Google Drive files mysteriously disappearing, users report

Google said that it was investigating after users reported that months’ worth of files had suddenly disappeared from their Drive storage.

Numerous Google Drive users are reporting missing files, in some cases going back months or even years. Google has acknowledged the problem, noting that the issue is affecting some users of the Drive desktop app.

“We’re investigating reports of an issue impacting a limited subset of Drive for desktop users and will follow up with more updates,” Google said in a post on the Google Drive Help message board.

Google was responding to a user complaint dated November 22nd, in which they claimed that their files from the last six months had “suddenly disappeared” and the “folder structure went back to status in May.”

They said that Google Drive activity didn’t show any changes and no files were deleted manually. “I never sync or shared my files and drive to anyone, I used the drive locally,” the poster said.

The user also said they reached out to Google support teams and followed the recovery process, but to no avail. They said the lost files were “very important” and described the situation as “devastating.”

Other users reported experiencing the same issue, with some expressing frustration at the perceived inaction from Google.

“You have known about this issue for multiple days. What is the solution to this problem and why is it taking so long to get us some kind of solution?” one user posted.

“These are not just pictures of our dogs and cats that are missing, they are corporate files needed to maintain and interact with our clients and new prospect clients. This is losing our business money each day,” they said.

Google said that users should follow the following advice to prevent their files from disappearing while it was investigating the situation. It cautioned users against clicking "Disconnect account" within Drive for desktop and warned them not to delete or move the app data folder:

  • Windows: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS
  • macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS

Optionally, Google said it also recommends users make a copy of the app data folder “if you have enough room on your hard drive.”

Reports about missing files started trickling in ahead of Google’s announced purge of inactive accounts and their contents, including within Drive, later this week. Google said the change in its inactive account policy was needed due to security reasons.

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