Restoring a deleted file

Sometimes you may need to recover files that you have accidentally deleted. You can use the previous versions on all network share drives to get them back (within a day or so of their deletion).  

However the file you deleted must have been on the network long enough to have been backed up.  Backups are made 12.02pm and 7.00 am daily.  So if you create a file between these times and then accidentally delete it, there will be no backup to restore.

Deleted files cannot be recovered from removable media such as pen drives.


How it works
Think of previous versions as being much like a scheduled backup or point-in-time “snapshot” of all network drives (H: or S:). A process runs on the server at scheduled times (currently twice daily, 7 am and 12 noon.) and looks at versions of your files. If the file has changed since the previous snapshot, a new backup of the file is kept. If the file has not changed since the previous snapshot there is no need to back it up. Previous Versions will only ever keep one copy of each version of the file, using what is known as “single-instancing”. If you ever need to recover a particular version of the file, you can restore it from snapshot and take the file back to that point in time.

Please note: The server cannot hang on to old files forever, so be sure to recover them within a day or two. There is storage set aside on the server for these files, however it’s not limitless.

How to access the previous versions feature 

You need to know what has been deleted and where it was stored when deleted. Browse to the location in your H: or S: drive from which the file or folder was deleted. Right-click this folder and select “Properties”. In the Properties window, you then select the previous versions tab.

Depending on whether you have selected a folder or file, you will see two slightly different lists here. There will be a folder snapshot for every scheduled 7 a.m./12 noon snapshot, but there will only be file snapshots listed for those that have changed.

There are 3 buttons that give you 3 slightly different ways of accessing the old version of the file/folder. First, navigate to the snapshot time in the list that you wish to view/copy/restore and then click one of the buttons:

The open button will open the snapshot on the server. If the snapshot is of a file, it will actually open the file for read-only viewing, at which point you could use ‘Save As’ to save the file to a new location.  If the snapshot is of a folder, you will be able to browse around the folder in another Windows Explorer window. You can also open and copy files from this view.

The copy button will let you specify another path to restore the snapshot. This obviously allows you to retrieve the files and not overwrite the originals (which may come in handy!).

The restore button will overwrite the existing file/folder in your network drive with the one from the snapshot. The Previous Versions client will warn you before doing so (as you will lose any changes made since the most recent snapshot).

Be careful when restoring an entire folder, as this will overwrite all files within that folder to the version you are restoring (with the exception of files not in the snapshot). Unless you are certain you wish to do this, I would stick with the copy feature to restore the folder to another location, or restore each file individually. If you make a mistake though, you can always reinstate the most recent snapshot!