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  • How Do You Recover Permanently Deleted Files from OneDrive?
  • OneDrive Data Recovery Wizard

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from OneDrive for Business

31 Jan 2019
5 min read
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OneDrive is one of the most popular online cloud storage services.  

The most recent data shows Microsoft 365 has over 258 million monthly active users. With so many people using OneDrive to store their business data, data loss due to user error becomes inevitable. Hence, it is crucial to know effective ways to recover accidentally deleted OneDrive files. 

How do you recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive?

Microsoft does not provide any native features for backup and recovery, especially for OneDrive. However, there are features that you can leverage to recover data or preserve data. Here is a diagram that illustrates all the data recovery options for deleted OneDrive files. 

OneDrive flow chart

How to restore deleted OneDrive files from the Recycle Bin

If the data has been deleted from OneDrive for less than 30 days, you can restore it from the recycle bin 
Follow these steps to recover deleted OneDrive files from the recycle bin:

  • Step 1: Go to the OneDrive website and log in to your account. 

  • Step 2: Navigate to the Recycle Bin folder, on the left side of the screen. 

  • Step 3: Select the files that are to be recovered and click Restore on top of the screen.

Recycle Bin

This will restore the files to their original location. 

How do you recover OneDrive files deleted from the Recycle Bin?

Once you delete files from the recycle bin, they will automatically go to the second-stage recycle bin. Here the files will be retained for another 30 days. To recover files from Second-stage Recycle Bin: 

  • Step 1: Navigate to the ‘Recycle bin’. 

  • Step 2: Click on the ‘Second-stage recycle bin’ option.

second stage
  • Step 3: After that, select the files that need to be recovered and click on the ‘Restore’ button placed at the top of the screen. All the selected files will be restored to their original location.

The files in the second-stage recycle bin will also be automatically deleted after 30 days. However, these files can still be recovered within 30 days after their deletion from the third-stage recycle bin using the – ‘undo’ option. 
This feature is useful in situations like a server crash, accidental deletion, or any malicious activity. 
Follow these steps to recover OneDrive files deleted from the second-stage recycle bin: 

  • Step 1: Navigate to the Settings icon at the top right corner of your OneDrive homepage. 

  • Step 2: After that, select the ‘Restore your OneDrive’ option from the drop-down menu.

restore (1)
  • Step 3: On the next page, select the desired time period. 

  • Step 4: After that, select the file that has to be recovered and click on the ‘Restore’ button at the top of the screen. 


Any item that gets deleted from OneDrive is permanently lost after a specific time (up to 90 days). Beyond that, one cannot recover the item unless a retention policy is created. 

Recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive online using OneDrive retention policies

Files stored in OneDrive can be retained if a retention policy or a retention label is applied. Retention policy is used to assign the same retention setting for content at a site or mailbox level. Retention label is used to assign retention settings at an item level (to a particular document, file, or an email). The retained content is stored in a Preservation Hold Library. If the content is modified or deleted during the retention period, a copy of the original content is created and stored in the Preservation Hold Library. 

To know when to use retention policy and label and how to create them, click here. 

Recover OneDrive data using eDiscovery

eDiscovery in Microsoft 365 preserves and exports electronic data which can be presented as potential evidence in legal proceedings. Data of interest can be placed on a legal hold indefinitely (hence, this is technically not a recovery). Once a hold is placed, the data cannot be deleted or modified, and the data will be only accessible to the administrator. 
The native eDiscovery feature of Microsoft 365 helps in identifying and preserving the data, but it does not serve as a backup solution. It is only meant for archiving and retrieving business data. 

Learn more about Microsoft 365 eDiscovery features here

How to recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive online using third-party tools

Third-party backup solutions like SysCloud, offer a convenient way to backup and restore OneDrive files. 

Tools like SysCloud offer a number of benefits in managing OneDrive data.

  • Restore permanently deleted OneDrive files with single click.

  • Directly restore data back to its previous location with all sharing permissions and folder structure still intact. 

  • Retain safe copies of organizational data even after events like employee exits and account deletions; saving license costs. 

  • Easily monitor and track the health of your backup, and restore requests.

Here is how you can use SysCloud to recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive: 

  • Step 1: Log in to SysCloud’s application using your Microsoft Office 365 admin credentials.

  • Step 2: After that, navigate to ‘Backup’ in the menu bar.

  • Step 3: Select the ‘Archive & Restore’ option from the drop-down menu.

  • Step 4: After that, use the ‘Advanced search’ option to find the required user or directly select it from the list.

  • Step 5: Navigate to the ‘Drive’ option and use the ‘Advanced Search’ option to recover the deleted file.

  • Step 6: After that, click on the ‘Restore’ button to restore the files.

Recommended Content 

Top 3 Ways to Backup OneDrive for Business: To know how to backup OneDrive, click here 

A Complete Guide to Microsoft SharePoint Data Retention: To know more about retention in SharePoint and OneDrive, click here 

A Primer to Microsoft 365 eDiscovery Solutions: To know more about eDiscovery solutions offered by Microsoft 365, click here 

A Definitive Guide to Using OneDrive Shared Folder and Files: To know how to create a shared folder and share them with your team for the business, click here 

In this article
  • How Do You Recover Permanently Deleted Files from OneDrive?
  • OneDrive Data Recovery Wizard