OneDrive for Business: How to Restore Deleted Files or Folders?

Requirement: Restore deleted files from OneDrive for Business site.

Restore deleted files in OneDrive for Business

Microsoft’s OneDrive is a cloud storage service that allows users to save and share files online. When you delete a file or folder in OneDrive for Business, it’s not gone forever. Instead, deleted items are moved to the OneDrive Recycle Bin so that you can restore them if necessary. There is a limit on how long deleted files can be retained in SharePoint Online. The recycle bin will only retain files deleted from their original location in SharePoint for 93 days (combined limit for first-stage and second-stage recycle bins). If you have accidentally deleted a file or folder in OneDrive for Business, don’t panic! You can usually restore them from recycle bin by following these simple steps. Here’s how:

  1. Sign in to your OneDrive site by clicking the “OneDrive” icon in the App launcher from the web browser (URL shortcut: https://YourDomain-my.sharepoint.com/)
  2. Click on the “Recycle Bin” icon in the left navigation pane. If you are in another user’s OneDrive site: Click on Settings >> OneDrive Settings >> More Settings >> Return to the old Site settings page >> Click on “Recycle bin” link under Site Collection Administration. URL shortcut (/_layouts/15/AdminRecycleBin.aspx?view=5)
    restore onedrive files
  3. Once the Recycle Bin opens, locate the file or folder you want to restore and select it by clicking the checkbox next to its name. If you accidentally deleted multiple files or folders, you can select them all by clicking the checkbox at the top of the list.
  4. Once you have selected all the files and folders you would like to restore, click the Restore button at the top of the window.
    onedrive for business restore deleted files

And just like that, your selected files and folders will be restored back into their rightful place in OneDrive for Business! The same procedure applies to OneDrive folders as well. Once restored, You have to sync files from the OneDrive client in the system tray to download them to the local folder again.

Recover Deleted OneDrive files from Second-Stage Recycle Bin

If you don’t see the deleted items in the Recycle bin, there is a good chance they are in the second stage recycle bin. Even if you delete a file from your OneDrive Recycle bin, it will remain in the second-stage recycle bin for the entire retention period (93 days – after which they are permanently deleted). Recycle bin can be useful if you accidentally deleted a file or if you empty the recycle bin. How do I access OneDrive’s second-stage Recycle Bin?

To access the second-stage recycle bin, follow these steps:

  1. Simply log into your OneDrive website with Microsoft account and click on the “Recycle Bin” option in the left sidebar.
  2. Click on the “Second-Stage Recycle bin” link at the bottom of the page. From there, you will be able to view all the files that have been deleted from your first-stage recycle bin.
  3. To restore the deleted files or folders, just select them and click on the “Restore” button in the command bar.
    onedrive for business restore folder

If you want to recover deleted files and folders from OneDrive for Business recycle bin, you can also use PowerShell: How to Restore All Deleted Items from OneDrive Recycle bin using PowerShell?

Restore the previous version of OneDrive for Business

Apart from recycle bins, OneDrive also provides options to restore from the in-built backup! The Files Restore feature allows admins and users to restore files to any point in time during the last 30 days.   

  1. Click the Settings icon in the top-right corner and select “Restore your OneDrive”. onedrive for business restore previous version
  2. Choose a timeframe for the version of the file you wish to recover, from the dropdown list – Yesterday, One Week Ago, Three Weeks Ago, or Custom date.
  3. The slider can be moved left or right to a specific date, anywhere from 1 day ago to 29 days ago. Select a file from the date when you want to restore the entire backup, and then click Restore. onedrive for business restore

Backups from OneDrive are restored from the selected date.

Is it Possible to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from OneDrive?

If you’ve deleted files or folders from your OneDrive for business, it’s important to restore them within the 93-day window that starts from the day you deleted the files. If it’s deleted beyond this retention period, you got to contact Microsoft support! They may be able to help you locate the file or restore it from a previous backup.

Data loss is never fun, but it can be even worse when it happens as a result of data deletion with important files/accidental overwrites/malware/ransomware attacks, etc. That’s why it’s critical to restore deleted files as soon as possible, and the above steps can help you restore them quickly and easily. To help prevent accidental deletions, consider creating a retention policy for all your Microsoft 365 apps, including OneDrive, as a best practice!

If you want to recover an entire OneDrive site deleted, use: How to Restore OneDrive For Business Site from Recycle Bin?

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack - SharePoint Expert with Two decades of SharePoint Experience. Love to Share my knowledge and experience with the SharePoint community, through real-time articles!

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