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New Google Storage Limitations - FAQ

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General Project FAQ

Why is this change happening to CU Boulder's Google service?

Google announced an end to unlimited storage for all academic institutions, so CU Boulder is working to reduce its pooled storage to meet the new limitations imposed by Google. In order to ensure that the free storage allocated to CU Boulder is being used for mission-critical functions, the campus’s new quota will be pooled and shared in a manner that prioritizes Google for collaboration with the primary focus being on teaching and learning. Learn more and watch OIT's video about this effort on the New Google Storage Limitations project page

What types of data will be impacted by this change?

Any/all data stored in your CU Boulder Google account will be impacted, including files stored in Google Drive, Google Shared Drives, Gmail, and Google Photos.

How much storage space will CU Boulder have on Google Workspace?

At this time, OIT is planning on setting storage limits for individuals at 5 gigabytes. CU Boulder community members should feel free to continue using Google Workspace for collaboration (e.g. Google Docs, Sheets, etc.) but storing other files (PDFs, videos, audio, etc.) in an alternative storage solution like OneDrive, Teams, SharePoint, or others. 

Am I expected to move my own non-Google files to Microsoft OneDrive?

No. For currently affiliated students, faculty and staff who have Google accounts that exceed 5 GB, OIT will provide automatic migration of all non-Google file types (PDFs, photos, videos, Microsoft documents, etc.) to an owner’s Microsoft OneDrive. Learn more about migrations from the Google Drive migrations page or from our Google Drive and Shared Drive Migrations FAQ section

Storage Options & Information 

What storage options does Microsoft offer? 

Microsoft offers two ways to store your data, OneDrive and SharePoint

  • OneDrive should be used for personal use or sharing with small groups, while SharePoint  is intended for storing data that is shared and accessible with large groups and external users.   
  • Microsoft Teams uses SharePoint for file storage and sharing. When a Team is created an associated SharePoint site is created and all Members of the Team are given Edit access to the files stored in the Team. 
Can I share files with other internal users, including faculty, staff and students in Office 365? 

OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams can be used to share file with internal users, including Faculty, Staff and Students. 

Can I share files with external collaborators in Office 365? 

Yes, files can be shared with external collaborators in OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams .

What file types can I store in OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams? 

There are no limitations to the types of files which can be stored in these Microsoft services. Microsoft provides preview of many common file types with some limitations - File types supported for previewing files in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams (microsoft.com)  

What data classifications can I store on OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams? 

Learn more about OIT's recommendations for the type of data each application can store on the File Transfer, Storage, and Infrastructure page.

What happens if I hit my 5 GB quota?

Check your storage usage at any time by visiting the Google Drive - Storage page. When you approach the 5GB quota, you'll notice an alert in Google Drive. Once you hit the 5GB quota limit, you won't be able to add data to your Google account or edit existing files until you reduce your storage usage. OIT will not be able to increase your quota for any reason, so if you exceed the limit you will be required to move or delete files until you are below the 5GB limit.

Please note: Google formatted files (docs, sheets, etc.) take up significantly less space than other file types (PDFs, jpegs, videos, etc.) When looking to reduce file size, removing or relocating other file types first will free up more space.

How can I stay under the 5GB limit and retain the ability to record and share my lectures?

There are several options to store and share lecture recordings outside of Google. 

  • UCB Zoom cloud recordings can be stored and shared for up to 120 days   
  • Classroom Capture content is retained for 5 years 
  • Kaltura is available for long term storage of digital streaming media assets.  Simply follow the “Option 2: Upload through My Media” instructions found on the OIT website.
  • Microsoft OneDrive or Microsoft Teams can be used to securely store and share video content from recorded lectures and meetings. OneDrive has a 5 TB quota and Microsoft Teams has a 25 TB quota. 
Are my files available when I’m offline? 

Yes, the Microsoft OneDrive synch client can be configured to make files available offline. Learn how to sync files with OneDrive in Windows .

Google Drive Migrations

When will my migration start?

OIT is migrating the CU Boulder community in large waves. Most faculty and staff will be grouped with their department, while students are being migrated in alphabetical order based on their IdentiKey username. When the migration of your non-Google format files begins, you will receive an automated email from OIT notifying you that your migration has started. Stay tuned for the email notification from OIT with the subject line: Your non-Google format file migration has started.

If I am under my 5GB quota, are you going to migrate any of my files to Microsoft OneDrive? 

No, only google drives with above 5GB in total storage will be targeted for migration. You may check your current storage usage by logging into your CU Google account and accessing the Google Drive Storage Settings .

Please note: If you reduce the amount of google storage you are using after receiving the email notification that your migration is scheduled, non-google format files will still be moved to OneDrive. 

I don’t want to be migrated. Can I request an exception or pay Google for additional storage?

We are unable to grant exceptions for people who do not want to move. Google has chosen to end unlimited storage and the university has a finite amount of storage to share amongst its entire population. Google is not currently offering a way for individuals to pay for additional storage. Going forward, all CU Boulder Google accounts will have an equal 5 GB of storage.

Why does it seem like some of my non-Google format files are still in Google and some of them are now in OneDrive? 

More than likely, your non-Google format files haven’t completed migrating to OneDrive. When the migration is in process, non-Google files are copied to OneDrive and then immediately deleted from Google Drive. The time this takes depends on the amount of data you have.  During the migration your files that haven’t moved will remain accessible in Google.

My migration is complete, why does it look like all my Google docs are still in Google Drive?

Google Workspace is still supported and recommended for collaboration. Because of this, only non-Google files are being moved to OneDrive. All Google Docs, Sheets and Slides should remain in your Google Drive. 

How long will my data migration take?

The amount of time it will take to move your data is based on the number of files you have and the size of the data.  A general estimate of time to move your data is: 

  • 5 GB to 25 GB  - Less than 1 day 
  • 25 GB to 50 GB - 1 to 3 days 
  • 50 GB to 100 GB – Up to 5 days 
  • 100 GB to 500 GB – Up to 2 weeks 
  • 500 GB and greater – More than 3 weeks 
Why does it take so long to move my data to OneDrive?  

Google limits the amount of data that OIT can transfer from a person’s Google Drive. The limitations are based on the amount of data OIT can move from a single account at the same time and a total amount of data from a single account per day. Google also limits the total amount of data OIT can move from multiple accounts at one time. 

How will I know my migration is complete?

When the migration of your non-Google files to Microsoft OneDrive completes, you will receive two separate emails with migration reports. Delivery of the second email can be delayed based on the number of files you have to migrate. The subject lines of these emails are: Migration of your organized non-Google files to OneDrive and Migration of your unorganized non-Google files to OneDrive.

Where will my files be after the migration? 

When you log into OneDrive you will see a folder called “G”  Your folder structure and data from Google Drive will be mirrored in this location. 

Why am I missing files in Google Drive? 

All non-Native Google files have been migrated to your OneDrive account. Log in to OneDrive to check your files there. 

Why did OIT move the data in a folder called “G” and not something like “FromGoogle”?

Compared to Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive allows for fewer characters in both the folder structure and the file name.  To minimize the migration impact for people who have long folder names and long file names, OIT decided to use a single character for the folder location of the migrated data. 

What if I already have a folder in my OneDrive named “G”? 

You may choose to keep the folder you currently have named “G” and the migrated data will be merged with the files and folders that are already there. Alternatively, you can rename your current “G” folder to something else temporarily. When the migration is complete you can move the migrated data to where you want it to be and rename your original “G” folder back. 

I used to collaborate with a colleague who had shared files with me in Google.  Now that those files have been moved to OneDrive and re-shared with me, how do I find them? 

You can access the files by visiting your “Shared with You” section of OneDrive. You may need to sort by “Date Shared” or by “Shared By” to find the files. 

I have files that have special characters in the name of the file in Google.  What will happen to those files when they move to OneDrive? 

Microsoft OneDrive and Teams do not support certain special characters that are permitted to be used in Google Drive. These are referred to as Invalid Characters . If your Google Shared Drive has files of folders using these invalid characters, they will be replaced with the “_” (underscore) character during the migration process. 

I have files in my Google Drive that are larger than 250 GB. What will happen to these files?   

Microsoft OneDrive and Teams cannot store individual files larger than 250 GB. If you have any files that are above this limit, you will need to delete them or store them in another university approved location. Learn more about Microsoft's single file size limit. 

What if I have files larger than 250 GB remaining in my Google Drive after my quota is set to 5 GB. 

Your account will be considered over your quota and your Google Drive will display “Storage Full.” Until you reduce your usage below 5 GB, you will not be able to create new documents or edit any existing documents. Any collaborators you work with will also not be able to edit files you own.  

What do I need to do with the organized and/or unorganized file report?

When the migration of your non-Google files to Microsoft OneDrive completes, you will receive two separate emails with migration reports. Delivery of the second email can be delayed based on the number of files you have to migrate. The subject lines of these emails are: "Migration of your organized non-Google files to OneDrive" and "Migration of your unorganized non-Google files to OneDrive." Attached to each is a spreadsheet that details the results of your migration for your files.

Within the report, your organized files will fall into one of the following categories and be listed in their own tab:

  • SuccessfullyMigratedItems: This is a list of the files and folders that were moved to OneDrive without any errors.
  • Errors: Files and folders in this tab experienced an error during the migration. This does not necessarily mean that the files or folders failed to migrate successfully by the end of the migration process. Check your OneDrive’s “G” folder to verify they migrated successfully. If they did not migrate successfully, please transition the files off of Google Drive to an alternative storage location. Please be aware that files over 250 GB cannot be saved on Microsoft OneDrive.
  • FailedToShare: These files and folders were transferred to OneDrive but the sharing permissions did not correctly transfer with the file. You will need to reshare these items in OneDrive manually. All files on this list will also appear on the “SuccessfullyMigratedItems” list.
  • RenamedItems: These files were transferred to OneDrive but were renamed because the name was too long or contained special characters that are disallowed by OneDrive. Learn more about renamed files on the Google Drive Migration Page under “What to expect after migration.” All files on this list will also appear on the “SuccessfullyMigratedItems” list.
  • ResharedItems: This lists files and folders that were shared with specific people in Google Drive and that have now been shared in OneDrive with the same people. All files on this list will also appear on the “SuccessfullyMigratedItems” list. See more information below under the “Files that were reshared” heading.
What are unorganized files? 

If your migration included files that Google considers unorganized, you will have a spreadsheet attached to an email after migration.

A file can become unorganized when its last location is removed. For example, this could happen if you added a file to a shared folder that was later deleted by the owner of the shared folder. All other files are considered organized. Unorganized files that were successfully migrated to OneDrive will be found in a OneDrive folder named “/G/Unorganized.” You will receive a separate email that details the migration of organized files with the subject line “Migration of your organized non-Google files to OneDrive.”  

Google Shared Drive Migrations

Are Google Shared Drives going away? 

No, you will continue to be able to request and use Google Shared Drives, but you will have a limit of 5GB of data. 

OIT no longer recommends using Google Shared Drives for storage due to upcoming storage limitations announced recently by Google. While still an option for collaboration and communication using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms, long-term storage is not recommended in Google Shared Drive. Learn more about Google Storage Limitations.

Are all Shared Drives being moved? 

No, OIT is working with managers of Google Shared Drives that exceed 5 GB to move a portion of the files, or the entire Shared Drive, to Microsoft Teams/Sharepoint. If you Shared Drive is at or above 5 GB, we have started to move your non-Google format files to Microsoft Teams. Visit the Shared Drive File Migrations page for more information. 

How long will my data migration take?

The amount of time it will take to move your data is based on the number of files you have and the size of the data.  A general estimate of time to move your data is: 

  • 5 GB to 25 GB  - Less than 1 day 
  • 25 GB to 50 GB - 1 to 3 days 
  • 50 GB to 100 GB – Up to 5 days 
  • 100 GB to 500 GB – Up to 2 weeks 
  • 500 GB and greater – More than 3 weeks 
My department has a Google Shared Drive and we want to move all the data in it to Teams, including the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. How do we do this?

OIT will reach out to Google Shared Drive owners and let you specify to move everything or just non-Google-native files. 

Google Photos

Why is Google Photos being discontinued?

Google’s elimination of unlimited free storage for the academic community is forcing CU Boulder to make significant changes to the Google services it offers. In order to ensure that the storage allocated to CU Boulder is being used for mission-critical functions, the campus’s new quota will be pooled and shared in a manner that prioritizes Google for collaboration with the primary focus being on teaching and learning. Eliminating Google Photos is part of this strategy.

When will Google Photos be turned off for CU Boulder?

If you are a current employee or student at the university you will lose access on Apr 15, 2022.

Where should I move my photos/videos?

Personal photos should be moved to a personal Gmail account or other personal storage location. Photos related to CU Boulder research, work, teaching or learning should be moved to CU Boulder’s Microsoft OneDrive.

Can I move shared access of Google photos to a personal account?

Yes. Before the deadline, you can re-share any photos or albums with a personal account. Follow our transfer photos with an individual account using partner sharing tutorial to do this.

What’s the best way to move my files from Photos?

There are two methods that you can use. You can try using Google Takeout to download the photos you'd like to keep. If you have trouble using or accessing Google Takeout, an easy way to re-share any photos or albums with a personal account would be to follow our transfer photos with an individual account using partner sharing tutorial.

How long does it take to export files from Google?

Depending on your network speed and the number and size of the files you are exporting, the process can take from several minutes to several days. We strongly recommend using a wired network when exporting your files as this can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the process.

Do I need to delete files in Photos after moving them elsewhere?

Yes! Please delete your files and empty your trash folder after you export your files so that CU Boulder’s quota will be reduced.

Is there any way to maintain access to Google Photos or get an exception for special circumstances?

No, the Google Photos service is being retired.

I use Google Photos to host images for external websites / articles, what are the recommended solutions or best practices for hosting photos?

Best practices for web hosting is to upload and store your photos in the same location that is hosting your web content.

I heard that Google Drive will soon have a quota. What should I do with files in Google Drive and Gmail?

If you store files in Google Drive and Gmail that are non-Google file types (e.g., Microsoft documents, PDFs, videos, photos, etc.), you will be sent an email with specific instructions about how to export those files. However, it’s always a good time to do some file clean-up and remove files that are no longer needed by you or others with whom they have been shared.