Google Drive is full, What to do?

Sorcim Technologies (pvt) Ltd Official
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Google Drive is a great way to store your files and collaborate with your colleagues. The free account offers a whopping 15 GB of storage, which is sufficient for most home users. However, as you back up your files, upload new files, and add photos & videos from your phone, your storage shrinks further. At some point in time, you are stuck with a daunting message notifying you that your storage is full, and that you need to delete some files. Worry not, there are ways to fix it without deleting your important files.

Why Does Google Drive Storage Fill Up So Fast?

There are several reasons why your Google Drive storage may fill up so fast.

  • Trash Contents: When you delete files from your Google Drive account, they are moved to the Trash folder. These files remain in the Trash folder for about 30 days, and then permanently deleted. Cleaning the Trash contents before the deletion window will help you free up some storage.
  • Large files: Large files, such as HD & 4K videos, Raw images, and ISO files, can take a significant amount of your storage. Do you remember storing any such files? If so, it could be one of the reasons.
  • Email Attachments: Many Gmail users are unaware that their email attachments count in their Google storage quota. If you’re regularly attaching large files to your emails, they can take up your storage.
  • Synchronized Files: Many of us use Google Drive for Desktop to automatically sync files from our PC onto our Google Drive account. While it is a great tool, it can trigger storage full warnings if you don’t manage your files carefully. If you have too many unnecessary files on your hard disk, they might get synced and eat up your storage.
  • Google Photos: Google Photos is a photo storage and sharing platform from the search engine giant. If you’re regularly backing up hundreds of thousands of photos and videos from your phone (whether in the original or high-quality), they can quickly fill up your Google Drive storage.
  • Duplicate Files: Dupes are one of the key reasons why many people run out of their cloud storage. It’s easy to accumulate duplicates, especially if you don’t check identical files before uploading newer ones. If you’re syncing a single Google Drive account with multiple PCs, duplicate files on those machines can add up to your storage.
  • Outdated Backups: Do you upload backups of your important files on Google Drive? If so, they can contribute to your storage problems.

Do the Shared Google Drive Files Take Up Storage?

Shared Google Drive files do not take your storage unless you’re the new owner of those files. When someone shares their files with you, such files will not count in your storage quota.

Solution: Recovering Your Lost Google Drive Storage

Method 1: Empty Trash Contents

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Click on the Trash tab on the left panel.
  3. Click on the Empty Trash icon and confirm the action.

Method 2: Delete Large Files

Using Google Drive

  1. In the Google Drive, click on the Storage tab on the left.
  2. Google Drive will list all large files first, followed by the smaller ones.
  3. Select the large files you don’t need, and choose the Move to Trash icon.

Using Google Drive for Desktop

  1. Download and install the Google Drive for Desktop on your computer.
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Click on the Google Drive folder on the left-hand side panel.
  4. Right-click on an empty area, and select Sort by > Size.
  5. Your files will be sorted by their size. Delete the larger ones you don’t need.

Method 3: Delete Large Email Attachments

  1. Open your Gmail.
  2. Type “has:attachment larger:1MB” in the Search box. (Replace “1MB” with any other size of your size — such as 5MB, 10MB)
  3. Press Enter.
  4. Gmail will filter all emails with attachments larger than the specified size (in our case, larger than 1MB)
  5. Check the emails you don’t want, and click on the Delete icon.

Method 4: Un-sync Unnecessary Folders

  1. Open the Google Drive for Desktop from the system tray area of your Taskbar.
  2. Click on the Settings icon.
  3. From the menu options, select Preferences.
  4. Click on the Folders tab.
  5. Remove the folders you don’t want to sync.

Method 5: Stop Backing Up Photos & Videos from Your Phone

  1. Open the Google Photos app on your Android or iPhone.
  2. Tap on your profile picture in the upper right corner.
  3. Tap on Settings.
  4. Tap on Backup.
  5. Toggle the Backup slider to the Off position. Or, remove unnecessary folders from the list of folders chosen to back up.

Method 6: Find & Remove Duplicate Files

  1. Visit the Cloud Duplicate Finder’s website.
  2. Create a new account for free.
  3. Log in to your new account, and then click on the Google Drive icon.
  4. Click on Add New Drive.
  5. You will be redirected to the official Google Drive sign-in prompt.
  6. Log in to your account, and then provide the account access permissions.
  7. Once completed, your account will be added.
  8. Select a folder from your Google Drive account from the panel on the left.
  9. Click on Start Scan.
  10. Once the scan finishes, select the duplicate files you don’t want.
  11. Click on Select Action, and then choose an action of your choice.


  • CDF also supports finding visually similar photos. It helps you free up a considerable amount of storage.
  • It never prompts for your Google Drive password. Instead, it uses the official API method to redirect you to the official log-in page and request file access permissions. You can revoke these file access permissions anytime
  • You will be able to customize your scan and choose which file types and sizes to scan for. For example, if you have too many large files that you don’t want to scan, you can exclude them from the scan by checking the “Ignore files larger than” box and selecting the corresponding size.
  • You can access CDF from your web browser using just an Internet connection. You do not need to download any special software.

Method 7: Delete Old Backups

Open the My Drive folder, and look for old backups that you don’t need, such as the backups you created years ago.


Regularly managing your Google Drive account is essential to keep your files organized and avoid running from storage issues. There are simple ways to free up your storage space without deleting the files you need. With third-party duplicate finders, the process has never been that easy.

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