Orphaned Files in Google Drive

Have you ever performed a search in Google Drive and wanted to know where one of the resulting files was located? Simple, right click on the file and select "Show file location". Recently though, when I tried to do this on one file, I found that the "Show file location" menu item was greyed out.

How can a file not be anywhere?

Today I'll share with you how Google Drive files end up being orphaned and how you can get them back.

It appears that in some situations Google creates files that are purposely hidden. "Chrome Syncable Filesystem" is one example.

The more nefarious situation though is when files you have created end up in this state. Over 20 of my files had suffered this fate. How does this happen? I have since discovered that one way is if you add files to a folder that someone has shared with you, and then that person deletes that folder, poof, all your files from that folder end up in this orphaned state. It makes sense, someone deleted the folder, but they didn't have permission to delete your files, so the files just get abandoned. I could also think of a different (better) solutions though, they could add a special "orphan" folder at the root of your drive and place the orphaned files there.

So now that we have these orphaned files, is there anyway to find them? Turns out there is. In the search box at the top enter, "is:unorganized", this will find all your orphaned files. At this point either delete them or move them into which ever directory you want.