According to Microsoft, over 250,000 organizations use SharePoint and over 85% of the Fortune 500 companies have SharePoint Online as part of Office 365.

SharePoint is also recognized as one of the top 3 content service providers globally by Gartner.

With so many people using SharePoint for their business needs, the need to recover deleted files is immense. 

Introduction to Office 365 SharePoint Restore

It might surprise you to know that a majority of all data loss incidents happen either due to system failure or because of human error.

Having a good restore tool in place can help you in easily recovering permanently deleted SharePoint files. 

Recovering deleted SharePoint data depends on two factors:

  1. There is a backup, or
  2. There is no backup

Here are all the different ways in which you can recover deleted Office 365 SharePoint data,

Section 1 - How to Recover Deleted SharePoint Data Without Having a Backup?

If you don’t have a backup of your deleted SharePoint files, you can recover them from the following options:

  1. Restore Deleted SharePoint Files from Recycle Bin
  2. Restore Deleted SharePoint Files from Second-Stage Recycle Bin

Option 1.1 - How to Recover Deleted Office 365 SharePoint Data from Recycle Bin?

The deleted files in SharePoint will be retained in the recycle bin for 93 days from the date of deletion. However, after 93 days, the files will be automatically moved to the second-stage recycle bin also called as site collection Recycle Bin and stays there for 14 days.

Here is how you can restore your deleted files,

  1. Open the site whose content has to be restored.

    SharePoint Site

  2. Click on the Recycle bin’ to view the recently deleted items.

SharePoint Sites - Recycle Bin
  3. Once you find the document that has to be restored, right click on the file and          choose ‘Restore’.
Restore SharePoint Recycle Bin

Though this native option is helpful in restoring lost or missing content in SharePoint, the restorable content is available only for a limited period of 93 days.

Option-1.2 - How to Recover Deleted Office 365 SharePoint Data from Second-Stage Recycle Bin?

The deleted files from recycle bin will automatically go to the second-stage recycle bin also called as site collection Recycle Bin. Here the files will be retained for another 14 days.

You can request the Global Administrator or SharePoint Administrator to restore it for you from the second-stage recycle bin.

Here is how an admin can restore a deleted file from the second-stage recycle bin

 1. Navigate to Recycle bin and click on the link ‘Second-stage recycle Bin’ at the bottom.

Second-Stage Recycle Bin

 2. Select the file and click on the ‘Restore’ button.

Restore - Second Stage Recycle Bin

Section 2 - How to Recover Deleted Office 365 SharePoint Data When You Have a Backup?

If you don’t have a backup of your deleted SharePoint sites, you can recover them from the following options:

  1. Restore Deleted SharePoint Files Using eDiscovery
  2. Restore Deleted SharePoint Files Using SysCloud

Option 2.1 - How to Recover Permanently Deleted SharePoint Sites in Office 365 Using eDiscovery feature?

Using eDiscovery, the administrator can search for the held SharePoint data even after user deletions or modifications.

  1. Log in to Microsoft Office 365.
  2. Click on the Grid icon on the upper left side of the menu bar and select the “Admin” option.

eDiscovery Homepage

 3. You will now be taken to the admin center.

 4. Click on the option “Admin centers” on the left pane.

 5. Navigate to the “Security & Compliance” option from the drop-down menu.

Security and Compliance

 6. Click on the “Search & Investigation” menu on the left pane.

 7. Select the eDiscovery option from the drop-down menu.

 8. Open the required “case”.

 9. Navigate to the “Searches” module on the menu bar and select the option “+ New search”.

eDiscovery - Search

 10. Type in the keywords associated with the site and click on “+ Add conditions” option for a more filtered search.

 11. Choose the radio button “Locations on hold” and click on “Save & run” to start the search.

Search query

Note: The search might take a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the size of the data held in the account.

After completion, the retrieved results will be given as a list.

How to export the retrieved data?

To export the retrieved SharePoint data right after the search, follow these steps:

  • Click on the “More” option on the toolbar and select the option “Export results” from the drop-down menu.

    Export results in eDiscovery

  • Review all the settings and click on the “Export” button.

    review the settings

  • Copy the Export key that appears on the screen to your clipboard and click on the “Download results” button at the top of the screen to export the retrieved data.

Export data

Note: To download these results, your internet browser must be either Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. Clicking on the ‘Download Results’ button will download an application file to install the eDiscovery export tool.

  • Install the eDiscovery export tool in your system.

Once the application is installed,

  • Paste the export key in the tool.

  • Specify the location where the downloaded data should be stored.

  • Click on the Start button.

Note: The time taken to download the data will depend on its size.

Limitations of Using SharePoint Native Features Restore Solution for Your Business

Recycle Bin 

  • The deleted file stays in the recycle bin only for 93 days, after which it gets deleted.
  • If you delete a site that was shared with you, it won’t be available in your trash.

     Second-Stage Recycle Bin

  • Only administrators will have access to this recycle bin.
  • The deleted files will stay here for 14 days, after which it gets deleted permanently.

  eDiscovery

  • The files with sharing permissions cannot be recovered back.
  • Once an account gets deleted, you won’t be able to restore the data associated with that account. 
eDiscovery

Option 2.2 - How to Recover Permanently Deleted SharePoint Sites in Office 365 Using SysCloud?

Third-party applications like, SysCloud offers a fully automated cloud to cloud backup and restore service. SysCloud use industry standard cloud storage solutions with military grade security.

With SysCloud, IT administrators can backup and restore data in just a few clicks. Moreover, administrators can define retention rules that allow you to back up data for an unlimited period.

Why should you use third-party tools to recover permanently deleted SharePoint data?

Reasons to use SysCloud

  • Restore permanently deleted data: Restore specific or all sites back to the user account in just a few clicks without the trouble of importing and exporting.
  • Point-in-time restore: Directly restore data back to its previous location with all sharing permissions and folder structure still intact.
  • Cross-user restore: Restore data to another user’s account.
  • Self-user restore: Permit employees to restore their own files to facilitate faster recovery.
  • Usage reports: Receive regular reports on the status of your backup, restore, and usage reports.

Here is how you can restore SharePoint data through SysCloud

Launch SysCloud Backup application and navigate to ‘Backup >Archives and Restore’.

This module provides complete visibility into all the backed up data within the domain.

Archive and Restore

As an admin, you can also have granular visibility into the data specific to a user.

Granular visibility

Restoring an entire site can be done in just 2 clicks.

  • Select the site that needs to be restored to its user.
  • Click on the ‘Restore’ button.

Restore an entire site

SysCloud also provides an additional option to restore the site to another user in instances where the original user account is not available.

Restore to another user

By using third-party applications like SysCloud, you can have a hassle-free restore of your SharePoint sites with all sharing permissions and controls.

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