Restore deleted email messages in Outlook.com

When you accidentally delete an email message from your Outlook.com email, you can recover those items if they're still in your Deleted Items or Junk Email folder, and in some cases you can even recover items after the Deleted Items folder is emptied.

Notes: 

  • Items removed from your Deleted Items folder are recoverable for 30 days.

  • Email is automatically removed from the Junk Email folder after 30 days and is not recoverable.

  • If you don't see the deleted messages you want to recover, they have probably been permanently removed from the Deleted Items folder or Junk Email folder. We don't recommend that you use either of these folders to store your messages. If you want to store your messages in folders other than your Inbox, see Working with message folders.

  • It's not possible to recover messages deleted from child accounts. This way, parents can be confident that when they delete messages from their children's accounts, they stay deleted.

  • To keep your Outlook.com account active, you must sign in to the account at least once every 365 days. After 365 days of inactivity, your email will be deleted and cannot be recovered.

Choose your version for instructions

The instructions are slightly different depending on whether or not you're using the Outlook.com beta. Choose which version of Outlook.com you're using to see the instructions that apply to you.

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

A screenshot of the top left corner of the Outlook.com beta mailbox

See Instructions for the Outlook.com beta.

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

A screenshot of the top left corner of the classic Outlook.com mailbox

See Instructions for classic Outlook.com.

Instructions for the Outlook.com beta

Recover email that’s still in your Deleted Items or Junk Email folder

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.

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

    Note: Contents of deleted folders are only visible once you expand the Deleted Items folder:

    Screenshot showing expanding deleted items 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

Recover email that’s been removed from your Deleted Items folder

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.

Stop Outlook.com from emptying your Deleted Items folder each time you sign out

Outlook.com 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.com

Recover email that’s still in your Deleted Items or Junk Email folder

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.

    Note: Contents of deleted folders are only visible once you expand the Deleted Items folder:

    Screenshot showing expanding deleted items folder.

  2. Do one of the following:

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

      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 recovered by selecting Move to and choosing a folder that's not been deleted.

      • To select all messages, press CTRL + A to select the current window, then click Select everything.

      A screenshot of the Recover button

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

      A screenshot of the Not junk button

Recover email that’s been removed from your Deleted Items folder

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.com window, select the Deleted Items folder.

  2. At the top of your message list, select Recover deleted items.

    A screenshot of the Recover Deleted Items button.

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

    A screenshot of the Recover button.

  4. Select OK.

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.

Stop Outlook.com from emptying your Deleted Items folder each time you sign out

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

  1. Go to Settings Settings > Options.

    A screenshot of the Settings button.

  2. Select Message options, and unselect Empty the Deleted Items folder when I sign out.

Still need help?

Community Forum button Contact Support button

See Also

Help keep spam and junk email out of your Inbox in Outlook.com

Deal with abuse, phishing, or spoofing in Outlook.com

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