Sub-site Missing in SharePoint but not in Recycle Bin

Posted: February 2, 2018 in Groups, Office 365, SharePoin Online, SharePoint, SharePoint
Tags: , , , ,

A client called in a panic because a sub-site was no longer showing on the link bar, in site contents, and no links to documents there worked any longer.  Vastly puzzling was that there was nothing in the recycle bin related to the sub-site or any of the files.  A search was ambiguous:  it would autocomplete in the search bar but then not find anything.

The real clue came from using a direct URL to get to the site which gave a 403 Access Denied error.  Why, I wondered, would there not be a site not found message from the browser?

It took a bit of snooping to find the problem, but here’s what to do.

  1. Go to the Admin Center in Office 365.
  2. Go to the Exchange Admin Center and choose the recipients tab, then choose the groups tab inside that.
  3. Scroll down through the groups and look for any that have been deleted.  Restore them one by one and see which one(s) bring access back.
  4. Done!

Because the sub-site was never deleted it wasn’t in the recycle bin and more importantly nothing was lost.  No one could get to it any longer was the only issue.  Restoring the groups fixed that.

Thee are probably two takeaways from this:

  • Limit administrators who might delete a group so that inadvertent deletion doesn’t happen;
  • Perhaps give an explicit full control permission to any sub-sites that have inheritance disabled on them so at least one admin can still get in.

The third takeaway might be to remember this tip.

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