Why Files  Missing in Google Drive?

There are a lot of things that might cause files in Google Drive missing, including accidental deletion, moving files, issues with device synchronization, or actions taken by other users on a shared network.

  • Accidental Deletion: If you mistakenly select the delete option after choosing the file or if a file is deleted in the process of a larger cleanup task. the files will be missing from Google Drive
  • Location Change: If you move files to a different folder or location and then forget where it is now, or the file is moved to a nested folder that is not easily accessible, the files will also disappear in Google Drive.
  • Syncing Issues: When connectivity issues or sync conflicts between different versions of the same file occur,  the files might not show up in Google Drive. 
  • Shared Network: If the files are on the shared network and deleted or moved by others, or you don't have proper permissions to access the file, you can also see the files in Google Drive.

Understanding those causes behind the problem might aid in resolving issues.

How to Restore Missing Files in Google Drive?

From above, we know files disappeared from Google Drive can be triggered by a number of factors. Next, we’ll list 11 working fixes to help you find and recover the missing Google Drive files.

1. Verify the Account

First of all, make sure you’ve logged into the right account that stores your files, and connect the account to your device. Go to Settings > Preferences > Settings on your device, make sure you've signed into the account that has your files, and link the account.

Next, if you're using a free account, check your storage. If your files are larger than the maximum of 15GB , they won't be uploaded and will eventually disappear.

Finally, confirm that the folders and photographs you wish to sync with Google Drive have been added. Click on the folders and check the box next to "Sync with Google Drive."

2. Check Google Drive Trash Folder

As we all know, when we delete files from Google Drive, they will go to the Trash folder. The Trash folder will keep it for 30 days. When 30 days pass, Google Drive automatically purges the deleted items. So you can check out the Trash Folder to find the missing files in Google Drive.

Navigate to the official Google Drive website. Select Trash on the left pane. Find your missing file in Drive, right-click on it and choose Restore to get it back.

3. Recover from Google Admin Console

If the Trash folder has been emptied unluckily, you can turn to Google Admin console to find out the missing Google Drive files.  This requires that you are  an administrator account, rather than a personal one. Only if you are an administrator, you have the permission to access and restore deleted files from Google Admin console within 25 days after they are deleted from Trash.

  • Sign in to your Google Admin console. Go to Menu > Directory > Users.
  • Find the user who needs their missing Drive data restored.
  • Scroll down to choose Restore Data option.
  • Select the date range for the files that you want to recover and click Restore.

4. Check Error List

If you stop the sync mistakenly before all files are uploaded, or if there was an internet disconnection during the sync, then the files will fail to upload to Google Drive and  give you a false sense that they are missing from Google Drive. In this case, you can check the error list and verify. Click on the Settings icon and choose Error list. Check the files that failed to be uploaded from the list and verify if they are the missing files.

5. Switch to Incognito Mode

Sometimes, caches, cookies, and histories may prevent your Google Drive from loading and working properly. Thus, you can try to log into Google Drive under Chrome’s incognito mode.

To do this, open Google Chrome, click the 3-dot icon, and go to New Incognito Window. Log into Google Drive and check if the missing files appear now.

6. Check Activity Panel

The Activity Panel in Google Drive provides a detailed log of all actions users take on files, including editing, adding, deleting, and sharing. It helps users track changes and recover files that may have gone missing.

  • Go to drive.google.com. Click My Drive, tap on the Info icon at the top-right corner.
  • Choose Activity, scroll down the Activity Panel to check if your lost files are present.

7. Recover from Google Photos Backup

If the missing files are photos or videos and you’ve backed up them to Google Photos when setting up Google Drive on your device, you can recover the missing files from the backup in Google Photos.

Log into Google Photos. Go to Photos, select the photos or videos backup. Click on the 3-dot icon and choose Download. Then upload the recovered files to your Google Drive again.

8. Find Orphaned Files

An orphaned file refers to the file whose parent folder gets deleted. When a file's parent folder is deleted, the orphaned file will seem missing even though it's not truly erased. This situation arises from two common scenarios: 1)sharing a folder with someone who later removes your file from that shared folder. 2)Creating a file within someone else’s folder and then having them delete the entire folder. To locate orphaned files and restore it:

  • Navigate to the Google Drive page.
  • In the search bar, enter "is:unorganized owner:me" to find any orphaned files.
  • If you locate the missing file, simply move it to a folder of your choice to restore it to your Drive.

9.  Uninstall and Reinstall Google Drive

If the problem still persists, we recommend you reinstall Google Drive and start over the settings to make sure everything goes right.

10. Update OS or App to the Latest Version

Besides, you can update your system and Google Drive app to the latest version to see if the missing files in Google Drive can be fixed, because earlier versions may incur compatibility issues and cause glitches.

  • To update macOS, go to System Preferences > Software Update and select the latest OS to download and install. 
  • To update Windows, go to Settings > Windows Update, select the latest version and download.
  • To update Google Drive app version, go to Settings > About to check the current version, then download the latest version from Google website.

11. Submit A File Recovery Request

If none of the mentioned options fix the Google Drive files missing issue successfully, as a last resort, seek help from Google Drive Support team, provided that you are the owner of the missing files. Note that this method works only for personal accounts.

  • Enter Google Drive Help page, sign in with your account. Go down to choose "Request file recovery" button.
  • Fill in all the required information and tick the Content agreement, click Submit to send your request.
  • You’ll receive a feedback in around 12-48 hours. Lastly check if the missing files in Google Drive have been returned.

Prevention Tips: Avoid Files Missing in Google Drive in Future

To prevent future file disappearances in Google Drive, consider the following tips:

Regular Backups

Make it a habit to create regular backups of your important files. This ensures that even if files go missing in Google Drive, you have a copy stored elsewhere. For Backing up Google Drive files, you can back up to either external hard drive or another cloud drive. For easier access from any device, backing up Google Drive files to another reliable cloud is a better decision.

Then, how to back up Google Drive to another cloud? Manually download from Google Drive and then re-upload them to the target cloud one by one? Obviously, it is not the best solution. Instead, you can use the professional cloud to cloud backup tool: MultCloud.

  • Offline Backup: Don't rely on network connection, but use the data traffic for backing up cloud files.
  • Direct Backup: Don't go through the local storage, but directly backup files across different clouds online.
  • Auto Backup: Back up data regularlywithout having to manually initiate each backup
  • Cross-Platform Access: Access your cloud files from devices or operating systems.

Enable Two-Step Verification

Add an extra layer of security to your Google Drive account by enabling two-step verification. This helps prevent unauthorized access and potential file deletions.

Monitor Sharing Settings

Regularly review and update sharing settings for your files and folders. Ensure that only authorized users have access.

Use File Versions

Google Drive offers a feature called "Version History" that allows you to see and restore previous versions of a file. Enable this feature and use it to keep track of changes and revert to previous versions if needed.

Monitor Storage Usage

Google Drive offers a limited amount of free storage (15 GB). If you exceed this limit, files won't be uploaded, and they may eventually go missing. Keep an eye on your storage usage and consider upgrading to a paid plan if needed.

Regularly Check for Errors

Periodically check for errors or issues with file syncing and uploading. If you encounter any errors, address them promptly to prevent files from going missing.

By following these tips, you can help prevent future file disappearances in Google Drive and ensure the safety and accessibility of your files.


We sincerely hope the above 11 solutions can work well for your situation and help address the issue of missing files on Google Drive successfully. You can try them one by one until you get the issue fixed.