Because Google Workspace for Education subscribers have limited pooled storage, Lafayette College has storage management policies, including deleting inactive accounts to reduce storage usage.


  • Class of 2023 accounts will be deleted on July 1, 2024. Please review your “TO BE DELETED” data in Google Drive.

When are Google Accounts deleted?

  • Student accounts are closed in February after graduation. Account and data deletion occurs on July 1st of the same year.
  • Faculty and Staff accounts follow the Account Creation and Termination policy. However, the College is still determining when an employee’s Google account and data owned by that account will be deleted.
  • Details regarding these policies can be found on the Account Creation and Termination page.

Retaining access to data owned by an inactive account

When an account becomes inactive, any Google MyDrive file shared from that account will have a a label applied called “TO BE DELETED.”

a screenshot image of the label "To Be Deleted" applied to the top of a Google Document

Note that this does not apply to files in a Shared Drive.

To find files with the “TO BE DELETED” label, you can search for them in Google Drive”:

  1. Navigate to:
  2. Select the [Advanced Search] button to the right of the search bar at the top.
  3. Select “Shared with me” from “Location.”
  4. Scroll to “Labels” and select the “Search labels” search bar.
  5. Select the “TO BE DELETED” label from “All available labels”.
  6. Make copies of any files you wish to save before they are deleted by selecting “File” then “Make a Copy”. Note: Media files will need to be downloaded and then uploaded to an appropriate My Drive/Shared Drive.

To narrow the scope of your search, consider searching for files from a specific user by selecting the “Owner” field and typing their Lafayette email address.

Best Practices

Collaborate on files using Shared Drives instead of MyDrive

The “TO BE DELETED” label is only applied to files that are owned by an inactive user.

You can avoid this labeling process by using a Shared Drive for collaboration. Any data contained within a Shared Drive does not have an individual owner and thus will not be at risk for deletion.

  • Students should contact your faculty research advisor and ask them to set up a Shared Drive where data can be stored.
  • Research should not be stored and shared out of a personal Google Drive (e.g., Google My Drive).

Removing the "TO BE DELETED" Label from a file

When you copy a file, a new file without the “TO BE DELETED” label is created.

Moving a file will result in the file being moved, but it will not remove the label. Please make a copy instead. Media files will need to be downloaded and then uploaded to an appropriate My Drive/Shared Drive.

If you find you are dealing with a large number of files and are unable to make copies of all of them, please contact the Help Desk.

What should I do if a MyDrive file is shared with multiple people?

When reviewing the list of files labeled “TO BE DELETED”, you may notice some files are shared with multiple people (i.e., the inactive user has shared a file with multiple users).

For those files, we suggest reaching out to the other individuals to determine if the files should be deleted or moved into an appropriate Shared Drive to give multiple people access to the file(s). Once a plan of action has been determined, make a copy of the file and move it to a Shared Drive. Media files will need to be downloaded and then uploaded to an appropriate My Drive/Shared Drive.

Please note that moving a labeled file will not remove the “TO BE DELETED” label.

For information on creating Shared Drives, see our help documentation on Getting Started with Google Shared Drives.

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