Find an orphaned file

If you create a file in Drive that you later can’t find, the file might have lost all of its parent folders. It becomes an orphaned file. The file still exists but is harder to find.

How files lose their folder

Here's how a file can become orphaned:

  • You create a file in someone else's folder. Then they delete the folder. Your file isn't deleted because only you can do that. But it’s no longer in a folder.
  • Or, you share a folder with someone who removes your file from the folder. Again, the file isn't deleted, but it's no longer in a folder.

Find your orphaned files

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

  2. When you find the file, move it to a folder in My Drive so it’s easier to find next time.

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