Use labels in Google Drive to find files marked for deletion

As the campus community continues to review and clean up files in Google Workspace, a concern for many users is losing access to documents owned by a suspended account of an alumni or a former employee. Note that these suspended account files are not targeted for deletion until the spring of 2024. 

Suspended Drive Files

Google Drive files owned by suspended users display a “read-only” message when opened and are locked for editing. This status helps collaborators identify files that are actively being used but were not transferred by the owner before the account was disabled. 

However, if a file is not actively being accessed or only serves as an archive, collaborators will not realize that the file is owned by a former user and is being targeted for deletion.

Using Labels in Google Drive Search

To identify items slated for deletion, Google admins have attached a drive label that identifies files owned by an alumni or former employee. These files have a label showing “PENDING DELETION – alumni” or “PENDING DELETION – former employee.”  If you do not see files from a separated employee, the employee separated less than two years ago or is not targeted in this phase of deletion.

The label allows users to identify all files subject to deletion in one search, move these files into a Shared Drive, the preferred location, or make a copy of the files. Currently, only Google admins can apply labels to files; these are not end user functions. 

For more information on how to effectively use these labels, see Use labels to identify files marked for deletion in Google Drive owned by alumni & former employees.

Future updates regarding the deletion of suspended accounts will be available via OIT News.