I’m often asked about restoring deleted documents, where the recycle bins are and how long they are kept there for. Hope this post will be of use to some of you.
SharePoint’s powerful document management features provide the end user and administrator ways of recovering deleted items. Items can be deleted accidentally (sometimes without the end user even knowing). Luckily we can go into SharePoint and recover the document before it is lost forever.
Two stage recovery
When a document is first deleted, it goes into the end user recycle bin on the site. The user deleting the item has several days (93 days by default in SharePoint Online) to recover the item themselves.
After that period (or if the item is deleted from the site recycle bin) it then goes into the second-stage recycle bin. The second-stage recycle bin is only accessible by the site collection administrator. There is then another 93 days to recover the item before it is deleted forever! Items in the second-stage recycle bin don’t count towards your site collection quota but items will automatically be deleted if you exceed 200% of your site collection quota (which is unlikely if you make sure your site collection has 1TB of storage).
I’ve created the video below to explain the recovery process from both recycle bins. A great way to find those missing documents which were accidentally deleted by the end user.