OneDrive is Microsoft’s own cloud-based storage solution that allows users to store and access their files wherever they have an internet connection. Having your data kept in the cloud keeps it safe from data loss, right? Well, that’s partly true. What happens if you accidentally delete a file from OneDrive or you lose some files before they have time to sync?
In most cases, it’s still possible to get your data back, if you know what you’re doing. Let’s look at how you can recover deleted files from OneDrive.
Is It Possible to Undelete in OneDrive?
Contrary to what you might think, it is possible to undelete files in OneDrive. But, it’s only possible for locally stored files.
When you delete a file from a OneDrive folder on your computer, you can press CTRL + Z as your next action to quickly restore it from your local Recycle Bin. This will move it back to its original location.
This functionality, however, is not supported in the browser version of OneDrive. Instead, OneDrive has its own recycle bin which you can use to recover deleted OneDrive files.
How to Search for Lost Files in OneDrive
Before you look at ways to restore deleted files in OneDrive, you should search your existing data first to make sure the files aren’t just lost.
Search Using the Search Everything Function
When you have a large number of files and folders, it’s easy for data to get lost if they’re not properly organized. To combat this, Microsoft implemented the Search everything function, enabling users to find lost files in OneDrive.
These steps will show you how to make use of the Search everything function.
This will search all of your OneDrive folders, but it will not search your Personal Vault. Instead, you will need to search your Personal Vault manually for lost files.
Check Your Sync Settings
If the Search everything function was unable to find your OneDrive files, you should first check your OneDrive sync settings to ensure your folders are actually being synchronized. By default, OneDrive syncs all available files. If this setting was changed in the past, you won’t be able to see select files or folders in your local OneDrive.
Confirm your sync settings are correct using these instructions.
Synchronized files and folders will then be available locally once they’re downloaded. If the correct sync settings were already present, there may be something preventing the sync from completing. If so, find out how to fix your specific OneDrive sync problem.
How to Recover Deleted OneDrive Files
If you didn’t have any luck trying to retrieve files from OneDrive using the search functions, let’s look at how to restore deleted files from OneDrive instead.
Check Your Local OneDrive Folders
Earlier in this article, we used the Search everything function to scan all OneDrive folders online to find your data. This function will only scan OneDrive folders that have been successfully synchronized already. Since it’s possible that your data may not have synced, try scanning your local OneDrive folders for data too.
If there are definitely no local files in your OneDrive folder, the next method will show you how to recover OneDrive files that were recently deleted from your computer.
Restore Local OneDrive Files From the Recycle Bin
Deleting files that are available offline in your OneDrive will send them to your local Recycle Bin in addition to the OneDrive recycle bin. Again, this allows you to restore OneDrive files to their original location.
Recover Deleted Local OneDrive Files With Data Recovery Software
If the Recycle Bin was cleared of your local OneDrive data, OneDrive file recovery is still possible using data recovery software. Disk Drill, an advanced data recovery tool, can scan your drive for deleted OneDrive files and restore them to a folder of your choice. Bear in mind that this can only work for OneDrive files that were synced to your computer before deletion.
Restore From the OneDrive Recycle Bin
Like Windows, the OneDrive recycle bin captures deleted data before it’s permanently deleted. This gives you an opportunity to restore the deleted items before they’re permanently deleted after 30 days. You can access the OneDrive recycle bin from the OneDrive website.
Follow these steps to get files back from OneDrive using the recycle bin.
Restore OneDrive Files to a Previous Date
OneDrive regularly takes snapshots of your data, similar to how it’s done with File History. These snapshots are tied to each file and allow you to restore the contents of that file to when the snapshot was taken. If you made a change to a file that you weren’t supposed to, simply restore it to a point in time before that change was applied.
OneDrive will save the last 25 versions on personal accounts. If you want to undo this, you can go back to the version you had by following the same process and choosing the most up-to-date version.
Restore Entire OneDrive to a Previous Date
If you’ve faced catastrophic data loss as a result of corruption or malware, you can restore OneDrive to previous a date. Doing so will roll back all of your OneDrive contents to the date you choose and even recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive online. This method requires a Microsoft 365 subscription. Without a Microsoft 365 subscription, you will need to restore each file to a previous version manually.
Once the restore is complete, you will be able to access your files like normal. If you want to undo this restore, simply follow the same steps again but select a point in time that’s before the restore you just performed.
You can restore a folder from OneDrive that contains important files using the OneDrive recycle bin. Doing so will move it back to its original location and make it available again on your computer (given all sync settings are correct). Follow these instructions to recover deleted files from the OneDrive recycle bin and make them available on your PC.
- Sign in to your OneDrive account in a browser.
- In the left navigation pane, click Recycle bin.
- Select the file(s) you want to restore, then click Restore.
When you sign in to your OneDrive account in a browser, you can access the OneDrive recycle bin in the left navigation pane. Here you will find all of the data that has been deleted from your OneDrive.
OneDrive will hold your deleted items in the recycle bin for 30 days. After 30 days, the items are permanently deleted from the OneDrive recycle bin.
For work or school accounts, deleted items will be permanently deleted from the OneDriive recycle bin after 93 days (unless modified by the administrator).
If you delete a file from your local OneDrive folder, the file will be sent to your Windows Recycle Bin. The file will also be moved from your OneDrive folder to the OneDrive recycle bin. Deleting an online-only file from your local OneDrive folder will send it to your OneDrive recycle bin, but not your Windows Recycle Bin.
OneDrive will only delete files from your computer that are stored in the OneDrive folder (or sub-folder). When a file is deleted from your OneDrive, it is also deleted from the OneDrive folder stored on your computer.
If OneDrive has deleted some of your local files, the first thing you should do is check your local Recycle Bin. If they’re not there, you can use data recovery software to recover the deleted local files.
Disk Drill remains a favorite for its effectiveness in almost any data loss situation as it can quickly recover your data in just a few clicks.
- Download and install Disk Drill to a separate physical partition.
- Select the drive and click Scan for lost data.
- Click Review found items.
- Mark the OneDrive files you want to recover. Click Recover when ready.
- Specify an output location that’s on a separate physical partition. Click OK.