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​Google Drive / File Stream Cleanup

Running out of Google Drive space? Below are tips for cleaning up old, unused, and unwanted items from Google Drive. Note that Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and Sites don't use Drive space, so converting PDFs and Microsoft Office docs to Google Documents will reclaim space.

What is taking up my Drive space? Pull up this page and click the View Details link. You can also get to this page by clicking on the Manage link at the bottom left of your Google Mail window.

  • Google Photos

    • If you take advantage of Android's automatic photo backup, your pics will be found ​here in full resolution. Full size images count against your Google Storage. Delete photos you don't want. To stop your Android phone from automatically uploading full-size photos, open the menu icon on the top left and go to Settings > and select High Quality. High Quality photos will be smaller than the original resolution taken by your phone, and therefore will take up no space in Drive.

  • Google Drive

    • Drive / File Stream can be used to store any kind of file. Files other than those created with Google Docs, however, take up Drive space. Clean up unwanted files or convert them to regain storage space.

  • Google Mail

    • Use Search operators to find large or old files in your Google Mail search window. This link from LifeWire is a great one for searching your GMail.​ I like the before: ( "before:2011/05/01" finds all messages sent or received on May 1, 2011 and earlier) and larger: or larger_than: ("larger_than:5m" finds all messages that exceed 5mb in size.) operators to quickly find unwanted stuff.

    • If you want to delete all the results at once, click the checkbox at the top of the list of item checkboxes. If there are more results than will fit on the page, an option will appear to "Select all converstations that match this search". Click that link to select all your search results at once.

    • If you're currently out of space and your email has stopped working as a result, emptying your Trash and Spam folders will help temporarily, but those two folders are normally self-maintaining and will dump old items automatically.

    • Don't forget to check your sent mail folder, too. If you can delete old sent mail, that will help. Click your Sent Mail folder, then search (before:2012/01/01).

    • Lastly, empty your Trash folder to dump it all.

  • Final Note - folders that are shared with you don't count against your allotted storage. If you need a lot of Drive storage, it's possible to set up another GMail account and share a folder as Read/Write with your main account. Bingo, you've added another 15GB storage.


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