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Recover Deleted Email in Microsoft Outlook from Any Folder

Microsoft Outlook Icon :: groovyPost.comRecovering Deleted Items/Emails from any Folder in Outlook 2007 is a trick that’s been around for a long time.  I think the first time I found it was back in the Outlook 2003 days.  It’s a very practical tip because if you ever MOVE an email from your Inbox or other Folder, the only way to recover it is using the Recover Deleted Items command.

Unfortunately, however, that command is not enabled by default on any folder EXCEPT the Deleted Items folder.

So, as you can imagine, this tip can be a life saver!  BUT, before I review the How-To, let’s first go over the basics around deleting email in Outlook.  Yeah yeah, I know…  what could be simpler than deleting email?   True, it’s a complex task but, a lot of people honestly don’t fully understand it so let’s spend a paragraph to review it quickly.

Three Different Ways to Delete Email in Outlook

Outlook 2007 Screenshot explaining that deleted items are moved to the deleted items folder

1st Method

Let’s say you’re reading an email in your Inbox.  If you Delete the mail by Pressing the Delete Key on the keyboard or Highlight the Email, then Click the X icon up in the Outlook Toolbar, the email deletes.  Well, not really.

When an email gets deleted in Outlook, it just moves that email to the Deleted Items Folder where you can go in and recover if you delete an email by accident.  To “finish” the job, just Delete the email again in the Deleted Items folder or Click Tools, Empty Deleted Items Folder.  This action will permanently delete everything sitting in the Deleted Items Folder (well kind of – I’ll talk more about this later).


2nd Method

Some people (me) don’t want useless email (that I’ve already deleted once) cluttering up their mailbox and using up their Quota space on the mailbox server AND, I don’t want to spend time emptying my Deleted Items folder (Recycle Bin for Outlook).  So, to permanently delete something from the Inbox (or any other folder in Outlook) simply hold down the Shift key and Press Delete (or Click the X icon on the Outlook Toolbar).  If you did it correctly you would get the following prompt asking you – ARE YOU SURE?

Outlook Confirmation Box to permanently delete an email item

If you click YES, the email will be permanently deleted and NOT moved to the Deleted Items folder.


3rd Method

The last method of removing an email item in Outlook is MOVING email from your Mailbox to a file.  When you MOVE an email from anywhere in your Outlook account to a PST, it essentially uses the Permanently Delete feature (from the 2nd Method above) then copies the email to your PST file.  So, if you ever go looking for the email, it will be GONE unless you use the steps below to recover Permanently deleted emails from your Deleted Items and other folders in Outlook.

Ok, now that you are all EXPERTS in how Outlook Deletes email <phew> let’s get right into the GUTS of this!


How To Recover Permanently Deleted Email Items From the Outlook 2007 Deleted Items Folder

Even if you empty your Deleted Items folder, you can still recover the deleted email for a short period (the exact duration depends on how you configure the Exchange server).


Click your Deleted Items folder, Click Tools, Click Recover Deleted Items

Image on How-To Recover Deleted Items in Outlook 2007


Click the Email you want to recover, Click Recover Selected Items Icon (as shown below) to retrieve the email

Select which emails you wish to recover from Deleted Items


Note – If you click the first Icon, it will select ALL stored emails in the “Dumpster Bin” or Deleted Items archive.  You can then either choose Recover Deleted Items or press the X Icon to purge them all off the server.  Security Paranoid users (or ppl just trying to cover their tracks) use this method to delete all traces of emails off a server.


After the recovery, those recovered emails will show up in your Deleted Items folder again.

Permanently Deleted Email showing it was recovered in Deleted Items Folder


Recover Deleted Items from All Folders

Recovering Permanently Deleted Items from your Deleted Items folder (that sounds funny) is simple because the feature is ON by default in Outlook 2000, 2003 and Outlook 2007.  Unfortunately, this default is not the case for all other folders.  This default setting is important to know. Because, if you’re like me, and you Press Shift-Delete on emails in your Inbox, Sent Items or other folders, the email item will remain there until the file is purged Permanently by the server (as mentioned above, this period varies depending on the Exchange Server config.)

So what we must do is quickly make a Registry change on your computer to Enable the feature, and then the process will work the same way as it did above in Steps 1 and 2.  With that said, let’s get right into it.

Note: If you’re not comfortable modifying your registry Steps 3 – 6, just click to download a .reg file.  Save the file to your Hard Drive and Launch it.  It will automatically update your registry for you and configure all folders so you can Recover Deleted items from them. IE users can just Click the Link above, but Firefox Users might need to Right Click the link above and Click Save Link As…


Close Outlook, Click Start Button and Type Regedt32 and Press Enter Key to open the Windows Registry Editor

Windows Vista Launch regedt32 from Search Bar


Browse to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options

Click Options Tree/Folder (as shown below), Edit, New, DWORD Value

Windows Registry Editor enabling email recovery in Inbox for Outlook 2007 Dword


Type the name DumpsterAlwaysOn, Double Click the new Entry and type a 1 to set the value

Windows Registry Editor enabling email recovery in Inbox for Outlook 2007


Again: If you’re not comfortable modifying your registry Steps 3 – 6, just click to download a .reg file, save it to your PC and run it.


Displaying Recover Deleted Items feature in the Inbox of OutlookAll done!  Close the Windows Registry Editor and Open Microsoft Outlook.

If you click on your Sent Items or your Inbox, you will notice you have a new command under Tools menu item as shown from the screen snip to the right.

The next time you do a Shift-Delete on an email and Permanently delete it, or move a file from your Inbox directly to a and need to recover it for some reason, you CAN!  Just Click on your Inbox, Tools, Recover Deleted Items!  VERY Groovy indeed!


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