If I upload a file into a shared folder on Google Drive, that file is automatically visible and available to everyone that has access to that shared folder. If the owner of the folder then removes the sharing from the folder (i.e. the folder becomes private), what happens to my file?

From my observation, the file still counts toward my quota, but I no longer can access this file myself. Thus the file is still eating up into my quota, yet I am unable to delete it.

In my case, it's a 5 GB video file that was uploaded into a shared folder. I don't care about not being able to access it (it was recorded for somebody else and uploaded into a folder shared by that somebody else). However it seems to be eating into my GDrive quota, which for the free account is only 15 GB. Thus I seem to have permanently lost a third of my quota this way.

How does this work then?


You can still access the file. Do you remember the file name? If so, simply search for the file name in the search bar at the top of drive.google.com, then it will appear in the search results. If you click on it, you will see that it does not have a parent folder—i.e. it is orphaned. If you don't remember the name, and you don't have the URL for the file, scroll through the Activity for your Drive, which is on the right-hand side of the web app. You should be able to find when you uploaded the file, then you can click on the file there.

The file uses your storage space, not the other person's. When you delete the file, the other person will no longer be able to access it, so ask them to copy the file on their side, first. The file will continue to take up your storage space while it is in the bin/trash, until you permanently delete it.

Note that you can view the largest files in your storage by clicking on the area on the left-hand side where Google tells you how much storage you have used. That will take you to https://drive.google.com/drive/quota

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