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 folder, and in some cases, you can even recover items after the Deleted Items folder is emptied.

Recover email that’s still in your Deleted Items folder

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:

  1. In the left pane of the Outlook.com window, select Deleted Items.

    A screenshot of the Deleted Items folder

  2. To restore a message to your Inbox, right-click the item and then select Move > Inbox.

    Recover and move an email to your inbox

  3. To restore a message to a different folder, right-click the item, and select Move > More. Select a folder location, and then select Move.

Recover email that’s no longer in 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 Deleted Items.

    A screenshot of 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 Purge 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.

Notes: 

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

  • Email is automatically removed from the Junk Email folder after 14 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.

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

Outlook may empty your Deleted Items folder each time you sign out (not exit). To change this:

  1. Go to Settings The Settings button > Options.

    A screenshot of the Settings button.

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

Purge your Deleted Items folder

For increased security, you can also purge items from your Deleted Items folder to remove them completely.

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

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

    A screenshot of the Recover Deleted Items button.

  3. A dialog box opens with the list of deleted items. Choose the items you want to purge, and select Purge > OK.

    A screenshot of the Purge button.

    Important: Purged items can never be recovered.

Still need help?

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See Also

Restore deleted email messages in Outlook on the web

Recover deleted items or email in Outlook Web App

Recover deleted items in Outlook for Windows

Recover deleted items in Outlook 2010

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