I just suffered a catastrophic data loss and I'm hoping that someone here knows how to recover lost Google docs.

I have two Google accounts: one personal, one for work. I created several files for a work-related report on my personal account, then shared the folder with my work account. Using my work account, I then moved the files to a parent directory. I received a pop-up that said that this might "cause some users to lose access." I naively clicked OK.

The result seems to be that the files no longer exist on either account.

Ctrl + Z yields a "Nothing to Undo" message.

I realize now what I should have done, but I really need to recover these files. Can anyone here help?

  • I came here because I want to intentionally make a file "unorganized"... in order to archive it (not see it in my folders), but not delete it as it was shared in a comment in order to explain something.
    – ahorn
    Feb 7, 2019 at 12:51

3 Answers 3


After a few harrowing minutes, I managed to solve this problem. I'll preserve the thread in case anyone else screws themselves in such a manner.

  1. Using the drive which created the file, click on the information icon in the upper right.
  2. Under the "activity" tab, you should see a list of actions with the accompanying files.
  3. Click the files/folders to open.
  4. Click the dropdown menu on the title bar and select "Add to My Drive."

Voila. You're unscrewed.


Your files are orphaned. In the Drive search field, type: is:unorganized owner:me

Or click the magic blue button on this support page.

  • In a shared folder, the owner might be someone else, so make sure to have everyone involved do this. Dec 24, 2018 at 15:34
  • 1
    (For some reason,` is:unorganized owner:{other person}` didn’t work for me.) Dec 24, 2018 at 15:34

tldr: Refresh the page on each sub-folder (of the shared folder) that seems to be empty in your destination account.

Not 100% sure if my setup/condition is exactly as the OP's. My setup was:
- Destination account creates shared folder shared - Source account moves all My-Drive files and folder into shared
=> In the destination account the shared folder contains some files, some folders. Most of the subfolders were empty, no matter whether I accessed them the first time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.