Google Drive users frantic over missing files

Google Drive
(Image credit: Future)

While “obscure” and “shroud” may be synonyms for the word “cloud,” they’re probably not descriptions product managers or the marketing team at Google would want to use to describe its Google Drive service, which is a cloud-based storage service for storing and accessing files online. However, for the past several days, users of Google Drive's desktop app have been flummoxed and frantic after discovering files and folders they’ve stored over the course of many months on Google Drive have gone missing.

The problem seems contrary to how Google Drive has generally been perceived by the public and by tech review sites. For instance, by and large, most tech review websites rate Google Drive as secure, reliable, and safe. But, to quote a line from folk singer Joni Mitchell’s song, “Clouds,” perhaps we, “really don’t know clouds at all.

Will Google Drive users be able to recover their missing files?

At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a solution for this problem, which was first brought to light by a user about a week ago, who posted that his “Google Drive files suddenly disappeared.” The Drive, he said, also reverted to the state it was in in May, 2023. He also noted that the folder structure reverted to the status it had in May, as well, and that any recovery process that Google's support team offered had failed thus far. He posted that it was “very devastating and the files are very important to me.” Others on the forum voiced similar frustrations.

However, one user posted that he was able to recover his lost files and that the “crux of the problem is that the desktop client has not uploaded your data to the cloud, and something in the latest version has reset your local profile. That means that your local, cached, un-uploaded files are now hidden away in a backup folder.” In effect, it may be that the files are not gone, but hidden--or shrouded, so to speak--from view!

At press time, Google has not posted a resolution for this problem yet, only that they’re “investigating reports of an issue.” But if there are any further developments to this story or a solution, we’ll update this post.

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Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.