Repair PST File

How to Recover Deleted Outlook Emails?

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    Summary: If you have deleted an Outlook email, you could lose a vital message forever that you may need later. The deleted emails in Outlook could also mean lost email attachments, such as an invoice, business plan, or other important document. This post shares methods to recover deleted Outlook emails, in different scenarios, from different Outlook versions. You may also download the free trial version of Stellar Repair for Outlook — a software that can quickly recover deleted Outlook emails and save them to PST.

    When you delete an email or any mail item in Outlook, such as a calendar invite, contact, task, or folder by pressing the delete key or using right-click, the email or mail item goes to the Deleted Items folder. This rule applies to all Outlook versions, including Outlook 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and older.

    Whether you delete any email from Inbox, Sent Items, Drafts, or any other folder in your Outlook profile, the deleted email will always go to the Deleted Items folder. It’s like a Recycle Bin for Outlook that helps you restore accidentally deleted messages and other mail items.

    But what if the deleted message or mail item is not found in the Deleted Items folder? Can we still recover the deleted emails? This post will answer these questions. Below we have discussed all possible scenarios of email deletion and the methods to recover deleted Outlook emails.

    Outlook Email Deletion Scenarios

    Scenario 1 – Deleted Outlook Email by Pressing the Delete Key (Soft Deletion)

    When you delete an email, calendar entry, folder, etc. using the Delete key, the deleted item straightaway goes to the Deleted Items folder. You can easily restore the item from there. Refer to Method 1 for the recovery steps for this scenario.

    Scenario 2 – Deleted Outlook Email by Pressing Shift + Delete Keys (Hard Deletion)

    When you delete an Outlook email or another item by pressing the Shift + Del keys, the email skips the Deleted Items folder in Outlook.

    Hard Deletion

    Also, the normally deleted emails, available in the Deleted Items folder, are automatically deleted from the Deleted Items folder after 30 days or based on the organization’s email retention policy.

    The Outlook deleted email recovery methods in this scenario vary based on “how your Outlook is configured”.

    Case 1: Outlook Configured Using IMAP

    Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is a messaging protocol for receiving emails via a mail server. Email accounts configured using IMAP protocol store a copy of the emails on the server, allowing access to emails, calendar items, contacts, and other mail items across different devices.

    If you can access messages via webmail and see them on multiple devices like computers, mobile, etc., you are using an IMAP email. Alternatively, you can check Outlook email account settings to find out the configuration.

    So, if you’re using Outlook with IMAP, you can recover the permanently deleted Outlook emails from the mail server using the “Recover Deleted Items” option described in Method 2.

    Case 2: Outlook Configured Using POP

    Post Office Protocol or POP is older than IMAP. For email accounts configured using POP, the mail server downloads the incoming messages on the user’s local system. These messages are then removed or cleared from the mail server. So, there is only one copy of these messages, i.e., on the user’s computer.

    Note: If you can access the messages only on the particular system where your email client is installed, you are using POP email. Else, you can check the email account settings or ask the email administrator in your organization to know the configuration type.

    The Outlook client configured with POP stores emails, attachments, and other items locally in the PST file. The deleted emails, including those emptied from the Deleted Items folder, remain inside the PST file but are generally difficult to recover. Method 3 and Method 4 provide the steps to recover permanently deleted Outlook emails configured using POP.

    Scenario 3 – Outlook Emails Purged using “Recover Deleted Items” (Permanent Deletion)

    When you purge Outlook emails using the Recover Deleted Items feature. This is available in Outlook accounts configured with Exchange Server using IMAP or MAPI.

    Recover Deleted Items

    Only an administrator can recover such purged emails from the server using eDiscovery features, provided the emails are not purged from the server.

    As an individual Outlook user, you can recover the purged (or permanently deleted) Outlook emails if you have an email backup in the form of a PST file. In that case, you can use Method 4 to recover your permanently deleted Outlook emails.

    Methods to Recover Deleted Outlook Emails

    We have discussed below different methods that you can follow to restore deleted emails in all Outlook versions based on the scenarios described in the preceding section.

    Method 1 – Recover Deleted Outlook Emails from the Deleted Items Folder

    This method applies to the recovery of emails, calendar entries, and other items in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and older versions deleted using the Delete key.


    1. Open the Outlook application.
    2. Click the Deleted Items folder.
    Restore Emails from the Deleted Items Folder
    1. Right-click the email or other item like the calendar invite that you want to restore.
    2. Select Move > folder names, such as Inbox or the location where you want to restore the email or the mail item.

    Note: You can restore deleted emails from Deleted Items folder until the retention period is over. By default, the retention period is set between 7 days and 30 days, based on the type of email account you are using or policies set by the administrator.

    Method 2 – Use the “Recover Deleted Items” Feature in Outlook

    This method helps recover Outlook emails and other mail items deleted using the Shift + Del command. You can also use this method to restore the emails or mail items after Deleted Items folder was emptied and the emails that were automatically deleted from the Deleted Items folder after the 30-day retention period (permanently deleted).

    The Recover Deleted Items feature is available for the following Outlook configurations:

    1. Outlook configured with Exchange Server,, or Microsoft 365 using IMAP.
    2. Outlook configured with Exchange Server and Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) is enabled.

    Note: The MAPI option is available with Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2021.

    Steps to recover permanently deleted Outlook emails using built-in recovery options:

    1. Open the Outlook app.
    2. Click the Folder tab in the top ribbon.
    3. Click Recover Deleted Items.
    Recover Deleted Items Feature
    • Select the email(s) you want to restore and ensure that the “Restore Selected Items” option is selected. Click OK to restore the emails to their original location.
    Restore Selected Items

    This will restore the deleted email copy from the mailbox server to your Outlook profile.

    Method 3 – Use a Hex Editor and ScanPST.exe (Inbox Repair Tool)

    This method helps recover deleted emails from Outlook configured with POP, i.e., PST file. Outlook 2013 and older versions, configured with IMAP, also store mail data in a PST file. So, this method applies to the recovery of deleted emails for IMAP-configured accounts of Outlook 2013 and earlier version.

    In this method, we will deliberately corrupt the PST file using a hex editor—an application for manipulating binary data (numerical data) stored in a computer file, such as PST. Next, we will use the ScanPST.exe tool to rebuild the index. After rebuilding the PST using ScanPST, start Outlook. The deleted emails or mail items may now show up in the Outlook profile. 

    Caution: This process requires technical proficiency. It can result in loss of mailbox data if executed incorrectly. So, apply this method on a copy of the PST file (and not the original PST) and only if you feel comfortable executing these steps.  

    Steps to recover deleted Outlook emails using Hex Editor and ScanPST

    • Download a freeware hex editor application like HxD.
    • Install the HxD application and launch it.
    • Open a copy of the Outlook PST file in the app.
    • Delete the 7th to 13th hexadecimal positions using the space bar.
    • This will damage the PST without causing any data loss.
    HxD Application
    • Save the PST file and close the hex editor.

    The following steps involve using ScanPST.exe (Inbox Repair Tool) to repair the corrupted PST file:

    • Locate scanpst.exe on your system based on the Outlook version as location of scanpst.exe differs for each Outlook version.
    • Press Ctrl + R and enter the path to navigate to the ScanPST.exe file location.
    Scanpst.exe File Location
    • Double-click SCANPST and browse the corrupted PST file. Close Outlook and all mail-enabled applications. Next, click Start to start scanning the selected PST file.
    Double-Click SCANPST and Browse Corrupted PST File
    • The tool interface shows the scan results. It creates a backup of the PST file before repairing it. Click Repair to start repairing the PST file.
    Click Repair to Start Repairing PST file
    • After the repair process is complete, create a new PST file in your Outlook profile by navigating to New Items > More Items > Outlook Data File.
    • Import the mailbox items from the repaired PST file into the newly created PST file.

    Now check for the deleted Outlook emails.

    Note: There is no guarantee that this method will work because ScanPST.exe is not built for deleted email recovery. Its efficacy depends on the extent of PST corruption and the actual state of data inside the PST file. It’s a possible workaround that you may try but make sure you backup your emails to a local PST file using Outlook Import Export wizard before proceeding.

    Method 4 – Use Outlook Deleted Email Recovery Tool

    You can use Stellar Repair for Outlook — a professional PST file recovery tool to recover deleted emails from PST files of any size. This can recover deleted emails from PST files of any Outlook version, including Outlook 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, and older versions.

    For Outlook IMAP accounts with purged emails, the software can recover the deleted emails by scanning the backup PST, if available. Notably, the tool also works on corrupted PST files.  


    This blog shared the methods to recover deleted Outlook emails, including those purged or permanently lost. The best practice is to identify the specific scenario and then act swiftly to maximize the chances of email recovery from Outlook. The scenarios–to–methods mapping presented in this blog can help you take a targeted course of action. Further, if you want to avoid any hassle and ensure quick deleted emails or mail items recovery, use Stellar Repair for Outlook.

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    About The Author

    Eric Simson linkdin

    Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers.


    1. Hi Eric

      I noticed earlier today that an email I had been storing and adding to in my draft folder on my iPhone was not there any longer? ( had been adding to it slowly for about a year). Also, I had never been able to access it from the desktop PC though…

      Over the past few days, I kept getting a pop-up msg on my phone at any time, whether writing txt msgs, viewing them or just scrolling through – the msg said ” cannot verify server identity” and asked to choose to continue. Finally chose to continue & accept & now unsure if this had anything to do with it.?

      Pls, could you tell me how I may find my missing email that was in the draft?

      I have no idea what has happened.


      1. Don’t worry!

        Just try free demo of a tool to verify the result in a preview mode. If it shows missing items, then you can try license key of the software to save missing draft or other items.

        1. Pls can you explain how to do it on the iPhone as the drafts were only in my outlook on iPhone and for some reason drafts I had written and saved on iPhone had not synced to PC outlook – there were 5-6 drafts disappeared.

          Where are my Outlook missing emails?

          Pls help

        2. Hi Eric

          Still no closer to working out how to fix this problem – pls can you help and check over my earlier msgs about the problem, I went to the link you sent me but not good. I need my old Outlook emails urgently.

          Thanks for your help

    2. I never thought that recovery of deleted emails is possible. But, you guys did it quickly and recover Archive emails missing in Outlook.

      Again thanks a lot!

    3. I have accidentally hard deleted 15 mails from my inbox and when I asked my company’s system administrator if the mails could be recovered, he clearly stated that the retention deadline had passed.

      Is the recovery possible?

    4. Emails are missing in Outlook 2007, but pst file is available on the hard drive.

      It happened yesterday after Windows 10 update. Where Is My Email?

      Please guide!

      1. Sometimes, an unknown error is responsible for missing emails. I suggest you repair PST file through Stellar Repair for Outlooktool.

    5. Around 3400+ emails are missing from a personal folder of Outlook 2016. I can’t trust on manual method. Please suggest any quick solution.

    6. hi Eric,

      I find you article very interest but my problem is still same.

      Are my emails suppose to disappear once they are archived?

      This is the case with my outlook on-prem as I am a new Office 365 customer, once my on-prem outlook was configured to work with the online app, all my emails just disappeared both online and on-prem.

      kindly advise.

      1. Hi Olakuseyin,

        Have you ever set up Office 365 Outlook on other devices? Please confirm to investigate the valid reason.

    7. Today, I have noticed that some important emails are missing from a particular folder that was created by me for abroad clients.

      Help me to recover those valuable items including old Outlook messages.

      1. Try to Scan your PST file through a free demo of Stellar Outlook PST Repair software. Then, you would be able to see the preview of recoverable items from the desired Outlook folder. If you find the satisfactory result, then save emails through the full version of the software.

    8. After running ScanPST.exe, I have not received a single email.

      Why this one Microsoft Outlook repair tool is not working repeatedly? Help me as soon possible.

      1. Hello Linda,

        I have spent the entire day with ScanPST.exe but no result.

        Still, I am unable to find missing outlook archive folder emails.

    9. Yesterday, I found that around 30% emails were missing from Outlook mailbox. Before reading this tutorial, I never imagined about the recovery of lost emails. I have noticed that it is a right solution for me.

      1. Sometimes, Bad practices in MS Outlook can cost your important emails. Some of them are as follows:

        1. Wrong settings with Firewall or Antivirus program

        2. In-adequate Settings in MS Outlook

        3. Virus or Bug

        At the initial stage, you can give a chance to ScanPST.exe.

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