EDIT: This was posted before google made it possible to share things with a "shortcut". This issue may be solved (not yet confirmed).

I'm not sure how this happened but several people in our organization can access directories within our Google Team Drive in two different ways and it is leading to a lot of confusion.

Here you can see that I have the "Projects/Teams" directory in both "My Drive" and the team drive.

enter image description here

This causes a problem because the team can't necessarily see files that someone adds to the team drive directory that they access via "My Drive". However, if someone shares the files they've created via "My Drive" then those people can access the files through "My Drive" in their own accounts.

This is slowly creating two divergent filesystems.

  1. The actual team drive that everyone has access to:

enter image description here

  1. A phantom shared copy of the team drive that is significantly different:

enter image description here

My question is why is this happening, and how can configure G Suite to prevent this?

  • Does this still happen with the "new" way of sharing things across directory trees, i.e. to add a "shortcut" rather than an actual symbolic link?
    – Nemo
    Mar 4, 2021 at 10:06
  • 1
    Good point. I'm not sure, but I'll add a note to this post.
    – doub1ejack
    Mar 28, 2021 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


The cause of the problem is on the "layer 8", meaning this is caused by the users. In order to find how exactly this happened you will have to look at the activity of the folders to figured out who created them, then checkout which front-ends and apps they are using with Google Drive and how they are being used.

One possible scenario is that someone created Projects / Teams folder on their My Drive, then shared it with some users, then one of the editors copied the original Projects / Team folder to a Team Drive but some users continue to use the original Projects / Team folder rather the one on Team Drive.

In contrary as occurs on other file systems, on Google Drive back-end, files and folders are managed by IDs rather than by file paths. Actually, Google Drive allows to have the same files on several folders at the same time.

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