Is OneDrive Deleting Newer Files After Backup Restore?

Occasional Contributor

After a BSOD caused by an unsuccessful System Restore, and no way to get back into Win 10, I purchased a new drive and restored a backup image from a couple of weeks ago.


In those couple of weeks I've created/added new files to OneDrive. Are those newer files being deleted so that OneDrive matches the data from a couple of weeks ago? If this is the case, how does one stop the removal of newer files in the cloud?


I think I'm seeing some in Recycle, but not sure. I'm dealing with a lot of files. 

9 Replies
I think what you have to do is stop the sync in your PC so you are sure the most current information is in your ODFB (in the cloud) and when you are fine, just start synchronizing again
This depends where you saved the files during those few weeks. If you mean saved to OneDrive in the cloud then those files will be preserved when you sync back up. If you saved them to your OneDrive folder that isn’t setup to sync then you have a different situation where you’ll run into conflicts but you should be prompted of such.

Thank you both for your time. 


I'm probably not clear, but it seems your replies might run counter to each other... 


1) I create a Word doc on the computer, saving it to my OD folder on the computer. 


2) OD syncs and the doc is now also in the cloud.


3) I install a new drive in the computer and restore from a backup image from last month. The OD folder on this new drive does not have the new doc created in Step 1 above. But OD in the cloud does have it. 


4) Syncing starts as soon as I boot into Windows... With no real time to stop/pause syncing(!)


5) Will OD in the cloud put the missing doc on my drive, or will my computer delete the file currently in the cloud? Could either of these happen without warning me first?


6) In either event, if the file was deleted, wouldn't that deleted file be in Recycle either in the Cloud or on the computer? Long explanation why, but it's hard to be sure... my hunch is that I've lost newer files along the way (and don't see them in any Recycle bin).



Aside from my question above, and though this might need a separate thread, I realize I'm confused by the URL I see when accessing OneDrive in a browser (Chrome):


Could well be bad memory but I don't remember seeing "sharepoint" or "personal" or the other stuff. I thought the URL looked more like it does in Windows Explorer: "OneDrive - Company Name Inc." and that's it.


Guess I'm hoping that I can't find files because I'm looking in the wrong place. More SharePoint than OneDrive.

I'm afraid it will delete the new files online!
Just happened to me: I restored an old image on my broken PC (without the newly created files in local OD) and once connected to the Internet it synced (old, from backup) local OD and removed the new files I created on the online OneDrive! This is a SERIOUS DESIGN ISSUE not considering drive backup restore situations!

@John Ciccone glad to read your post, in a weird way, as I've ranted and complained about this design flaw for several years now. It is IMO a huge flaw in OneDrive and I'm a little bit amazed that it's not more prevalent as the practise of restoring an image of computer or a snapshot isn't exactly unusual.


Why would anyone in their right minds want OneDrive to (sort of) re-synchronised back to the restored image? 


It's an algorithmic design flaw in OneDrive in the area of tracking the changes made to a file system. All I know is that Dropbox and Google Drive do not suffer from the same flaw and can only assume that they do it "better". When you restore an image or VM snapshot back in time, these two systems synchronise the restored copy to the current time - which is what you pretty much what people want 99.99% of the time. 


I hit your post whilst trying to get more ammunition to my post yesterday when the same thing happened AGAIN: 

BTW - if you're using the version of OneDrive that comes with Office 365, there is a feature on there to undo all the bad changes made by OneDrive when restoring an older image. The feature is there in case of mass encryption by a virus like WannaCry or you accidentally made a huge **bleep**-up yourself. You can restore OneDrive back to a point in time - you'll spot the bad changes as they will all have been made at the same time.

This has happened to me in the past too, and it came as quite a shock when I lost the a months worth of C# source code edits (which ironically I save on Onedrive to make sure I don't lose them) after my Acronis True Image restore.  So it seems there is a certain process you should follow when performing a disc image restore.  Say everything was good with your computer yesterday, but late in the evening for some unknown reason your computer became unbootable.  You decided to go to bed and now today have decided to do a hard drive image restore from a backup done 2 weeks ago.  I believe these are the steps to follow:

1. Determine the time when your Onedrive was in a state you were happy with (in this case yesterday).

2. Perform your HD image restore and wait for Onedrive to syncronise (which in this case will regress to files 2 weeks old).

3. Log in to Onedrive and using the timeline facility put your Onedrive back to yesterday's state (your last good state).

Hopefully this should work.

If using Acronis True Image for image backups

The following strategy is best for avoiding unexpected OneDrive data loss when restoring from image backups.


Do not back up the OneDrive folder with Acronis True Image (for various reasons).

OneDrive has very high reliability, and backup should not be required.  However, if you do wish to keep an off-line backup of OneDrive, use a separate utility such as FreeFileSync to copy the contents of OneDrive to another location such as an external hard drive or a network share.

Exclude OneDrive from any backup by selecting your Backup strategy, then click Options -> Exclusions, and add your OneDrive path:


Tick Save as default and click OK

  • this will ensure that it will be excluded by default from any new Backup Strategy you create.

What happens with OneDrive when you do a restore?

When you restore from your backup the restored computer will be missing the OneDrive folder, and when it boots up will come up with an error:


We couldn't find your OneDrive folder...


Simply click on Set up OneDrive to re-initialize OneDrive

  • enter your email address and click Sign in (to your Microsoft account)
  • enter your password and click Sign in
  • confirm the OneDrive folder location is correct and click Next
  • click Continue, Next, Next, Next, Later, X to close the Window
  • OneDrive will sync for a few minutes, then you will be able to list all your OneDrive files again (they will be Cloud-only until accessed).
  • [click Use this folder if prompted to combine folders]

This will ensure your get your current OneDrive state restored from the cloud, and not an outdated version of OneDrive restored from a hard drive image.  I've tested this restore strategy several times on Windows 10, and it works well for me.  Hope that helps you guys too.