8 hacks assets
August 08, 2018
Office 365

How to Recover a Deleted Item in Microsoft 365

Tick-tock, tick-tock. The scene opens on a drop of sweat crossing your temple, the view zooms out from your desk to a sea of desks in your company’s open-office plan. Sounds fade out except a low buzz in your ears. A critical organizational file is gone and you’ve got 10 minutes before your meeting with the executive team.

How do you retrace your digital steps in time? How do you recover deleted files in Microsoft 365?

Why It Happens

As outlined in Data Loss in Office 365, these are some common reasons files are deleted:

  • Employee termination
  • Employees accidentally delete a file, or do so maliciously
  • Malware / ransomware compromises file security

There are many reasons that a file can be deleted, and too few built-in solutions for Microsoft 365 users to recover them. Check out our 2019 State of the Industry Ransomware Report to learn more.

Damage Control

Let’s say the damage is done and your company’s files are lost forever. Now what?

Possible business costs:

  • Loss of mission critical software applications
  • Loss of virtual machines
  • Missing critical files
  • Multiple days of downtime

Immediately after a file (or files) goes missing in Sharepoint for example, Microsoft has some advice for you and your employees:

  1. Make sure the sync is complete because your file may simply be in transit
  2. Check the recycle bin–even if it sounds obvious–because users in your organization might freak out for nothing if they miss this step
  3. Sign into the correct OneDrive account

…And about 8 more ways to troubleshoot a “misplaced” file.

But for the truly gone data?

If you’ve lost files in OneDrive for Business, you can ask your question in the OneDrive for Business community forum. For more help, contact your IT department or administrator.

If you don’t find your answer in the forums or you are the IT department, Microsoft doesn’t have much more for you. The unfortunate news is that it can be extremely difficult to recover a lost file due to human error, even a critical file, once deleted from Microsoft 365.


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