Some Google Drive users claim that they lost months worth of files

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 27, 2023
Updated • Dec 7, 2023
Added Google's first response to the article.

Over the past couple of days, users flocked to the Google Drive Help forum to report on a issue. According to their reports, they lost files that they hosted on Google Drive.

Update 2: Google published instructions on how to restore lost Google Drive files through backups. End

Update: A Google employee confirmed on the support website that Google is investigating reports of data loss on Google Drive. Google advises customers to stay signed-in and don't use the "disconnect account" option in Drive for the desktop, and to keep the app data folder untouched. It even recommends that users make a copy of their data folder for backup purposes.

The folder locations are:

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

Update End

The thread starter, for instance, claims that Google Drive reset itself to a state in May 2023. Any file uploaded afterwards disappeared from the service.

Files were not deleted manually according to the poster, and the trash of Google Drive did not contain any files as a consequence.

Other users chimed in and claimed the same happened to them. One user lost about three months worth of files, another six months.

The issue is reported by regular users and by business users, according to the reports.

One user wrote: "We have had the exact same thing happen to user at our organisation. All files added to Google Drive for Desktop since around May 2023 have disappeared. It is like they were never synced to the cloud. No sign of them in Google Vault etc..."

Not all but several users mention May 2023 as the cutoff month. Support cases were opened according to reports, but nothing has come out of this at this point.

Some affected users mentioned that Google's support team ran recover software, but this did not restore the missing files.

Protecting yourself against data loss

Data loss is a serious issue, especially if there are no backups. Backups are essential to make sure that data is not lost if a service fails. It is unclear if this is the case here or if there is another underlying issue that is causing users to lose access to months worth of files.

In any event, a good starting point is to either make sure that all (important) Google Drive files are always stored on local devices as well. Another option is to use Google Takeout to create backups of the entire Google Drive storage.

This backup can then be put on removable drives, preferably after encrypting the drives to make sure the data is safe.

Google Drive Backup

Here are the steps required:

  1. Head over to the Google Takeout website. You may be asked to sign-in to a Google account.
  2. Select "deselect all" to remove the default selection of services.
  3. Scroll down to Drive and check the service. Make sure that "all Drive data included" is selected.
  4. Select "advanced settings" and check "include named, published, and uploaded versions" and "include additional info for files and folders".
  5. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and activate the "next step" button there.
  6. Keep all settings and select create export. Note that you may also upload it to another cloud hosting service, which may be useful if you don't have enough local storage space available.
  7. Google will send you an email when the download is ready. Just click on the "manage export" download link in the email.
  8. Select "show exports" once the Google Account page has loaded. You see the list of all files of the archive.
  9. Activate the download buttons next to them and wait until the download completes.

Takeout downloads are available for about a week. You need to download the packages in that time, as the data is deleted automatically afterwards.

Now You: do you use online cloud storage?

Some Google Drive users claim that they lost months worth of files
Article Name
Some Google Drive users claim that they lost months worth of files
Over the past couple of days, users flocked to the Google Drive Help forum to report on a issue.
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  1. chesscanoe said on November 29, 2023 at 11:02 pm
  2. Anonymous said on November 28, 2023 at 3:22 am

    Never trust the cloud.

  3. Steve S. said on November 28, 2023 at 2:14 am

    I’ve read tech writers who denigrate the not-so-jokey joke: “There is no Cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer.” But the bottom-line truth is it runs on someone else’s computers and is susceptible to someone else’s programming bugs, human errors, internet connectivity, data breaches and ransomware attacks. I keep very little “in the cloud” and prefer air-gapped server hard drives that I own and have physical control of. Plus I make back-ups of those hard drives and keep them off-site. My data on my hardware, thank you very much.

  4. Tachy said on November 27, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    Trust a stranger to keep my stuff safe?

    1. John Wold said on November 27, 2023 at 7:14 pm

      I’m guessing you don’t have a bank account.

      1. Anonymous said on November 28, 2023 at 1:11 pm

        well that is the difference, bank account are regulated and you can get insurance and protection for that otherwise it will be cash and gold in your home safe and you need to keep watch out for the thieves

        with cloud you are literally give your data to thieves themselves with a smile and paying for their service also

  5. Wilder8051 said on November 27, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    And this right here boys and girls is yet another reason why people should trust the cloud. Google and Microsoft are not responsible for any data loss. Store everything locally and then backup to the cloud if you must.

    1. Ali Qadar said on November 30, 2023 at 6:48 am

      Love for World and people’s of World and love for Google what help for finding rights and justice

  6. dodo said on November 27, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    Who still want to pay the Goooooooogdog service?

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