What Is Team Drive?

Team Drive renamed as Shared drives are shared spaces where teams can create, store, search, and access their files anywhere, from any device.

Even if one of your teammates decides to leave, the file stays in the Shared drive making it accessible to the team.

This feature is available for G Suite Enterprise, Enterprise for Education, Drive Enterprise, Business, Education, and Non-profits edition.

Team Drive Basics

Let’s get some basics nailed down first.

  • Who is an Owner of Shared drive?
    Any user who creates Shared drive folders or who has been given the role of ‘Manager’’ by creator and has complete control over the drive including:
    a) Add/delete members to/from the Shared drive.
    b) Manage settings in Shared drive.
    c) Delete the entire Shared drive. 
  • Who is a User?
    Any user of the G Suite organization.

Team Drive Vs Google Drive

Similarity between Team Drive and Google Drive

  • Both the drives contain files and folders and can be created by any user*. 
  • In both, the ‘owner’ or other users who have permission can access the drive. 
  • In both, the ‘owner’ can add/delete users to the files. 
  • Users with appropriate permissions can create, move, edit, comment, view, delete, and change the settings in the drive.

Key Differences between Team Drive and Google Drive

    • When a member of a Shared drive leaves, all the data stays and cannot be deleted by anyone other than the ‘owner’ of the Shared drive folder. 
    • You as the ‘owner’ can define granular roles & permissions for users if needed for Shared drive folders. 

*Admin needs to turn on the Shared drive feature via admin panel.

My Drive vs Team Drive - Created by Me

My Drive - created by me VS Team Drive - created by me

My Drive (Shared with Me) vs Team Drive (Member)

My Drive - Shared with me VS Team Drive - Shared with me

How Do I Know If I Have Permission to Create a Team Drive?

  • Step 1 : Open Google Drive.
  • Step 2 : Check if ‘Shared drives’ option is visible or not.
  • Step 3 : If yes, click on the option and try creating a new Shared drive folder.
  • Step 4 : Only if you have the permission, will you be able to create a Shared drive folder.How to create a Team Drive

What Should I Do If I Don’t Have the Permission to Create a Team Drive?

If you don’t have the permission to create a Shared drive, then ask your Administrator to enable the Shared drives option from the Admin console.

How Can an Admin Enable the Team Drive?

  • Step 1 : Go to Admin console.
  • Step 2 : Go to ‘Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs’. Make sure that ‘Drive’ is turned ‘ON’.
    Enable Team Drive option
  • Step 3 : Select ‘Sharing settings’.

    Team Drive Sharing Settings

  • Step 4 : Select the desired organizational unit. 
  • Step 5 : Under ‘Shared drive creation’, uncheck the option ‘Prevent users in your organization from creating new shared drives’.
  • Step 6 : Click ‘Save’.
  • Step 7 : Wait for up to 24 hours after turning on shared drives for changes to be applied.

Are you an admin? Want to organize your Team Drive data?
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How to Create a Team Drive?

From your Google Drive,

  • Step 1 : Go to ‘Shared Drives’.
    How to create a Team Drive
  • Step 2 : Right-click and click on the option ‘New shared drive’.
  • Step 3 : Give an appropriate name to your Shared drive folder and click on ‘Create’.
  • Step 4 : Open your Shared drive and click on ‘Add members’. 
    Add members to Team Drive
  • Step 5 : You can add members to your Shared drive using their name or email address. You can also assign specific roles to them here. 
  • Step 6 : Click on ‘Add’.
    Team drive - role

Now you can start sharing your files in your Shared drive folder.

How Do I Manage My Team Drive?

If you create a Shared drive (or is the Manager of it), you can manage and control your Shared drive data by assigning specific roles to your team members accordingly. 

Team Drive Roles & Permissions

What Happens When Someone Leaves the Team Drive?

When a user leaves a Shared drive, all the data associated with that user account stays in the Shared drive. This data cannot be deleted by anyone other than the ‘Owner/Manager’ of the Shared drive. 

What If the Manager Leaves Team Drive?

If you are the only Manager of a Shared drive and decides to exit the drive, then no other member will be able to manage the membership or settings. To prevent this situation, the Manager – before leaving – can designate another member as the Manager of the Shared drive. 

Can I Delete Files in Team Drive?

Yes, if you are a ‘Content Manager’ or a ‘Manager’, then you can delete the files in your Shared drive.

By default, all new members added to a Shared drive are assigned the role of ‘Content Manager’. 
However, if your role is changed to Viewer, Commenter, or Contributor, then you won’t have the permission to delete the files. 

How Long Does the Deleted File Stays in Team Drive Trash Folder?

The Trash folder retains the deleted file for 30 days from the date of deletion, after which it gets permanently deleted. 

How to Recover Files from Team Drive Trash Folder?

A Content Manager or Manager can recover deleted files from the Shared drive Trash folder within 30 days from its date of deletion. 

Steps to Recover Files from the Trash

  • Step 1 : Go to ‘Shared drives>Select the specific Shared drives  folder>Trash’.
  • Step 2 : Right click on the specific file or folder that you want to recover.
  • Step 3 : Click on ‘Restore’.
    Team Drive - Restore from Trash
  • Step 4 : This will restore the file/folder back to the Shared drive.

How Can an Admin Recover Permanently Deleted Shared Drive Files Using G Suite Native Features?

The admin can recover the permanently deleted Shared drive files using 2 options:

  1. Recovering deleted Shared drive files from admin console
  2. Recovering deleted Shared drive files using Google Vault

Option 1 - How to Recover Permanently Deleted Shared Drive Files from the Admin Console?

Admin can recover permanently deleted files from the admin console within 25 days from its date of deletion from the Trash folder. 


From the Admin console,

  • Step 1 : Go to ‘Apps>G Suite>Drive and Docs’.
  • Step 2 : Select ‘Manage shared drives’.
    Manage Shared Drives in Team Drive
  • Step 3 : Here you will find all the Shared drive folders created by the users in your organization.
  • Step 4 : Click on the ‘Restore’ icon against the Shared drive folder that you want to recover.
    Restore Team Drive files
  • Step 5 : Select a date range for the data restore and click ‘Restore data’.
    Restore data - date range

Option 2 - How to Recover Permanently Deleted Shared Drive Files Using Google Vault?

Once the retention is applied, administrators can download the retained files upon request.   

To know how Google Vault works, click here

Steps to Recover Deleted file from Google Vault

  • Step 1 : Log in to Google Vault using your admin credentials – click here to open Google Vault.
  • Step 2 : Navigate to the ‘Matters’ option on the left pane and select a pre-existing matter where you have already held the data.
  • Step 3 : Click on the ‘Search’ module on the left pane → Choose ‘Drive’ as the type of application and select ‘Shared drives’ as specific accounts.
  • Step 4 : You can also filter the files based on date range and advanced terms.
  • Step 5 : Click on the ‘Search’ button to list all the files with the specified search conditions.
    Restoring Team Drive data using Google Vault 1
  • Step 6 : Export the search results by clicking on the ‘Export results‘ option on the menu bar.
    Export Team Drive data using Google Vault
  • Step 7 : Click on ‘Download‘ after completing the export process or To download a specific file: open the file, click on the ellipsis icon at the top right corner and select the ‘Download‘ option.

Once the file is downloaded as a zip file, administrators can send it to the respective user and ask them to upload it back to their Google Shared drive.

Limitations of G Suite Native Features

How Can an Admin Recover Permanently Deleted Team Drive Files Using Third-Party Tools?

If you have taken a backup of your Shared drive files/folders using third-party applications, like SysCloud, you can recover them easily even if the file gets permanently deleted. 

SysCloud offers a fully automated cloud to cloud backup and restore service. SysCloud use industry standard cloud storage solutions with military grade security.

With SysCloud, IT administrators can backup and restore data in just a few clicks. Moreover, administrators can define retention rules that allow you to back up data for an unlimited period

How to Restore Your Permanently Deleted Team Drive Files Using SysCloud?

  • Step 1 : Login to SysCloud Security and Backup application.
  • Step 2 : Go to ‘Backup>Archive & Restore’.
    Archive & Restore - Team Drive vs Google Drive
  • Step 3 : Click on the user whose Shared drive data you have to restore and select ‘Drive’.
  • Step 4 : On the left hand side, click on the option ‘Shared Drive’.
    Select Team Drive - Team Drive vs Google Drive
  • Step 5 : Here, you can see all the Shared drive data associated with this particular account. Click on the drop down button to view the sub-folders of each Shared drive.
    Subfolders in Team Drive - Team Drive vs Google Drive
  • Step 6 : Select the entire Shared drive or a specific folder that you want to restore and click on ‘Restore’. Don’t forget to enable the ‘Check to restore file with share permission’ option to restore the file with its sharing permissions.
  • Step 7 : If you want to restore these files to a different account, you can do so by entering the specific email id in the ‘Restore to’ column.
    Restore - team Drive vs Google Drive
  • Step 8 : Click on ‘Restore’. 

All your selected Shared drive files will be restored to the specific user account with its sharing permissions.

To know more about SysCloud Backup and Restore solution for your Drive, click here

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