Find an orphaned file

If an item in Drive loses all of its parent folders, it becomes an orphan. The item still exists, but it's now harder to find. 

How this happens

Here are some ways a file can become an orphan:

  • You create a file in someone else's folder, and then that folder is deleted. Your file isn't deleted along with the folder because no one else can delete your file, but it no longer has a home.
  • You share a folder with someone, who then deletes one of your files from the folder. The file isn't actually deleted because no one else can delete your file, but it's no longer in the folder.

Find your orphaned files

  1. In the Drive search field, type: is:unorganized owner:me

    Search now

    Note: If you try this search with more than approximately 1,000,000 items in your Drive, you might see this message: "The server encountered an error. Please try again later." 

  2. To make orphaned files easier to find in the future, drag and drop them into a folder in My Drive.
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