Restore a document library

Applies to: SharePoint Online.

If most of your SharePoint files get deleted, overwritten, corrupted, or infected by malware, you can restore an entire SharePoint document library to an earlier time. The restoration will reset all the actions that occurred on both files and folders in the past 30 days.

Note: Some functionality is launched periodically to organisations that have opted in to the Targeted Release programme. Effectively, you might not currently notice this feature or it may appear different than what is outlined in the help articles.

Restore the library

  1. Access the relevant SharePoint document library to restore.
  1. Choose Settings > Restore this library.
  1. On the Restore page, pick a date from the dropdown list, like Yesterday, or choose Custom date and time.
  1. Use the activity chart and activity feed to check the recent activities that you want to undo.
Figure showing Restore this library date slider
© Microsoft 2019

The daily activity chart indicates the total file activities in each day for the last 30 days. It provides you with an overview of personal activity in your library gradually and can aid you with pinpointing any peculiar activities, like when your files were infected by malware.

The activity feed records individual file and folder operations in reverse chronological order. You can scroll down to review past days, or adjust the slider under the daily activity chart to easily filter to a specific day.

  1. If you’re picking a custom date and time, choose the earliest activity that you want to undo. When you pick an activity, all other activities that happened following that are chosen automatically.
  1. When you’re ready to restore your library, click Restore to undo all the activities you selected. Your library will be restored to its original form prior the first activity you selected. If you change your mind about the restore you just did, you can choose Restore this library to undo the restore by picking the restore action you just did.

Limitations and troubleshooting

  • Only site owners can begin a restore. Anyone using the library will see a notice while the restore is in progress.
  • Deleted files are irretrievable once they’ve been removed from the site collection recycle bin— either by manual delete or by clearing the recycle bin.
  • If you upload a file or folder again after deleting it, the restore function for that file or folder will be missed.
  • If some files or folders cannot be restored, a log file will be created to record the errors. The file name starts with “RestoreLog” followed by an ID (for example, RestoreLog-e8b977ee-e059-454d-8117-569b380eed67.log). You can share the log file with our technical team to troubleshoot any arising problems.
  • Restore this library is exclusive for the modern experience in SharePoint Online only.

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