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Review and save shared Google and Microsoft files before they are deleted July 31

Submitted by stauffeg on

As students graduate and employees leave the university, current students and employees should remember to review files shared from these people in Google and OneDrive. Files owned by these people will eventually be deleted since they are no longer entitled to Google and Microsoft storage services through CU Boulder after leaving the university. OIT is preparing to delete files for those who retired since March 2022, as well as for anyone who has no affiliation with the university, on July 31. 

Here’s what you need to know to avoid permanently losing files you might need:

  • On July 31, 2024, files in Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive that are owned by alumni*, retirees** and those who are no longer affiliated with CU Boulder will be deleted. 
  • So that you can identify files that have been shared with you by these individuals and make copies before they are deleted, the files owned by these affiliates have been changed to view-only access. Therefore, if you wish to retain a file that is view-only, you should create a copy and save it.

* Spring 2024 graduates will not have their files deleted until at least 90 days after conferral, so they will not be included in this round of deletions.

** Emeritus faculty and retirees who are working or volunteering for the university are still entitled to CU Boulder’s Google services and will not have their files deleted as part of this process. Learn more about how these changes apply to retirees.

Special note about course content

Please note that some instructors who do not have an active appointment may be categorized as unaffiliated in our HR system and may have their files deleted. An example may be an instructor who hasn’t taught a class since last summer. For this reason, we suggest academic departments thoroughly review course content in Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive that has been shared by these instructors and save it to a location like Microsoft OneDrive. Retirees, and people who are unaffiliated, received an email in early May about losing access to Google and Microsoft Storage.

Identify the files

There are a couple different ways to search for shared files in Google and Microsoft:

  • First, we suggest identifying files that are important to you by using the “Recent” section of Google Drive or “Home” section of OneDrive. This will allow you to find files that you have recently opened that are owned by accounts that will be deleted. 
  • You might also try looking specifically at files in the “Shared with me” section of Google Drive or the “Shared” section of OneDrive. From here you can order files by name or when they were shared with you. 
  • In Google Drive you can also identify files shared with you by specific people. For instance, if you want to find files shared with you by someone named Ralphie Buffalo, you would type “owner: Ralphie Buffalo” into the search bar to see all the files shared with you by Raphie. If you find there are a lot of files shared with you by a specific owner, you might try ordering the files by when they were “last modified” to identify files you have used recently.
  • In OneDrive you can search for files shared with you by a specific person by going to the “Shared” tab and then using the small search box in the top right that says ‘filter by name or person’ (not the big search box at the top center of the page) to enter in the name of the person who shared the file with you. 
  • Please note that documents shared with you could show up in your Google Drive or OneDrive and need to be saved if they are owned by someone whose files will be deleted. So be sure to be on the lookout for a read only banner
Download and save files

The copying of files in Google Drive could cause your account to quickly exceed your Google Storage quota. So unless the file is a Google-formatted file, we recommend that you download the file and save it to another location such as Microsoft OneDrive. Here is how to download files in Google and how to download files in OneDrive. Please note that campus departments are responsible for identifying files that are subject to the university’s records retention guidelines, not OIT. 

Return of orphaned files

When the accounts of alumni, retirees and non-affiliates are deleted, files owned by you that were stored in these ineligible accounts may return to the root level of your Google Drive. 

If you have questions about reviewing and saving files in Google or Microsoft, please contact the IT Service Center at or 303-735-4357.