Read time 7 minutes

Summary: Despite growing cloud adoption, data remains vulnerable to human errors in OneDrive. This blog explains recovery methods for deleted files and suggests Kernel OneDrive Migration for secure data backup and selective backup.

In spite of the increasing demand for cloud-based platforms, it’s impossible to overlook the fact that data is susceptible to human errors, whether they are accidental or intentional deletions. Regrettably, these errors can impact both the cloud-stored data and its synchronized local copies. This situation is particularly relevant in the context of Microsoft OneDrive, where data deleted in one location also results in deletion from the other. Consequently, data deletion and the subsequent risk of data loss are significant concerns for all OneDrive users.

Fortunately, there is some good news for users: deleted data can be restored using the built-in options within the OneDrive application. This blog will spotlight these native methods for recovering deleted files from OneDrive, even in cases where they have been permanently purged.

What causes data loss in OneDrive?

There are a few common causes behind data loss in the OneDrive platform-

  • Malicious activities- Any malware attack or malicious activity directly impacts any platform’s data. With the growing cloud services, these activities have also increased.
  • Accidental/intentional deletion- Any user, whether a beginner or technically sound, can make mistakes. Even a tiny mistake can make the files inaccessible or corrupt.
  • Incompatible software- Users tend to opt for unrealizable platforms, which can hamper your data directly.
Can we recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive?

A burning question on your mind might be whether it’s possible to recover files deleted from OneDrive permanently. The good news is that it is indeed possible, but the recovery method will hinge on the retention period. If you’re attempting to recover files within 30 days of deletion, they can be restored directly from the Recycle Bin. Beyond that retention period, you can retrieve files from the Second Stage Recycle Bin, System Recycle Bin, or previous versions of OneDrive.

Restore From Your OneDrive Recycle Bin

The OneDrive web portal features a shared Recycle Bin where deleted files from OneDrive storage are stored. In Microsoft personal accounts, the data in the Recycle Bin remains accessible for 30 days, while in Business/School accounts, it is available for a longer period of 93 days. Administrators and users have the ability to monitor the data’s availability in the Recycle Bin and initiate restoration from there.

  1. Click on the synchronized OneDrive folder on your system and click the “View online” option or go to “Help & Settings > View online” or directly visit the website at and sign in with the login credentials.
    synchronized OneDrive folder
  2. On the left panel, click on the “Recycle Bin” option. The deleted items will be displayed on the right panel.
    Click on Recycle Bin
  3. Now select those items which you want to restore and click the “Restore” option. The items will be restored to their original location.
    Click on Restore
  4. If you want to restore all the Recycle Bin items, select the check box against the Name section. It will select all the items and then click the “Restore” option to restore them to their respective original locations.
    Restore all Recycle Bin items
Restore from OneDrive Second Stage Recycle Bin

In the event that the data retention period of 30 days or 93 days, depending on the account type, has lapsed or if the user has emptied the Recycle Bin, there is still an option available for data recovery. Users can utilize the Second-stage Recycle Bin, also referred to as the Site Collection Recycle Bin, which is integrated within the OneDrive portal, to restore their data.

  1. As an administrator, sign in to the OneDrive website and click on the Recycle Bin option.
  2. If the items are unavailable to restore here, click on the Second-stage Recycle Bin link at the bottom of the page.
    Second-stage Recycle Bin
  3. Now select desired items or all and click Restore to restore them.

Note: The files or items in the Second stage Recycle Bin will automatically get purged or deleted after the total data retention period of 93 days.

Restore from your System Recycle Bin

Since the OneDrive application can be synchronized with the local system, creating a OneDrive folder on the local system, any data deleted from this local folder can be recovered from the Recycle Bin of the system. Here, we’ll outline the straightforward process to recover files from the Recycle Bin.

Navigate to your system’s Recycle Bin and open it. Locate the items that were deleted from your OneDrive folder on your system, then right-click on them. From the dropdown menu that appears, choose the “Restore” option to return the items to their original location.
Restore from the Recycle Bin
Note: The data is not recoverable if deleted from the Recycle Bin or purged using Shift and Del keys together.

Restore your OneDrive Previous Version

If the data retention periods for OneDrive have expired and you have version history enabled as a Microsoft 365 subscriber, you can restore your OneDrive to a specific version. Follow these steps to learn how to do it.

  1. Sign in to your OneDrive account online as an administrator.
  2. Click on the “Gear” icon and select the “Restore your OneDrive” option.
    Restore your OneDrive
  3. Click the arrow against the “Select date” option to open the drop-down list, select the desired date range, or add a custom date as per your need.
    Select date range
  4. After selecting the date range, click the “Restore” option to restore the selected date range version of your OneDrive.
    recover deleted files from OneDrive by restoring old version

Note: Restoring the previous version will not restore Albums.

Backup OneDrive Data to be Secure Against Data Deletion Issues

Given the vulnerability data, it is advisable to create backups of your OneDrive data. While there are manual methods available for OneDrive data backup, they lack the capability for selective backup and advanced features. Therefore, utilizing a specialized OneDrive backup tool like the Kernel OneDrive Migration tool is the optimal choice for OneDrive users. This tool boasts advanced filters that allow for selective backup of OneDrive data. Furthermore, it can be employed for migrations involving OneDrive for business.


The deletion of files from both OneDrive’s cloud and local storage platforms can be a significant concern for any organization, especially when critical data is involved. OneDrive does offer some default data retention policies and recycle bins, which make data restoration possible. We have detailed these processes here. Additionally, we have suggested a tool for a swift and effortless OneDrive backup solution.