Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Recover your deleted email in Microsoft Outlook

How many times have you accidentally deleted an email you needed to look at just one more time? "No big deal," you say to yourself, "it's in my deleted items folder." Then your stomach drops as you realize you just emptied your deleted items folder or you used the SHIFT+DELETE command to skip having to empty it out of your deleted items folder. In a state of panic, you might approach your IT guy and ask him if there's anything that can be done to recover your email, hoping that it hasn't entered "the void." Depending on the temperament of the techie on duty at the time, he/she might say you're out of luck. Then again, the techie might be in a good mood and tell you that there is a 7-day retention policy (retention policies vary and are specified by the Exchange server administrator) and he'll politely show you how to recover your lost email.

Well, in the event that your techie is in a bad mood, or you just don't want to bother him, you can always try recovering the email yourself. Here's how:
  1. Open Outlook, if it's not already open.
  2. Select the Deleted Items folder in your folder list.
  3. Click the Tools menu and select "Recover Deleted Items..."
  4. Select the message(s) you want to restore and click the "Recover Selected Items" button.
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What a relief! You did it! You got it back! Now how about that important email you permanently deleted out of your Inbox because you accidentally selected it among a group of all those annoying forwards your friends send you. You try again, but don't find it in the list of deleted items to recover! And when you try and use the Recover Deleted Items command from your Inbox folder, it's greyed out! Don't panic, remain calm; there is a way to recover that one, too.

By default, the Recover Deleted Items command is only enabled for your Deleted Items folder. Luckily for you, by modifying the windows registry you can enable it for any folder! CAUTION: Modifying the registry incorrectly can cause serious problems that might require you to reinstall your operating system. And believe me, you don't want to do that! Always back up your registry before making changes, just in case. Use the registry editor at your own risk!
  1. Close Outlook, if it's open.
  2. Open the Windows registry editor by clicking on your Start menu, selecting "Run...",then type in "regedit" and click "OK."
  3. Backup your registry by selecting "My Computer", then open the "File" menu and select "Export...". Choose a location and name your file (I recommend naming it something along the lines of "20090617 registry backup" so you know when the backup was made).
  4. Once your backup is complete, browse to "My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options."
  5. Go to the "Edit" menu, point to "New", and then select "DWORD Value."
  6. Name it "DumpsterAlwaysOn" (no spaces).
  7. Right-click on your new DWORD, click "Modify..." and set the value to 1 (as in the number one).
  8. Click "OK" and close the registry editor.
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Now you can use the Recover Deleted Items command from any folder in Outlook!

If you found this useful, please share it in your office.


  1. Couple days ago I sent letter and receiver said me that letter was damaged,I advised him-.pst files viewer.Because tool helped me many times in like conditions.And to summarise situation was solved.Besides that tool is free and it will help you to restore your data from files with *.pst and *.ost extension.

  2. Great comment Alex. Thanks for the tip!