Copying a Google Drive to a different Google account

blueguitar322

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Sep 20, 2005
1,107
So my wife is a teacher, and her school uses Google Drive, which means she has literally thousands of documents and assignments and activities in her school-owned Google Drive. If she ever decides to leave, her account gets deleted. Obviously, even though she has no plans of changing schools, she doesn’t want to risk losing a decade and a half’s worth of work.

I know it’s possible to bulk download Google Drive files, but they get converted to Microsoft format (.docx, etc) which ruins her carefully-chosen formatting. Third-party tools that I’ve looked into seem to do the same thing.

Despite a couple hours’ worth of searching, I can’t find any way to backup her files to a different Googling account while maintaining file format—except for going nested-folder by nested-folder, duplicating the file structure , then sharing and creating copies, which would be a couple days’ effort at minimum.

Anyone use Drive frequently and have any brilliant ideas for us?
 

cgori

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Oct 2, 2004
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SF, CA
I've never used this product but it claims to do almost exactly what you describe. It's not free ($13-20 per account migrated, plus $0.20 per GB and $0.20 per 1000 items migrated).

https://www.vaultme.com/individuals

It might *move* the files though, rather than copy or backup - though there is language there that says you'll have the option for move vs copy.

It looks like you can set it up and it will generate a quote to tell you how much it will charge to do the backup. You'd be signing it in to your/her Google account though, I believe (probably via OAuth), which means you sort of have to trust them.
 

Scoops Bolling

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Jun 19, 2007
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Depending upon the cost of @cgori 's tool, you could also put it up as a project on something like Upwork and see what it would cost to have someone from the Phillipines or Pakistan or the like do it. You'd have to lay out step by step instructions, and give them access to the account temporarily, but for bulk manual work it'd be cheaper than you can find in the US.
 

the1andonly3003

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Jul 15, 2005
4,684
3/4 Chicago, 1/4 Boston
takeout.google.com will allow you to transfer from one account to another. This assumes the Google account you are transferring the data to has enough storage.
I had to do this a couple of times for my academic accounts.
 

phrenile

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Aug 4, 2005
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Depending upon the cost of @cgori 's tool, you could also put it up as a project on something like Upwork and see what it would cost to have someone from the Phillipines or Pakistan or the like do it. You'd have to lay out step by step instructions, and give them access to the account temporarily, but for bulk manual work it'd be cheaper than you can find in the US.
This sounds like a FERPA compliance nightmare waiting to happen, so she probably shouldn't do this.
 

Bigpupp

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Jun 8, 2008
2,472
New Mexico
Google takeout is the way to go, but often times it's turned off by the district because of the compliance issues it would cause
 

AlNipper49

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Dope
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Apr 3, 2001
45,207
Mtigawi
So my wife is a teacher, and her school uses Google Drive, which means she has literally thousands of documents and assignments and activities in her school-owned Google Drive. If she ever decides to leave, her account gets deleted. Obviously, even though she has no plans of changing schools, she doesn’t want to risk losing a decade and a half’s worth of work.

I know it’s possible to bulk download Google Drive files, but they get converted to Microsoft format (.docx, etc) which ruins her carefully-chosen formatting. Third-party tools that I’ve looked into seem to do the same thing.

Despite a couple hours’ worth of searching, I can’t find any way to backup her files to a different Googling account while maintaining file format—except for going nested-folder by nested-folder, duplicating the file structure , then sharing and creating copies, which would be a couple days’ effort at minimum.

Anyone use Drive frequently and have any brilliant ideas for us?
Does it really convert them to docx or is the extension just docs and it's being converted to word because that is the default app for docx? (I don't use google stuff, just guessing!)
 

cgori

Member
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Oct 2, 2004
4,179
SF, CA
Does it really convert them to docx or is the extension just docs and it's being converted to word because that is the default app for docx? (I don't use google stuff, just guessing!)
When I looked at the takeout page (Google's bulk download app), it looked like it actually exported to .docx / .xlsx / .pptx

I assume they have some native format in docs/etc that's like json that they don't want to expose because it would make it a lot easier to build a clone.
 

AlNipper49

Huge Member
Dope
SoSH Member
Apr 3, 2001
45,207
Mtigawi
When I looked at the takeout page (Google's bulk download app), it looked like it actually exported to .docx / .xlsx / .pptx

I assume they have some native format in docs/etc that's like json that they don't want to expose because it would make it a lot easier to build a clone.
Interesting. And not shocking.

I wonder if Google Sync also does the same thing.... ChatGPT seems to think it would be ok.

  • Download and install Google Backup and Sync.
  • Open the application and sign in with your Google account.
  • Select "Sync My Drive to this computer" during the setup process.
  • Choose "Sync everything in My Drive" or "Sync only these folders" and select the folders you want to download.
  • Click "Start" and the files will be downloaded to your local computer in their original formats.
 

blueguitar322

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
1,107
I've never used this product but it claims to do almost exactly what you describe. It's not free ($13-20 per account migrated, plus $0.20 per GB and $0.20 per 1000 items migrated).

https://www.vaultme.com/individuals

It might *move* the files though, rather than copy or backup - though there is language there that says you'll have the option for move vs copy.

It looks like you can set it up and it will generate a quote to tell you how much it will charge to do the backup. You'd be signing it in to your/her Google account though, I believe (probably via OAuth), which means you sort of have to trust them.
This is exactly what I was looking for, thanks! I was able to find some universities that recommended this tool, which made me feel a bit more confident using it. Just completed the migration and so far everything looks good. Cost $60 for 170 GB, which is way better than trying to copy things manually.

Depending upon the cost of @cgori 's tool, you could also put it up as a project on something like Upwork and see what it would cost to have someone from the Phillipines or Pakistan or the like do it. You'd have to lay out step by step instructions, and give them access to the account temporarily, but for bulk manual work it'd be cheaper than you can find in the US.
As mentioned in a different reply above, this probably isn't the best idea for a school-owned account with private student info, but thanks for the reference as this type of thing might be worth knowing about in the future.

takeout.google.com will allow you to transfer from one account to another. This assumes the Google account you are transferring the data to has enough storage.
I had to do this a couple of times for my academic accounts.
Takeout was disabled for my wife's school, but it exports as Microsoft files even if it hadn't been disabled.

Does it really convert them to docx or is the extension just docs and it's being converted to word because that is the default app for docx? (I don't use google stuff, just guessing!)
Beaten to the punch by @cgori -- yes, it literally converts the files to Microsoft format. Years ago, I was able to download a Desktop Google Drive app that would allow me to copy/paste/drag files (and even open/edit them) but they seem to have gone away from that approach.

Thanks to @cgori 's suggestion above, this thread has been a success and I'm yet again thankful for the SoSH hive mind.