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Find lost or missing files in OneDrive

Find lost or missing files in OneDrive

If you have lost files or folders on your computer, please follow the steps below. If you are searching using a mobile device, read how to find and work with OneDrive files in Android, iOS, or Windows Phone.

Search for your files on OneDrive.com

  1. Sign in to the OneDrive website at https://www.onedrive.com

  2. Use Search everything to look for your files

    Search everything selection in OneDrive

Check the Recycle bin

When you delete a file in OneDrive from one device, it deletes it from your OneDrive everywhere. And if you move a file from OneDrive to a different location on a device, it removes it from your OneDrive.

Note: OneDrive automatically empties files from the recycle bin if they've been there for 30 days. If you want to keep a file that's in your recycle bin, make sure to restore it within 30 days. 

  1. On the left side of the page, click Recycle bin

    Recycle Bin selection in OneDrive

  2. If you find the item you're looking for, select the item and click  Restore button  Restore at the top of the page.

For more info about restoring files, see Restore deleted files or folders.

Search for your files on another Microsoft account

It might be that you are not logged in to the correct Microsoft account and your files are safely on another OneDrive.

Did you use someone else's computer or account when saving the file? If so, sign out of your OneDrive and sign in again using the other account.

Note: If you’re using OneDrive for Business, you might have accidentally saved your files to your business account instead of your personal account. To check for the files in OneDrive for Business, go to https://portal.office.com/onedrive. If you've lost files in OneDrive for Business, you can also contact your IT department or administrator.

If you still cannot find your files

It may be that a file has not yet synced. Files saved with Office 2016 upload to OneDrive first, and then sync with your local PC. If you’re having trouble syncing Office files, the Office Upload cache system may be interfering with OneDrive sync. Try turning off the related setting in OneDrive settings.

On iOS devices that have photos optimized for iCloud, the photo is not stored on the device and cannot be uploaded to OneDrive. To disable iCloud optimization on your iOS device, tap Settings > iCloud > Photos and uncheck Optimize Storage.

If the OneDrive account has been inactive for 2 years, the files may have been deleted.

Need more help?

Files not found via search or in the OneDrive Recycle bin usually cannot be retrieved. To have someone from support investigate, please provide the following information.

  • The names of the files or folders you are trying to find. If the files are photos/videos, tell us the date you took them.

  • Approximately when you last accessed the files, and on which device (e.g. PC, Android, iPhone)

  • Consent that we can search your file history for you.

If you’ve followed the steps in this article and still need help, email the OneDrive support team.

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