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Google Drive users left in shock after months of files disappear — what you need to know

Google Drive is definitely one of the best cloud storage, but now, some users of the desktop version are facing an issue that has resulted in files disappearing from their computers.

While Google Drive lets you upload files from a web browser or through an app on your phone, there's also a desktop version that works the same way as the best cloud backup services.

According to a trendy topic post on Google's support forums, starting last week, a user noticed that Google Drive for Desktop on his computer had reverted to the state it was in May of this year. Others reported that they too had lost months of data.

Upon further investigation, there was no sign that either users or Google had deleted the lost data. Instead of as BleepingComputer points out, a problem with the service's system prevented local data from synchronizing with Google Cloud.

Google is reportedly working on a fix

With this story making the rounds, Google is definitely aware of the problem, but it's still unclear if there's currently a fix or not.

In the same trending post, another user relayed what he allegedly heard from the Google Support team. Obviously, if the lost files are not recovered within 24-48 hours, they are permanently deleted from Google Drive.

The Google Support Team representative then went on to say that the issue is being investigated by the company's product engineers, who are "awaiting a root cause analysis" to see how they can fix the problem. As such, no timeline has been set for when or if a fix might be available to affected Google Drive users.

However, in the meantime, affected users are advised to avoid making changes to the root/data folder for Google Drive for desktop until the situation is resolved. The file that should not be changed can be found here:

  • Windows: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\DriveFS
  • macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS

It's also worth noting that Google's support forums are staffed by volunteers who don't have the same knowledge as them of the Google Drive team. Tom's Guide has contacted Google about this issue and we'll update this piece if we learn more.

Why you should follow the 3-2-1 backup rule

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although cloud storage and cloud backup services are becoming increasingly useful tools, you always want to have a backup of your backup, just in case.

This is why many people swear by the 3-2-1 backup strategy. Invented by the photographer Krogh and detailed in his book Digital Asset Management for Photographers, the 3-2-1 backup strategy recommends that users keep at least three copies of your data, including the original along with two copies.

Aside from the extra copies though, Krogh suggests using two different types of media to store them. For example, you could keep your smaller files on one of the best USB drives and your larger files on one of the best external hard drives for safekeeping.

At the same time, you should also keep a copy of your files in an off-site location. This could be at a friend or family member's home, but if the files are sensitive, you can keep them in a safe.

Whether a cloud storage service experiences a problem like this or your home or office is hit by a natural disaster or even a fire, if you follow the 3-2-1 backup rule, you can rest easy knowing you'll have always an extra copy of your most important files.

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