Filter the recycle bin in SharePoint, and restore with PnP/PowerShell

Learn how to retrieve deleted items with PnP PowerShell, filter the recycle bin, and restore them

The challenge

If you have a site with a lot of activity, your have probably tried that a user have deleted an item/file that they were not supposed to.

There is a recycle bin available for your site, but the filter / search options are limited.

I have sites with 50+ users, and between 100-300 files are deleted everyday (on purpose with automations), but if a user has deleted an item by accident, it can be hard to locate that specific item/file.


We can use PowerShell 7 and the PnP PowerShell scripts to collect the deleted items, and thereafter filter the list

If you have not all ready installed PnP PowerShell, your should do that by following this guide

Connect to your site

First we need to connect to our site by writing the following in PowerShell 7

connect-PnPOnline -interactive

If you don’t get any error after you have logged in, you are now connected to your site

Getting the Recycle Bin list

To get the list of deleted items, we are going to use the script that is documented here

Your can run this command directly


Or if you have many items, you can set a row limit by writing

Get-PnPRecycleBinItem -RowLimit 1000

Here is (a part of) the results from my site

Filtering your list

From the recycle bin we are getting the following values returned

  • Title
  • Id
  • ItemType
  • LeafName
  • DirName

To begin filtering the list in PowerShell, we will first create a variable by writing

$recyclebin = Get-PnPRecycleBinItem -RowLimit 1000

Now we have created a variable called $recyclebin which now have the list of items - you can test it, by just writing $recyclebin in your console


Our next command is going to filter our variable ($recyclebin)

$recyclebin | Where-Object {$_.ItemType -eq "ListItem"}

This command is taking the variable $recyclebin and asking it to return all objects where ItemType equals ListItem

We can shorten the list even further by adding more filters

$recyclebin | Where-Object {$_.ItemType -eq "ListItem" -and $_.DirName -eq "sites/Blog/Lists/Settings"}

There are many examples of how you can filter your list, and you can find a lot more here

In my example here I am down from 200 elements, to only 2

Restoring your item

After you have located the deleted item you want to restore, we can restore it by using another PnP PowerShell command

We are going to use Restore-PnPRecycleBinItem which is documented here

One of the objects that is returned is a unique Id, so we can restore a specific item by writing

Restore-PnPRecycleBinItem -Identity 3361f787-99e7-4c06-9555-4f15f73c64bc

We will confirm by writing Y

If I run the Get-PnPRecycleBinItem command again, and filter my items, I will only have one item left, since the second item has been restored

Now you know how to find and restore items that have been deleted by accident - are you ready to become a hero among your colleagues? ;)

PS. This is a very good example of why the Title column is a good idea to use when you are designing your site

Happy restoring

See also