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Recover Deleted Items (Outlook 2013 for Windows)

This article applies to: Outlook 2013 for Windows


This article explains the "Recover Deleted Items" feature in Office 365 (Exchange). It can recover messages that were deleted using Outlook for Windows, Outlook for Mac, Outlook on the Web, or Apple Mail.

Exchange tries hard to protect you from permanently losing messages you unintentionally deleted. First, the messages go into your Deleted Items folder. This is a regular folder that can be accessed like any of your other folders. Next, when messages are deleted from the Deleted Items folder (or that folder is emptied), they are retained on the Exchange server and can be recovered for up to 30 days. 

Usually. But here's the exception:

If you delete an entire folder of messages (using Delete on the menu that appears when you right-click -- or ctrl-click on a Mac -- on the folder), the messages in that folder are gone, gone, gone. 

You may be able to recover those messages IF you have a backup (from Time Machine, EZ-Backup, etc.).

We're not telling you to avoid using this menu option, we're just alerting you of the finality of making this choice.

How to Recover Messages

Messages are recoverable under the following conditions:

  • The messages were NOT in a folder that was deleted using Delete on the menu that appears when you right-click (or ctrl-click on a Mac) on the folder.

AND

  • The messages were deleted from the Deleted Items folder (or that folder was emptied) no more than 30 days ago.
  1. In the Folder Pane, highlight the folder where the message was when it was deleted (not the Deleted Items folder).
  2. Click the Folder tab on the ribbon.
  3. Click Recover Deleted Items on the ribbon.
    If you have many deleted items, there may be a noticeable delay before the dialog box listing the items opens.
  4. From the Tools menu, select Recover Deleted Items. In the dialog box that opens, you can sort the list of deleted items by clicking on the column headings.
  5. Select the message (or messages) to be recovered.
  6. Click Recover Selected Items in the toolbar. The icon is an envelope with a curved arrow above it. 

The selected message(s) will be returned to the folder they were in before deletion.

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