File deletion and recovery policy

Before contacting us, read the tips for finding files and restoring items from the trash.

Tips to find files in your Google Drive

If you can't find a file in your Google Drive, it doesn't necessarily mean that the owner deleted it. Try searching for a file in the following ways:

  • Check different Google Drive sorting options, such as Last modified, Last opened by me and Title.
  • Search your Google Drive. Try this option if you're confident that you know a good search phrase since Google Drive search doesn't allow partial matches and won't show results if a word is misspelled or if the search terms are too specific.
  • Check your email history for a sharing notification or link to the item, if you don’t own the doc or file. It's possible that you unsubscribed from that item in your Google Drive.
  • See suggestions in the Find your files article.

Restore items from the trash that haven't been permanently deleted

If the owner of a file moved it to the trash, and the trash hasn't been emptied, it's possible for the owner to recover the file.

  1. Go to drive.google.com
  2. Click Trash in the left navigation.
  3. Locate the item you'd like to move back to Google Drive, and check the box next to the title.
  4. Click the More drop-down menu.
  5. Select Restore from trash. This will restore the item back to the owner’s Google Drive, as well as to any collaborator’s Google Drive.

Viewers, commenters, and editors aren't able to recover anything since they don't have the ability to trash or permanently delete items that they don't own. Contact the owner to get access to a file or to ask them if they're able to recover a file from the trash.

File recovery policy

If you can't find a file or folder in All items, Trash, or by searching, it may have been permanently removed from Google Drive or deleted by someone else.

If you use Google Drive with a consumer account, you can contact us to help recover a deleted file or folder for a limited time, but you must be the owner of the file or folder. You're the owner if:

  • You created the file or folder in your Google Drive account
  • You uploaded the file or folder into your Google Drive account
  • The original owner transferred ownership to you and you accepted

If an owner deleted a shared file or folder, the owner is the only person who can submit a recovery request. If you think the owner took away your access permissions, contact the owner directly to ask that your permissions be restored.

If you use Google Apps at work or school, you can contact your administrator to restore Drive files that were deleted within the past 25 days. Note that it's not possible to recover files owned by a user after a Google Apps administrator has deleted that user's account.

Contact us

We highly recommend that you use phone or chat support so that we can better assist you in finding your files.

Phone or chat support: If you’d like to speak or chat with a person about your issue, please visit our live support page and click either Phone or Chat. Live support is available in English only.

Email support: For help with your issue via email, please fill out our missing items contact form. Email support is available in English only.

If you're concerned that someone may have gained unauthorized access to your docs, we suggest that you take these measures to protect your account.

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

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