How to Recover Deleted Microsoft 365 Files?

Created by On December 20, 2023 |  Last Updated On January 25, 2024

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How to Recover Deleted Microsoft 365 Files

Facing the loss of critical files within your Microsoft 365 can be incredibly distressing. The sudden disappearance can leave you feeling helpless and frustrated, whether it’s a critical work document, a cherished family photo, or an irreplaceable project file.

This guide provides a comprehensive resource for learning how to recover deleted Microsoft 365 files.

Understanding Data Loss in Microsoft 365

Before diving into recovery methods, let’s identify the types of files commonly lost in Microsoft 365:

  • Documents: Word files, PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations
  • Emails: Important messages, drafts, attachments
  • Photos and Videos: Personal memories, project visuals
  • SharePoint Files: Team documents, reports, resources

These files can disappear for various reasons: accidental deletion, system crashes, file corruption, or even intentional deletion. The good news is that Microsoft 365 offers built-in tools and advanced techniques to bring your lost data back to life.

Built-in Recovery: Your First Line of Defense

Before taking into complex solutions, let’s explore the readily available options within Microsoft 365 itself:

How to Restore Data Files in Microsoft 365 Using the Recycle Bin:

Think of the Recycle Bin as your computer’s safety net. It’s where deleted stuff goes first. Here’s what you do:

How to Restore Files in Microsoft 365 Using the Recycle Bin
  1. Sign in to Microsoft 365 and go to your OneDrive or SharePoint.
  2. Click on Recycle Bin on the left.
    You’ll see a list of deleted stuff. You can sort it by name, place, or when it got deleted.
  3. To bring something back, pick it and click Restore at the top. It goes back where it was.

How to Restore Data Files in Microsoft 365 Using Version History:

Could you turn back time on a file? With Version History, you can! It helps you recover old versions of your files in OneDrive or SharePoint. Here’s how:

How to Restore Files in Microsoft 365 in OneDrive
  1. Sign in to Microsoft 365 and go to your OneDrive or SharePoint.
  2. Select your files, if you are not finding Click on My Files on the left and search for it.
  3. Click Version History on the Top or Right-click the file you want to rewind and choose Version History.
  4. A list of old versions appears. You can sort them by date, name, or size.
  5. To bring back an old version, pick it and click Restore. The old one replaces the current one.

Check out this article to learn How To Recover Unsaved Word Documents in 2023.

How to Restore Data Files in Microsoft 365 in OneDrive:

If your whole OneDrive gets messy, don’t panic. “Restore Your OneDrive” helps you return and fix it in time. Here’s how:

How to Restore Files in Microsoft 365 Using Version History

1. Sign in to Microsoft 365 and open your OneDrive.

2. Click the Settings (it looks like a gear) on the left.

3. Select Option

How to Restore Files in Microsoft 365 in OneDrive

4. From the menu, click Restore Your OneDrive.

You’ll see changes made to your OneDrive in the last 30 days. Pick the time to restore.

To see what changes will happen, click Preview Changes. You’ll get a list.

Click on the “Restore” button to start. Now, recovery will activate successfully.

Most of the time, recovery will be quick, but sometimes, it may take to recover the file.

How to Prevent Data Loss in Microsoft 365

Although recovering lost files is essential, avoiding data loss altogether is even better. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Turn on AutoSave: Whatever Microsoft 365 application you use, ensure you enable the autosave feature. This handy feature saves your work automatically at set times, reducing the chance of losing unsaved data due to crashes or accidental closings.
  2. Backup Regularly: Saving up on the side Make regular backups of important files, especially if they are stored locally. Archive them onto an external hard disk or into a Dropbox cloud storage account every few days, at least once per week. Check out this article to learn how to backup Microsoft 365 data.
  3. Empty Recycle Bin with Caution: Double-check your Recycle Bin before emptying to ensure you haven’t erased any critical files. Better safe than sorry, of course.


Losing files in Microsoft 365 is often stressful, but it needn’t be. Know how to restore your information from backups, use available recovery functions and take steps to prevent data loss by recognising cyberspace threats.

But remember, the earlier you act, the better your chance of recovery. Thus, take a deep breath and follow this guide’s instructions. You will be ready to return your lost files to the fold in no time.

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