How to restore deleted files on SkyDrive

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 19, 2012

Microsoft is feverishly working on its cloud hosting and synchronization service SkyDrive. The service has seen a big transformation from a basic service that was not really anything special to one of Microsoft's core services that gets a lot of attention from the company.  The change has certainly been fueled by the integration of SkyDrive in Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system, where it serves as online storage for user account data among other things.

SkyDrive up until now kept revisions of documents hosted by the service, but not of other files. If you accidentally deleted a file on SkyDrive, you were not able to restore it if it was not a document. Yesterday Microsoft announced that SkyDrive will move all deleted files to the Recycle Bin from where they can be recovered again if the need arises. This in turn means that users who want to permanently delete a file on SkyDrive need to make sure to delete it from the Recycle Bin as well if they do not want to wait for this to automatically happen.

You can delete files on SkyDrive by selecting the files first with a click on the small checkbox on the top right of the tile, and selecting Manage > Delete from the top menu bar. A notification is displayed on the screen that informs you about the action, giving you options to undo the deletion. Previously you had to confirm the deletion actively, something which is now no longer necessary so that file deletions on SkyDrive take less user actions now and complete faster.

skydrive delete files

All files that you have deleted this way are moved to the Recycle Bin from where you can restore or delete them. You first need to select the files again and then use the restore link at the top to restore files so that they reappear in their original location or delete to remove the files permanently from SkyDrive.

skydrive restore files

SkyDrive will keep the files in the Recycle Bin for at least three days. It is usually a lot longer than that. SkyDrive will permanently delete files after having been in the Recycle Bin for 30 days. The service will only automatically delete files earlier if the total size of files crosses the 10% overall storage threshold of the account. Keep in mind that Recycle Bin files do not count against the storage limit on SkyDrive.

Files that you delete locally will also be moved to the SkyDrive Recycle Bin provided that you run the SkyDrive app on your system.


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  1. Daniel said on September 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Been wating a long time for this feature, thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. Jérôme said on September 19, 2012 at 10:32 am

    nice, can’t wait until selective sync!
    cheers from France.

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