How to Fix Files Disappeared Issue on Google Drive?

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How to Fix Files Disappeared Issue on Google Drive?

Since the focus of storing data shifted from offline storage to online cloud-based storage, Google’s cloud service Google Drive has gained immense popularity, due to its features and functionality. It allows us to collaborate with our peers on certain projects, and we can store all sorts of files on it, this eliminates the possibility of data loss by a lot and we can access our saved data through multiple devices. 

Google drive can run into some issues, which can be on behalf of the server or the behalf of the user. Sometimes the files we are trying to find on our Drive might have vanished and there is no trace of them. If you are unable to find your file, it can cause major inconveniences as you it will prevent you from working on this file. 

There are many possible reasons for a file’s disappearance on Google Drive, and this article is going to focus on these reasons and how you can retrieve these files again. 

Login from the correct account 

It is possible that the file you are trying to access might be uploaded to a different Drive account and you are looking for this file in the wrong account. You can try changing your Google account on your browser or your smartphone and then locate the file in the correct account. You can follow these steps to change your account.

Chrome Browser

Step 1: Go to the Google Home page.

Step 2: In the top right corner, click on your profile picture and a menu will appear.

Step 3: Click on ‘Add another account’.

Step 4: Add your account details. (Email address and password).

Step 5: Now access Drive from the changed account.

Step 6: Try to locate the file you were trying to find earlier. 

Drive Application

Step 1: Access the Drive Application, on your android phone.

Step 2: In the top right corner, tap on your profile picture, and all the google accounts that are logged in on your phone will be displayed.

Step 3: You can choose either of these accounts or add a new one by pressing on the ‘Add another account’ button. 

Step 4: You will be required to add your account details like the email address and password.

Step 5: After you have logged in from another account, you may proceed to look for your desired files. 

Restore from Trash

Sometimes we end up deleting files we might need later, and we are completely unaware of it. It is extremely likely that you unconsciously deleted a file and at the time of need, it isn’t available on your Drive. In case the file has been deleted, it can be restored from the ‘Trash’ section of Drive. It is important to note that a file can only be recovered from ’Trash’ if it has been less than 30 days since that file was deleted, otherwise, the file will be permanently deleted. So if you are in luck and you are able to locate your file in ‘Trash’ you may follow these steps to restore this file. 

Step 1: Go to Google Drive on your browser.

Step 2: In the left panel, click on the ‘Trash’ option.

Step 3: If there are any files in the ‘Trash’ they will be displayed.

Step 4: You may scroll through these deleted files in hopes of finding the one you have been looking for.

Step 5: In case you have found the file, you may right-click on it to ‘Restore’ the file.

Checking the Activity Panel

The activity panel keeps a record of all the files you upload to your Drive account. It is possible to locate a file in the activity panel, which is otherwise not visible in the ‘My Drive’ section. In order to access the ‘Activity Panel’ you can follow these steps. 

Step 1: Go to Google Drive on your browser. 

Step 2: Access the ‘My Drive’ section.

Step 3: Click on the ‘Info’ icon at the top right.

Step 4: Now click on the ‘Activity’ tab, and your Google Drive activity will be displayed.

Step 5:  Scroll down until you find your desired file.

Relocating Orphan Files

As eerie as the name sounds, there are some orphaned files that you cannot see on Drive. A file is considered to be an orphan when its parent folder is deleted. Someone may have shared a folder with you on Drive and the contents of this folder start appearing on our Drive as well, so you may work in collaboration. However, the actual sender of the folder may have deleted that folder. Now during the time you had access to this folder, you may have added a file to it, but when the owner of the folder deletes the folder, your saved file disappears. It doesn’t get deleted but it can disappear as the ‘parent folder’ is missing from your Drive.  However, if you follow these steps you can retrieve and relocate these orphan files for you to use them.

Step 1: Log in to Google Drive on your Browser.

Step 2: In the search bar type ‘is:unorganized owner: me’.

Step 3: If any orphan files exist, they will appear after using this advanced search.

Step 4: In order to relocate these files to the ‘My Drive’ section, you can right-click on them and select the ‘Add to my drive’ option. 

Clearing Drive’s Cache (Browser and App)

Even though cache makes it easier for us to access the drive by speeding up loading times and storing certain essential information to help us work more efficiently. When the cache builds up, it can create a slew of issues and even mess with the stored files on your Drive, causing them to disappear. These steps will help you regulate your cache on both browser and app versions of Google Drive.


Step 1: Open your Chrome browser and go to Google Drive.

Step 2: A little menu will show when you click on the small ‘padlock’ icon.

Step 3: A new window will emerge when you click on ‘Site Settings.’ These site settings are customized options for a certain website.

Step 4: This option will provide information about Drive’s usage, the cookies, and the permissions it needs to function. Select the ‘Clear Data‘ option to proceed.

Step 5: A warning will flash on the screen. It’s worth noting that all of your offline data will be gone, and your Drive account will be logged out. Select the ‘Clear‘ option. This will remove the cached data and allow you to get rid of potential errors.

Step 6: Log back into Drive and try finding the same file again. 


Step 1: Go to ‘Settings‘ and look for ‘Apps & notifications,’ then open it.

Step 2: Press the ‘SEE ALL APPS‘ buttons to see a list of all the apps that have been installed on your phone.

Step 3: Find and open the ‘Google Drive’ application.

Step 4: Select the ‘Storage & cache‘ option from the ‘App Info‘ menu.

Step 5: Press the ‘CLEAR CACHE‘ button to clear the Drive’s cached data.

Step 6: Go through your Drive again and try locating the same file. 

Possible Fixes 

You can also try using some basic methods like, restarting your browser or even changing your browser. Even though a lot of people prefer the browsers they use on a daily basis, there is a slight chance that the disappeared file might appear on Drive after you have changed your browser. If you are not willing to change your browser, you can try updating your browser if any updates are available. Updates often remove bugs that might be interfering with your browsing experience. Furthermore, you can try using the ‘Incognito Mode’ on Chrome to access Drive. As the ‘Incognito Mode’ doesn’t store cookies or collect cache, it might allow disappeared files to reappear. Lastly, if the file was in a shared folder or someone else had shared it with you, but later the folder or the file was deleted or your access to it was revoked, you can contact the original owner of the file to send it to you again, this way you will have access to your desired file again. 

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