Recovering Files

Last updated: March 25, 2024

To be available for restore, a file must have been backed up previously.  We recommend you turn on the Microsoft Office AutoRecover feature in each application (Word, Excel, etc.) to maximize your chances of recovering a file lost the same day.

By policy, UW-IT retains deleted files no longer than 90 days. Files which still exist may have prior versions still available for a longer period.

Recovering Files from the H: and I: Drive

Files can be recovered from the H: and I: drive on a self-service basis. In the top level of the I: Drive is a folder called “snapshots”. Backups are stored in this folder and can be accessed as described below:

  • These files are read-only, and should be copied to your regular directory.
  • They are available at:
    • Your H: drive in I:\snapshots\users\(selected date)\(your UWNetID)
    • Your I: drive in I:\snapshots\groups\(selected date)\(your directory)
  • Note: We have been moving our files off the existing server to a new server and finding snapshots has changed a little bit. If you are unable to locate your file(s) in I:snapshots, please follow these instructions to locate previous file versions:
    1. Find your department folders in I:groups.
    2. Open the folder you wish to find the snapshot(s).
    3. Right click on the folder and on the menu pick list, click on “Properties”.
    4. On the Properties Window, click on the “Previous Versions” tab.
    5. You can then choose the date you wish to view the file shapshot.

Backup Schedule

  • DAILY snapshots are created daily at 7PM. Going backward from today we keep seven DAILY snapshots.
  • WEEKLY snapshots are created every Saturday at 7PM. Going backward from today we keep four WEEKLY snapshots.
  • A full copy of the previous day’s files may not be available until late morning.

Additional Considerations

  • Availability of backups older than four weeks are not guaranteed. If you see a backup folder in snapshots that is older than four weeks, it may be deleted at any time.
  • All available backups are in the snapshots folder. If the file was deleted longer than four weeks ago or is otherwise not in the snapshots folder, we have no other way of recovering it.
Restoring Files from Other File Services

See the Google Drive Help Center topic Find or recover a file.

Note: When a UW Google Apps account expires, all files owned by that account are deleted, including files that were moved to other locations after creation. This feature can result in files unexpectedly disappearing from folders. Unfortunately, our ability to restore a fully expired account is very limited and often it is impossible to recover any files deleted in this way.

See the Microsoft Help topic Empty the recycle bin or restore your files.

Email:   contact or call 206-221-5000.