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.

  • You must use your Outlook.com account to keep it active. This means you must sign in to your Outlook.com inbox at least once in a one-year period, otherwise we will close your Outlook.com inbox for you and all email will be deleted. You must sign in at least once in a five-year period to keep your Microsoft account and associated Services active. If you don’t sign in during this time, we will assume your Microsoft account is inactive and will close it for you. Read more.

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. To recover all messages, select the circle by Deleted Items and then select Restore.

      Outlook.com Delete dialog

      Notes: 

      • You can only select all if all messages are visible. This is to prevent accidental actions on messages you cannot see.

      • CTRL+CLICK selects individual messages, SHIFT+CLICK selects everything between two clicks.

      • 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.

    • 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.

    Notes: 

    • You can only select all if all messages are visible. This is to prevent accidental actions on messages you cannot see.

    • CTRL+CLICK selects individual messages, SHIFT+CLICK selects everything between two clicks.

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

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

  2. Select Message handling.

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

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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