Shared Drives in U-M Google

Google shared drives (formerly Team Drives) are a feature in Google Workspace for Education. They offer shared space in Google Drive where teams can create, store, search, collaborate on, and access all their team-owned files. The difference between a shared drive and My Drive is that all data (files and folders) are owned by a group or team rather than an individual. This document provides an overview of shared drives in U-M Google.

Important: Shared drives should be used for collaborative data related to administration, learning, teaching, and/or research at the University of Michigan. Shared drives are not appropriate for storing personal data (SPG 601.07). Data in shared drives are considered to be owned by a group or team rather than an individual.

Data that is not collaborative and/or does not necessitate the real-time collaborative features Google Drive offers should be stored in a more applicable location, such as a U-M Dropbox Team Folder or another university-provided storage service.

Table of Contents

Create a Shared Drive

Important: Sponsored affiliates, temporary staff, alumni, retirees, and Google Shared Accounts cannot create shared drives.

Use the Google shared drives creation form (via the Shared Drive Manager tool) to create a Google shared drive. Refer below for additional information to help you as you fill out the form. After submitting the form, check your Google Drive for the new shared drive.

On average, it takes a few minutes for the shared drive to appear in your Google Drive after submitting the form. However, it may take up to 24 hours in some cases.

Note: Shared drives have a 15GB storage limit.

Naming conventions

Outside of the naming conventions listed below, groups/teams have the freedom to customize shared drive names as they see fit.

Prefixes

When creating a shared drive, a prefix will automatically be attached to your shared drive name. The prefix is based on the school, college, or unit of which your department is a part. For example, the Chemistry department would have the auto-generated prefix of “LSA-.” To delineate your specific department with the school/college/unit, add the Active Directory abbreviation to the shared drive name you provide. (E.g., “CHEM-DriveName” would appear as “LSA-CHEM-DriveName.”)

Note: This prefix cannot be removed. If you chose the wrong school/college/unit from the drop-down menu when filling out the form, you can edit it using the Shared Drive Manager tool. If you believe the prefix provided to you in the form is incorrect (e.g., your department is not under that school, college, or unit), contact the ITS Service Center.

Limitations

Shared drive names may only contain alphanumeric characters, hyphens (-), dashes (—), pipes (|), underscores (_), and up to one space.

Ownership/responsibility assignment

The individual who submits the shared drive creation form is automatically assigned as a Manager to the shared drive. However, you are required to provide at least one additional individual as a Manager when you fill out the form to share responsibility for the management of this drive. You can add up to 49 additional Managers to your drive.

The additional Manager(s) must be eligible to create a shared drive. If a Manager is not eligible (i.e., sponsored affiliates, temporary staff, alumni, retirees, Google Shared Accounts, and external (non-UM) Google accounts), then you will be unable to submit the form and will have to provide a different uniqname for someone who is eligible.

As the responsible parties:

  • You will be responsible for the maintenance and annual renewal of this shared drive.

More information regarding the annual renewal process will be coming soon. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact the ITS Service Center.

  • If you or another Manager should no longer be responsible for this shared drive, you must either remove yourself/the Manager using the Shared Drive Manager tool or wait until it is time for the annual renewal of your drive.

Managers must be maintained via the Shared Drive Manager tool. You should use the tool to add and remove Managers from any shared drive you manage. (Currently, this process is limited to shared drives created after January 3, 2023. You will be able to import existing drives created prior to this date in the near future.)

Important: You cannot add or remove Managers directly in Google, as all changes will be reverted within 24 hours. You must use the Shared Drive Manager tool. All other roles (e.g., Content Manager, Contributor, etc.) are managed directly in Google.

If an individual's role should be changed from Manager to another, you should remove them using the tool and assign them directly to the drive in Google with their new role.

Edit Your Shared Drive

When making changes to your shared drive, such as updating the name or deleting your drive, you will either use the Shared Drive Manager tool or the Google Drive interface. The table below lists common actions taken on shared drives and where you should go to make the changes.

Action Make the change within...
Rename the shared drive

If the drive was created after January 3:

Shared Drive Manager tool

If the drive was created before January 3:

Your Google shared drive

Update departmental prefix (in front of shared drive name) Shared Drive Manager tool
Add or remove Managers

If the drive was created after January 3:

Shared Drive Manager tool

If the drive was created before January 3:

Your Google shared drive

Add or remove Content Managers, Contributors, Commenters, and Viewers Your Google shared drive
Manage files and folders Your Google shared drive
Change shared drive settings Your Google shared drive
Delete shared drive Your Google shared drive

Note: You cannot remove the ITS Shared Drive Manager (shared-drive-manager@umich.edu) as a Manager of your shared drive as it is necessary for lifecycle management. If you remove it, all Managers will receive an email, and the account will be added back within 24 hours.

Sharing and Permissions

Adding collaborators to shared drives and the subfolders and files within the drive can be managed by using MCommunity groups or individual invitations. Shared links can also be used for sharing subfolders and files within the drive.

Important: External users (i.e., non-@umich.edu email addresses) within an MCommunity group do not sync to U-M Google. You will need to invite them individually at the shared drive, subfolder, or file levels.

A few things to note:

  • Managers must be added or removed via the Shared Drive Manager tool.
  • You can’t assign the Manager role to individuals shared on subfolders. You can only assign the Content Manager, Contributor, Commenter, or Viewer roles.
  • File-level sharing has the same permission roles as files in My Drive (i.e., Editor, Commenter, and Viewer).
  • When you share with someone at the subfolder level, the user will only see that subfolder in the Shared with me section of their Google Drive. They will not see the shared drive listed on their shared drives page.
  • When moving files from My Drive to a shared drive, permissions explicitly granted on those files will be preserved. Permissions inherited from folders are not preserved.
  • Files of which another person is the Owner cannot be moved into a shared drive unless that owner is at least a Contributor in the shared drive.

Role permissions

Action Manager Content Manager Contributor Commenter Viewer
View files and folders Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark
Comment on files Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X
Make/approve/reject edits in files Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X

Create files and folders

Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X
Share files with specific people (i.e., non-members) Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X

Move files from My Drive to a shared drive

Note: Folders cannot be moved from My Drive to a shared drive.

Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X
Restore files/folders from trash (up to 30 days) Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X

Move files/folders within a shared drive

Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X
Delete files/folders Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X
Share folders with specific people (i.e., non-members) Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Move files/folders from one shared drive to another Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Add/remove members Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Rename shared drives Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X

Delete shared drives

Note: All files/folders must first be deleted from the shared drive.

Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Modify shared drives settings Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Permanently delete files in the trash Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X

Best Practices and Tips

  • Review the shared drive limits and watch for these technical limitations when moving data or organizing content. For example, shared drives can contain a maximum of 400,000 files and folders.

  • It is not possible to move folders from My Drive to a shared drive at this time. Refer to Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive for instructions on how to move your data from folders to a shared drive. (ITS cannot assist with moving files (or folders) from My Drive to shared drives.)

  • Requests for access to shared drive files go only to the file creator. If the file creator is no longer a member of the shared drive, the requests will be sent to the shared drive Managers.

  • A Google account is needed to become a member of a shared drive. You can share files and folders with users who do not have Google accounts via visitor sharing. However, to be a member of a shared drive, the invited user must have an email address associated with a Google account.

Last Updated: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2023