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    What happens when you delete a file from Google Drive

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    Pau Monfort

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    Deleting files by mistake usually follows some repercussions and regrets. This happens when you delete a file and can vary by system and services. For example, Google Drive treats it differently. Deleting an unshared file has different results than deleting a shared file. Things get complicated when you delete shared files or folders. Are you worried about deleting files from Google Drive? We are here to help you. This post will guide you on what happens when you delete a file or folder from Google Drive.

    Deleting files will help you free up space on your Google Drive. However, the freed up storage space will depend on several factors. Listed below are multiple scenarios depending on the owner of the file, location of the file, and much more. Let's begin. But first, read the following important points.

    Things to know when deleting files from Google Drive

    • Only the owner of the file can actually delete the file. Others can remove the file from their view, but they can't actually delete the file.
    • The owner of the file is the one who uploaded it to Google Drive. The storage used will only be counted towards the file owner's Google Drive quota.
    • When you delete a file from one of your devices, such as the Google Drive app for Android, the file will be deleted from other devices, such as the iPhone / iPad app and the web version.
    • If you delete a file directly from any of the Google Drive products like Docs, Sheets, Google Slides, and so on, those files will also be removed from Drive. The same goes for the situation vice versa, i.e. deleting it from Drive will remove it from other services.

    Now let's check out various scenarios.

    What happens when you delete an unshared file or folder

    Things are simple when you delete a Google Drive file or folder that isn't shared with anyone. Basically, if you have uploaded a file to your Google Drive folder, deleting it will move it to the Trash or Trash folder of Google Drive. Likewise, when you delete an unshared folder from your Drive, all the files inside it will be deleted and even moved to the Trash.

    Recycle Bin is a special type of folder that holds deleted files for 30 days, after which they are permanently deleted. You can manually delete the file from the Trash if you don't want to wait 30 days. The recycle bin helps to recover files within 30 days of deletion if you accidentally deleted them.

    Final report: Files stored in the Google Drive Trash are counted in the Google Drive storage.

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    What happens when you delete a shared file or folder that you own

    When you delete a shared file you own (uploaded to Google Drive), it is deleted from your view and sent to the Trash folder for 30 days. You can recover the file within 30 days or permanently delete it from the Recycle Bin within 30 days. The file will be permanently deleted after 30 days from the Recycle Bin. The same goes for shared folders. All files inside the shared folder will be deleted and moved to the Recycle Bin.

    For others who have access to your shared file or folder, the file / folder will disappear from their Google Drive account. However, they can still access individual Google Drive service files such as Docs, Slides, and so on, if they have the file share link. You will find the link in your email.

    When they open a deleted file of this type, they will receive a notification that the shared file is in the owner's recycle bin and will be permanently deleted. To continue using the file, they will need to create a copy of it using the Create a Copy button. Alternatively, the owner of the file can transfer ownership of the file before deleting it.

    Other files, such as images, PDFs, cannot be accessed if deleted by the owner. Accessing a file of this type will show an error indicating that the file is in the owner's recycle bin.

    Simply put, users who have access to the shared file can access some of them within 30 days of deleting the file (if it is in the owner's Recycle Bin). After 30 days, or if the file or folder was permanently deleted from the Recycle Bin, the file / folder would no longer be accessible to anyone unless a copy was made.

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    What happens when you delete a shared file or folder owned by someone else

    You will find all shared files / folders in the “Shared with me” section in Google Drive. In this case there are three situations depending on whether the file is part of a shared folder or does not belong to any folder.

    Case 1: delete a shared file

    When you remove a shared file that doesn't belong to any folder, the file is removed from the Google Drive view. Since you are not the owner of the file, it is not actually deleted for everyone. The owner and users who have access to the shared file can still use it normally.

    Basically, removing the shared file owned by someone else only removes it from your Google Drive account. The file will not be visible in the Trash folder as you simply removed the link to the file or folder and not the actual file owned by someone else. However, if you click the file's shared link again, you can still access the file and it will appear in your Google Drive again.

    Final report: the owner of the file will not be informed of the removal of the file.

    Case 2: delete a shared folder

    All of the above also applies to folders. That is, deleting a shared folder will remove it and associated files only from your view. Nothing will happen to the actual owner.

    Case 3: Delete a shared file from a shared folder

    There is an exception that if you delete a file from a shared folder, that file will become orphaned. That is, even if the file disappears from your view, it is not actually deleted. The real owner of the file can still access it. The file will be available in the owner's My Drive folder. They can even search for the file to find it.

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    What happens when you delete your added file in someone else's shared folder

    Users who can access the shared folder can upload a file or create a new file in the shared folders. If you upload a file to a shared folder and the owner deletes the folder, what happens to your files?

    In such situations, only the folder and files owned by the owner of the folder will be deleted for everyone. Other files (owned by others) will become orphaned as they don't have a folder now, but they won't be deleted.

    Basically, files added by other users will remain in their Google Drive accounts. Since the folder no longer exists, the owner of the files can find the files in the main Google Drive folder, which is My Drive. Alternatively, type is: unorganized in the Google Drive search bar.

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    We hope you understand the side effects of deleting files or folders from Google Drive. To sum it up, deleting shared files owned by someone else will not free up storage space on your Google Drive account. Only the files you have uploaded to Google Drive should be deleted to free up storage space.

    Further Reading:

    • Where is the recycle bin on Android?
    • 3 methods to upload photos to Google Drive from Android
    • A guide to changing the Google Drive folder location in Windows 10
    • How to fix "Google Drive access denied" error
    • Suonerie Samsung Galaxy S20 [HQ Sound]
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