How To Recover Deleted or Overwritten Files/Folders In Your SkyDrive/OneDrive Account

SkyDrive Logo

Please note that Microsoft renamed SkyDrive to OneDrive on February 19th 2014.

I use Cloud Storage services quite a bit for my day-to-day needs as I like how I am able to make sure that all my data stored is correctly synced between my various devices. That said, I also know just how easy it can be to accidentally delete a required file/folder or to overwrite something that you have spent quite a bit of time writing. So with this in mind, we will be looking at how you can get back any accidentally deleted or overwritten files from your Microsoft SkyDrive account.

One thing to note regarding the data retention policies in regards Microsoft SkyDrive when dealing with deleted or overwritten files. Any deleted files will be kept in the Recycled Bin for a total of 30 days (minimum of 3 days) after which they will be permanently deleted started with the oldest ones first. However, if the Recycled Bin reaches 10% of the total amount of space available in the users account, (eg. 0.7GB of a total of 7GB given to free users) then the data will start to be deleted regardless of how long it has been in the Recycled Bin starting with the oldest. Data stored in the Recycled Bin does not count against the users data quota.

Please note that for this article I will be using the Desktop version of SkyDrive, so the GUI may look slightly different for some users. Also, whenever you delete a file or folder, you will get a small window of approximately 10 seconds in which to undo the delete. Also, Version History will only work on Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel,PowerPoint, and OneNote)

10 second delete reminder

Recovering a deleted file or folder:

Step 1

Login to your SkyDrive account

Step 2

Look to the bottom left of your window and click on Recycled Bin to see which files can be recovered.

Main Window

Step 3

Select the file that you would like to recover from the bin. Right-click on the file and select Restore. This will then be placed back to its original location.

Restore Deleted File

That’s it for recovering a deleted file.

How to recover a file that may have been overwritten/edited?

Step 1

Login to your SkyDrive account

Step 2

Open the folder where the overwritten file is located. Now right click on the file and select Version History.

right click and version history

Step 3

After you have selected Version History, you will hopefully be able to see all the revision histories from the past 30 days that relate to the document in question.

Select version history

You can check to see which each version looks like by select each of the dates in-turn. You can also download each version as well.

save the overwritten file

Step 4

Once you have decided which version is the correct one that you would like to revert back to, simply hit Restore and that version will be rolled-back.

That’s it, you’re done.

Comments

  1. I don’t have “Version History” in the right-click menu which was a bit disappointing when I overwrote a file… There’s no menu option between CopyTo and Properties.

    Documents were created/saved to SkyDrive on a Windows 7 PC in Visio2013(Trial). I now have the local SkyDrive application installed and very regular backups to help with getting access to previous versions of files but SkyDrive should do the versioning for me. Does version history only work with Office2013 (ie. Word & Excel)?

    Does anyone know why I can’t use version history on a basic SkyDrive account with Visio2013?

    • Hi John,

      I tested this using a file written using Word 2007 directly via my desktop, which I then uploaded to my SkyDrive account. I then made multiple changes to the document (re-uploading on each edit) to check that this does work.

      Have you tried logging in online to your SkyDrive account rather than the installed (local) client version?

      Also, if you are viewing the file from within the local client (the SkyDrive desktop app) can you right-click on it (without actually opening the file itself) and go SkyDrive>View on SkyDrive.com. This should then take you to the online version of the file. From there you go File>Previous Versions. This should then present you with any previous versions of the file that it has.

      I can’t think of any reason as to why you are unable to find a previous version of your document. I have not used Viso2013 before, so am unable to give any advice on that.

      Below is a link to the SkyDrive support forums that may be able to assist you:
      http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windowslive/forum/skydrive?auth=1

  2. OMFG!!! so glad I looked this up and so glad you wrote the piece!!

  3. Santiago says:

    thank you!!! saved my attendance records for the whole semester! thank you thank you thank you!

  4. A BIG thanks – I was able to recover a final test I’ve been working on for about the last 12 hours and then it was gone! I recovered it via Version History.

  5. gladiator24_7 says:

    TTTHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNKKKKKK YYYYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!

    I almost lost my drug notecards for school which I’ve been working on for weeks.

  6. Thanks a lot for this thought I’d lost my coursework

  7. thanks it helped!

  8. Tyanna Dallaire says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! LIFE SAVERRRRRRRRR(L)

  9. my document just disappeared without deleting it. It’s no longer in among the recent files nor is it in the recycle bin. when I click file from another document, it is stilled listed on the recent list of documents to open but it won’t open instead this message is displayed:

    “This item might not exist or is no longer available

    This item might have been deleted, expired or you might not have permission to view it. Contact the owner of this item for more information.”

    • pic1- I had the same problem. My recycling bin must have been full and this almost scared me into buying more storage to see if my document would come in. As a broke college student I solved this issue without having to buy more storage.

      Here’s what you need to do to recover your file or another version of it prior to its “deletion, expiration, or restricted access” or other words corruption.

      First get into your documents on the online skydrive, I usually click on onedrive at the top and then click on documents to get here.

      Then right click on the document and click on the option version history. (You will need to close this word doc if you currently have it open prior to hitting restore which will give you back your work. =)

      Hope this helps. I thought I hit a dead end when I could not find it in my recycling bin. I was happy to find out that was not the case and wanted to share my triumph with you!

  10. I genuinely love you man!!

  11. ziplock9000 says:

    Version history only works with Office documents I think. It certainly is not working with my PSD files.

    • Hi ziplock9000,

      Yep, SkyDrive/OneDrive only works with Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel,PowerPoint, and OneNote)

      You should be able to find previous versions of the file though if you are also backing up using DropBox as it has a similar feature (Previous Versions)

      Sorry I couldn’t help.

  12. The “version history” steps were exactly what I was looking for, thank you!!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Update 24 November: Thank you, Richard Gailey, from TechFleece – How to recover deleted or overwritten files or folders in your skydrive account. […]

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