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

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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Hi Nick. Yep I thought the same, doable but lots of work.

I tested this outside of rclone just in a browser, and it works fine. Keeps both edits and comments.

  1. In Workspace account, create a shared drive
  2. Add personal google user (so both users has rights to the shared drive)
  3. Switch to personal account
  4. Move "file" (i.e google spreadsheet) to a shared drive.
  5. Switch to workspace account
  6. Move to "My drive".
  7. Profit. Old user has no longer access.

Tested with a spreadsheet, but I would imagine it works the same with other files.

I am on the Google Workspace Business Starter, so that does not have the feature "Shared Drive". Maybe I'll just upgrade for one month for testing. However, I am surprised because I wouldn't expect any difference between a shared folder (user) and a shared drive (organization).

And from what I recall I did pretty much the same. I'll test again.

Does this work in bulk as well?
Like even without rclone?

If yes, then I am incredibly surprised and embarrassed - because I am trying for ages to move files from one Google Drive account (private) to the other Google Drive account (business) without losing information (comments, keep versioning, keep docs/sheets/presentation format)

Yes, should work fine.

Moving files to a shared drive makes the organization owner of the files (not the user) as long as they stay in a share drive. If you move the files into a user's "my drive", the user gets ownership again.

There is a limit of 400 000 files/folders per shared drive, but if you have less than that you could in theory select all files, move to a shared drive and then again to the new user.

The entire conversion in here does not make much sense if that really works. That is the most simple approach. I for sure tried that already in the past few times. I don't get it. And other people were looking for the exact same in communities, reddit, etc.

What's interesting (and yet again confusing). I just tried it twice with a single Sheets file. The outcome was different (not kidding). I am just working with shared folders, not shared drives. Using the very same shared folder. The shared folder is created on my personal account (I think you did it the other way round). I want to transfer from my personal account to my business account.

1st time
Owner got transferred as well
File details
Type: Google Sheets
Size: 0 bytes (that is also strange that it shows size 0 here)
Storage used: 10 KB

2nd time
Type: Google Sheets
Size: 10 KB
Storage used: 10 KB
Owner is still my personal account

I have to admit, multitasking, a million of tabs open, but that was only few steps overall. I tried a third time and again the owner is not changed. The original owner (personal account) stays.

Screenshot from receiving Google Drive (Google Workspace). The owner is still the user from the private Google Drive.

Just tested another time. "Moved over" an entire folder from my personal account to my workspace account (via Shared Folder). Owner is definitely not changing.
But in my previous example I managed it (as you also) one time. I didn't do anything differently. Google Drive is reacting differently which does not make sense to me, unfortunately

Starting to give up on Google ... sorry that it becomes again a Google topic. Supposed to be a rclone / Google Drive topic

For it to work you have to use a Shared Drive – not a shared folder.

I did the test with only one file, but I moved the file and changed owner from a account to a workspace account.

"My Drive" of user --> Shared Drive ---> "My Drive" of @workspace user

If you send me a PM with the two users, I can give you a shared drive so you can try it out. Note that my account have the rights to access files while they are in the shared drive.

Thanks for sticking with me here .. I will purchase a month and then see. I ran quite a few tests now. I have no idea how I managed it one single time that the owner changed. According to my last screenshot this should not even be possible.

Maybe I'll run the next test tomorrow.

Someone did mention already Shared Drive as a middleman in the past (maybe here or some other forums I tried to find a solution)

When using a Shared Drive, it tells me even that the owner will be the Shared Drive.
So obviously, the way via Shared Drive is really the only way to transfer the ownership.
Perhaps, once the "Shared Drive" is the owner, it's possible to move one more time to the own Google Workspace account.

So overall, it's 2 separate MOVE commands.

The entire solution has nothing to do with rclone. But Google Workspace Standard is the minimum requirement to get the Shared Drive feature. Not sure if rclone would do any additional favor in this entire scenario.

There is one small difference I noticed (but I think that should not matter much in my case).
The attributes of the files are slightly different.

Files that were treated in Google Workspace don't have the "Storage used" attribute.
Files that were transferred in from the Shared Drive have the attribute "Storage used" Owned by

Yes, that is what I tried to tell you here. :slight_smile:

I am sorry, when I read the first time about it, I just learned more about the Shared Drives. Never needed as a sole proprietor. I also read on many other forums, tried other external tools, etc.


I am moving now all the content. So far so good, thousands of files moved this way.
Now I run into the next issue - approx. 400 files are from external clients when we collaborated on shared folders. And guess what ... I am not allowed to move those into a Shared Drive.

So my result now is that I have my things split up in 2 Google Drive accounts .. oh my god what did I start here.
(maybe next step is print and scan :face_with_peeking_eye:)

There is a setting for the foreign files that are owned by someone else, e.g. by collaboration with external clients.

The problem, that setting is from Google Workspace.

But the files lie in the personal Google Drive.
That means, as of now it's still not possible, to do the migration/transfer because the personal Google Drive contains files that are owned by other people as those were uploaded to shared folders through collaborating

Update from more research - it won't work - you can't move folders or files external users own into Shared Drives

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