Partly cloudy: Microsoft 365 backup myth two

Man with fingers crossed

Microsoft backs up everything, so I don't have to!

This one is actually partly true.

Microsoft backs up your Office 365 data every 12 hours with a 14 day retention.  So in theory, if you lost a file today, you could potentially recover it up to 2 weeks from now. 

There’s a problem though - and it's a huge problem.

Microsoft have designed this mechanism for disaster recovery, specifically their disaster recovery. They take these backups so that they can restore their data centres in the event of catastrophe – not because they want to be responsible for your data. Your data, your responsibility!

You cannot use these backups to restore a few files or emails - no matter how important they may be to you.

If you are adamant that you need to use these backups to restore your lost data, you must first raise a support ticket with Microsoft. They will then restore the entire SharePoint site or OneDrive account from their backup.  When they do this, they will overwrite everything that is currently there - including the things you want to keep. 

It's the equivalent of bulldozing your house and building it from scratch when all you want is to replace a window.

Even if you were to accept this, you would be correct in thinking that this process will take some time and will be completely out of your control.  After the recovery you then have to spend a huge amount of time somehow re-updating everything that was overwritten by the restore process.  Who wants that hassle?


In summary: Microsoft DO backup everything.  But not for you.  You’re still responsible for your data and your own backups.

Return to the Microsoft 365 index post to learn more


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