How to Retrieve Permanently Deleted E-Mails

When you delete an e-mail from your inbox in nearly all e-mail systems, the email is not permanently deleted. Instead, the email is moved into a folder, usually labelled "Deleted" or "Trash," in case you need to recover the email later. However, when you empty the "Deleted" or "Trash" folder, the system removes the files permanently and they can no longer be recovered. While most e-mail systems, such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail, do not provide a way to retrieve deleted e-mails, Windows' Microsoft Outlook offers the capability.

Open the registry editor on your computer. To launch the Windows registry editor, click "Start" and enter "Regedit" into the search box in Windows 7 or Vista, or go to "Start," "Run" and enter "Regedit" in Windows XP and earlier versions.

Click the following keys in the left pane of the registry editor window: "HKEY_LOCAL MACHINE," "SOFTWARE," "Microsoft," "Exchange," "Client," "Options."

Open the "Edit" menu. Click "Add Value."

Enter "DumpsterAlwaysOn" next to "Value Name." Type "DWORD" next to "Data Type." Type "1" next to "Value Data" and press "OK."

Close the registry editor, and open Microsoft Outlook by double-clicking the desktop icon or clicking the icon in the system tray. Pull down the "Tools" menu and click "Deleted Item Recovery." Microsoft Outlook automatically recovers any e-mails that were permanently deleted within the time frame that is set up on your server for saving deleted files.


You must be connected to a Microsoft Exchange Server to retrieve permanently deleted e-mails, which makes this Microsoft Outlook fix more effective in office environments than your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Outlook on Microsoft Exchange Server
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About the Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.