drive files in a Google shared drive, and those files need to be retained at the University, the people with whom the account owner shared files have 120 days to make a copy. 
  • After 120 days, no one can access the email or files stored in the closed account. 
  • After a UMN email and Google Workspace account has been closed for 180 days, its contents will be permanently deleted.

Learn more on the Google My Drive webpage.