Restore a deleted object from a SharePoint Recycle Bin

When you delete most objects in SharePoint, they’re moved to one of two Recycle Bins: one bin for the site or workspace, and the other for the entire site collection. The Recycle Bins provide a safety net from which deleted objects can be restored.

This article explains how you can restore SharePoint objects from the Recycle Bins. (To learn about permanently deleting objects from the Recycle Bins, see the article Delete an object from a SharePoint Recycle Bin.)

Important:  To restore sites, workspaces, and site collections directly (instead of from a backup), you must be a site collection administrator working in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 with Service Pack 1. (This requirement does not apply to restoring objects from inside of a site or workspace — lists, libraries, folders, Document Sets, and the files and other items stored in them.)

What we mean by an ‘object’    In this article, we use the word object as a generic term for any entity in SharePoint — a file or list item, a folder or Document Set, a list or library, a site, a site collection, and so forth. Most types of objects can contain other objects. (A site can contain lists and libraries, for example, and a library can contain folders, files, and Document Sets.) When we talk about an object’s ‘container’, we just mean the object that contains it — which may itself be contained inside of yet another object.

Restore item, list, site, or site collection

1. Restore a file, item, folder, or Document Set.

Restore a list or library.

Restore a site or workspace.

Restore an entire site collection.

Important: 

  • Restoring entire site collections    When you delete an entire site collection, it’s not moved to either of the Recycle Bins, but if you have SharePoint Server 2010 with Service Pack 1, it might still be possible to restore it directly. To learn how a site collection administrator can restore an entire site collection by using Windows PowerShell, see the TechNet article titled “Restore a deleted site collection”.

  • If you don’t see a Recycle Bin    The Recycle Bin might have been disabled. Talk with your farm or server administrator.

  • SharePoint, not Windows    This article applies to the Recycle Bins in SharePoint, which are different from the Recycle Bin in Windows. For information about the Recycle Bin in Windows, search Windows Help.

This section provides an overview of how the two types of SharePoint Recycle Bins work.

Different types of objects go to different places when you first delete them in SharePoint:

Objects deleted from inside of a site or workspace   
When you delete a list, library, folder, Document Set, file, file version, or list item from inside of a site or workspace:

  • The deleted object is moved to the Recycle Bin for that site or workspace (also called the first-stage Recycle Bin or end user Recycle Bin), where it remains for a set number of days or until you delete it manually. Then the object is moved to the Site Collection Recycle Bin (also called the second-stage Recycle Bin or Site Collection Administration Recycle Bin).

  • In the Site Collection Recycle Bin, the deleted object again remains for a set number of days or until you delete it manually. This time, though, the object is deleted permanently.
    (By default, each of the Recycle Bins keeps deleted items for 30 days; but this setting can be changed in Central Administration. If you have questions, talk with your farm or server administrator.)

Deleted sites and workspaces   
When you delete an entire site or workspace, it’s moved directly to the Site Collection Recycle Bin. (The Recycle Bin for the individual site or workspace is no longer available at that point, because it too has been deleted.)

Important:  This is true only in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 with Service Pack 1. In earlier versions of SharePoint, a deleted site or workspace is not moved to either of the Recycle Bins.

Deleted site collections   
When you delete an entire site collection, it’s moved to another location altogether — because the Site Collection Recycle Bin is deleted along with the site collection.

Contributors, owners, and site collection administrators can access the Recycle Bin for an individual site or workspace, and can restore or delete objects from it. Under the SharePoint default settings:

  • A contributor or owner can view, restore, and delete only objects that she or he has deleted from the site or workspace.

  • Site collection administrators, using their own separate access, can view, restore, and delete all objects.

Under the SharePoint default settings, only site collection administrators have access to the Site Collection Recycle Bin, so only they can view, restore, and delete objects there.

Following you’ll find a graphic version of the basic flow for both Recycle Bins, as well as a table of who can do what in deleting and restoring. Both are based on the default settings in SharePoint.

Flow of objects between site and Recycle Bins

Who Can Do What?

Deleting and restoring

Contributor

Owner

Site Collection Administrator

Inside of a site or workspace

Delete objects stored in lists or libraries

X

X

X

Delete whole lists and libraries

X

X

Delete the entire site or workspace

X

X

In the Recycle Bin for a site or workspace

View/restore/delete objects that they deleted *

X

X

X

View/restore/delete all in-site objects

X

In the Site Collection Recycle Bin

View/restore/delete all in-site objects

X

View/restore/delete sites and workspaces **

X

When a site collection has been deleted

Restore site collections (using PowerShell) **

X

* The exceptions are sites and workspaces, which are moved directly to the Site Collection Recycle Bin.

** Direct restoration of sites, workspaces, and site collections requires SharePoint Server with Service Pack 1.

This section covers the restoration of objects from inside of a site or workspace. If you want to restore an entire site or workspace, go to the Restore an entire site or workspace section in this article. And to learn how a site collection administrator can restore an entire site collection by using Windows PowerShell, see the TechNet article titled “Restore a deleted site collection”.

First, a few basics about restoring:

  • Securable objects bring all of their contents back with them    When you restore any securable object (any object to which access can be controlled), it is restored with all of the objects that it contained when it was deleted.
    For example    If you restore a list, library, folder, or Document Set, the restored version contains all of the documents and other items that it contained when it was deleted. If you restore a file or other item that has multiple versions, the restored file or item includes all of the versions it contained when it was deleted.

  • Most objects can’t be restored if their container objects aren’t present    If you delete an object and then delete the object that contained it, you must restore the container before you can restore the object.
    For example    If you delete a file and then delete the library in which it was stored, you must restore the library before you can restore the file. If you delete an earlier version of a file and then delete the current version of the file itself, you must restore the file itself before you can restore the earlier version.

  • Exception: An object deleted from a folder can be restored without first restoring the folder    The folder is automatically re-created in its former location, but now contains only the object that you restored. (Alternatively, you can also restore the folder manually from the Recycle Bin, in which case it’s restored with all of the contents that it had when it was deleted.)

Contributors, owners, and site collection administrators can all perform this procedure.

To restore a list, library, folder, Document Set, file, file version, or list item that you yourself deleted:

  1. Click Recycle Bin on the Quick Launch.

    Note:  If you don’t see the Recycle Bin, it might have been disabled. Talk with your farm or server administrator.

  2. Locate the object that you want to restore.

    Note:  If the object isn’t present, it might already have been manually or automatically moved from the site or workspace Recycle Bin to the Site Collection Recycle Bin. For instructions on restoring objects from the Site Collection Recycle Bin, see the following subsection (Restore any deleted object).

  3. Select the check box next to the object that you want to restore, and then click Restore Selection.

Only site collection administrators can perform this procedure.

To restore any deleted object from a Recycle Bin:

  1. Click Recycle Bin on the Quick Launch.

    Note:  If you don’t see the Recycle Bin, it might have been disabled. Talk with your farm or server administrator.

  2. On the Site or Workspace Name Recycle Bin page, above the list of deleted objects, click the Site Collection Recycle Bin link.
    Site Collection Recycle Bin link

  3. On the Site Collection Administration Recycle Bin page, under Select a View, make sure that End user Recycle Bin items is selected.
    End user Recycle Bin items selected

  4. Locate the object that you want to restore.

    Note:  If you don’t see the object, it might already have been manually or automatically moved from the site or workspace Recycle Bin to the Site Collection Recycle Bin. To view the Site Collection Recycle Bin, select the Deleted from end user Recycle Bin view instead. (If you still don’t see the object, it might already have been permanently deleted, either manually or automatically. If you have questions about the automatic deletion settings, talk with your farm or server administrator.)

  5. Select the check box next to the object that you want to restore, and then click Restore Selection.

In previous versions of SharePoint, the only way to restore a deleted site or workspace was to restore it from a backup.

But in SharePoint Server 2010 with Service Pack 1, deleted sites and workspaces are retained in the Site Collection Recycle Bin. From there, a site collection administrator can restore an entire deleted site or workspace directly to its site collection.

Before you restore, you should be aware that:

  • Any content types that are added while a site or workspace is in the Recycle Bin are not added to that site or workspace. As a result, field definitions might not be up to date.

  • Content deployment does not affect a deleted site or workspace in the Recycle Bin. To resolve this issue, run scoped deployment for the site or workspace after you restore it.

  • When update packages are installed, including Microsoft quick fix engineering (QFE) updates, the update packages are not applied to a site or workspace in the Recycle Bin. To resolve this issue, manually upgrade the site collection by using the Upgrade-SPContentDatabase cmdlet on the content database that contains that site collection.

For additional information about the Site Collection Recycle Bin, see one of these two TechNet articles: Configure Recycle Bin settings (SharePoint Server 2010) or Configure Recycle Bin settings (SharePoint Foundation). If you still have questions, talk with your farm or server administrator.

Important:  Only site collection administrators can perform this procedure, and the procedure requires SharePoint Server 2010 with Service Pack 1. (To learn how a site collection administrator can restore an entire site collection by using Windows PowerShell, see the TechNet article titled “Restore a deleted site collection”.)

To restore a deleted site or workspace directly from the Site Collection Recycle Bin:

  1. Click Recycle Bin on the Quick Launch.

    Note:  If you don’t see the Recycle Bin, it might have been disabled. Talk with your farm or server administrator.

  2. On the Site Name Recycle Bin page, above the list of deleted objects, click the Site Collection Recycle Bin link.
    Site Collection Recycle Bin link

  3. On the Site Collection Administration Recycle Bin page, under Select a View, make sure that Deleted from end user Recycle Bin is selected.
    Deleted from end user Recycle Bin selected

  4. Locate the site or workspace that you want to restore.

    Note:  If you don’t see the site or workspace that you want, it might already have been permanently deleted, either manually or automatically. If you have questions about the automatic deletion settings, talk with your farm or server administrator.

  5. Select the check box next to the site or workspace that you want to restore, and then click Restore Selection.

Using Windows PowerShell and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 with Service Pack 1, a site collection administrator can also restore an entire deleted site collection. For the details, see the TechNet article titled “Restore a deleted site collection”.

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