This question applies to Google Workspace, specifically the "Shared Drive" service, which is distinct from Google Drive.

  • OS is Windows 10 Pro 22H2 with all updates
  • Browser is Firefox 110.0 (current)
  • Drive for Desktop version is

I have the following structure in a Workspace Shared Drive

Drive1 - Members: (All Users Group: Viewer)
        Folder1A  (Shared with Group1: Contributor)

    User1 (owner)

What happens in the web interface

In the web interface, in a tab logged in to drive.google.com as User1, I can upload files in Folder1A by navigating to Folder1A and then dragging and dropping a file into the browser window.

Before Drag & Drop

Before Drag & Drop

After Drag & Drop

After Drag & Drop

This is the expected behavior.

In Drive for Desktop

In Drive for Desktop, User1 CANNOT create files in Folder1A. I tried by dragging/dropping a file into the folder in Windows Explorer, and also with Copy/Paste, the results are the same

Before drag & drop

enter image description here

After drag & drop

enter image description here

In addition there's an error dialog next to the taskbar tray icon for Google Drive, with the message:

Can’t create items
You don’t have permission to create items in Drive1

It appears Drive for Desktop is applying different permissions for the exact same operation. Based on the error message, my guess is that Drive for Desktop is applying the top-level Member permission (Viewer) and is "unaware" of the sharing permissions at the Folder1A level.

Group, User and Permissions

The group definition

enter image description here

The user is a member of the group

enter image description here

The group has Contributor access to Folder1A

enter image description here


Is there a workaround to get Drive for Desktop to use the same permissions as the web interface?

  • I don't think that "Shared Drive" should be called "newer" in 2023. Please add more details name and version of the operative system and Drive for Desktop of User1 and the exact steps that they are following to create the file.
    – Rubén
    Feb 25 at 20:45
  • Related from Meta SU: What to do with [google-drive] and [google-drive-file-stream] (you might like to checkout google-drive to find related questions)
    – Rubén
    Feb 25 at 20:48
  • 1
    @Rubén I've added absolutely everything I can think of. It's important to note that everything works as expected in the web interface, but not in Drive for Desktop. In both instances I'm working with the exact same folders and files.
    – Ex Umbris
    Feb 25 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


This is a limitation of the "Contributor" permission in Google Drive for desktop. This Workspace article calls out:

In Google Drive for desktop or files in the Chrome OS Files app, Contributor access gives only read access to files. To allow users to create, upload, and edit files in a shared drive in Google Drive for desktop and Chrome OS, give the user Content manager or Manager access.

  • Thank you! So basically "Contributor" in Drive for Desktop doesn't mean what it does in the web interface. IMHO that's a bug :-)
    – Ex Umbris
    Feb 27 at 23:12

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