Unexpected Empty Libraries

In the last few weeks, I’ve had two site owners come to me in a panic when they found a document library frequently used by their team was unexpectedly EMPTY!

In both cases, none of the site members had “gone into SharePoint” and deleted files. Looking at the site collection recycle bin and the Office 365 Activity Reports in the Office 365 Compliance Center, it wasn’t hard to figure out who had done the delete. And sure enough, neither deletion was done “in SharePoint”. In one case, it was OneDrive, and in the other case, it was Outlook.

In particular, with the “Connect to Outlook” button in the Library tab on the Ribbon in a document library, the user never remembers connecting the library to Outlook, and thought the “emails about the documents” were notifications. He didn’t realize they were the documents themselves, and didn’t know the impact of deleting them in Outlook.

Furthermore, it’s easier to walk the user through restoring them than me doing it because the admin’s site collection recycle bin view shows all deleted documents, so selecting just the ones that I need to restore is very tedious. When a user visit the site-level recycle bin, they only see the files they have deleted. Having the user select all and restore all the ones they deleted is much easier.

Unlike most SharePoint Lists, the column headers in the Recycle Bin allow for sorting BUT NOT FILTERING. There is paging forward, but not backward.

Possible solutions include additional user training and granting fewer users the right to delete items.