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.

You've 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 bin

  1. Open your Google Drive App.
  2. Tap the file that you'd like to recover.
  3. Tap Restore.

You can't find something and you don't think that you deleted it

Try these steps

Check the activity panel

  1. Open your Google Drive app.
  2. On the left, tap My Drive.
  3. At the top right, tap Info Info.
  4. Scroll down and look for your file.

Try an advanced search

  1. Open your Google Drive App.
  2. In the search bar, tap the icon to the far right.
  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 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 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 that someone else created

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

Find files you created that are in deleted folders

Find all files that are in deleted folders

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

More on how to find files

Have you tried an 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 owned by Dad:

They've shared files

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:


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 a work, school or other group account) 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 use an account through your work, school or other group, contact your administrator for help.

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

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

If you need to recover mails from Gmail

Learn how to recover emails from Gmail.

Contact us

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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