Find or recover a file

Here are some tips to help you find missing files in Google Drive. Select the situation that matches yours the best.

You deleted something and want it back

If you deleted something recently using Google Drive or the Google Drive desktop app, you might be able to restore the file yourself.

Restore from your Trash

  1. On a computer, go to drive.google.com/drive/trash.
  2. Right-click the file you'd like to recover.
  3. Click Restore.
You can't find something & you don't think you deleted it

Try these steps

Check the activity panel

  1. On a computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. On the left, click My Drive.
  3. At the top right, click Info Information.
  4. Scroll down and look for your file.

Try an advanced search

  1. On a computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. At the top, go to the search bar and click the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  3. Use the advanced search options to find your file, like "type:spreadsheets."

If the steps above didn't help, consider these special cases:

If you created the file

If you created a file in Drive and can't find it, it may be orphaned. An orphaned file might have lost all of its parent folders. The file still exists but is harder to find.

How files lose their folder

  • You create a file in someone else's folder. Then they delete the folder. Your file isn't deleted, but isn't in a folder. Only you can delete the files you own. 
  • You share a folder with someone who removes your file from the folder. The file isn't deleted, but it's no longer in a folder.

Find your orphaned files

  1. In the Drive search field, enter: is:unorganized owner:me
  2. When you find the file, move it to a folder in My Drive so it’s easier to find next time.

Search now

If someone else created the file

When someone creates a file, they can delete, rename, and restore it. Contact the person who created the file and ask them to restore it or share it with you again.

If it was in a folder someone else created

If someone deleted that folder, you won't see that folder in your Drive anymore.

Find files you created that are in deleted folders

Find all files that are in deleted folders

To make that file easier to find in the future, drag it into a folder in "My Drive."

More on how to find files

Did you try advanced search?

To refine your search in Drive, use a search phrase with one of these options:

Search for Example
Exact phrase

"Use quotes around an exact phrase"

One or another

tacos OR nachos

Exclude a word

Water but not lakes:

water -lakes

File owner

Files Dad owns:

owner:dad@gmail.com

They shared files

Files Mom shared with you:

from:mom@gmail.com

You shared files

Files you shared with Mom:

to:mom@gmail.com

Starred items

is:starred

Deleted items

is:trashed

File type

Spreadsheet file type:

type:spreadsheet

Time frame

Before or after January 18, 2015. 

before:2015-01-18

after:2015-01-18

Title

title:"The title goes here"

App

Files opened in Google Drive:

app:"Drive"

Which files can be recovered?

We can help you recover recently deleted files for a limited time if you use Google Drive with a consumer account (and not an account through your work, school, or other group) AND one of these is true:

  • You created the file.
  • You uploaded the file to Google Drive.
  • You accepted ownership of the file from someone.

If you're using an account through your work, school, or other group, contact your administrator for help.

If your Google Account was deleted, you might not be able to recover your files.

If you think that someone accessed your Google Drive without your permission, we recommend taking steps to make your account more secure.

If you still can't find your file

Learn what you need for your file to be recovered.

If you need to recover mails from Gmail

Learn how to recover emails from Gmail.

Contact a Drive specialist 

To contact us, sign in to your Google Account.

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