Using Google Drive? Free up lost space from “Orphaned Files”

Running out of space in Google Drive, even though you KNOW you haven't used that much storage?

That was the problem I experienced a year ago. I would Remove unwanted files to the Trash, clear out my Trash, and STILL my Google Drive said I was using waaaaaay more space than I should have.

Fortunately, I Googled a solution – and Google gave me one: Orphaned Files

What is an Orphaned File

Most of the time, a file becomes Orphaned because it was delete by a person who shares the folder/file with you.

In my situation, I upload 500MB+ size files to folders that belong to a client. This happens 3 times a week. (You do the math).

My client will go through and delete the old files a few weeks later. However, nobody can remove a file belonging to you.

That is how a file becomes orphaned: Your client/friend/family member may have deleted the file – or even the folder – from their account, but they can't delete the file from yours.

The file no longer has a home, but it still lives on in the ether.

How to free up space in your Google Drive

Run this process to free up space from Orphaned Files:

1) Sign into your Google account
2) Click the “Search Now” button on this page https://support.google.com/a/answer/6008339
3) “Right-click” any files you no longer need (confirm with anyone you might be sharing folders with)
4) Click on the Trash option on the left margin
5) Click the drop-down arrow next to the word Trash, then Empty Trash

how to find old google drive files

This time around I reduced my ever-growing 70GB storage down to 11GB!

Set a reminder in your Google Calendar to run this process every few months.

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