UW-Madison Google Workspace - Unorganized Files

This document will cover what unorganized (orphaned) files are, how to recover them, and how to prevent them.

What is an unorganized file?

An unorganized (orphaned) file is a file that is not visible in a user’s My Drive folder structure.

This typically happens when a folder that contains a user's file is deleted by the folder's owner. Orphaned files can also occur when a person leaves UW-Madison and their UW-Madison Google Workspace account is deleted.

For example, if User A owns a file inside of Shared Folder that is owned by User B, if the Shared Folder is deleted by User B, the file owned by User A becomes unorganized:

Example Unorganized File Scenario

How do I recover an unorganized file?

  1. Log in to the UW-Madison Google Workspace: UW-Madison Google Workspace - Log in
  2. Search for is:unorganized owner:me in Google Drive
    Search for is:unorganized owner:me in Google Drive
  3. On the row of the unorganized file, select Move folder to organize itOrganizeMove and select a destination where you would like to move the file.
    Three dots

How do I prevent unorganized files?

The easiest way to prevent unorganized files is by moving shared files and folders into a Shared Drive.  Files cannot become unorganized in a Shared Drive since the Shared Drive owns all files and folders inside of it.



Keywordsunorganized files orphan orphaned missing recover lost deleted shared my drive   Doc ID138027
OwnerAlex H.GroupUW Google Apps
Created2024-06-20 15:21:01Updated2024-07-11 10:30:08
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Google Apps
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