Recovering deleted records in ServiceNow

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

Recent versions of ServiceNow provide several means of undoing unintentional deletes.

Method #1: Delete Recovery Module

Available 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 restored easily. You can recover deleted records with the following steps:

1. Access the Delete Recovery module (Rollback & RecoveryDelete 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’ll be presented with a form that features information about the deleted records, including a related lists that lists 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 DefinitionDeleted 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 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 for 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 unintentionally deleted records, provided that you recognize the issue within seven days.