Transfer from Google Drive A to Google Drive B and include versioning of Google Docs

What is the problem you are having with rclone?

I am trying to transfer (copy) many folders and files (perhaps 100GB) from my private Google Drive account to my business Google Workspace account. I managed this so far with a test sample. I managed it also to keep the original native Google Docs / Google Sheets file type (not converting to DOCX, XLSX) which is great. I am completely new to rclone and happy what I reached so far in one day, but one feature is missing for me and I didn't find direct instructions about this.

I want to keep the entire version history of Google Docs etc. I learned there is also a versioning of non-Google files which is handled differently, e.g., PDFs that works differently with Google Drive.

I found an external tool to do that ( which keeps the versioning of Google Docs, Google Sheetc, but I am trying to get this done with rclone

Run the command 'rclone version' and share the full output of the command.

rclone v1.62.2

  • os/version: darwin 13.2.1 (64 bit)
  • os/kernel: 22.3.0 (arm64)
  • os/type: darwin
  • os/arch: arm64 (ARMv8 compatible)
  • go/version: go1.20.2
  • go/linking: dynamic
  • go/tags: cmount

Which cloud storage system are you using? (eg Google Drive)

Google Drive

The command you were trying to run (eg rclone copy /tmp remote:tmp)

rclone copy gd-raabmar:/transfer  gd-raabauke:/testtarget -P --drive-server-side-across-configs --fast-list

The rclone config contents with secrets removed.

Current remotes:

Name                 Type
====                 ====
gd-raabauke          drive
gd-raabmar           drive

A log from the command with the -vv flag

not ready yet to make this available for the public just yet (should not be related to my question)

I don't think rclone supports this at the moment.

I was hoping this would be easy with the server side copy API but there is no mention of versions here

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I just did a particular test just for the versioning .. the result: the versions get lost.

Besides even worse - the comments get also lost. It's such a challenge to get folders with files from account A to account B at Google Drive. Trying this for a year already, and thought I finally made it with rclone (now I see that versioning & comments won't be transferred)

So it's again not a full solution unfortunately and I still must stay to manage everything from my private Google account (had I known before)

I'm not 100% sure how hard it would be to copy over the versions. Rclone should be copying the description that goes with each file already though. I'm not sure if this is the same thing as the comments you are talking about?

Did you try sharing the files from Account A to account B then using the web interface to copy them into your new space? I don't know if that preserves everything or not.


This can be probably done using a share drive in the midle.

Create a share drive in your business account and share it with your personal account.

Use the rclone move command to push to your share drive.


Tested the following and the comment was not taken over

  • Share folder that includes a file from Account A with Account B
  • Access Account B and check the "Shared with Me" area
  • Open the file in the folder and see that of course as expected everything is there (including comments)
  • Make a copy of the file "Copy of filename" to have that file actually living in Account B → Comments are not here, version history is also not here (it's a new file, to there can't be a history)

I am not experienced with Share Drive. I see it now for the first time in my private account. I thought that was not available on the free Google acocunt and the first tier of Google Workspace (I think names "Small Business"

I do see now "Shared Drive" - but I am not sure how it makes a difference. I think as soon as a copy is done, some meta data or attributes are lost. The solution would be probably to really just change the owner of the files (not actually copy it). It seem there is always something getting lost, no matter how you try to copy it

For some reason Google Drive shows me now "Shared drives" but I can't to anything there. I think this is only for higher plans. I would sign up for a higher plan, but only if it works. If I can't transfer my data (without loosing comments), I would not need the higher Google Drive plan


I don't know what is your plan but have a look in the Google workspace admin console and check the drive service.


I am not sure if you followed the entire conversation - my plan is pretty simple: I try to get folders with files from Google Drive A (personal free Google account) to Google Drive B (my paid Google Workspace for business). I try not to lose file-format (not convert files to XLSL, DOCX), keep version history of files, and more important keep the comments that were added to Google Docs & Sheets.

One would think transferring data between Google Accounts is easy, but it's the absolut opposite. Google Support suggests to do it 1 by 1 for each file (that would take approx. 10 years).

I just don't know what would be different when doing it with a Shared Drive as a middle man. I am able to transfer files already without problem from Google Drive Account A to Account B. But I loose versioning and comments.

Have you asked Google Workspace support about it? What is the official answer?

Hey Nick,

OP mentioned the tool and on their webpage they state:

Transfer or copy your Google Drive™ files recursively between accounts in different Google Workspace™ domains and/or free accounts, migrate files to another Google Drive™ account, also create file lists, copy folder structures without files or with shortcuts to files. Transferred files retain ID, metadata and version history after migration. [...]

So this made me think it is possible.

I looked it up and as you said, it is not on the Drive API v3 page for copying files. However, it is available in another API method (Comments: get  |  Google Drive  |  Google Developers)

Haven't tried it but it sounds what the OP is looking for.

What about a flag for rclone copy on Google drives that uses those API methods to preserve the comments? And for versions this might be the one? (Revisions  |  Google Drive  |  Google Developers)

Probably a combination of get+create methods, since there is no copy one for those. Kind of complicated, but doable.

I think it is worth thinking about it. What many people wants rclone for are exact mirror copies like the OP.

My 2 cents.


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Yes, I went over this last year many times (and never managed it so I just was sticking to my personal account for Google Drive, but I want to finally switch).

Official answer goes like that and is a complete joke: You can share each individual file from your Google Account A to your Google Account B. Then I think the suggestion was to copy the file into your new account. I think back then I was not aware about versioning & comments, it was only important back then to keep the Google format without having it converted to Google Docs.

I had many emails with Google support about this until I actually got into a Google Meet with them. We tested everything together, and the result was the same.

There is also some information about Google File ownership and "Transfer Google Owner" from what I remember but that never worked, as this only works within a Google Workspace and not between Personal Free Google Drive and Paid Google Workspace for Business (that last information is very vague as I just don't remember the details anymore)


Another thing you can try is asking if this is possible in the GAMXTD3 forums.

GAMXTD3 is a very well known and powerful tool to manage Google Workspace/Drives and it might be possible to do it with it. I don't know, you can ask.

Not as easy to install/use it as rclone, but definitely shorter than 10 years.

As I just started to learn about rclone two days ago, that's a few levels too high. I won't be able to figure that out anytime soon, and I genuinely hope someone who has enough knowledge will jump on it.

As you all know rclone is so powerful, but not being able to actually just get an exact copy of files is just a huge limitation.

From what I know about the also known as "Transfer File Ownership" is that it does not copy at all. It just changes the owner of the file. It's like with traditional "folders" and modern "labels", just the label of the owner is changed so to say, the file is not moved to a new "folder" at all.

I tested the tool and it works with a small sample badge. It keeps versions, comments .. everything is exactly the same. But I am not sure how trustworthy it is with a larger set of files. The developer says this depends on Google "Processing large volumes (more than 5,000 files) can take hours due to performance degradation by your storage provider"

Whoever sees this, check out the suggestions from @Marcus1 maybe together it's possible to come up with a solution that works and is reliable

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I will try to check this out later (just run out of time, as I am in the end just a user of Google Drive who suffers from those limitations by Google)

Found that in my Google Drive today (source site) which is from the Transfer File Ownership tool
I doubt this will be of help for anyone but I am not sure. That's obviously the result from the "listing functionality" of Instead of tranferring that requires costly credits, it's possible to list the entire content. That is the structure the tool outputs. It's not complete and stopped after 15k files in my particular situation

Going on researching about the topic I found another interesting article that shows the problem we are all facing with Google Drive

It looks like you'd need to list comments then get each one individually then put it back on. Same with revisions. That would be a lot of extra transactions. I'm not sure how you'd preserve the ownership of the comments as in A commented, B commented - that would be quite hard.

So I think it is possible but I think it would be hard work! Its the kind of Enterprise feature that I'd be looking for an Enterprise sponsor to pay for the development.

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