Google Drive Migrations FAQ

The following article answers 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 now the owner of this file without being the owner of the parent folder.

The way we perform document migration in this scenario (including permissions) is as follows:

    • 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.

​This is what will occur during the migration:

    • During Alice's migration, we will not migrate the "Kick-off meeting" folder because it doesn't belong to Alice. Consequently, we will not migrate "summary.docx".
    • During Bob's migration, since "Kick-off meeting" belongs to Bob, it will be migrated, but since "summary.docx" doesn't belong to Bob, it will not be migrated.

This explains how MigrationWiz behaves in default mode. The recommended alternative 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.

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 migrated as a zip file containing the form as HTML and the responses as a CSV. Versions are not supported for forms.
    • Google drawings are converted into .jpg format however, those converted documents are not editable, once migrated.

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

Other considerations:

    • 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". 
      • 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 file will retain its current Google file 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 convert the Google file format to Microsoft format, add the Support option ShouldConvertToO365Format=1 to your project.

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, so conversion to Google format will not occur. In this case, MigrationWiz will upload the document as a binary type maintaining the original MIME type. Because of this, it is 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) to keep the behavior of the Source and the Destination system as close as possible.


Migrating permissions for a 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.

Important: In the case of external sharing, an email notification will be sent to external users. This is a Google API requirement.

Group Permissions 

For Google Drive to Google Drive migrations only.

Group permissions will automatically migrate exactly as they exist on the source, even if using the advanced option MapPermissionEmailByPairsInProject=1.

To change the permissions on the destination, the advanced option SkipGroupPermissionIfNoMatchFound=1 may be used. This may be useful if group permissions on the destination need to be different (as in the case of company or group changes) than those on the source. Using this option will create the following behavior:

  • If you perform an initial migration pass without this option, and then add this option in the next pass, there will be two groups of addresses, one for the Source Group as it appears in the source environment, and one for the Destination Group. 
  • Subfolders and files naturally inherit permissions within Google Drive. These secondary permissions will migrate automatically as part of the migration, even if the permission to the subfolder has been removed from the source. 
  • Removing permissions on the source drives folders/files before rerunning the migration removes those permissions only on the destination Drive files. Permissions on folders and subfolders at the destination are not removed.

Document Browsing Mode

Regardless of the DocumentBrowsingMode options, MigrationWiz only scans the source's “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's “My Drive”.

Items and folders in "Shared with Me" will not be migrated. Only items and folders in "My Drive" will be migrated.

To migrate the desired items and folders owned by the User within "Shared with Me", the items and folders must be “Move” to User’s own "My Drive" before migration.

Any folders not owned by the User under “Share with me” cannot be moved to User’s “My Drive”; adding them as a shortcut in “My Drive” would not result in them being migrated.

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

To ensure all items are migrated with permissions where appropriate, all users associated with those items should be migrated to the destination.

The "Add to My Drive" option is no longer available on the Google Drive user interface. As per Google documentation, an item can no longer be placed in multiple folders, thereby enforcing single-parent folders for items.

MigrationWiz has 3 “modes” you can use to migrate:

  • Strict mode (default with no advanced options)
  • Moderate mode
  • Full copy

Strict Mode

  • Scans “My Drive” for the source address in your migration project.
  • Migrates only folders owned by that account and migrates only files in those owned folders owned by that account.
  • 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.
  • Sharing permissions for owned folders and all documents in those folders are also migrated.
  • No folders or files owned by another user are migrated.

Moderate Mode

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

In cases where the older tenant supports the “Add to my drive” option:

  • Use Moderate Mode to migrate owned folders

Full Copy

  • Scans “My Drive” for the source address in your migration project.
  • “Full Copy” should be used where newer tenants do not support “Add to My Drive”

  • Migrates all folders and files in "My Drive" regardless of ownership.
  • Permissions should be unselected before migration. When using Full Copy, the same object may be migrated to multiple accounts. If permissions are selected, users will have access to multiple copies of the same document.


Google Drive to Google Drive migrations utilizing Full Copy browsing mode

If the source Google Drive has an item in multiple locations or an item that has multiple parent folders, those items will be duplicated to multiple folders on the destination and will not be linked/synced at the destination.

Enable Moderate or Full Copy Mode

To use the Moderate or Full copy mode, do the following:

    1. Click Edit Project.
    2. Select Advanced Options from your MigrationWiz project.
    3. 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 cannot be converted to a Google Docs format.

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


Some Excel files cannot be opened after migrating them from Google Drive to OneDrive

Sometimes, during google sheets migration, some files with corrupted format are migrated to the destination (OneDrive). As a workaround, follow the next steps before a migration:

  1. Clear everything migrated before at destination
  2. Use the AO (UseGoogleAPIV2=1)
  3. Run a new migration
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