You may have used a private Google Drive account prior to being provisioned with a Canisius Google Apps for Education account.  If so you may have several things to consider:

I have a private Google account (, and it can be confusing to manage this and my Canisius Google account.  Is there any easy way to do this?

The Google Chrome browser has several options and methods to work in two Google accounts at the same time.  But the simplest method is to use two browsers.  For example, you might sign into your private Google account using Firefox or Safari, and your Canisius Google account using Chrome.  

Previously, I created a Google (Drive) account using my email address, on my own.  Now what happens?

In the past, Google allowed users to use email addresses to create private or "consumer" Google accounts.  You may have done so to have access to Google Drive, or Groups, or some other Google App or service attached to your college email address.  After you are provisioned with a Canisius Google Apps for Education account, does not delete your private Google Drive space formerly associated with your email address.  This drive space, its folders and files are all intact, but Google insists that you separate this private account from your address, to make way for the new Google Apps for Education Drive Space.  

When you log in at, Google will not make mention of the old account.  To get to your old account, you should go to, and login just as you did in the past (using your Canisius email address and whatever password you had established for the account.)  Google will then bring up a screen informing you that you need to make a change.  Follow Google's instructions to establish a new address for this account.  Google will not be able to transfer your files from the old account to the new, but they will remain safely in your old account, which you can keep indefinitely.  

Google will see to it that your old Google Drive space and data are secure, but anytime you are working with important data, it pays to back up the data.  Plus, be sure that you have the password to your accounts handy before beginning.  

If you are provisioned with a Canisius Google Drive after you had set up a Google Drive on your own using your Canisius email address, Google will insist that you now assign the older, personal account to another email address. Follow Google's on-screen instructions to create a new gmail address. Unfortunately, in our instance Google cannot transfer data between the older drive space and the new Canisius Google drive space. But your data is secure, and you can still get to it in the older account, now attached to a gmail account.

I have work-related files in my private Google account drive.  How do I move them to my new Google Apps for Education drive?  

Frankly, Google doesn't make this easy.  According to Google users can transfer ownership of files within the same domain.  So, if I have a Google Doc or a folder of Google Docs that I want you to permanently own, and we both have Canisius Google Apps for Education accounts, I can easily transfer ownership to you through the sharing tool.  Quick and simple. But I cannot simply transfer ownership of a file or folder within my Canisius Google Drive  to your–or my--private account.  Similarly, files owned by a private Google account can be shared with, but not easily transferred to a new owner using a Canisius Google Apps for Ed account.  

Because transferring ownership between users is much quicker and more complete, it is best if work you do for Canisius College is done with your Google account.  If you leave the College, these files can then easily be transferred, intact, to another Canisius owner.  

For files you created prior to your Google account, using a personal account you created, there's a few options to consider:

For Previously Created Files, Continue to Use Your Private Account

You might ask yourself: what files have I created in the past, with a private Google account, that I really need in the new Canisius Google Drive?  We all have many files that, although we keep them for archival purposes, we no longer use, modify, or update.  In fact, probably most of use probably use only a few computer files year after year.  Old files you no longer use could stay in your personal Google Drive account, and better, can be downloaded using the download options within Google Drive, or Google Takeout, and stored for safe keeping. As part of the download process, Google Docs files are converted to their Microsoft Office equivalents.  (Downloading is ideal is ideal if you wished to close your personal account permanently.)

For files you still use, such as course documents, you could continue to use them while they are in place in your private Google Drive.  This is the simplest option, especially when they have a "shelf-life."  For example, if you're only likely to use them for a few more months, you may not bother accessing them in your Canisius Google Drive.

Share With Yourself

The simplest way to get files you used in a private drive space into your Canisius Google Drive space is to use the sharing settings with Google Drive to share the files with your email address.  If you do this, bear in mind that your private Google account still owns these files, so you should not close or delete that account until all files owned by it are no longer required.  

Copy Files to Establish New Owner

You can copy files individually, or as batches, by selecting them and choosing "Make a Copy" from the right-click menu.  If done with files shared from a personal Gmail account to your account this creates a new, identical file owned by your account.  However, there are two important caveats:

  • the revision history of the original file is not transferred to the copy, so if that's important, you should keep the original file (perhaps renamed with "OLD" in the title, to avoid confusion) as an archive of what was done previously.  
  • the copies do not automatically have the same sharing stipulations, so you need to share the copy with anyone who access to that file.

Again, Google complicates this by disallowing copying of whole folders within Google Drive.  There are hacks and third party extensions that will do this, however.  These are not officially produced or endorsed by Google however, so you should use Google Takeout or downloading features to create backups of your data before trying these.  Like copying files individually, these methods create copies where revision history and sharing stipulations in the original are lost.  

Back to Google Drive and Related Apps: Faculty & Staff Resources 

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