Google Drive


UA Google Drive is the University of Alaska's branding of Google Drive, an online service that provides resources for file storage, and collaboration with other individuals. Google Drive is a personal document and file storage hub. It's easy to upload, download, and share files. You can also create, view, and edit Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides documents online.

Because UA Google Drive is associated with your relationship with the University of Alaska, everything stored in it will be inaccessible should you leave the university. For this reason, it's best to use it to store materials that are your own personal university related (e.g. homework, business) use. For storing materials that are important for departments, schools, colleges, or other groups at the university indefinitely, you should be aware that there are several options available more suitable for collaboration such as network file shares, Google Team Drives,  Microsoft Teams, and a SharePoint Online site. All of them offer various features and benefits. If you're not sure which one is best for your group's needs consider reviewing our Where Should I Save Files article for some suggestions.


UA Google Drive is available to all current UA students, staff, and faculty at no cost.


  • UA Google Drive is enabled automatically for all current UA students, staff, and faculty.

When you leave the University of Alaska:

  • Faculty and Staff access to UA Google Drive is disabled automatically after 14 days from their employment date.
  • Student access is disabled automatically after 1 year from their last active course enrollment.


Store and share files

  • Store an unlimited amount of data in the cloud.
  • 5 TB maximum file size.
  • Any files created in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides are automatically backed up in your UA Google Drive space.
  • Easily recover deleted documents or roll back to previous versions.
  • Share files with anyone across the University of Alaska system

Access and synchronize files easily

  • Access files using a Web browser or mobile device.
  • Synchronize your local files in UA Google Drive.

Best Practices

  • Keep folder and file names short.
  • Keep nested folder depth to a minimum.
  • Review sharing/permissions at the beginning of each semester.

Getting Started

Google Drive works well with all major, current browsers. To access your Google Drive just point your browser to and sign-in with your UA Username and password. Click the Google Apps icon in the upper right corner, and select Drive.

  • To create a new document, click My Drive, then select Google Docs, and select Blank document.
  • To open a file or folder, click on its name.
  • To share a document, in the file list view right-click on the file, select Share, then in the Share with others dialog window enter one or more email address of the people you want to share the file with.  From the drop-down menu select the access type you want to provide. Options are Can edit, Can Comment, Can view.

Client Guides

 Help Resources

Use the help resources listed below to learn how to successfully use Google Drive.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Google Drive FERPA compliant?
    Yes, UA Google Drive is compliant with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • Is Google Drive HIPAA compliant?

    No. At this time UA Google Drive is not compatible with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). No Personal Health Information (PHI) related files should be saved, or used, with any UA G Suite service including Google Drive, and Google Team Drive.

  • What are the differences between the Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream clients?

    The biggest differences between the Google Backup and Sync vs Drive File Stream clients has to do with how the clients access your Google Drive files.

    The Google Backup and Sync client by default caches the files and folders you selected locally on your computer which allows you to easily access your content when you do not have an Internet connection. This option causes more space to be used on your local storage device (i.e. hard drive).

    Whereas the Drive File Stream client by default accesses all content directly from the Google cloud, and you have to specifically select content to be available offline, otherwise if you do not have an Internet connect you will not be able to access your files. This option causes less space to be used on your local storage device (i.e. hard drive).

    Summary of feature differences

    Feature Description Backup and Sync Drive File Stream
    Use files in My Drive Yes Yes
    Use files in Team Drives No Yes
    Sync only selected folders in My Drive Yes Yes
    Sync only individual files in My Drive No Yes
    Use native apps, like Microsoft Office & Photoshop Yes Yes
    Sync other folders, like Documents or Desktop Yes No
    Use with your personal non-university account Yes No
    Use with your university account Yes Yes
    Upload photos and videos to Google Photos Yes No
  • Does Google Drive have a file size restriction?

    Yes; however, the file size limitations of Google drive varies depending up on the file type.

    • Google Docs: Up to 1.02 million characters. If you convert a text document to Google Docs format, it can be up to 50 MB.
    • Google Sheets: Up to 2 million cells for spreadsheets that are created in or converted to Google Sheets.
    • Google Slides: Up to 100 MB.
    • All other files: Up to 5 TB.
  • Is there anything special I should be aware of regarding file or folder ownership?

    Google Drive treats file and folder ownership in somewhat unique way. The owner of a file or folder has full control over permissions and can delete it. If you create a file or folder and then move it to someone else's folder, you are still the owner.

    When a UA account expires, and is later de-provisioned, all files owned by that account are deleted, including files that were moved to other locations after creation. This feature can result in files unexpectedly disappearing from folders. Unfortunately, our ability to restore a fully de-provisioned account is very limited and it is often impossible to recover any files deleted this way.

    By default, an individual is the owner of:

    • Files and folders that they upload into Google Drive
    • Folder that they create in Google Drive
    • Files that they create in Docs, Sheets, or Slides
  • What options are available for sharing a file?

    Files, and folders, can be shared in several ways depending upon how broadly you want to make the resource available:

    • Share with specific people: This option allows you to specify specific individuals, and what types of access they have to the resource. This option is the most secure. Note that if enter an email address that isn't a Google Account, the recipient will only have access to view the file regardless of which permissions you assigned them.
    • Share a link to the file: This option allows you to generate a link (URL) to your file so that anyone who has the link will be able to access it. When you share a link, your name will be visible as the owner of the file.
    • Share a file publicly: This option allows you to share your file with anyone. Anyone on the internet will be able to search for, find, and open your file. When you publish your file, your name will be visible as the owner of the file.
  • When sharing a file what permissions are available?

    When you share a file with someone, you can choose what they can do with it.

    • View: People can view, but can't change or share the file with others.
    • Comment: People can make comments and suggestions, but can't change or share the files with others.
    • Edit: People can make changes, accept, or reject suggestions, and share the file with others.

    Owners have the option under the Advanced to enable the following settings:

    • Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people
      If you prevent sharing of a folder, it only applies to the folder. To turn this on for the files inside, you have to change the settings for the each individual file inside.
    • Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenter's and viewers
      As the file's owner you can limit how people share, print, download, and copy within Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, but you can't stop how others share the file content in other ways.
  • How many people can a file be shared with?
    • Up to 100 people can edit and comment at the same time.
    • More than 100 people can view a file, though it's easier to publish the file and create a link.
    • You can share a file with up to 200 people or groups. If you need to share a file with more than 200 people, add them to a Google Group and share the file with the group.
    • If you share a folder with many people, it could take some time before everyone can use it.
  • What if I use more storage online than I have available on my computer?

    With Drive File Stream, this is no problem. Your files are stored exclusively online unless you make them available for offline access.

    With Backup and Sync, if you don't have enough storage space on your computer you can choose to sync only a subset of folders in Drive.

  • Can I assign ownership of a file to someone else?

    By default, you own any file you create in or upload to Google Drive. You can transfer ownership of your Google files and folders to someone with a Google Account.

    You can only transfer ownership of Google files and folders. When you make someone else the owner of a folder, you still own the files inside. If you transfer ownership of a lot of files and folders at once, it may take some time for you to see the changes.

    After you transfer ownership of a file you will no longer be able transfer ownership, even back to yourself, or permanently delete the file from Google Drive. However, you will still be able to edit the file unless the new owner decides to change your access.

    Files you can transfer

    • Google Docs
    • Google Sheets
    • Google Slides
    • Google Forms
    • Google Drawings
    • Google My Maps
    • Folders

    How to change owners

    1. In Google Drive, locate the file you want to transfer.
    2. Select the file.
    3. Right-click the file and select Share
    4. Click Advanced.
    5. To the right of the person you've already shared the file with, click the Down arrow.
    6. Click Is owner.
    7. Click Save changes.
  • What happens if I delete a file? Can it be recovered?

    If you delete a file in Google Drive, it will be in your Google Drive trash folder until you empty your trash. When you put a file in the trash:

    • If you own the file, people you've shared it with can make a copy.
    • If you don't own the file, removing the file from your Drive only removes it for you.


    Empty your trash

    You can permanently delete an individual file, or empty your entire trash.

    • After you delete a file permanently, anyone you've shared the file will lose access to it.
    • If you want others to be able to view the file, you can transfer ownership to someone else.


    Restore from your Trash

    If there's a file in your trash you want to keep, put it back in My Drive.

    1. On a computer, go to
    2. Right-click the file you'd like to restore.
    3. Click Restore.


    Restore deleted files not in Trash

    If you've emptied your trash there is a limited time window of 25 days in which you can request permanently deleted files to be restored. After that, the data cannot be recovered and is gone forever.

    1. Contact the UAA IT Technical Support Center within 24 calendar days of permanently deleting your files.
    2. Specify if you want data restored from either Gmail, or Google Drive.
    3. Specify the data range to restore data that was deleted within that range (remember nothing older than 25 days).
      • Note: All files permanently deleted within the requested data range are restored. It is not possible at this time to selectively restore specific files.


    What can't be done

    • Restore data that was permanently deleted more than 25 days ago.
    • Restore a deleted folder structure.
    • Restore deleted Google My Maps files, or Fusion Tables.
    • Restore sharing. After an item in Drive is restored, the individual needs to re-share the item for others to have access.


Other related information


Need additional help or have issues

For additional assistance contact the IT Services Technical Support Center via phone at (907) 786-4646, toll-free at (877) 633-3888, or email at