I recently discovered a really weird behavior with Google Drive.
So here is my folder structure:

Folder 1
`-- Folder 1-1
`--- File 1-1-1
`-- Folder 1-2
Folder 2

Folder 1 is shared with a friend User 1 of me and he has access to edit anything containing in this folder. Now he removed File 1-1-1 by accident and I first thought 'Well okay no problem, it will be in my bin or he just removed his access to the file by himself.'.
But non of these cases where actually really true.

I looked in the activity log and saw 'User 1 moved File 1-1-1', I clicked on the file in the activity log and I was still able to access it (It still exists), but I just can't find it in any folder nor the bin. The file also has no Location-label anymore.
We were able to reproduce this x times.

Short: I share a file -> The user who gained access removes the file -> He loses his access -> The file is no longer in the folder in which it was before, nor my or his bin -> The only way to find the file now is from Google Drive search or the activity log.

Also weird: If I share a folder with someone -> He uploads files into the folder -> I remove his access from the folder -> He can't see his uploaded files from the folder anymore, but they still exists and he is only able to find the files via the Google Drive search or activity log.

Edit: I can find the file with advanced search and is:unorganized (https://drive.google.com/drive/search?q=is:unorganized%20owner:me)

  • Welcome. "Any thoughts on this?" isn't a proper wording for questions on this site as it could "open the door" to *primarily opinion-based" answers which aren't well received on this site. Please checkout How to Ask. Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 21:41
  • Well Idont think this would hurt anyone but I removed the line "Any thoughts on this?"
    – obeN
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 21:43
  • Thanks. Actually it isn't a big deal as really bad answers like those that only says things like "Me too!" or "Yes it's weird, Google should fix it", are deleted Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


If a Google Drive folder editor, not the owner, deletes a file then file becomes an orphan. Use the Google Drive features like Recents or the search engine to find them a return to the corresponding folder.

Instead of adding editors to folders add viewers.


  • Thank you! I found that the parameter is:unorganized is what I want. Although I have to say that this behavior is really weird and not user-friendly in my opinion.
    – obeN
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 21:26
  • @obencs Glad to know that my answer helped you. Please checkout What should I do when someone answers my question? and the link that I just added to my answer. Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 21:38

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