Find or recover a file

If you can’t find files in Google Drive, you can use these tips to try to recover them. If you think that someone has accessed your Google Drive without your permission, we recommend taking steps to make your account more secure.

Restore files you deleted

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 bin

  1. On a computer, go to
    • Tip: You can sort your binned files by date deleted to find the oldest or newest files deleted.
  2. Right-click on the file you want to recover.
  3. Click Restore.
  4. You can find restored files in their original location.
    • If the original location is gone, check 'My Drive'.
Find a file that you don't think you deleted

Steps to find or recover a file in Google Drive

Try these steps

Check the activity panel

  1. On a computer, go to
  2. At the top right, click Info Info.
  3. Click ‘Activity’ to check the activity panel.
  4. Scroll down and look for your file.

Use an advanced search

  1. On a computer, go to
  2. In the search bar, click the icon to the far right.
  3. Use the advanced search options to find your file. For example, to find spreadsheets, next to 'Type', click the down arrow, then click 'Spreadsheets'.

Using the search field with search operators in Google Drive.

Learn why files go missing

If you created the file

If you can’t find a file that you created in Drive, it might have lost the folder it was in. The file still exists, but is harder to find.

How files lose their folder

  • You create a file in someone else's folder and they delete that folder. The file isn't deleted. It's automatically moved to your My Drive.
    Important: Only you can delete the files you own.
  • You share a folder with someone and they remove your file from the folder. The file isn't deleted, it's automatically moved to your My Drive.

Find unorganised files

  1. On a computer, go to
  2. In the search bar, enter: is:unorganized owner:me
  3. 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 that someone else created

If someone has deleted that folder, you won't find that folder in your Drive any more.

Find files you created in deleted folders

Find all files that are in deleted folders

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

More on how to find files

Try advanced search

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

Search for Example
Exact phrase

"Use quotes around an exact phrase"

Exclude a word

Water, but not lakes:

water -lakes

File owner

Files owned by Dad:

Files shared by others

Files that Mum has shared with you:

You've shared files

Files that you've shared with Mum:

Starred items


Deleted items


File type

Spreadsheet file type:


Time frame

Before or after 18 January 2015.




title:"The title goes here"


Files opened in Google Drive:


Recovered file types

For personal accounts, you can recover recently deleted files for a limited time after they're deleted if you use:

  • Google Drive with a consumer account.
  • Not through work, school or other group

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 your Google Account has been deleted, you might not be able to recover your files.

Use search chips

To narrow down the list of files in Drive, you can use search chips. You can search and filter:

  • Type
  • People 
  • Modified

These chips appear below the search bar and search all files, folders and subfolders within that view, like My Drive, Recent or Bin.

  • To remove a search chip: On the right of the chip, click .
  • To remove all search chips: At the end of the chips, click .

Tip: Search chips are present by default. To hide them, click on the filter button .

Recover emails from Gmail

Learn how to recover emails from Gmail.

To contact us, sign in to your Google Account.

Drive support is not available in all languages. If you speak English, you can change your language and contact a Drive specialist.

  1. On your computer, go to the Google Drive Help Centre.
  2. At the bottom of the page, click your language.
  3. Choose English.
  4. In the top left, click Menu and then Contact us.
  5. Choose your issue and how you'd like to contact us.

Note: When you've finished, you can change your language back to your preferred language.

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