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How do I restore a Google Drive file I’ve accidentally deleted?

restore file google drive

Google Drive is an exceptional service… most of the time. Trouble is, sometimes the sync goes out of sync, or a file goes missing in action. Especially if you share folders between multiple people. Here’s how to restore a Google Drive file that you’ve accidentally deleted.

Restore a Google Drive file from Trash

The best way to find such a lost file is to head to the web interface at You’ll need to log in if you haven’t already. Here’s what I see:

Restore Google Drive file

I’ve highlighted the Trash folder because that’s where all your deleted files go. Even the ones that other people have deleted. Click on it and you’ll see something like this:

It’s sorted alphabetically which isn’t really much use. If you know the file was deleted recently, then click on “Last modified by me” and it will sort by the date. Hopefully you’ll see the file you want to restore.

Restore Google Drive file

You then need to left-click on it, when the row it’s listed on will turn blue, and then right-click on the filename, which is KEY2 LE_convenience.jpg in the example above. If I press Restore, it will be whisked back to the folder it came from.

How to restore a Google Drive file when you know the filename or keywords within it

It’s quicker if you know the filename. If you type “is:trashed” into the search box and then the filename (or part of it) then Google will show all the matching files. Here, I’ve entered “is:trashed key2”.

Restore Google Drive file

As you can see, it’s returned results for all the files and folders that have Key2 anywhere in their name.

Note that you don’t need to manually type “is:trashed”. If you click the small down arrow next to the search field you’ll see this advanced search box.

Restore Google Drive file

I’ve ticked the “In trash” button and put “key2” in the item name field. However, if all I know was that the file contained “key2” in the document somewhere, then I could have entered it into the “Has the words” field instead.

Let us know in the comments if this works for you.

READ NEXT: What’s the easiest way to transfer files from an Android phone to my Windows PC?

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email

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