Restoring user deleted OneDrive files as admin

Occasional Contributor

TLDR; We are new to OneDrive for Business


We as an organization, are kind of late to O365 and its attendant products.  The decision was made to move our users (on newly minted Windows 10 machines) from using local shares for home folders to OneDrive.   Management is considering not continuing the O365 portion of our Veeam Backup license, as the the email backup doesn't work well for us, due to storage creep from our DMS touching every email multiple times a day...  Backup people will understand the issues with this.

--- TLDR


I've been tasked with determining if we can restore our users OneDrive files & folders in an admin capacity.  All the info I've found is either referencing old information, or is for restoring and entire users OneDrive.  Not individual files or folders.  The 30-93 day OneDrive restore window exceeds our policy for data in this space. All important data must reside in our DMS.  


Can someone point me to the current instructions for accomplishing this?






4 Replies
You can apply retention policies to OneDrive, and it will retain files even when deleted, however restoring them is a very cumbersome and not elegant at all and almost broken IMO. We still prefer backing up client endpoints with backup software and we make sure everyone's OneDrive is synced local so that endpoint backup gets the OneDrive files for easier restore.

You get version history, you have the recycle bin for up to 90 days, but you cannot restore a folder, only individual items and it's just a list that's hard to filter, so finding the items to restore can be difficult. Getting versions back is easy however.

The OneDrive recycle bin really needs an overhaul.

Anyway, the Retention keeps everything moved or deleted in a retention library that is again just a listing of all the edits that you can get to via content search or browsing as a site collection admin to restore files if needed that run out of recycle bin based on the timeframe you set. We have 7 years worth on ours so we never lose anything, but if we did and had to restore, it's hard to restore it in it's original folder structure.

Anyway, bottom line, your stuff is protected, but it's not clean nor easy to restore, but you can def. make due if you had too.

@Chris Webb 

I was afraid it was going to be something like that.  

With nearly 400 workstations, it's not feasible for us to back up the client machines.  We'll have to discuss how we wish to manage this going forward.



We ran just onedrive for awhile. It works. Just not clean for big restore operations long as you setup retention and the preservation so you never lose the data. Mostly works and is good enough but not ideal obviously as what we are used to with typical restore tools being able to restore folders trees and individual files which becomes harder with just onedrives tools.
Thanks Chris .
Any info on the current way to actually restore files? I'd need to evaluate the process so my Sys Admin and myself can discuss with our CIO for planning.