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Shared Drives

Folder sharing is now available in Shared Drives., opens in new window Starting October 6th, you should be able to share subfolders within a shared drive where you have Manager access level.

About Shared Drives

Shared Drives previously called Team Drives, opens in new window are shared spaces, allowing groups to create files and folders that are automatically shared between a group of collaborators and do not have a specific owner - instead, they’re owned by all members of the team, allowing access to remain even if someone leaves the organization.

Google’s learning center, external link gives a full overview and step-by-step instruction for Shared Drives features. You can also visit their help page, external link for additional support.

Top 4 Benefits of Using Shared Drives

  • Access: Every Google Drive user has access to Shared Drives, which means there’s no need to add the folder to their own My Drive. Shared Drives is now a menu item on the left.

  • Ownership: In Shared Drives, files aren’t owned by an individual, they’re owned by the group. Even if an employee leaves Ryerson and their accounts are deleted, their files remain in Shared Drives.

  • More permission controls: Shared Drives introduces a fourth level of permissions, beyond edit, comment and view. 'Manager' access allows members from preventing others with editing access from deleting files or adding new members to the Shared Drive.
  • Deletion: Shared Drives have their own trash bin that can restore files and permanently delete files after 30 days.

Limitations of Shared Drives

  • Files you don’t own cannot be moved into a Shared Drive. Only the file owner can move the file into a Shared Drive.
  • Folders cannot be uploaded or moved into a Shared Drive. New folders must be created in the Shared Drive and files moved into them accordingly.
  • Only Manager access level members can delete files from a Shared Drive. Editors and other access level members of the Shared Drive do not have permissions to delete.

Deciding Between Shared Drives and Managed Departmental Folders in Google Drive

While both options are similar in having files owned by entire groups, managed folders are often recommended for departments to configure shared folders. However, here’s an overview of when Shared Drives and managed departmental folders are most suitable.

Shared Drives are Best for

  • Users with a project-specific need for a shared folder for group members.
  • Those who want something that can be created on their own.
  • Straightforward folder structures that don’t need to be shared or patrolled.

Managed Folders are Best for

  • Departments using complex folder structures with various sharing permissions set for people at the sub-folder level.
  • Automatic sharing and transfer of file ownership to the department
  • Users who need flexibility moving files in and out of the managed folders, even if they don’t own it.

Comparison Chart of Features: Shared Drives vs. Managed Departmental Folders in Google Drive

The following chart shows how each option handles a specific feature. If you wish to configure a folder for your department, we recommend the managed departmental folder, opens in new window options.

Feature/Functionality

Shared Drives

Managed Departmental Folders With Google Drive

File ownership

No one individual or account “owns” any of the files moved, uploaded or stored in a Shared Drive.

Ryerson creates a departmental ownership account on your behalf that automatically takes ownership of all files in the folder.

Sharing permissions

5 permission levels available:
  • Manager: Can manage members, and upload, edit, move, or delete all files.
  • Content manager: By default, can upload, edit, move, or delete all files.
  • Contributor: Edit all files and upload new files, but can’t move or delete files.
  • Commenter: Can only comment on all files.
  • Viewer: Can only view all files.
3 permission levels available:
  • Edit access: Can manage members, upload files, edit, move or delete files.
  • Comment access (available on individual files only): Can make comments and suggestions, but cannot change or share the file with others.
  • View: Can view files.

When a file with existing sharing permissions is moved into a Shared Drive or managed departmental folder

The sharing permissions, even with those not part of the Shared Drive remains intact on the file. The Shared Drive members also inherit permissions on the file. Only an owner of a file can move it into a Shared Drive.

Folder option 1:
The original sharing permissions remain intact, even if those people are not part of the departmental folder group. The departmental folder group also gains permissions on the file.

Folder option 2 and 3:
The original sharing permissions with those not part of the departmental folder is removed.

Ability to set sharing permissions for files newly created in the Shared Drive or managed departmental folder

Individual team members with Manager, Content Manager and Contributor access can share files in the Shared Drive with other individuals. Managers in the Shared Drive can share subfolders in the shared drive with non members of the shared drive. Managers can also add access to folders and files for members with limited access.

Individuals with edit access:

Folder option 1:
Can change permissions and share files in the departmental folder with others.

Folder option 2:
Can share files in the departmental folder with others.

Folder option 3:
Cannot share files in the departmental folder with others. Sharing of the folder is controlled by a Google Group.

Sharing a subfolder

Shared Drive members with Manager, Content Manager and Contributor access can only share individual files with people outside of the team. 

Shared Drive members with Manager access can share subfolders in a shared drive with people outside the team.

Folder option 1 & 2: Subfolders can be shared by anyone with edit permissions.

File deletion

Only those with Manager access to the Shared Drive can delete files permanently. Content Manager access members can move files and folders into the trash bin (but not permanently delete).

Anyone with edit permissions to a folder can delete files.

Deleted file retention and recovery

Deleted items go into the trash bin for 30 days, after which it is permanently deleted and unrecoverable.

Anyone with Manager level access can recover a file within the 30-day time period.

Deleted items are removed from the shared folder but remain recoverable by the department ownership account. Contact CCS for support finding, recovering or permanently deleting files.

Uploading and moving files into the Shared Drive or managed departmental folder

Those with Manager and Content Manager access to the Shared Drive can upload or move files, but only if they also own the file being moved.

Those with edit access to a file can upload or move it into a managed folder. Once moved, the file’s ownership will be automatically switched to the department and the file’s original sharing settings will be as follows:

Folder option 1: The original owner will still have edit access.

Folder option 2 and 3: The original owner will be removed from accessing the file completely.

How it appears in my Google Drive

Shared Drives appear as its own category directly below My Drive in the left navigation menu.

Managed departmental folders appear as a shared folder in Google Drive.

Creating a Shared Drive or managed departmental folder

Shared Drives can be created on your own without contacting CCS. For help setting up a Shared Drive, please see the G Suite Learning Center help page, external link, opens in new window.

Managed departmental folders can be configured by contacting CCS.