Summary: Deleting unnecessary or older mail items from Outlook is a common practice to manage the mailbox and save storage space. However, some Outlook users may experience an error, such as “The Deleted Items Folder is Unavailable” or “Outlook is missing Deleted Items folder,” while deleting the mail items. This prevents the user from deleting emails or recovering deleted mail items. In this blog, we’ve discussed the reasons behind the error and the methods to restore Deleted Items folder and mail items. We’ve also mentioned an advanced OST to PST converter tool that can help restore deleted mail items, easily and quickly.
Recently, we came across a query where the user can’t delete or recover deleted items due to missing Deleted Items folder.
I have recently updated my system to Windows 10. After the update, I noticed that any files I delete in Outlook (Office 365 version) are not moving to the “Deleted Items” folder. They are just disappearing. I am deleting the files by clicking on the trash can symbol. I am wondering if the Windows 10 update has changed some settings that is creating this issue.
Deleting older or unnecessary mail items helps manage the mailbox, reduces the Outlook data file size, and prevents the OST from getting damaged due to oversizing. When a mail item, such as email, note, task, etc., is deleted in Outlook, it’s not permanently removed. Instead, the deleted mail item is moved to the ‘Deleted Items’ folders first. Outlook retains the deleted mail items in the ‘Deleted Items’ folder for 30 days. After 30 days, the mail items are permanently removed. This allows users to recover and restore accidentally deleted mail items in Microsoft Outlook until the mail item retention period expires.
However, sometimes, Outlook users experience an error message while deleting a mail item, such as
“The Deleted Items folder is unavailable.“
Similar errors may also appear while sending an email from Outlook, such as “The Sent Items folder is unavailable.“
When you click ‘OK‘, a new error message is displayed.
“The operation failed. The messaging interfaces have returned an unknown error. If the problem persists, restart Outlook.”
Reasons for Missing Deleted Items Folder in Outlook
The error appears when Outlook fails to find or move the deleted mail item in the ‘Deleted Items’ folder. This may occur due to the following reasons:
- The Deleted Items folder is not present in your Exchange or Outlook 365 profile.
- Outlook cannot detect or find the ‘Deleted Items’ folder in your Outlook account.
- Incorrect folder names.
Methods to Fix the Error ‘The Deleted Items Folder is Unavailable’ in Outlook
You can follow these methods to fix Outlook missing the Deleted Items folder issue.
Method 1: Reset Outlook Folders
You can reset Outlook folders by using the resetfolders and resetfoldernames switches. This works in Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 versions. By resetting the folder and folder names, you can fix the missing Deleted Items folder issue as sometimes the folder names may change unexpectedly (usually after Exchange server maintenance).
To reset folder and folder names via Outlook client, follow these steps:
- Close Outlook and press Windows+R.
- Type Outlook.exe /resetfolders and press the ‘Enter‘ key or click the ‘OK‘ button. This resets the Outlook folders.
- Press Windows+R again and this time type Outlook.exe /resetfoldernames. Next, press the ‘Enter‘ key or click the ‘OK‘ button. This will reset the folder names to default.
Restart Outlook and check for the error.
To reset folder and folder names via Outlook Web App, follow these steps:
- Exit Outlook.
- Log on to Outlook Web App by using your credentials.
- Select Settings (gear icon) > Options and expandthe General section.
- Click Language and time or Region and time zone.
- Click the ‘Rename default folders so their names match the specified language’ checkboxoption and click ‘Save.’
- Close the OWA and log in. Check if you are now able to delete and recover deleted mail items.
Method 2: Subscribe to Missing Deleted Items Folder in Outlook
You can subscribe to missing Deleted Items folders in Outlook to resolve the issue. The steps are as follows:
- Open Outlook and right-click on any folder.
- Choose the IMAP Folders… option. An IMAP folder dialog box opens.
- Use the Query tab to find the ‘Deleted Items’ folder and select it.
- Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button and close the dialog boxes.
Now restart Outlook and check if the ‘Deleted Items’ folder is back. Try deleting and recovering mail items to verify.
Method 3: Create Deleted Items Folder Manually
You may try to create the ‘Deleted Items’ folder manually if you can’t find it. Although this will fix the Outlook missing Deleted Items folder issue, you won’t be able to recover previously deleted mail items. To recover those, you can follow Method 5 discussed below.
The steps to create Deleted Items folder manually are as follows:
- Open Outlook and click the New Folder option at the top under the Folder tab. You may also right-click on any folder and then choose’ New folder….‘
- Enter the name as ‘Deleted Items‘ and click ‘OK‘.
- Follow Method 2 to subscribe to this ‘Deleted Items‘ folder.
Note: If you get an error while creating the Deleted Items folder manually, it’s due to the restriction to create new folders under Inbox or specific folders only.
Method 4: Repair or Reinstall Outlook
If these methods do not work, try repairing or reinstalling MS Outlook. The steps to repair MS Outlook are as follows:
- Open Control Panel and click ‘Uninstall a program.’
- Select Microsoft Office… and then click ‘Change.’
- Select the ‘Repair‘ or ‘Quick repair‘ option and proceed with the wizard to repair MS Outlook.
- After the repair, restart the system and open Outlook. Check if the error is resolved.
Method 5: Use OST Converter Software
The error is mainly reported by IMAP, Exchange Server, or Office 365 user accounts. Outlook creates and stores the mailbox data of these email account types in Offline Storage Table (OST) file. Although you can recreate the OST file by deleting it from the default location to fix the issue, you should never do that to avoid permanent data loss.
Instead, you can use an OST file to PST converter software, such as Stellar Converter for OST, to recover the deleted mail items. The software scans the Outlook data file, such as OST or PST, and saves the recovered mail items in multiple file formats, including deleted mail items. You can also export the recovered deleted mail items directly to an existing Outlook profile, Office 365, or live Exchange Server.
The tool is free to download.
‘The Deleted Items folder is unavailable’ error indicates a problem with the Outlook account as it can’t find the Deleted Items folder in the Outlook profile. The error appears when the user tries to delete a mail item from their IMAP, Office 365, or Exchange email account in Outlook. This restricts Outlook users from deleting mail items and prevents them from recovering already deleted mail items. In this blog, we’ve discussed a few methods to resolve the missing ‘Deleted Items’ folder issue in Outlook. However, if the methods do not help, you can use an OST to PST converter tool, such as Stellar Converter for OST, to recover accidentally deleted mail items and restore them to your new or existing Outlook profile, Office 365, or Exchange Server.