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File Ownership: Yours or Shared with You?

Not all files you see in your 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 UGA.  That’s fine for collaboration, but when an owner of a file is no longer a student or employee of UGA, their files become unavailable.

If you depend on those files, it’s important to preserve them before your collaborator departs.  To do so, follow the process below.

Finding Shared Files

To find files you do not own in your Google Drive, click on Shared with me in the left column of your 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 UGA.

Finding Files Owned by a Specific Person

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:

  1. Log in to your Google Drive.
  2. On the right side of the Google Drive search box, click the down arrow.
  3. In the search options screen that pops up, click the down arrow next to Owner and choose Specific person.
  4. In the box that appears next to Specific person, enter the email address of the owner you’d like to search for, e.g.

This will show you every file that is shared with you but owned by the individual you specified.

How to Keep Shared Files

Google Drive offers several different methods for preserving files shared with you.

Copy or download a file

  • You can 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 Google Drive.
  • You can right-click on a file shared with you and choose Download to download a copy of the file to your device.
  • You can select multiple files at a time by selecting a file, holding down Shift, then using your mouse to select a number of consecutive files.
  • You can also select a file then hold down Ctrl and select specific files out of a list files.
  • You can also 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.

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