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Delete and restore files in Google Drive

Move a file to the trash

To remove a file from your Drive, put it in your trash. The file will stay there until you empty your trash. When you put a file in the trash:

  • If you own the file, people you’ve shared it with can make a copy. Learn how to permanently delete a file.
  • If you don’t own the file, removing the file from your Drive only removes it for you.
On the web
  1. On a computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. Click a file.
  3. Click Remove Remove.
Backup and Sync for Mac & Windows

When you sync files:

  • Between Google Drive and your computer, any files you delete in one place will be deleted everywhere.
  • From folders on your computer, you can choose how files are deleted.

To change how files are deleted with Backup and Sync, learn how to change your settings.

Move files to the trash

  1. On your computer, find the file you want to delete.
  2. Drag the file to the trash on your computer.
  3. The file will be deleted everywhere. It may take some time for the file to be deleted everywhere.

Empty your trash

You can permanently delete an individual file or empty your entire trash.

  • After you delete a file permanently, anyone you’ve shared the file will lose access to it.
  • If you want others to be able to view the file, you can transfer ownership to someone else.
On the web

Empty your entire trash

  1. On a computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. On the left, click Trash.
  3. Make sure there are no files you want to keep.
  4. At the top, click Empty trash

Delete an individual file forever

  1. On a computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. On the left, click Trash.
  3. Click a file.
  4. At the top, click Delete forever Remove.
Backup and Sync for Mac & Windows

When you use Backup and Sync to sync files between Google Drive and your computer, you can choose if files you delete in one place will be deleted everywhere.

Empty your trash

To permanently delete your files, empty the trash on your computer.

Recover a file from the trash

If there’s a file in your trash you want to keep, put it back in "My Drive." If you’re not the owner of the file and want to use it:

  • Make a copy of the file.
  • Contact the owner to have them restore it.
On the web
  1. On a computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. On the left, click Trash.
  3. Click the file you want to restore.
  4. At the top, click Restore Restore.
Backup and Sync for Mac & Windows

  1. On your computer, open your trash.
  2. Drag a file from your trash to your desktop or other folder.

To sync the file with Drive, place it in a folder that you’ve chosen to sync with Drive. Learn more about which folders on your computer sync with Google Drive.

If you're not the owner of the file, contact the owner to have them restore it.

Tip: If you have important information in a file, you can make a copy of it. Open the file and click File and then Make a copy.

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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