Modified 07 November 2019 by Ian Weatherhogg

It's very easy to drag files and folders around in Google Drive, too easy in fact, and dragging items moves them for everyone in your domain... so take care

One of the best things about Google Drive is the ability to store folders - which may be hidden many levels down in a Company folder hierarchy - directly in the top level of your My Drive.

Let's say you have a Marketing folder and you are always working in "Marketing/Years/2013/PR - 4 levels down, you can move that PR folder to your My Drive for easy access. Brilliant, but be careful that you don't also move the folder for everyone else. A simple way to ensure you keep the folder structure in place is always press Ctrl and then drag. Alternatively, use the Move to menu item - whilst remembering to click Ctrl when ticking "My Drive" in your folder tree. Both of these actions "Add" a folder rather than "Move" a folder - it's exactly how Windows handles it.

If you are about to "Move" a folder Google does warn you - so watch out for pop up windows warning about sharing, if you see one, carefully consider whether you do want to "Move" the folder out of a shared area.

In our experience at, the best practice for an administrator is to consider folder permissions and encourage users to Add items rather than Move them.

Take a look at this example:

  • Michael and John work in Marketing and share a Marketing folder
  • Michael creates a folder Marketing and adds 3 sub-folders to it (Logos; PR; Case Studies) along with all the relevant files. He then shares the folder with John.
  • John is responsible for PR and just wants the PR sub-folder. If he drags the folder into My Drive he actually moves the PR folder from the top level Marketing folder.
  • When Michael next checks the Marketing folder the PR folder has "disappeared".

In this example, a quick fix is for John to go to his My Drive and "Add" the PR folder back in to the Marketing folder, but if a lot of users are using "move" it could get very messy. Michael can also stop John from removing anything by giving him "view only" access to the Marketing folder.

Our advice is to consider folder permissions when initially setting up Google Drive and educate users to make use of the "Add to My Drive" button or remember to hold the Ctrl button when dragging files.

What is your experience of using Google Drive so far, have you had any issues, do you think Google should make the warning more obvious, or even reverse the actions, so that dragged files are Added rather than Moved - let us know in the Comments.