How to Recover Unsent Email

Written by aubrey kerr
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How to Recover Unsent Email
Recover unsent e-mail from the dumpster (e-mail alias symbol image by Pei Ling Hoo from

Unsent mail is stored in your drafts folder, or your outbox depending on your e-mail client. To recover the drafts or outbox folder, and the e-mails within it, you can import your most recent e-mail backup file. If your last backup file was created before you wrote your unsent e-mail, it won't be in there. If you accidentally deleted your unsent e-mail, it's probably still available in your hard drive's "dumpster." Outlook has a built-in recovery program that can recover e-mails from the dumpster. Commercial software is also available to recover e-mail files.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open the "Deleted Items" folder in your e-mail program to see if your unsent e-mail is still there. If it is, just drag it to the inbox or other folder to recover it. If not, try the built-in dumpster recovery program.

  2. 2

    Click on the "Tools" menu to find out if your e-mail client has a file recovery program. In Outlook, click on "Recover Deleted Items...." You can also search "Help" to find out if your program has a similar option with a different name.

  3. 3

    Look through the list of deleted items that appears. Select the unsent e-mail you want to recover and click on the "Recover" icon above the list. If you don't see your e-mail file listed, you may need to try commercial recovery software.

Tips and warnings

  • Items that have been deleted will sit in the dumpster until they're written over by new data. If your unsent e-mails were deleted recently they should be recoverable using the built-in or commercial recovery software.
  • Read several reviews before deciding on a commercial software option. Purchase and download recovery software from a reputable, well-known retailer or website.

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