How to recover deleted items from OneDrive

If you store files in OneDrive, you probably found that some of those files went missing,  from time to time. There are many factors that could lead to your files being deleted. The most common one is human error. Usually, a user accidentally deletes the file, while working on them. Other common examples include malware, intentional deletion, or even service downtime. As you can see it’s quite easy to delete files from your cloud storage. But have you ever tried to recover deleted files from Microsoft OneDrive? In this article, we will talk about how you can do it with the use of tools provided by Microsoft itself. 

Retention policy in Microsoft 365

But first, let’s talk about retention. Retention specifies how long files will be stored – for how many days, weeks, or even months deleted files will be still recoverable from the Recycle Bin. In some cases, your company would like to hold on to the files for longer periods of time, in order to comply with legal requirements or company policies. In this case, Microsoft retention policies might not be enough to protect your company’s data for a period of time long enough.

The problem lies in the fact that the maximum retention period in Microsoft services lasts 93 days, which includes the period of time when the file is stored in the Recycle Bin, and the Second-stage Recycle Bin. After this period there is no way to recover files using tools provided by Microsoft. 

How to recover OneDrive deleted files with Microsoft native tools

To recover deleted files from OneDrive, Microsoft provides its customers with two native methods of recovery. A user can recover deleted data directly from the computer’s Recycle Bin, or from the OneDrive Recycle Bin online. It’s possible because OneDrive synchronizes data stored in the cloud with the data stored on the local hard drive. But it also means that if a user deletes the file from the OneDrive cloud, it would also get deleted from the PC and conversely.

Recovery from OneDrive online Recycle Bin

It’s time to take a look at how to recover deleted files from OneDrive online Recycle Bin.

First, you need to open your preferred web browser and go to the login page and log into your Microsoft account. Next, select OneDrive from the list of Office 365 apps.

Then move to the menu on the left side and click on Recycle Bin. Now you can see the content of your Recycle Bin. In the next step, select the files or folders that you want to restore – to do it, click on the checkbox. Then, right-click on the chosen items and in the context menu hit Restore.

File recovery from OneDrive online Recycle Bin

Congratulations, you just recovered the deleted file!

Recovery from Second-stage Recycle Bin

If the file you are looking for is not in the Recycle Bin, you can search for it in the Second-stage Recycle Bin. What is it exactly? Think about it as a place where old deleted files are moved from a standard Recycle Bin after 30 days. 

If you want to check the content of the Second-stage Recycle Bin, go back to the Recycle Bin. Scroll down the page as long as the text “Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check the Second-stage recycle bin” will be visible, and then click on the “Second-stage recycle bin” link. 

File recovery from OneDrive Second-stage Recycle Bin

When you find the file you want to recover – just do the same thing we’ve done with the regular Recycle bin. Choose the files or folders, and right-click on them, a context menu will pop up, in this menu choose the restore button, or you can click the restore button on the top of the page. 

OneDrive file restoring form the Recycle Bin

Recovering OneDrive files in Windows

Now let’s look at how the same operation works with the desktop version of OneDrive.

When you delete the file from the OneDrive folder in Windows Explorer, it goes to the Recycle Bin – one accessible from Windows, and its counterpart in OneDrive accessible from the web browser. But keep in mind that if you delete the files from the OneDrive online, those items don’t go to the Windows Recycle Bin. 

Recovering OneDrive files in Windows

As you can see in the picture below, I have a few files in my OneDrive folder, accessible from my Windows computer. After I delete one of the files, it goes to Recycle Bin in Windows as well as Recycle Bin in OneDrive online. To recover one of these files, I could either go to the recycle bin in Windows, or the OneDrive web panel. In both of those scenarios, all I have to do is to right-click selected files and proceed with their restore. 

Now when the file is restored to its original location, you can see it in the OneDrive folder in Windows Explorer as well as in the OneDrive online interface. But the file still exists in the recycle bin in the OneDrive online.

Proper OneDrive backup with Xopero ONE

As you can see Microsoft’s native solutions are basic and quite good when all you need is to restore single files or folders which got lost only recently. They are handy tools, but in terms of professional data security, it’s not enough. For business usage, always choose a professional backup instead. For instance, you should think about creating a Microsoft OneDrive backup with Xopero ONE. Especially as you can test it for 30 days for free

Xopero backup solution for Office 365 includes:

  • Central, user-friendly management #1 – very simple, the most intuitive central management web console. Thanks to the most user-friendly interface, setting up efficient backup and recovering data are easy! 
  • Unlimited retention – Store your data as long as you need and take advantage of multiple backup rotation schemes – FIFO, Grandfather-Father-Son, Forever Incremental – choose yours.
  • Granular recovery – fast, and point-in-time recovery of all or only selected types of data – folders, mailboxes, documents, or even particular emails.
  • Military-level encryption: to encrypt your data we use different alterations of the AES algorithm. The time needed to perform a backup will vary depending on whether you chose to encrypt your data using the OFB 128, OFB 256, or CBC 256 version of the AES algorithm.
  • and many more…

Want to learn more? There is also an additional article about how to recover OneDrive items using Xopero ONE backup solution. We also encourage you to check the whole Microsoft 365 section on this blog. There is plenty of information there – all worth your time!