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Manage Your Google Storage

Your Google storage limit is shared across Drive, Gmail, and Photos. Managing your storage will prevent unexpected problems.

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Check Your Current Storage

Most Cornell Google accounts have a maximum of 15GB of storage allotted. When your account reaches its storage limit, Drive won't allow you to upload or create files and you won't be able to receive emails. Check how much Google storage you're using. You'll need to sign in with your Cornell NetID and password

If you have another Google account, such as a personal account, make sure you're looking at the Drive Storage page for your Cornell account by clicking your profile icon in the upper right. Your Cornell Google account is the one using your email address. 

Remember, files that are in your trash count toward your storage capacity!

How to Clear Space

If you need to free up some space, you'll need to remove files from your Google accounts. when you check your storage, it will tell you what is using most of your data (Gmail, Drive, or Photos).

Clearing Space from Google Drive

  • To delete your Google Drive files and make space available, move them to the trash and then empty your trash. If you delete multiple files or folders at once, it might take time for the changes to take effect. You can list your files by size (largest to smallest) to find the files taking up large amounts of space.
  • If you still need quick access to these files, and you also need additional space, review Cornell's File Storage options. Alternative file storage options are available depending on your needs.
  • If you want to keep a copy of your files, but you don't need frequent access to them, see what options you have to Move Your Personal Data.
Files in Google's trash are automatically deleted after 30 days. Before the time window closes, you can restore your files. After the 30-day window, you may lose those files permanently.

Files shared with you do not count against your storage limits. But if you deleting files you've shared with others, that can cause problems for your collaborators. See this article about why that happens, how you can prevent it, and what you can do to find orphaned files.

Clearing Space from Gmail

  • Empty your trash; files there are not deleted for 30 days and still count toward your quota.
  • Delete large emails. Attachments in Gmail count toward your total storage. To search for email with large attachments, use the following steps:
    • In the Search in mail box, type has:attachment larger:1GB. (Replace the "1" with a higher number to find larger files.)
    • Click Search.
    • Select the emails you don't need, then click Delete.
    • Don't forget to empty your trash.
All Cornell email first arrives to Microsoft 365 mail and then forwards to your Google email. If you log in to you should see all of the email you received sitting in your inbox unread. (Remember: the Office and Google accounts are separate, so any organization from your Google email will not have been copied to Outlook.)

You should have a copy of your emails here, but be prepared to do some digital housekeeping.
  • If you want to keep a copy of your emails, but you don't need frequent access to them, see what options you have to Move Your Personal Data.

Clearing Space from Photos

Photos and videos can take up very large amounts of space. Deleting them (and then emptying the trash) will free up space in your Google account. To save these files, refer to the options at Move Your Personal Data.

How to Get More Storage Space

The 15GB quota applied to Google accounts is usually sufficient for 80% of the Cornell community. If you find that you need more space for your studies, work, or research, explore the options at File Storage at Cornell. If you work with sensitive, or high risk, data, refer to the information about Regulated Data.


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