How to Restore and Recover Deleted Files in Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage

Microsoft OneDrive is a popular cloud storage service that allows users to store, sync, and share files across devices. It provides easy access to your files from anywhere and helps keep your files safe through automatic backups.

However, accidents happen and you may end up deleting files from OneDrive that you still need. The good news is that OneDrive offers multiple ways to recover deleted files. This article provides a comprehensive guide on the various methods you can use to restore deleted files in OneDrive.

Check OneDrive’s Recycle Bin

When you delete files from OneDrive, they are first moved to OneDrive’s Recycle Bin where they are kept for a period of time before being permanently deleted.

To restore deleted files from the Recycle Bin:

  • Go to and sign in
  • In the left sidebar, click on Recycle Bin
  • Locate and select the files you want to restore
  • Click Restore in the top menu

Files deleted from a personal OneDrive account stay in the Recycle Bin for 30 days. For OneDrive for business and school accounts, deleted files are kept for 93 days unless changed by the admin.

Restore Previous Versions of Files

OneDrive retains previous versions of files for up to 30 days (personal accounts) or as configured by the admin (business/school accounts). You can restore an older version of a file if the current version is corrupted or has unwanted changes.

To restore a previous version:

  • Right-click on the file in OneDrive and select Version History
  • In the Version History pane, click on the date of the version you want
  • Click Restore to make it the current version

You can also view and restore previous Office file versions from within Office apps.

Restore Deleted OneDrive Files from Your Computer

If you have the OneDrive desktop app installed and file sync enabled, check your computer’s Recycle Bin or Trash for deleted files. They may still be there even if not showing in OneDrive’s Recycle Bin.

To restore files from your computer:

  • Open Recycle Bin (Windows) / Trash (Mac)
  • Select the OneDrive files to restore
  • Right-click and choose Restore

This will move the files back to your OneDrive folder on the computer.

Restore Entire OneDrive to Previous State

If many files were deleted or changed unexpectedly, you can roll back and restore your entire OneDrive to a previous known good state within the last 30 days.

To restore OneDrive to previous state:

  • Go to OneDrive settings
  • Click Restore OneDrive
  • Pick a date before the unwanted changes
  • Review activity and confirm restore

This feature requires a personal Microsoft 365 or business OneDrive plan. When restoring, files created after the restore point date will be sent to your OneDrive Recycle Bin.

Use a File Recovery Tool

If a file no longer exists in any OneDrive recycle bins or previous versions, your last resort is to use a third party file recovery tool. These tools scan your hard drive and attempt to recover deleted files even if permanently deleted by OneDrive.

Some popular, user-friendly file recovery tools include:

Be sure to download recovery software from the official publisher site only. Scan your system drive or external storage drives to find files deleted from a synced OneDrive folder. Filter the scan results to show only the file types and dates associated with the OneDrive deletion.

Tips to Prevent Losing Files in OneDrive

Losing files in OneDrive can lead to headaches, so it’s best to take preventative measures:

  • Back up important OneDrive files elsewhere in case you need to restore older versions not in OneDrive version history
  • Sync less critical folders to save space and avoid unwanted deletions syncing across devices
  • Use OneDrive’s Personal Vault for sensitive or private files to limit exposure
  • Turn on file versioning in OneDrive settings to retain more previous versions of Office files
  • Review OneDrive Recycle Bin regularly before files are purged


Accidentally deleting files in OneDrive still happens too often but thankfully there are multiple ways to recover them. First check OneDrive’s own Recycle Bin, previous file versions, and your local computer folders. If still missing, restore an earlier date snapshot of your entire OneDrive or use a file recovery app. And going forward, make sure to backup important cloud files, limit folder syncing, and configure OneDrive to maximize file protection.

Following these best practices for restoring deleted files and avoiding future deletions will keep your OneDrive files safe! Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips for recovering lost OneDrive files.