Google Account Recovery for Deleted Accounts: What Are Your Options?

It’s nice to be able to recover a Google Drive file if you accidentally deleted it – but what if you deleted an entire account? This could happen if, as in Mat Honan’s case, you were hacked and your account was deleted for reasons unknown. Or, as our friends at the Alzheimer’s Association told us recently, IT could routinely delete a former volunteer’s or employee’s account when they leave only to find later that there was a crucial bit of information in the account that was needed. (They received a call from their executive director one day about this very scenario.)

So what are your options for recovering your Google Apps account? If you start searching for Google account recovery or Google account restore, you may come across this:

 Google Account Recovery Message

 It’s not clear how long that “limited window of time” is – a few hours? A day? What happens if that window has closed? The account could be gone forever.

If you’ve used Spanning Backup to back up the account in question, we’ll store that account data for 30 days after you delete the account. Thirty days is a nice, long, specific window of time to work with! Here’s how Google account recovery works in Spanning Backup:

  • Sign in as the admin and make sure a license is assigned to the account.

  • Impersonate the user by logging into their account.

Impersonating a User

  • Click Export Account and choose whether you’d like to export Gmail, Drive, Calendars, Contacts or Sites (they’re all checked by default).

Choose what to export

  • Once your request is submitted, you’ll see a notification letting you know that the exported file will be emailed to you and telling you how to track the progress.

Google account export instructions

  • Once the export is complete, you’ll get an email from Spanning with a link to the zip file download.

Downloading your exported Google account

Once you’ve exported the account, you can search it locally for whatever piece of information you need. Or you can turn it over to a lawyer for eDiscovery if that’s the situation you’re in. Or as a best practice, you can archive it so that it will always be available.

Your ability to recover data from Google should be wide-ranging, from a single file or folder that you may have accidentally deleted to an entire account. When you’re evaluating a backup and recovery solution, make sure it can accomplish all of these tasks with equal ease.