How To Restore Files You Have Deleted From Your OneDrive

Did you know that OneDrive has a Recycle bin folder, just like Windows does? It uses that folder to store the files that you deleted on any of your synchronized devices. You can then use the Recycle bin to restore any of your deleted files and recover them when required. However, the procedure involves using a web browser. Here's how it works:

How Does OneDrive Handle Deleted Files?

By default, OneDrive stores your deleted files in a Recycle bin for at least 3 days and a maximum of 30 days. In most cases, it will store them for 30 days. If your Recycle bin gets large enough to exceed 10% of your total OneDrive storage, the duration for which they will be kept is reduced.

Another thing that you should note is that your Recycle bin doesn't count against your OneDrive storage limit. Once a file is deleted, it no longer uses your available storage space. If you consider the limitation shared earlier and how it works, the Recycle bin is a temporary 10% extra storage space, on top of your storage plan.

The Recycle bin is designed to store both the files you deleted on any of your synchronized devices and the files that others have deleted while you were working collaboratively on those files.

How to Restore Deleted Files from OneDrive

Open your favorite browser and go to the OneDrive website. Log in with your Microsoft account and the contents of your OneDrive is shown.

In the column on the left, click or tap the "Recycle bin" link.

A list is shown with all the files that were deleted in the past. For each file you are shown its name, original location, when it was deleted and its size. At the top there is a toolbar with two options:

  • "Restore all items" - when you press this, it automatically restores all the deleted items from the Recycle bin to their original location in OneDrive.
  • "Empty recycle bin" - it empties the Recycle bin and all the files are no longer available and they cannot be recovered.

In most cases you will want to restore only one or a couple of files that were accidentally deleted. Select them from the list of deleted files and then click or tap Restore in the toolbar on the top.

After a couple of seconds, OneDrive informs you that it has restored the selected item(s).

If you look into OneDrive, you will find that the selected files are available at their original location.


As you can see from this guide, recovering the files that you accidentally deleted from OneDrive is very easy. As long as a file is listed in the Recycle bin, it can be deleted. Otherwise you are out of luck and the file is gone forever.