How to Recover Deleted Data in SharePoint Online?

How to Recover Deleted Data in SharePoint Online?

Extending the default restoration time period in SharePoint

How to Recover Deleted Data in SharePoint OnlineSharePoint Online is a powerful collaboration tool, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its share of challenges. A significant one for administrators is recovering mistakenly- or maliciously-deleted data. How quickly your employee realizes they deleted a file they need will determine whether you can find the deleted data or SharePoint Online or have to use a third-party app to recover it.  So the question really is how to Recover Deleted Data in SharePoint Online?

What this article is about: 

  • How SharePoint Online Stores Data
  • Recovering Data from SharePoint Online
    • First-Stage Recycle Bin
    • Second-Stage Recycle Bin
  • Use CloudAlly to Back Up and Restore SharePoint Online

How SharePoint Online Stores Data 

When a user uploads data to SharePoint Online, that file is disassembled and stored in tables across databases in an application code. Essentially, the program stores data as an abstracted code that is encrypted and broken down to be stored in various places in the datacenter.

This sophisticated storage process is the reason why administrators cannot change the SharePoint Online’s restoration parameters.  

Recovering Data from SharePoint Online’s Recycle Bin 

If one of your employees needs to recover content they deleted in SharePoint Online, they only have a little over three months to do it. If they don’t realize that they’d deleted something necessary within 93 days, the data will be lost, unless you’ve backed up SharePoint online with a third-party app.

If a user deletes a site collection, they are also deleting the data within that hierarchy, including:

  • Site configuration settings
  • Security information
  • Files
  • Lists and list data
  • Document libraries
  • Sub-sites, contents, and user information

However, if a user mistakenly makes a deletion, that data is not lost. Instead, it can be recovered from SharePoint Online’s Recycle Bin (known as the first-stage Recycle Bin), as long as the user realizes they have deleted necessary data within the storage timeframe. All deleted items are stored in the Recycle Bin, and they’ll stay there for those 93 days unless someone empties it.

When data is hard deleted, though, the encryption keys for all of these chunks are completely purged from the platform. The blocks that stored these chunks are deleted, as well. Essentially, there is no data left to retrieve.

Here’s how a user can restore deleted data from the First-Stage Recycle Bin: 

In their own SharePoint Online platforms, users can restore the data that they’ve mistakenly deleted. Restoration possibilities include files, versions of files, libraries, list items, or lists; they will be restored to their original location. Further, users can’t restore just a list item or file if they restore an entire list or library.

However, note that a file won’t be available in the Recycle Bin if the library in which it was included is permanently deleted; SharePoint Online will purge the entire library without keeping files or versions of files after 93 days.

Here’s how to restore data in this program: 

1.Click on Recycle Bin in the Quick Launch bar

  1. In the bin, click to the left of the items that you want restored
  2. Click restore

Note: if one of your employees can’t find a recently-deleted file, they must contact you. Only administrators can access and restore deleted files from the second-stage recycle bin.

Restoring deleted sites 

Admins can now restore entire deleted sites using the SharePoint admin center.

Here’s how:

1.Sign into your SharePoint Online admin portal as either a global admin or SharePoint admin

  1. Select SharePoint under the Admin centers on the left-hand side of the page
  2. Click Sites and then click on Deleted sites. Note: you may encounter the older version of the SharePoint admin center, and if so, select Open it now to open the new admin center.
  3. Sort and filter sites using the same methods you use on the Active sites page or you can sort and filter by Time deleted
  4. Click on the site you want to restore; note that you can only restore one site at the time or the Restore button won’t appear
  5. Click Restore

Note: If you’re restoring group resources that belong to an Office 365 group, your site restoration will restore both the group and its resources. However, SharePoint Online only keeps group resources for 30 days, though it will retain the site for 93 days. If all of the group resources have been deleted but the site remains, you may want to permanently delete it by using the PowerShell command Remove-SPODeletedSite.

Restoring Items from the Second-Stage or Site Collection Recycle Bin in SharePoint Online 

Even if a user empties the Recycle Bin or permanently deletes a file, SharePoint Online will still hold onto that file for those 93 days in the second-stage or site collection Recycle Bin. Only administrators have permissions to restore data that has been moved to the second-stage recycle bin.

  1. Navigate to the Recycle Bin on the left-hand side of the SharePoint Online admin portal.
  2. Note: If the Recycle Bin doesn’t appear there, you can find it a different way. Click on Settings and then Site Settings. From there, click on Recycle bin under the Site Collection Administration list.
  3. Click on the second-stage recycle bin link at the bottom of the Recycle Bin page.
  4. Next to all the items in the bin that you want to restore, click on the Restore button.

Using CloudAlly as a SharePoint Online Backup 

If a user needs to recover a file more than 93 days after deletion, there is no built-in feature on SharePoint Online that allows for this function. In fact, SharePoint Online permanently deletes all data that has been in the first-stage or second-stage Recycle Bins longer than that period.

So, the only way to ensure the long-term backup and recovery of mistakenly-deleted data is using a third-party SharePoint Online backup like CloudAlly. CloudAlly offers administrators indefinitely storage of their users’ SharePoint Online data, as well as daily backups that preserve up-to-date information.

Creating a SharePoint Online Backup & restore – Using CloudAlly

  1. Log into your CloudAlly account
  2. Click on Activate a New Backup
  3. Choose SharePoint Online
  4. Enter your Office 365 username and password that grants you global admin rights for the program
  5. A green message will pop up in the bottom of the screen letting you know that your backup has been activated. You will also see a list of your SharePoint Online site collections. You have the option to select each site collection individually or activate all of them. You can also choose to Add site if you want to backup only a specific subsite.
  6. Click the checkbox to Automatically detect and activate new Site. This ensures that newly-created sites will also be backed up.
  7. Give your backup a name and change your backup time to match your time zone. Also, decide how frequently you want your SharePoint Online to be backed up.

Restoring Deleted Data Using CloudAlly 

If a user wants to recover a deleted file after SharePoint Online’s restore feature is available, you can use a point-in-time recovery or a granular search to find a restore the file.

  1. Click on Restore & Download from the CloudAlly homepage
  2. Choose SharePoint Online
  3. Select the user whose files you want to restore
  4. You can either search for missing data using the date via Snapshot or by name via Item Search
  5. If you’re searching by date, click on the data that you want restored. You can restore a site or something smaller, like a folder or item.
  6. If you choose via Item Search, you can choose what you want to search for; you can preview the items and choose what you want to restore in the same way as described above
  7. Click on the data that you want to restore to create a .zip file
  8. You can instruct CloudAlly to send the restored data to you or to another user
  9. Once the restore is complete, you’ll receive an email letting you know when the restored file is ready to download; click on the file in the email
  10. When you download your restored data, it will appear in a sub-folder so that it doesn’t overwrite newer versions of the item or folder

Extending the default restoration time period in SharePointIt certainly is important to have a backup solution in place for SharePoint Online. Though the platform has a number of options for restoring deleted sites, folders, and items for 93 days, no recovery of lost data is even possible from SharePoint Online, as all record of the missing data is deleted after this period. The only way to restore lost or deleted SharePoint Online data after 93 days is by using CloudAlly backup & restore solution.

But Office 365’s other programs also need backups to protect your organization from unfortunate data loss.

Read more in our Office 365 User Manual to learn about more CloudAlly’s backup & restore solutions

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from OneDrive for Business?

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from Microsoft Office OneDrive for Business? 

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from OneDrive for Business?If your end-users mistakenly delete necessary files in their OneDrive for Business accounts, it’s up to you to help them restore this missing data. OneDrive for Business stores deleted files in the first-stage and/or second-stage Recycle Bin for a total of 93 days.
How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from OneDrive for Business?
If your users don’t realize that a file was missing for longer than longer than that period, though, you’ll have to have a third-party solution, like CloudAlly OneDrive for Business Backup & Restore, in place restore to recover the files.  


  • Permanently Deleting Files in OneDrive for Business
  • The 93-Day Window for Restoring Deleted Files in OneDrive for Business
  • Restoring Deleted Files in OneDrive for Business
  • Using CloudAlly to Restore Permanently-Deleted OneDrive Files

Permanently Deleting Files in OneDrive for Business 

Backing up OneDrive for Business is particularly important. Though the program has this two-tiered Recycle Bin system to protect against malicious activity and server crashes, some users can be confused about how OneDrive for Business operates. Specifically, they may believe that if they delete a file from the mobile app, web browser, or desktop File Explorer that it will remain in other locations.

However, this is not the case, of course. If a user deletes the file from any of these access platforms, it will be deleted entirely from OneDrive for Business.

OneDrive for Business users have control of their first-stage Recycle Bin, but only you as the administrator can access and restore files from the second-stage Bin. 

When a user deletes a file, it is stored in their first-stage Recycle Bin. If a user then empties that Recycle Bin, or chooses to delete a single file from that first bin, that file is then moved to the second-stage Recycle Bin where it is stored for the remaining retention period. Only a SharePoint admin can restore these second-stage files for a user. 

The 93-Day Window for Restoring Deleted Files in OneDrive for Business

Deleted files are only stored in either the first- or second-stage Recycle Bins for 93 days. After this period, OneDrive permanently deletes the content. At this point, these files are unrecoverable unless you have already backed up your user sites using a third-party platform.

This 93-day rule isn’t absolutely true, either. There are some exceptions to OneDrive for Business’ 93-day file retention period. For example, you as the site collection Recycle Bin administrator can scrap the items before that time.

Further, if the site collection Recycle Bin grows larger than its quota, it will start purging files before the 93-day retention period is up. Don’t forget that storing files in the Recycle Bin is included in your storage quota and List View Threshold. The site collection Recycle Bin can store 200 percent of the site collection quota.

Unsure about your storage size in OneDrive? Here’s how to find out how much of your storage your users have filled:

  1. From your Office 365 Admin portal, click Expand on the left hand side panel.
  2. Scroll down to Reports and click on it.
  3. From there, click on Usage.
  4. A table will appear. Next, click on the Select a report drop-down menu.
  5. Choose OneDrive.
  6. Click on Usage.
  7. On top of the table that appears, click on Storage; the table that appears lets you know how much of your total OneDrive storage your users are filling every day and over time.

The program offers a limited fail-safe for permanently-deleted items, however. If you unintentionally permanently-delete a file from OneDrive for Business, the site will store it for 14 days. You can contact Microsoft Support if you can’t locate the missing file in either Recycle Bin within that two-week window.

Restoring Deleted Files in OneDrive for Business

If a user deletes a necessary file, you want to first give them instructions for restoring it from their first-stage Recycle Bin:

  1. Sign into your OneDrive for Business account.
  2. Navigate to the Recycle Bin in the navigation pane.
  3. Once they identify the file or folder they want to restore, they can click on the circle check box and click Restore; note, the option to Restore all items that’s available for personal OneDrive is not available in OneDrive for Business.

If a deleted file is not available in the Recycle Bin, you should instruct your end-user to look for it on their desktop Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac), just in case.

Only administrators can recover files from the second-stage, or site collection, OneDrive for Business Recycle Bin.

Here’s how to do it:

1.Navigate to the site and click on Recycle Bin from the left hand options.

  1. At the bottom of the Recycle Bin page, you’ll see Second-stage recycle bin. Click on this.
  2. Next to the file that you want to restore, click on the Restore button. The restored item will return to the folder where it was previously stored.

Restoring Your Entire OneDrive for Business 

If a user’s entire OneDrive for Business is corrupted or deleted – likely after a sophisticated malware attack – you can restore all the lost files. Here’s how:

1.Sign into your user’s account.

  1. Click on Settings and then Restore your OneDrive.
  2. Choose the date before the OneDrive was corrupted, i.e. Yesterday, One week ago, or a Custom Date and Time.
  3. Use the activity chart and activity feed to identify the actions that you want to undo. Choose the earliest activity that you want to undo.
  4. Click Restore to undo all of the selected activities.

Using CloudAlly to Restore Permanently-Deleted OneDrive Files

As we know, users don’t always realize that they’ve deleted necessary files until the 93-day OneDrive for Business window has closed. However, there is no way to restore files after this time period, which is why it’s so important to back up your OneDrive for Business accounts with a third-party app. 

CloudAlly’s Backup for Office 365 – OneDrive lets you back up your SharePoint Online Team Site, Public Site, Private Site Collections, and OneDrive for Business Sites. Unlike OneDrive for Business, too, CloudAlly lets you maintain an unlimited archive, so you’re not always worrying about overreaching your storage quota.

Here’s how to get started backing up your OneDrive for Business with CloudAlly

  1. Log into your CloudAlly account.
  2. Click Activate New Backup on the home screen.
  3. Choose OneDrive.
  4. Log into your Office 365 account using your global admin username and click start.
  5. Once your accounts are linked, you’ll see all of your OneDrive sites. You can back them up one by one or activate all of them.
  6. Next, you should check the box next to Automatically detect and activate new Site so that CloudAlly can backup users for whom you create new OneDrive accounts.
  7. Choose your backup preferences. You can select your backup time and how often you want your data backed up (i.e. daily, every three days, or weekly). Save changes.

If you’ve tried all of the recovery options above and none of them have been successful, you can find and restore the missing file using CloudAlly’s simple process: 

  1. Click on Restore & Download from the CloudAlly homepage.
  2. Choose SharePoint/OneDrive.
  3. From the Restore or download page, choose the user account that needs a file restored
  4. You can then decide if you want to find your backup by date (Snapshot) or by searching for the file name (Item Search).
  5. However you search, you can decide to restore or download the entire backup from the day or search within a particular day for the file you’re seeking.
  6. If you’re unsure of what file you want to restore, you can click on each item to discover more details about it.
  7. Next, click on the download arrow for CloudAlly to initiate creating a zip file for the file.
  8. CloudAlly will prompt you to enter an email address to be notified when the file is ready to be opened. You can send the restored file to its original user. CloudAlly performs a non-destructive restore by creating a subfolder for the restored item so that it doesn’t replace newer versions of the same file.
  9. Once you enter the email, you’ll be taken back to your home screen. Scroll down to the Restore & download status section of the page to monitor the status of your restore.

The Necessity & value of a OneDrive for Business Third-Party Backup & Restore

Backing up OneDrive for Business is so necessary because your end users may not understand that its multiple access points all delete the same files. Further, the platform only stores deleted files for 93 days, meaning that some users may not even realize they mistakenly deleted a necessary file until it’s too late. CloudAlly eliminates worries by backing up your OneDrive for Business as often as necessary and storing that data in a limitless archive.

Want to learn about how CloudAlly can provide a full-scale backup & restore solution for Office 365 Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive? Read the Microsoft Guide here.

View the Microsoft Video on how to restore files with OneDrive:

Cloud Backup For Higher Education

Backup for Salesforce and Office 365 Solution Gives IBA Conviction in the Cloud

Sean Bates the former ICT Manager, Australian Institute of Business (AIB), understood that securing data on cloud, for the higher education organisation he worked for was paramount.

Using powerful business solutions like Microsoft Office 365 and can pose significant data protection challenges for an organization.  While Microsoft provides every precaution possible to safeguard their clients business data, it’s indeed very difficult for Microsoft to administer and supervise occurrences on the customer side, like accidental & malicious deletion.  The enormous risks in data loss on  cloud applications are tremendous, but can be minimized greatly with cloud to cloud backup.

AIB ICT manager recognized the possible issues & problems and adopted backup as an imperative organisation task, so that all relevant data records, intellectual property, sales information, research, and general communication would remain safe & secure, (and available to restore from any point-in-time).

View the complete customer story…

to learn why this upstanding higher educational institution chose CloudAlly for its cloud to cloud backup & restore needs.  Read about the reasons CloudAlly was chosen to provide this backup, its excellent customer support, and learn how and why the experts choose CloudAlly for backup on the cloud, to safeguard against data loss.




Office 365 Features & Benefits

10 new Office 365 Features and Benefits for businesses today.

office 365 features and benefits

Microsoft Office 365 is an incredible productivity suite in the cloud that integrates all of Microsoft’s most well-known applications —Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Sway, and Access— into a cloud service. As a user, you’ll discover many Office 365 features and benefits that can enhance your office environment. So, it should be no surprise that Office 365 has more than 25 million consumer subscriptions.

The problem is that too few users know how to use Office 365 to its full potential. Instead, most of the time, they use the same applications, day in and day out, without ever exploring all the different features, benefits, and new updates that are available.

To help you out and to provide your team with the best in productivity and collaboration, we’ve collected our list of favorite Office 365 features and benefits that you need to be using. These features will improve your workflow, optimize your team, and streamline how you get things done.

What this article is about:

Top 10 Office 365 Features and Benefits

Office 365 has many business applications, features, and benefits that you either might not be aware of or you might not be using to their full capability. To ensure you’re not missing out, here are our top ten must-use features for Office 365.

1. Mobile Apps

If you’re not using Office 365 on your phone, you should be. When you purchase Office 365, you also gain access to its mobile apps and browser apps, which means you can access Office 365 in the cloud on your mobile device and on the go. Better yet, you do not have to download Office software on your computer to gain this access.

All you need to do to access Office 365 on your phone or tablet is to download the Microsoft Office 365 mobile app. After that, you’ll have access to all of your Office 365 features and subscriptions on your mobile device. This means you’ll be able to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and more without your PC.

2. Real-Time Editing and Co-Authoring

Office 365 is made to be a collaborative environment for your office, and that means you need multiple ways to interact with your team. One way to collaborate online with your team is to create shared documents within your Office apps.

  1. First, save your Word file to OneDrive cloud storage or SharePoint.
  2. Second, give your team access to the document.

From there, your team can co-author the document in real-time, make edits, and introduce updates for all team members. There’s even an option to share Word document access directly through the integrated sidebar.

The best part is that you have complete control over who can access and edit the document at any time. This means, as a publisher, you can quickly share access and take it away as needed.

You can also see changes as they are made to your document and have the edits highlighted by contributor. This way, you know what each member of your team has added or removed and can accept the new updates or revert to a previous version of the file as needed.

3. Connect Via Skype

If you want even better ways to communicate with your team, there’s an Office 365 feature that can help. All Office 365 applications include a Skype in-app integration. This means you can quickly and easily instant message your teammates, share screens, or start an audio/visual conversation. All without ever having to close the Office app or change screens.

The good news is that your Skype call won’t end when the Office 365 app closes either. Your Skype conversation will continue until you’re ready to end the call, and it includes unlimited Skype minutes. Learn more about Office 365 and Skype here.

4. Avoid Email Attachments

Have you ever sent an email and forgotten the attachment? It happens more often than we realize. Thankfully, one of the latest Office 365 feature updates was to make it possible to share links instead of files. This way you never have to email an attachment again.

Instead, all you need to do is upload your file to Office 365’s cloud storage. Then, send an email via Outlook or the Outlook web app. And instead of attaching the document or file you need to share, insert the link for the file on your cloud. This way your email recipient will have the ability to access, edit, and update the file in real-time without needing to send another version back to you.

5. Create Outlook Calendar Events Easily

If you use OneNote, you know that one thing that would be invaluable is to be able to quickly transform tasks into due dates on your Outlook calendar. You can do that easily in Office 365. Simply configure OneNote items to become tasks in your calendar and then assign that task to the appropriate colleague, add a follow-up reminder, or set a due date.

There’s also an Office 365 feature that allows you to transfer meeting notes from OneNote to your teammates via email. This way you ensure everyone is on the same page.

6. PowerPoint Laser Pointer

With the simple keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + P), you can transform your mouse into a laser pointer for your PowerPoint presentation. This has been a nifty trick for years, but was only recently introduced to touch-screen devices as part of the latest Office 365 feature updates. The good news is that you can use the laser pointer even in “presenter mode.”

7. PDF Conversion & Editing

Every business has to use PDFs on a regular basis. Thankfully, the latest version of Office 365 makes it easier than ever to edit and convert PDFs directly within Office 365. This feature is incredibly intuitive and streamlined. All you have to do to edit a PDF is convert it into a Word document and then voila! Or you can simply save a Word document as a PDF, and you’re set. Learn more here.

8. Quick Email Reply

What if you could quickly reply to emails based on the subject line without ever having to open up the email? When you enable Reading Pane in Outlook this is possible. This Office 365 feature allows you to preview the email and hit “reply” without leaving the main Outlook window. When you combine this with the Conversations view, you should be able to quickly and easily see, at a glance, what emails you’ve read and responded to.

9. Office 365 Planner

Keep your team organized and ensure the workflow stays on target with the new Office 365 Planner feature. This feature provides a visual overview of your workflow, so you can more easily organize your team’s efforts. It makes it simple to create game plans, assign tasks, follow-up on to-dos, establish due dates, provide updates, and share files all within an easy-to-use dashboard. Teammates can even set up email alerts for updates to the Planner.

10. Self-Cleaning Smart Inbox

We all get cluttered email inboxes, but the new Microsoft Office 365 Clutter feature helps you clean up your inbox fast. Just set up mailbox rules to automatically list high-priority messages first and to remove low-priority messages to your “clutter” folder to be taken care of later.

New: Office 365 Feature Updates

There are also a few new Office 365 feature updates that we love and will be coming soon.

Other Office 365 feature updates include an upcoming automated transcription service for video and audio files. This will be valuable for webinars and tutorials and will be compatible with over 320 file types.

Final Thoughts

Office 365 has many incredible features and benefits to improve productivity at your office. Just be sure that you know what you’re doing and using it to its full capabilities. Also, because it’s so valuable, make sure you always backup office 365 with a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery software such as CloudAlly… Start to backup your Office 365 with a Free 14 day trial.

Now that you know about the top 10 new office 365 Features and their benefits, you might want to have a look at what we created for you…