How to Find Lost Files in Google Drive

A lost or “orphaned” file is when a file is no screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-4-26-07-pmlonger organized inside of a particular folder. In Google Drive, this happens most often when you create a file inside of a shared folder and the owner of the folder (not you) deletes the folder. Since you own the file, the other person can’t delete it, but because the folder it was organized in no longer exists the file doesn’t have a place to live. However, there is a way to search for these orphaned files so that you can find them a new home.

  • In Google Drive, go to the ‘Search Drive’ box and use the following keyword operators: is:unorganized owner:me. This will filter your search for any file or folder that match this criteria.


  • screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-4-37-27-pmIf you find an orphaned file or folder that you would like to relocate, right+click on the item and from the pop-up window choose ‘Add to My Drive’
  • Once the item has been re-added to your My Drive, you can then click on the ‘Organize’ link to move the item to a location of your choosing.



NOTE: Orphaned files will still show up in a standard search inside of Google Drive if they match one or more of your keywords.

My thanks to BetterCloud MONITOR for introducing me to this handy search tool.


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