deleted files

How to restore deleted records in ServiceNow

Accidentally deleting records in your ServiceNow environment can be, in a word, stressful. However, the good news is that those “deleted” records are not entirely lost. Instead, they are typically moved from their original table and recorded as deleted elsewhere in the system. Just like most systems have a trash folder, ServiceNow does as well. The platform provides several built-in tools to help restore access to these records, ensuring that accidental deletions don’t result in permanent data loss. It’s important to note that the files must be recovered within 7 days or they may be permanently lost. Below, we have outlined three effective methods to recover accidentally deleted records in ServiceNow.

Sometimes ServiceNow records get deleted unintentionally. As harrowing as it can be, dealing with the recovery of deleted records is a circumstance that is likely to be encountered at some point while working with a ServiceNow instance. Luckily, the “deleted” records are typically not genuinely erased from existence but removed from their originating table and recorded as having been deleted elsewhere. When restoration is necessary, one can generally navigate to the Deleted Records module and manually restore the unintentionally deleted records.

Recent versions of ServiceNow provide several means of undoing unintentional deletes. Below we help share three methods you can employ to restore deleted records quickly.  

Method #1: Delete Recovery Module

Since the London release, the Delete Recovery Module, a part of the Rollback & Recovery tools, features rollback contexts that allow batches of deleted records to be quickly restored. You can recover deleted records with the following steps:

1. Access the Delete Recovery module (Rollback & Recovery > Delete Recovery)
2. You’ll be presented with a list of instances of record deletions. Locate the one that represents the records you want to restore. It may help to sort by “Created.”

The highlighted record in the above screenshot is the one we want.

3. After accessing the entry you’re interested in, you’re presented with a form that features information about the deleted records, including a related list that details them. To restore the records, click the “Rollback…” UI action. Type in “yes” to confirm your intentions.

4. You will see a dialog box that shows the progress of the recovery action. Once it completes, click “Close.”

5. Your records should now be restored. This process will restore cascade-deleted records as well. This should also restore references. Note: Records will be available to be restored this way for seven days after deletion.

Method #2: Deleted Records Table

1. Navigate to Deleted Records (System Definition > Deleted Records)

2. Locate the record you want to restore.

3. Click the “Undelete Record” button.

Upon completing these steps, the record will be restored to the original table. Note: Cascade-deleted records can only be restored for seven days after being deleted. After this time, records can still be restored, but references will only be restored if the host table audits deletions.

Also, this procedure will not allow the restoration of non-“data” records. For example, you can restore user, CMDB, asset, location, incident, and other such records with this method. You can’t restore things like Business Rules and UI Policies (Application Files) this way. Such records can otherwise be recovered, however, using the following method.

Method #3: sys_metadata_delete

1. Type sys_metadata_delete.list into the filter navigator and hit ‘Enter’ (or use .LIST at the end to create a new window.)

2. Locate the record you want to restore.

3. Click the “Restore File” (Note: Files deleted due to the deletion of this file will be restored as well.)

By utilizing one of these three methods, you should be able to restore essentially any of the unintentionally deleted records, provided that you recognize the issue within seven days. Remember, after seven days, once a record is deleted, it cannot be restored.

Safeguard your data with ServiceNow’s recovery tools

By utilizing one of these three methods, you should be able to recover essentially any deleted records, if you handle the issue within seven days. ServiceNow’s recovery tools help make sure that accidental deletions don’t become permanent losses. Always remember – timely recognition and action are critical to the successful recovery of your data.


While the above technical tip has been provided with care and consideration, it’s important to acknowledge that individual circumstances may vary. Always ensure compatibility and feasibility within your specific ServiceNow environment before implementing any suggestions. Additionally, back up your data and proceed with caution when making any changes to your instance or workflows. 

As with any change in ServiceNow, make sure you test any changes prior to moving to production.