How to Easily Identify and Organise Orphaned Files in G Suite

Orphaned files are those that a user has access to but do not exist in any folder for that user, including the root folder. They are a particular problem because the Google Drive client app on PC’s allows other users to delete a folder and leave the files orphaned. GAT now allows Admins to find all orphaned files for any user.

Here is a detailed how-to video that shows you how to find and fix orphaned files:


Displaying Orphaned Files

In the Drive Audit, click on the “Apply custom filter” button. This is one way to display orphan files.

apply custom filter in GAT's Drive Audit

When the filter menu appears select the “Flags” operator contains “Orphaned”. Then press apply.

Drive files filters tab

You can easily display orphaned files by using the exposure summary table. Click on Orphaned.

see number of orphaned files in GAT filter

Fixing Orphaned Files


Once you are ready to fix the orphan files, Click on the “Files operations” button, then select “Fix orphans”.

select 'fix orphans' option


A popup menu will appear, you will be able to perform the fix in 2 ways, one way will fix all of the orphan files for everyone on the domain who has them or you can select individual users and fix their orphan files.


A folder will be automatically created on the users myDrive, the folder name can be changed to whatever you prefer, by default its called Orphaned.

Selecting the “Process all users” option will fix orphaned files for all domain users who have them.

select 'process all users'

Or you can fix them for individual users in small batches if you prefer.

update 'users'