How to Recover Deleted Emails in Outlook 2013

One quick click of the button can lead to disappointment when you realize that you’ve deleted an email that is still needed. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to bring the item back. There are several methods you can use to recover a deleted email based on the type of
email account used.

Recovering Deleted Emails Using CTRL+Z

Emails can be one of the easiest items to recover with a little luck. The simplest way to recover an email that has just been deleted is to use the short cut keys CTRL+Z. This will restore the email that was last deleted.

Recovering Deleted Emails From Deleted Items

If the email was recently deleted, but not the last action performed you may be able to restore the email by looking in the deleted items folder.

There are two methods you can use to move a deleted email back into the inbox folder. The first is to open the deleted items folder and drag the deleted email back into the Inbox folder. The second method is to right click on the deleted email to open the dialog box.

    • Select Move > Other folder


    • In the Move Items dialog box select Inbox to restore the deleted item.


Set Outlook to Save Deleted Items

By default, the deleted items folder is set to empty when exiting Outlook 2013. If you wish to retain the items in your Deleted Items folder for an extended period of time you can change the settings. The following are directions to prevent Outlook from emptying the folder upon exiting the program.

    • Click File and open the Options box


    • Click Advanced, under the “Outlook start and exit” options uncheck the box “Empty Deleted Items Folder When Exiting Outlook”.


Recovering Email with Web Based Email Clients

Recovering an email with a web based email server such as Yahoo or Gmail can be a snap. IMAP servers store the deleted emails on the web client as well as Outlook. You can recover the deleted email by logging into the web based client website and checking for the item in the deleted folder. If you’re using a POP3 server the email will not be retrievable this way.

Recovering Email with a Microsoft Exchange Account

Microsoft Outlook 2013 also has a built in recovery tool for email accounts that are configured with a Microsoft Exchange account. Typically you will not see this option with web based email clients. The “Recover Deleted Items” button can be located under the File tab in the sub category for Clean Up.

When you choose to recover an item using the “Recover Deleted Items” button it will restore the deleted item back into the last folder in Outlook it was located before it was hard deleted. The deleted item will most likely be restored into the Deleted items folder in Outlook. It’s a common mistake to assume the item will be restored into the Inbox. Once the item has been restored into the Deleted items folder it can be moved back into the Inbox.

If for some reason you do not see the recovery option you may need to check with your account administrator. The Exchange account administrator is also responsible for setting how long a delete item will be retained. If an email is no longer in retention then it is impossible to retrieve.

Data Recovery Software

Another option to try if all else fails is data recovery software. A deleted email is not gone forever until Outlook overwrites the data. When you delete an email, it is telling Outlook to no longer display this item. If you can retrieve the information before it is overwritten, then it can be restored. There are several software programs available on the market that can go behind the scenes of Outlook and retrieve the hidden data. There is no guarantee that any of these programs will be able to restore the email, but if you’re desperate enough it doesn’t hurt to try.


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