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How to Recover Deleted Files From Google Drive

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How to Recover Deleted Files From Google Drive

How to Restore Files From Google Drive

Accidental and intentional file deletion is extremely common among corporate employees. You may have G Suite users who delete a file or number of files only to realize it was not the file or files they assumed.  

Another common scenario is you have your coworkers who perform a Save operation instead of a Save As operation, overwriting valuable data.  As you move your organization to the public cloud storage such as G Suite, what mechanisms are in place to help you recover files that have been deleted or overwritten?  

Let’s take a look at how you can recover deleted files from Google Drive to see how this can be done.

Google Drive Restore

There are native, built-in features when working from Google Drive storage that allow a safety net of sorts when thinking about how to perform a Google Drive recovery to recover deleted items from Google Drive due to the scenarios that are mentioned above.

  • User deletes a file from Google Drive – “Undo” Operation, and Google Drive Trash Restore
  • User overwrites a file, causing data loss – Google Drive Manage Versions functionality

Let’s take a look at both of these mechanisms for recovering data in Google Drive, how they work, and how you can restore data in G Suite.

Google Drive Recovery with “Undo” Operation and Google Drive Trash Restore


When you have an end user who deletes a file in a careless manner, they may unintentionally delete the wrong file, or accidentally delete a file without intending to.  This can obviously lead to data loss without the means to recover. There are a couple of options for Google Drive recovery that allows recovering a file that has been deleted in either of these situations.  In essence, you can perform an “undo delete in Google Drive”.

If you catch the delete action quick enough, there is a “bubble tip” box that pops up in the Google Drive window alerting you to the delete operations and gives you the option to Undo the delete operation.  This essentially moves the file from the Google Drive Trash back to the original location.

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Performing the UNDO operation to restore a file back to Google Drive that was just deleted

If it has been more than a few moments however since the file is deleted, this window will eventually go away.  At that point, you will have to navigate to the Google Drive Trash folder and then restore the file from there.

To restore items from the Google Drive Trash folder, navigate to Trash under My Drive and right-click on the file that was deleted.  This will open a context menu with two options – Restore and Delete forever.  To recover the file, choose the Restore option.  This will return the file back to its original location.

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Restoring items from the Google Drive Trash

Google Drive Restore Using  Google Drive Manage Versions


There is another built-in feature for Google Drive data recovery that allows you to recover data that may have been overwritten.  Accidentally overwriting data is a scenario that happens often when you perform a Save operation unintentionally or to the wrong file.  Without saving a new version of the file, a Save operation overwrites the data that may have been changed or deleted before the Save operation is performed.

When right-clicking on a file housed in Google Drive, you will see the Manage versions option in the context menu.  

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Manage versions allows restoring an alternate version of a file

After clicking the Manage Versions option, the Manage Versions dialog box opens showing the available versions of the file that can be restored.  The date and timestamp of the file will be displayed allowing the user to see the timeframe of the version captured.  When the version is decided upon, click the three “dots” next to the file and select Download.  This will allow you to download the version of the file selected.  This will allow accessing the data that was overwritten by an unexpected file save.  

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Manage versions keeps alternate file versions that can be downloaded

Third-Party Backup Still Needed for Google Drive


Are you fully covered in G Suite by the methods described above in all cases of data loss in G Suite?  No. Any file that is permanently deleted is gone forever without a mechanism or data protection solution in place that allows recovering from a backup of the data needing to be recovered.  

Spinbackup provides extraordinarily powerful backups of Google Drive data with automated backups, featuring unlimited restore points of your data.  With Spinbackup, even if a user permanently deletes the file or other data from Google Drive, Spinbackup can recover it. It does this quickly, securely, and intelligently.  

By using the native features provided by Google as well as the protection afforded by Spinbackup, users, and organizations never again need to worry about data loss in their Google Drive environment!

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