Google Drive Migrations FAQ

This article addresses frequently asked questions for Google Drive migrations. For answers to questions about mailbox migrations, see G Suite Migrations.


Document Management

Owner documents in unowned folders

The best way to explain this is with an example:

Alice can reach a folder named "Kick-off meeting" which belongs to another user, Bob. Alice then creates a document called "summary.docx" in this folder, and is thus owner of this file without being owner of the parent folder.

​In this scenario, how does MigrationWiz behave?

The way we perform document migration, including permissions, is the following:

  • For each user, we compute all owned folders, and for each of them we migrate all owned files.
  • Then, for each of the migrated folders and files, we retrieve and apply the corresponding permissions.

​Based on that logic, here is what will occur during the migration:

  • During Alice's migration, we will not migrate the "Kick-off meeting" because it doesn't belong to Alice, and consequently, we will not migrate "summary.docx".
  • During Bob's migration, since "Kick-off meeting" belongs to Bob, we'll migrate it, but since "summary.docx" doesn't belong to Bob, we will not migrate this file.

This behavior explains how MigrationWiz behaves in default mode. An alternative and recommended approach is to migrate from Google Drive to OneDrive for Business using moderate mode, which is explained below.



Format Conversions

 Our document migration tool converts native Google document formats to their Office equivalent formats, as closely as possible. It also migrates the Google permissions to their closest equivalent permission under Microsoft OneDrive, and vice versa.

Here’s the precise breakdown of how format conversions are handled:

  • Google documents will be converted into Microsoft Word (.docx) format.
  • Google spreadsheets will be converted into Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) format.
  • Google presentations will be converted to Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx) format.
  • Google forms are ignored since they cannot be converted. There is no Microsoft Office equivalent.
  • Google drawings are converted into .jpg format. The caveat here is that those converted documents are not editable, once migrated.

When migrating documents from Microsoft OneDrive to Google Drive, conversions occur in the opposite direction, e.g., Word format is converted into Google documents format.

Other information:

  • Version history does not get migrated.
  • Comments do not get migrated.
  • Document creation date gets changed to the “date of migration” date.
  • Permissions get converted to their office equivalents, as closely as possible, e.g., Google "public on the web" gets changed to "everyone".  Note: The Google permission "can comment" has no equivalent, and so gets dropped.


For Google Drive to Google Drive migrations:

  • If the Source is in Google Drive format, the format will be converted to the corresponding Microsoft format when migrated to the new Google Drive Destination.
  • If the Source (on Google Drive) is in Microsoft format, the format will remain as that Microsoft format when migrated to the new Google Drive Destination.
  • To preserve the Google Drive format, add the Support option ShouldConvertToDestinationFormat=1 to your project.  For instructions for adding Support Options, see How do I add Support Options to a project or to a single item?

In some cases, a document will contain item types that Google Drive rejects for document conversion. This occurs when the Google import tool does not support these items and so conversion to Google format will not occur. In this case, MigrationWiz will default back to behavior where it will upload the document as a binary type and maintain the original MIME type. For this reason, it's not guaranteed that the file will be converted to Google format when migrating to Google Drive.

For Microsoft OneDrive to Google Drive migrations:

If the advanced option for conversion is set, MigrationWiz will automatically convert all documents (if possible) in order to keep the behavior of the Source and the Destination system as close as possible.



Migrating permissions for user not on destination

When Google Drive is the destination, by default we only keep user sharing for those users who both belong on the source domain and also exist at the destination.

Therefore, for a scenario where users do not exist on the destination, it is necessary to add the following Advanced Option: MigrateExternalUserPermissions=1

With this flag set, the following will occur:

  • If the user is known in the source domain but doesn't exist at the destination yet we know the email address of the destination user, we migrate it using "external sharing". This requires an email notification to the destination email address of the user during migration.
  • If we don't have the email address of the destination user during migration (this is possible during a Google Drive to Google Drive migration), then we migrate the sharing based on the user ID.

It's important to warn customers who want to enable this option that, in the case of external sharing, we will send an email notification to external users. This is a Google API requirement.


Moderate Mode

In any scenario, regardless of the DocumentBrowsingMode option selected, MigrationWiz can only scan the source address “My Drive” label. The “Shared with Me” label is simply a filter that populates objects the specific account has access to, but which are stored in another account “My Drive”.

My Drive is the storage location for all files and folders in a single account. Within Google Drive it is possible to share a location to another User in your “My Drive” space, allowing that user to create and own items in your Drive instance. 

MigrationWiz has 3 “modes” you can migrate with:

  • Strict (Default with no advanced options)
  • Moderate
  • Full Copy

These modes functions are outlined below.

Strict Mode:

  1. Scans “My Drive” for the source address in your migration project.
  2. Migrates only folders that are owned by that account and migrates only files in those owned folders that are owned by that account.
  3. Unowned folders with sub-folders that are owned by this account are mimicked to maintain functional integrity post migration. No files in those unowned folders are migrated.
  4. Sharing permissions for owned folders and all documents in those folders are also migrated.
  5. No folders or files owned by another user are migrated.

Moderate Mode:

  1. Scans “My Drive” for the source address in your migration project
  2. Migrates only folders that are owned by that account, but migrates all files in those folders regardless of ownership.
  3. Unowned folders with sub-folders that are owned by this account are mimicked to maintain functional integrity post migration. No files in those unowned folders are migrated.
  4. Sharing permissions for folders and documents are also migrated.
  5. No folder or files owned by another user are migrated.

Full Copy:

  1. Scans “My Drive” for the source address in your migration project.
  2. Migrates all Folders and Files in “My Drive,” regardless of ownership.
  3. No permissions are migrated whatsoever and must be recreated post migration.


To ensure all items are migrated with permissions, end users should use the Add to My Drive option for any owned folders before migrating if DocumentBrowsingMode=Moderate is going to be used.

This should only be done for folders accessed through the “Shared with Me” label, as items are migrated based off of folder ownership when using Moderate Mode.


Within Google it is possible to store a file in two “My Drive” storage spaces. When this is done, both users will receive a copy of the item at the destination but the files are not synced/linked together during the migration.  This occurs when users have used the Right-Click > Add to My Drive for individual files, and Moderate Mode is used.


Enabling Mode

To use the Moderate or Full Copy mode, you must do the following:

  1. Click Edit Project > Advanced Options from your MigrationWiz project
  2. Add one of the following options under the Support Section:

This will enable your selected option to be used during your migration.



Some documents did not convert to Google's format

Sometimes, with Google as the Destination, Google Drive will reject document conversion depending on the document's contents. Some features and characters are not supported by the Google import tool, and thus cannot be converted to Google Docs format.

When a document is not able to be converted to Google format, we migrate it as binary, while still maintaining the correct MIME type. You will be able to open and download the file without problems, though it will not show up as a Google Doc format.

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