Microsoft 365 security

How to recover deleted files from Microsoft Teams

The good news is that it’s possible to recover deleted files from Microsoft Teams. This blog will show you.

Microsoft Teams now has around 250 million monthly active users. That’s a lot of communication and collaboration. With plenty of file usage.

Naturally, amid all that activity there will be times when you delete files. Sometimes this will be deliberate. Other times it’ll be by accident.

There will also be times when you need those files. You’ll search for them, only to be met with a blank screen. You might retype the search query. Still nothing. Then, perhaps after a period spent staring into space, it’ll start dawning on you. A slow-moving yet inescapable realization. “Oh no, I must have deleted the file – how can I get it back?”

The good news is that it’s possible to recover deleted files from Microsoft Teams. This how-to video and extended blog will show you.

Recovering a file involves a mixture of navigation, direction, and sometimes retracing your steps. It’s a journey. And like any journey, you need to know where you’re starting from.

When a journey involves recovering files from Microsoft Teams, the journey actually starts in SharePoint.

Where files are stored & deleted in Microsoft Teams

Every time you create a team in Microsoft Teams, this automatically creates a new SharePoint site. This is where all files relating to the team are saved.

As the team owner and person who created the site, you can add people in your organization. Depending on your security settings, you can also add people external to the organization as guests. These added people become your team members. Team owners and members can then access the files in Teams and the SharePoint site.

Within Teams you can see a General channel.

Teams general

Within the channel, you can see three default tabs. Posts, Files, and Wiki.

Click on Files and you can see all the files that relate to the Teams channel. These are the files that are stored in SharePoint.

Click on the three dots next to a file and you’ll see the option to delete.

Teams channel

This will delete the files from Teams – but they’re still in SharePoint. That’s because the SharePoint site also has a Recycle Bin. This is where your deleted files go to.

The maximum length of time they stay there is 93 days. So you have around three months.

Don’t see the Recycle Bin in the Quick Launch bar?

Click Settings>Site contents.

You should see the Recycle Bin listed among the Site Contents. If it doesn’t appear, contact your Administrator and ask if it’s been disabled.

How to restore a file that’s been deleted from the Recycle Bin in SharePoint

Head to the SharePoint site where the file has been deleted from.

Within Teams you can go:

Files>More>Open in SharePoint

In the Quick Launch bar navigation, click Recycle Bin.

Teams quick launch

You’ll then see the files that have been deleted from Teams, and files deleted from anywhere else within the same SharePoint channel.

Click next to the files you wish to recover.

Click Restore.

Congratulations! The file has been restored to the same location it was before.

What’s more, it retains all its metadata to keep your taxonomy intact.

What to do if you can’t restore a deleted file

There are a few reasons why a file can’t be restored. Here are a few of the more common issues, and how to solve them:

  • Does the file have a parent?
    You can’t restore a file if its parent has been deleted. Add the parent again and try to restore the file.
  • Is the file a version of the file?
    You can’t restore versions of a file if the original file has been deleted. Make sure the original file still exists, or try restoring it.
  • Does the file’s library still exist?
    You can’t restore a file if its library has been deleted. Restore the library and then try to restore the file.
  • Do you have permission?
    The standard permissions are below. Check with your Administrator if you have the necessary permission levels.

Who can recover deleted files

Permissions decide whether you can recover deleted files. However, default permissions mean that:

  • Any member of the Teams channel can recover content from the SharePoint bin.
  • Any other member of the same SharePoint file will have the same view. This means you can recover files deleted by other users – and they can recover files you’ve deleted.
  • Deleted libraries or deleted lists can only be restored by the SharePoint site owner, or by whoever deleted the files.

Permissions to delete files

As you can see, Microsoft offers different file controls and recovery methods. Naturally, this takes time to manually configure. What’s more, you’ll also spend time supporting users who have either deleted or want to delete files.

To save you time and free up resources, use Syskit Point. It gives you a full overview of Teams, SharePoint, and Office 365. And its advanced file management solves the risks of accidental or malicious file deletion or sharing.

You can manage access to files, control who can create workspaces, track user activity, and detect unauthorized changes. All from a single user interface. It’s your end-to-end solution for advanced security and governance!

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