How to Find Lost or Missing Files in Ubuntu Linux

This post describes steps you can take to help you find lost or missing files in Ubuntu Linux.

In many cases, documents that are lost or missing aren’t actually deleted or stored on a removable drive, they might be in a folder that is buried among other folders.

File you downloaded using your web browser are typically saved into a common folder. Check the Desktop and Downloads folders in your home folder.

If documents were deleted accidentally, they are usually moved to the trash, where they stay until you manually empty the trash. You can recover lost and missing files from the Trash.

Documents you saved on your computer but don’t know where, use Ubuntu search feature to find them. You can search for files based on names, types directly from the file manager.

How to search for files in Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Linux File Manager has a built-in search feature that allows you to find missing files based on names and types.

Use File Manager app icon on the Dock or from the Activities overview.

If you know where the file may be stored, go to that folder. If not, stay in your home folder.

Click on the Search button or press CTRL + F and type a word or words that you know appear in the file name.

For example, if you name all your invoices with the word “Invoice”, type invoice. Words are matched regardless of case.

You can narrow your results by date, by file type, and by whether to search a file’s full text, or to only search for file names.

Use the down-down caret to filter your search and narrow it down to specifics:

  • When: How far back do you want to search?
  • What: What is the type of item?
  • Should your search include a full-text search, or search only the file names?

Files can be hidden from normal views in Ubuntu Linux. You will not see hidden files simply by browsing or searching.

Turn on hidden file check box to see all hidden files in File Manager.

How to restore deleted files in Ubuntu Linux

If the file you’re looking for was accidentally deleted, you can restore them from Trash.

In File Manager, select Trash in the sidebar. If you do not see the sidebar, press the menu button in the top-right corner of the window and select Sidebar.

If your deleted file is there, click on it and select Restore. It will be restored to the folder from where it was deleted.

If you deleted the file by pressing SHIFT + DELETE , or by using the command line, the file has been permanently deleted. Files that have been permanently deleted can’t be recovered from the Trash.

That should do it!


This post showed you how to find lost of missing files in Ubuntu Linux. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.