Skip to main content

Cleaning Up Google Drive - Knowledgebase / Email and Collaboration / Google Drive - OIT Service Center

Cleaning Up Google Drive

Authors list

As you look to make changes to your Google Drive data to get under your storage quota, you may find it helpful to work the the files that have the greatest effect on your storage - ones that are especially large, or filetypes that you may not use much. This document helps you to identify and effectively target files that you may not need to get your overall storage, or to minimize the number of files that you do transfer to another storage location. Once you've cleaned your data up, please refer to our help article on migrating your data to a personal account.

Identifying the largest files in your Drive.

Go to the Storage section of Drive. The list will default to the largest files first.

Identifying files of a specific type.

You can use the advanced search in Drive to identify files that can use up lots of space like videos and audio files.

  1. Log into Drive dashboard and click the advanced search icon  to the right of the search field at the top of the page.
  2. From the Type drop-down menu, select Video or Audio.
  3. From the Owner drop-down menu, select Owned by me. 
  4. Click Search.

Finding unused files.

Use the advanced search options to find files that haven’t been modified for a long time.

  1. Log into Drive dashboard and click the advanced search icon  to the right of the search field at the top of the page.
  2. Select Owned by me from the Owner drop-down menu.
  3. From the Date modified drop-down menu, select one of the options.
    1. You can choose Custom... and use the Before date.

Finding copies.

Copies of Google Docs default to the title "Copy of" followed by the rest of the original title. Perform a search for "Copy of" in Drive to find some of your duplicates.

Tip: Click List view in the upper right corner to make it easier to identify duplicates.

Trashing files.

Right-click on any file in Drive and select Move to trash. The file will be moved into your Trash and remain there for 30 days before it's permanently deleted.

Note: Files that are not owned by you will only be removed from your Drive. Files that are shared with you but owned by someone else do not count against your storage.

Permanently deleting files.

Files that have been moved to Trash will automatically be deleted after 30 days. They can be deleted earlier.

To empty your entire Trash, click on Empty trash when viewing your Trash folder.

To delete a specific file, right-click on any file and click on Delete forever.

Note: Data that sits in your Trash still counts towards your storage.
Note: If you have a lot of trashed files, it may take a long time to empty your trash. Consider purging files in smaller increments.

Thanks to

Helpful Unhelpful

11 of 21 people found this page helpful

Send us a note about this article

Contact the OIT Service Center

Phone: 401-863-4357


Location: Page Robinson Hall - 69 Brown St., Room 510

See our availability

Walk-ins Welcome! Appointments recommended.

For reserved service for a technical consult or a loaner check-out, you can schedule an appointment here.