The G Suite Admin’s Guide to Shared Drives

The G Suite Admin’s Guide to Shared Drives

This guide will provide an overview of Shared Drives, explain differences between ‘Shared Drives’ and ‘My Drive’ and highlight considerations for migrating to & administering Shared Drives.



  • Introducing Shared Drives

  • Core features & differences from My Drive

  • Shared Drives Best Practices

  • FAQ


Shared Drives are a group-focused collaborative file share, meant as a central location for to store files for a particular project or team. Shared Drives intend to provide team level ownership over content so files remain intact while employees come & go. Google created Shared Drives to overcome three primary limitations with My Drive:

  • Content Discoverability. A user added to a Google Group won’t immediately gain visibility into all the files he or she has access to within Drive’s UI, which leads to delays and inefficiencies while onboarding new employees.

  • Files remain after employees leave: Currently, administrators must manually select and move files to another employee (often a manager) when someone leaves the company. This process is time intensive and not scalable.

  • Interface inconsistency & sharing rule confusion: Two employees viewing the same shared folder in Drive may see different files inside, based on individual file sharing permissions.

In short, Shared Drives provides a solution for centralized group collaboration & storage, as opposed to individual storage. Organizations can now develop policies outlining what type of content should be stored in these new group workspaces (Shared Drives) vs their own “My Drive”

Core features & differences from My Drive

Here’s a quick overview of features in Shared Drive & differences from My Drive.


  • Full Access

  • Edit Access

  • Comment Access

  • View Access

    • hng on the admin settings. However, you cannot use the standard “add contributor” for a file located within a Shared Drive.

    • Shared Drive Files that are shared out externally cannot be added to that non-members’ “My Drive” Folder and are only available in Shared with me, Recent, Starred, and Search. Files shared in this manner also have a Shared Drive icon next to the file name.

    • Certain right-click functions are disabled for files shared from Shared Drives, including “Move to” and “Remove”

    • Individual files within a Shared Drive can be shared externally, but folders/subfolders within a SHared Drive cannot be shared externally. You will need to create a separate “External” vs “Internal” Team Drive.

    SHared Drive cannot be shared externally. You will need to create a separate “External” vs “Internal” Team Drive.


  • Team Drives retain content over time, regardless of employees leaving the Team Drive or company.

  • Team Drives standardize content across all members of a tea, regardless of their access level.

  • Team Drives are shared team-wide, and certain files/folders cannot be hidden from members.

  • Each Team Drive has it’s own Trash Folder. This trash folder is separate from the My Drives trash folder



  • The Team Drives product is intended to be a transparent fileshare for a team/department/project.
    Questions to select My Drive vs Team Drive for content: