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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. Using 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

  • On the left, click My Drive.
  • At the top right, click InfoInformation.
  • Scroll down and look for your file.

Try an advanced search

  1. Using a computer, click the search options icon (in the search bar) Down Arrow.
  2. Use the advanced search options to find your file, like "Type: Spreadsheets."

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

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. To find the file:

  1. Try this advanced search to see a list of files you created that are in deleted folders: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/search?q=is:unorganized%20owner:me.
  2. Try this broader advanced search to see a list of all files that are in deleted folders: https://drive.google.com/drive/search?q=is:unorganized.

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

More on how to find files

Still don't see it?

Contact us (English only)

Talk to a Google Drive expert who might be able to help you find your file.

  1. Scroll to the bottom of this page.
  2. Click CONTACT US.
    (Note: If you're using an account through your work, school, or other group, you won't see this button—you'll need to contact your administrator for help.)
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 delete a file and need to get it back, contact a Drive specialist. For the fastest way to find your file, we highly recommend that you call or chat with us.

To contact us, sign in to your Google Account.

Evan is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about the page.

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