COE - How to Download and Remove Personal Files from Google My Drive


It is common have both personal and work files stored in a Virginia Tech Google My Drive.

  1. Going forward you will be required to store only work-related files on your VT Google My Drive. Because Google and Microsoft have ended free unlimited storage for universities, you may become liable for storage costs for personal files.
  2. You should move your personal files to a storage space outside the University. You should not move personal files to University Microsoft OneDrive or your work computer.



Step 1 - Choose Where to Move Your Personal Files

The easiest place to move files is to your personally owned computer, if you have enough hard drive space. To review other storage options, visit the Choose a Location to which you can move your Personal Files tutorial.

Step 2 - Create 'Personal' and 'Work' Folders in Google Drive

There are other paths to sort your work but this is a simple one that we recommend. Feel free to use your own methods if you are used to file organization and cleanup.

A 'My Drive' window with the create new button highlighted; personal and work created file examples highlighted

Step 3 - Separate Personal Files from Work Files

Go through all of your files and folders. Move files that are related to Virginia Tech work into 'Work' and your personal files (ex: Videos, Music, Photos, Taxes) into 'Personal.' Only keep files that you really need. Delete the rest. 

If you need help moving files within your Google My Drive, refer to This Tutorial or get help from your IT Personnel.

For now, you do not have to deal with your 'Work' files. We will address those at a later date.

Step 4 - Download Personal Files with 'Download'

Select the folder ‘Personal’ and locate the 3 dots icon to the right. In the revealed menu, click Download.

My Drive personal folder with the 3 dots menu expanded; the download option is highlighted

Google will combine the folder and the files it contains into a .zip archive and download it. The following steps should show at the bottom right of your browser:

Preparing download for zip file notification; zip file download ready notification

Your Browser will automatically download the file(s) to your chosen download directory. If the file is large it may be split into multiple files.

Downloads window with zipped files successfully downloaded

NOTE: If this process appears to be taking hours or days to complete, you may be using a lot of storage:

  1. Try going into the 'Personal' folder and downloading individual folders one at at time to do the process in smaller chunks.
  2. If this still does not work, contact your IT Personnel.

Step 5 - Move Your Personal Files

Step 6 - DELETE Your Personal Files from Virginia Tech Google My Drive

As shown in the graphic below, Choose the 3 dots icon next to the 'Personal' folder, and select 'Move to Trash.'  

A personal files folder with the 3 dots menu expanded; 'move to trash' option is highlighted

The folder will immediately be moved to the trash. Google states that you have 30 days before trash is automatically deleted. After that the files are truly unrecoverable.

'Folder moved to trash' notification