Google Drive Sync Bug Loses Months Of User Files As Google Investigates

google drive
Saving your files in the cloud affords a number of benefits, not least among them reliability. Why worry about hard drive failures when Google can keep copies of your files on multiple servers? That's all well and good in theory, but Google Drive has encountered a problem. In recent days, Drive users have reported that months or even years of data is simply missing from their cloud storage. Google has acknowledged the issue and is working on a solution.

There is no error message or signal that you've been affected—Drive just loads without your recent files—and no, this is not related to Google's new policy of purging abandoned accounts. In some cases, the storage box appears to revert to an earlier version that is missing newer files. In others, your files may appear to be intact, but the data in them is missing. No one has found a way to restore the missing files yet. It's possible the data is just gone, but we'll have to wait for Google to confirm.

Google says the bug is tied to the desktop Drive client. If you haven't used that app, your files should be safe. However, versions through could potentially delete data. We don't know how many people are affected, but it's enough that Google posted the notice on its support site pretty quickly. The file deletion bug affects free, paying, and Workspace accounts equally. The issues were initially reported by 9to5Google

Google Drive Desktop

Before you go uninstalling things, Google has some advice. You should not, under any circumstances, disconnect your account from Drive for Desktop. Specifically, you should make sure to preserve the "DriveFS" folder created by the Drive app. Google even suggests you find that folder and make a local backup just in case.

This does not appear to be a case of the client simply failing to upload files. Missing data sometimes stretches back four or five years, long before the apparent bug was introduced in the app. That means the data was uploaded to Google's cloud at some point. The search giant keeps multiple copies of Drive data on servers around the world, so it may be possible to restore the files, but it's going to be on Google to find a way to make that happen. Hopefully, there will be good news on that front after the company finishes its investigation.