Backup Failure – Gdocs aren’t real files on your computer

I pay for Google Storage and I thought having a 100GB in the cloud would be enough for me. As I was nearing 90GB in my personal account, I realized I needed to do a clean up. And when my IT department said “Elaine you have unlimited space in your work Gdrive” I was like DUH. The solution is obvious.

Backup everything on my computer, delete everything from my personal Gdrive, and re-upload everything in my work Gdrive.

Nope. That didn’t work.


To be clear, it did work for non-Google docs. All my pdfs, Microsoft docs, Adobe docs, all transferred fine. Because these were the REAL FILES.

Those files you see in your computer that say .gdoc. Those aren’t the real files. Those are just links to the files in the cloud. So when you delete them from the cloud, it doesn’t matter that you have the .gdoc on your computer. IT’S GONE.

Thankfully Tara at Google retrieved all my deleted files and I’m slowly seeing them come back in my personal Gdrive. Once they’re all back I’ll transfer ownership of those files to my work account. Thus everything will be back to normal. And I can stop looking at my computer in complete and total horror.

I’m an excessive back upper. I backup to an external drive attached to my computer, to a NAS drive that’s in another room, to an external drive that’s not even in my house, and to Crashplan. I thought had things covered. NOPE.

When I deleted these files in my Gdrive and emptied my trash, Google did give me a warning but obviously I didn’t read it thoroughly. In my Google search I see that this happened to other people and they too ignored these sorts of warnings.



Painful lesson to be learned but thankfully Google is bringing my files back.

FYI, only those files that have been permanently deleted within 30 days can be recovered. So if you screw up like I did, don’t wait. Ask for help quickly.

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