Recover deleted email messages in Outlook on the web

When you accidentally delete an email message in Outlook on the web you can recover the message if it's still in your Deleted Items folder. In some cases, you can even recover items after the Deleted Items folder is emptied.

You can also recover a deleted folder (with all of its messages) if it's still in your Deleted Items folder. Unfortunately, you can't recover a folder that's been permanently deleted. But you can use the steps in this topic to recover messages that were in a folder when it was permanently deleted.

Note: Sign in to Outlook on the web using your Office 365 work or school account.

Choose your version for instructions

The instructions are slightly different depending on whether you're using the new Outlook on the web. Choose which version of Outlook on the web you're using to see the steps that apply to you.

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

Outlook on the Web Beta

See Instructions for the new Outlook on the web.

Outlook on the web

See Instructions for classic Outlook on the web.

Note: If your organization has included its logo in the toolbar, you might see something slightly different than shown above.

Instructions for the new Outlook on the web

When you delete an email message, a contact, a calendar item, or a task, it's moved to the Deleted Items folder. If you don't see a message in the Deleted Items folder, check the Junk Email folder. Contents of deleted folders are only visible once you expand the Deleted Items folder.

  1. In the left pane, select the Deleted Items folder or the Junk Email folder.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Deleted Items folder: Select the message you want to recover, and select Restore.

      Notes: 

      • You can't restore messages that have been deleted from your Deleted Items folder.

      • Messages that were in a deleted folder can only be restored by selecting Move to and choosing a folder that's not been deleted.

      A screenshot of the Restore button

    • Junk Email folder: Select the message you want to recover, and select Not junk.

      A screenshot of the Not junk button

If you can't find an item in the Deleted Items folder, the next place to look is the Recoverable Items folder.

  1. In the left pane, select the Deleted Items folder.

  2. At the top of the message list, select Recover items deleted from this folder.

    A screenshot of the button to recover items deleted from this folder

  3. Select the items you want to recover, and select Restore.

Where do recovered items go?    The items you select to recover will be restored to their original folders when possible. If an original folder no longer exists, items will be restored as follows:

  • Messages go to your inbox.

  • Calendar items go to your calendar.

  • Contacts go to your contacts folder.

  • Tasks go to your tasks folder.

Outlook on the web may empty your Deleted Items folder each time you sign out. To change this:

  1. At the top of the page, select Settings Settings > View all Outlook settings.

  2. Select Message handling.

  3. Under When signing out, uncheck the box next to Empty my deleted items folder.

Instructions for classic Outlook on the web

When you delete an email message, a contact, a calendar item, or a task, it's moved to the Deleted Items folder in your mailbox. If you're trying to find a message that was deleted, the Deleted Items folder is the first place to look. If the message is there, here's how to recover it:

In your email folder list, select Deleted Items and do one of the following:

  • To restore a message to its original folder, right-click the item and then select Recover.

    A screenshot shows the Recover option selected after an email message is selected in the Deleted Items folder.

  • To restore a message to a different folder, right-click the item, and select Move > Move to a different folder. Next, specify a folder location, and then select Move.

Tip: If you delete a folder, it's moved to the Deleted Items folder and appears as a subfolder. To recover it (and all the items it contains), right-click the deleted folder, click Move, and then select a folder to move it to.

If you can't find an item in the Deleted Items folder, the next place to look is the Recoverable Items folder.

  1. In the left pane of the Outlook on the web window, select the Deleted Items folder.

  2. At the bottom of the window, select Recover deleted items.

    A screenshot of the Recover deleted items button

  3. Select the item you want to recover, and then select Recover from either the toolbar

    A screenshot shows the Delete and Recover options on the Outlook on the web toolbar.

    or from the Reading pane.

    A screenshot shows the Recover option selected in the Reading pane.

  4. In Recover items, select OK.

    A screenshot shows the Recover items dialog box that describes that items selected to recover will be restored to their original folders when possible.

Where do recovered items go?    The items you select to recover will be restored to their original folders when possible. If an original folder no longer exists, items will be restored as follows:

  • Messages go to your Inbox.

  • Calendar items go to your Calendar.

  • Contacts go to your Contacts folder.

  • Tasks go to your Tasks folder.

Note: You also can delete items that are shown in the Recover deleted items dialog box. Select the item, and then select Delete. If you delete an item, you can't use Recover deleted items to get it back.

When you delete a message, it’s first moved to the Deleted Items folder. You can let messages stay there until you remove them or you can set Outlook on the web to automatically empty your Deleted Items folder each time you sign out.

To empty the Deleted Items folder when you sign out:

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Mail > Options, which opens the Options panel on the left.

  2. Under Mail, select Message options.

  3. Select the Empty the Deleted Items folder when I sign out check box, and then select Save.

    A screenshot shows the Message Options dialog box where the check box is selected for Empty the Deleted Items folder when I sign out.

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Related topics

Still need help?

The information in this article applies only to Outlook on the web. If you're not using Outlook on the web, choose from the following topics for help:

Note: If you're not sure which version of Outlook you're using, see: What version of Outlook do I have?

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