Some Google Drive users are reporting losing six months of files

Hands typing on a laptop keyboard
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Some Google Drive users are experiencing a bunch of recent files vanishing from their cloud storage locker, according to reports flagging up the issue online.

An affected person first brought this to Google’s attention on its support forums, saying that the last six months of files suddenly vanished in what’s obviously a worrying turn of events.

The user wrote: “The Drive literally went back to [its] condition in May 2023.” That included the folder structure reverting to that old state from half a year ago.

It seems a fair few users are affected, as evidenced by a number of responses, and 150 have clicked the button on the post to say that they have the same problem (10 more in the past hour as we’ve been writing this story).

Not everyone is being rolled back six months, but the reversion process is generally going back at least a few months.

Another user reports getting a reply from Google support as follows: “I am continuously tracking this case and to be transparent with you we totally agree now that you are not the only customer affected by this behavior.”

We’re told other admins have reported the same issue with files going missing, and Google’s software engineers are now investigating, and a root cause analysis is being prepared.

While work is supposedly underway on a resolution, sadly Google support has no firm ETA for a fix yet.

We are told, however, that: “We don’t recommend as well to make changes on the root/data folder while we wait for instructions from our Engineers.”

It’s worth noting that we don’t know for sure if this response from Google support is genuine, as it’s not directly coming from the company, rather it’s being indirectly relayed by a Google Drive user. But it would be an odd (and rather pointless) thing to make up.

Analysis: Leave well alone, for now

Unhappy laptop user

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

At any rate, if you’ve been unlucky enough to be hit by this problem, we’d say follow the advice for now and don’t mess around with any of your folders in Google Drive. Indeed, by the sound of things, we wouldn’t do anything at all with Drive if you can avoid it. Stay clear, sit tight, and hope a resolution comes quickly.

A report on Reddit suggests that the problem could be something to do with updating the Google Drive desktop client. Or at least that’s when this other user’s files disappeared, after an update to the app took place when they left their laptop on overnight. This complaint on Reddit was made eight days ago, so the issue has apparently been hanging around for over a week now.

We can keep our fingers crossed that Google is on the case and as mentioned manages to bring in a fix swiftly, but it sounds like something of a thorny one potentially.

There are some folks who have apparently lost crucial business data here (at least for now) which is food for thought when it comes to your backup strategy. You’ve got one of those, right?

You should have at least two backups (along with the original data) really: one cloud backup, and one on a local drive (external hard disk for example), and it doesn’t hurt to have multiples of each. The more redundancy, the better, frankly, so chucking particularly crucial files in a second cloud storage locker is never a bad idea.

Oh, it’s also worth mentioning that cloud sync is not the same as a cloud backup (when syncing, files deleted from one place are removed from the other medium, too).

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).