Recover lost and modified files from Active Directory

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2017

Author: Jean-Luc Vermette Castonguay, Computing Analyst

Has your heart ever skipped a beat when a file you have been working on disappears from a network drive? Have your palms ever started to sweat when you accidently save over an existing document … that you need to present in 10 minutes? Don’t panic, all is not lost! Follow this simple guide to recover lost or modified files and folders from the University of Ottawa’s Active Directory (AD).

Typically, a uOttawa AD account provides personal storage space (mapped H: drive) and access to shared network resources (mapped P: drive). All full-time employees, professors and registered uOttawa students have an AD account. If you are not certain that you have an AD account, contact the Service Desk at extension 6555 or complete a Service Desk Request. Note: all students using uOttawa Gmail accounts also have an AD account.

How to recover lost data from a Shared Drive

Our current Active Directory infrastructure allows you to recover a file/folder from as far back as 30 days (if you require data recovery further back than 30 days, an incident will need to be opened with Information Technology).

  1. Select the network drive and then the folder that contained the data. Right click on the folder, select Properties, and open the Previous Versions tab in the subsequent window.
    Active Directory recover files, step 1
  2. From this tab, you will see a list of the previous versions of the selected folder. Note: these versions are snapshots of the entire folder in question, containing all of the documents within that folder as they appeared at the recorded date and time.
  3. Select the date and time at which you believe your deleted (or modified) item resided, and click Open to view the contents.
    Active Directory recover files, step 3
  4. Once you locate your file, you can restore that particular item as opposed to the entire directory.
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