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Google Storage FAQs

The Office of Technology Services (OTS) has received questions from our community regarding the storage cap that Google will be imposing on higher-education institutions across the country, including Illinois Tech, transferring content from Google, and the release of Microsoft 365 and OneDrive.

OTS has assembled a list of the most frequently-asked questions and the responses thereto. We do not currently have the answers to all of the questions, but we continue to work to find resolutions.

This compilation of FAQ’s is continuously being updated/revised as new questions and answers arrive.

Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 4-27-23)

The new Google storage limitation

Q1: What is happening?

A: Google has decided to impose a storage cap on higher-education institutions, no longer offering free, unlimited storage. Google’s decision is not directed at Illinois Tech specifically; it is applicable to all colleges/universities. To minimize the impact on Illinois Tech’s operations, individual storage caps will be imposed on faculty, staff, and active students on Sunday, May 7, 2023.  Faculty and staff will be capped at 15GB of total storage content; active students will be capped at 5GB. Please take steps now to reduce your storage  below these individual quotas.  

Q2: What content does Google include in their storage-utilization determination?

A: Google includes all content within their Workspace environment, including, but not limited to, Google Drive (i.e., Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.), Gmail (email), and Google Photo files. 

Q3: When will the storage cap on the university be imposed?

A: Google’s storage cap imposition date is the end of May. However, to minimize the operational impact on the university, OTS will impose individualized storage caps on active students, faculty, and staff on May 7, 2023; alumni have until April 30, 2023, as previously communicated.  

Q4: What is Illinois Tech/OTS doing about this?

A: Illinois Tech/OTS have taken/are taking the following steps:

  • Illinois Tech has signed a Microsoft 365 (M365) university-wide agreement, which includes 1 terabyte of storage (1TB=1024GB) in OneDrive for each active student, faculty, and staff member.
  • Illinois Tech has transitioned the university from a free to a subscription model. Despite that, our university storage consumption exceeds the newly-established allocation from Google, hence, the need to transfer the data to M365 OneDrive.
  • Please note that Illinois Tech’s current use of storage must be reduced before the approaching cap-imposition date. Therefore, you are still highly encouraged to transfer your large, non-collaborative, data files from your Drive and Photos to Microsoft’s OneDrive. Google Shared-Drive managers are now able to transfer content to a Microsoft Teams shared drive. Here are the instructions for creating a M365 Teams shared driveYou will need to replicate access permissions and re-add members, as those settings do not transfer when you transfer the content from one platform to another. If you need assistance in moving your Shared-Drive content, please fill out this form and a member of the OTS team will reach out to help you. 
  • Please do NOT transfer any email content.  

Q5: Can we stop Google from implementing the storage cap?

A: No, we do not have the ability to stop Google’s actions; we can only find other solutions.

Q6: Can Google really do this? Don’t we have an agreement of some kind?

A: Unfortunately, yes, Google can do this. Google committed to provide Illinois Tech with email, and they will respect that commitment. However, they never agreed to provide unlimited storage. 

Q7: What will be erased from Google Drive? Everything?

A: Google’s cap will not ‘erase’ content from the Drive. Once the individual storage quotas are imposed on May 7, 2023, if your content exceeds 15GB (faculty and staff)/5GB (active students), you will lose your ability to store new or modify existing content until your storage amount falls below your allotted storage quota.  

In rare, specific cases, when an individual’s Google account has exceeded reasonable storage utilization, OTS will contact that individual and reserves the right, if necessary, to act on their behalf for the greater good of our community, if the individual does not take the action required and reduce their storage. 

Q8: Bottom line, what is the impact of Google’s decision on me?

A: The only change is Google limiting our storage utilization; all other Google services will remain the same at this time. When the storage cap limits are enforced on May 7, 2023, your ability to store new or modify content (EXCEPT for email) will be halted. This would negatively impact our operations, hence the below-listed requested actions. 

Actions to Take Now/Actions Not to Take

Q9: What action should I be taking now?

A: Please delete the content that you no longer want/need from your Google Workspace environment, remaining mindful of Illinois Tech’s Record and Email Retention policyand any content that you may need to retain for the General Counsel’s office.

With Microsoft 365 (M365) available to faculty, staff, and active students, you can transfer your data now to OneDrive (Microsoft’s alternative to Google’s Drive), wherein each such individual will have 1TB of storage. Once you confirm that you have successfully transferred your data to OneDrive, please don't forget to delete that content in Google. 

Q10: Can I transfer google "shared drive" content To m365?

A: Yes, this has now been enabled. Here are the instructions to create a Microsoft Teams shared drive. You will need to replicate access permissions and re-add members, as those settings do not transfer when you transfer the content from Google to M365. If you need assistance in moving your Shared-Drive content, please fill out this form and a member of the OTS team will reach out to help you.   

Q11: Do you have a recommended approach for deleting content?

A: Please delete the largest-sized content that you do not need first. To see your Drive content organized in order of descending size, please use this link and click on the yellow-highlighted arrow as shown in the image below.

To sort email based on size, please follow these instructions.

Q12: But I have to keep some data for legal purposes. What am I supposed to do?

A: OTS is asking the community to delete data that is no longer needed. If you need to retain content for legal, policy, or professional purposes in accordance with Illinois Tech policy and/or requests from the General Counsel's office, then please do so. 

Q13: Should I begin to move my data from Google to Microsoft OneDrive now?

A: Yes, and please don't forget: once you confirm you have successfully transferred your data to OneDrive, delete that content in Google

Q14: Should I print out everything just to be safe?

A: No, that is not necessary. You will be able to store your information on the M365 platform. 

Q15: I have a personal Google account, should I transfer my work files to my personal Google (or other personal account)? Is it okay to transfer the data to the hard drive I have at home?

A: Faculty and Staff - No, please do NOT load professional content into your personal account(s) or keep it on your personal hardware, such as an external hard drive. Such actions will result in work-related data “leaving” Illinois Tech, an action that is unsafe and puts university data at risk. Please use OneDrive as the alternative, and once you confirm that you have successfully transferred your data, please delete that content in Google. 

A: Students - You may transfer your Hawk Google content to your personal account(s)/ device(s), should you wish, but as long as you are an active student (not alumni), you will also have access to 1TB of storage in OneDrive. Once you confirm that you have successfully transferred your data, please delete that content in Google. 

Microsoft OneDrive and Transferring Google Data

Q16: How much storage will I have in Microsoft OneDrive?

A: 1TB per active student (not alumni), faculty, and staff.

Q17: How will I know when it’s time to transfer my data to Microsoft OneDrive?

A: The Microsoft environment, including OneDrive, is now.  Please see the OTS Microsoft 365 webpage for more information on the resources currently available on our M365 platform. 

Q18: How should I transfer my data once M365's OneDrive is available?

A: We have provided information on how to transfer data on the OTS website. The OTS Support Desk can also assist you if you have any questions.  If you would like guidance on how to transfer your Google “Shared Drive” content to the M365 Teams’ shared drive, please see these instructions. If you experience difficulties in migrating the Shared Drive content that is related to university business (only), please fill out this form and a member of the OTS team will reach out and help you.  

Q19: Do I have to take all of my data out of Google?

A: No, however, since Illinois Tech must reduce the university’s overall storage allocation, OTS recommends that every member of our community conducts a thorough evaluation of their data to ensure only relevant items are retained in the Google Workspace environment.  

Q20: Do I need to move content that is under my control from the Google Shared Drive?

A: Yes, this content counts against the university’s total storage allocation and will impact our ability to operate efficiently.  If you are the manager of a Google “Shared Drive,” please see these instructions to create a Microsoft Teams shared drive. If you need assistance in moving your Shared-Drive content, please fill out this form and a member of the OTS team will reach out to help you.  

Please keep in mind the following important points:

  • OTS has confirmed that there is no way to transfer the group members or their’ access privileges, therefore you will need to re-add members and assign your participants’ access once you move it to OneDrive.   
  • If you or your delegated, authorized user deletes content in a Shared Drive, it is gone forever. Per Google policy, no backup or restoration services are available. 

Q21: How does Google ‘count’ Shared Drive content?

A: While Google “Shared-Drive” content does not count toward your individual storage allotment, it does count toward Illinois Tech’s overall storage allotment, which is why it is critical to transfer the content out of Google into the M365 Teams environment.  

Q22: How do I find information on the size of Shared Drives and how do I transfer them?

A: Please see for how to determine size and information on how to create a Microsoft Teams shared drive.  

Q23: Can I transfer my Google emails to M365?

A: No, you cannot. At this time, Gmail will remain the university's primary email environment. Please continue to access your email as you usually do.  

Q24: But what if my Gmail alone is over the storage cap?

A: We know that for some community members, their Gmail content exceeds their individual quota. OTS initially suggested to our community that you exclude working on reducing your Gmail storage because the larger concern was the amount of data people had in their Google Drive. 

However, Gmail does count toward your individual quota (as well as the university’s overall storage allotment). Therefore, anything you can do to delete unwanted emails or get rid of large attachments that you no longer need so you can stay below your storage cap, would allow you to continue to access all of the Google Workspace applications (not just Gmail, which you would still be able to use if you exceed your individual quota). Taking such action to reduce your Gmail storage would also help Illinois Tech since your Gmail content also counts toward the university’s overall storage allotment and impacts its ability to continue to operate smoothly.    

Q25: I have tried using the Google Transfer tool to transfer my data from Google to M365, and it is not helping. What else would you recommend?

A: We have found that Microsoft’s tool seems to perform better than the Google Transfer tool for moving your individual Google Drive content. (This tool should also work for Unix/Linux and Mac systems.)  Please also refer to the OTS website for other transfer-tool options.  Whether you are using tool or another, OTS advises that you check the log following the data transfer to see if there were any files that were not copied, and download those files manually from Google Drive. 

Q26: Is Illinois Tech getting rid of Google entirely?

A: There are no plans to do so at this time. 

Microsoft365 (M365) Applications

Q27: How will I know which M365 applications are/are not available?

A: Please refer to the Microsoft 365 page on the OTS website for the currently available M365 services/applications.  

Q28: Will I be able to collaborate with colleagues, students, etc. with M365 like I do in the Google Workspace, such as file sharing, real-time collaboration on drafting/editing documents, etc.?

A: The cloud-based M365 environment has very similar capabilities to the Google environment, offering a variety of collaboration tools, including real-time collaboration. Please refer to the Microsoft 365 webpage.

Regardless, the Google environment is available for your use, and you can select your preferred collaborative environment.  

Q29: How do we collaborate using OneDrive?

A: OneDrive works in the same way as Google Drive with similar file sharing and real-time collaboration capabilities. Please click on this link for more information on how to collaborate using OneDrive.

In addition to OneDrive, the OTS website lists Microsoft collaboration tools including Teams, Yammer, OneNote, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. OTS is currently reviewing with our security team a Sharepoint deployment, which we will be launching soon.   

Q30: What about the M365 voice-calling and calendar features? Will I get to access those?

A: Neither voice (Phone), Calendar, nor email (Outlook) is enabled. If you already have Outlook and/or Calendar installed on your desktop/laptop, and they synchronize with Google, you may continue to enjoy this setup.

We are continually exploring how to release additional services on the M365 platform. 

Please note: In OneDrive there is a global user list that is searchable for sharing documents and finding team members.

Q31: What is the replacement for Google Groups, and how do we share folders and documents with these groups?

A: OTS is currently evaluating options for Google Groups. We will update you once we have more information.


We hope these FAQs have helped to better explain Google’s storage cap, the data transfer, and M365, as well as how we are addressing the situation. If you have any other questions, please contact the OTS Support Desk at or 312-567-3375 (on campus x7DESK).