How to Recover a File in SharePoint


If you’re using SharePoint Online (part of Office 365) there are some implications when it comes to restoring files, libraries, or sites if something bad happens. In this post, I explain how to recover from when you mistakenly delete stuff, when things go corrupt, or, you know, those inventible times when content seems to grow legs and go hide.

When you’re using SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013, or 2016, you’re using SharePoint on-premises. That means your organization owns physical servers that IT installed and maintains SharePoint on. IT likely has full control over it. If a site, library, file, or something else gets corrupt or you mistakenly delete it, your IT folks have a lot of power to fix the issue by restoring the content from an earlier point in time, presuming they have a back-up system in place (it would be unwise to not have one).

But SharePoint Online is a cloud solution hosted and maintained by Microsoft, not your IT team. With SPO, you’re renting space and support, which makes it easier for your organization on the administrative and hardware sides, but means you’re giving up some level of control. And the ability to restore sites, libraries, and files is one of those places where you lose a good amount of control.

Version History

This gives you the ability to decide which version is the most appropriate one to restore from. If the most recent version was corrupted, I also suggest deleting it so nobody ever tries to download, open, or restore the corrupted version back.

To make sure this is viable, you need to have version history turned on in your libraries. Luckily, in SharePoint Online, version history is enabled by default, saving up to 500 major versions. A Site Owner can increase that number if necessary.

Recycle Bin Restore

When you delete something in SPO, it’s not actually deleted. At least not at first. That can be a big win for you if you (or, more likely, somebody else) mistakenly deleted something and you want it restored.

The quickest and easiest way is to check the site’s Recycle Bin and restore the content from there. To access the Recycle Bin, go to the Site Contents page, either by clicking the link in the Quick Launch (left-side navigation) or the link under the gear menu in the top-right corner of the site. From there, click the Recycle Bin link underneath the search box.

In the Recycle Bin, you should see your deleted content, whether it’s a file, folder, item, library, or list. Here you can select the checkbox to the left of the item and click Restore. Below is what it looks like in the modern document library experience (works the same in classic experience).   (source)

UpSafe Office 365 Backup

UpSafe Office 365 Backup lets you restore any of your SharePoint files, with the option to get previous versions of each file. Log into our system with your global admin account to start your free trial.

We work for your security

UpSafe Team