How can I get my lost Hotmail emails back?

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My old emails have disappeared from my Hotmail/Outlook.com account. I’ve logged into the account on a weekly basis so I know that isn’t the issue. I searched old emails and they’re just gone; anything past 2013 emails are gone which I need to have. What can be done? When I found out and panicked I searched links and saw a link without reading carefully about Hotmail help. It turned out that it was not Hotmail but a company called [company redacted]; they took over my computer remotely before I realized they were not directly associated with Microsoft. Are they legit? Do they do further damage?

Keeping anything critically important in only a free email account like Hotmail is unfortunately a recipe for disaster.

I want to go over how you might have been better prepared for this. I’ll touch on what you might do to get your email back (but to be honest, I’m not very hopeful) and I’ll talk about the service that you let access your machine.

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Putting all your eggs in the Hotmail basket

Over the years, I’ve seen many important documents and emails get lost in free email services. Sometimes it was the service’s fault, and sometimes it was the user’s fault, but they all were lost – forever. Free email services have little if any customer support or recourse to help you out.

The key here is that the stuff that you consider important was stored in one and only one place: a free email account. The way you could have prepared for this is actually very simple: back up.

There are several ways to back up an online email account, and had you done any one of them, this would not be the disaster it’s very likely to turn out to be. So, if you walk away with only one lesson from this, please let it be back up.

Outlook.com LogoGetting help

Getting your email back is a little bit harder. First I’m going to point you at an article I have called, “How do I contact customer service for Outlook.com?” There are several options covered in the article.

Ultimately, there are no people to talk to and no emails to send, but there is a website that you can go to that has a lot of frequent scenarios. There is an item there called “restore deleted email messages”. All that really is is just looking in the deleted folder to make sure that they’re not there. I do, of course, recommend you do that.

At the bottom of that page they also give you a link to a contact form. It’s possible that someone will get back to you with assistance on the issue but like I said, I’m not very hopeful. Another option is to ask for help in the support forums also linked to from the customer service article I mentioned above.

Remote access support

About that company you contacted: it does sound like you mistook an advertisement somewhere for something more legitimate like Microsoft.

I’m not familiar with the company you mentioned, so I can’t say that they did any damage.

I would definitely keep an eye on your machine for suspicious activities, and I would make sure that your anti-malware tools are running and up to date. I would also make sure that your computer  has up-to-date databases of malware information.

78 comments on “How can I get my lost Hotmail emails back?”

  1. I don’t use outlook.com very much, except to open Windows 8.1, which is a different story. I do use Gmail for my regular email and have email back to 2008 backed up in it. But on my main computer I use MS Outlook and a pop3 connection. I archive my inbox and contacts, etc. to a local folder, which gets backed up along with the rest of my data. I’m not sure if you can connect to Outlook.com (Hotmail) with pop3 or not, but that’s what I would do if possible.

  2. I did not open my account for few months when I try to log in I couldn’t despite I remember my password very well I try to Chang my password and I imitate the requested letter all the time it’s incorrect I need my account please help me

  3. on my lap top and samsung win phone i can view, access and browse all my hotmail folders, but my samsung tab will not show them and i have no hotmail home page, just a list of emails….. help please

  4. I had this exact thing happen to me! I recently “inherited” my son’s laptop. He installed Outlook for me, despite my using Thunderbird for many, many years without incident. The day of the “incident” I had been on my Android smartphone and was deleting many, many emails to “clean it up”. (Don’t know if there’s a connection, but I suspect so.) Got home and BAM! No emails in my Hotmail/Outlook accn’t. I’m too much of an ” ‘ole-time Mom to know what to do, besides looking in my spam, junk and delete folders. My son came over, took about two min. to figure it out: They had still remained in my POP folder (whew!!) which is, I think, connected to my cell phone usage. He “transferred” over the approx. 10,000 emails (I know, it’s embarrassing!!!) right back into my Inbox and I have them back. Don’t know if my rudimentary way of explaining it might help you, but hope so. So maybe look in your POP account inbox? HTH

  5. I NEED TO ACCESS MY HOTMAIL ACCOUNT SO I CAN GET SOME IMPORTANT PDF’S DOWN LOADED. YOU PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT TROUBLE YOU HAVE CAUSED. PLEASE ADVISE US HOW TO DO THIS. I WILL BE WAITING TO RECEIVE A EMAIL FROM YOU. THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP.

    • “YOU PEOPLE”? I am not Hotmail, I am not Microsoft. I cannot help you beyond the advice offered in the articles published on this web site.

    • OMG why is everyone sounding like a broken record asking the same thing over and over again. If you have logged in and found that you’ve lost all old mails, it is most likely because you did not log in for a long time, say a year, hence Microsoft considered the account as inactive and they will delete all mail for any of those “inactive” accounts during the transition from Hotmail to Outlook. Like Leo said, there is no way to recover the mails that are lost except to try restoring it from the “deleted” folder. Even if you managed to restore, it will be only for recent mails that you have deleted. Any old stuff is likely to be unrecoverable. I recently logged in and found that i lost everything too but any mails that i did not care to look at the past years aren’t likely to be important even if they may be of sentimental value.

      • I had logged in the day before, and gone maybe two or three days at most without logging on to that account. Simply put, Microsoft deleted the data that they had for me and make it impossible to rectify.

  6. Not a question …. lost all my emails in all folders … Found them by going to Documents – Recent Places – Windows Live Mail – Storage Folder – Recovered Items.
    Worked for me, hope it works for others too.

  7. I can’t get my e-mail, can’t remember my password words, my 2 favorite. Ppl nothing how do I read my mail seriously
    Or it could be {email address removed}@hotmail.com …..it says my hot mail is invalid what do I do start a new e-mail or Hotmail

  8. I can not able to log in my hotmail account and getting error for “it looks like someone else might be using your account” , So i have created new hotmail account. I have lot of datas in my old hotmail account, how to get back data from my old hotmail to my hotmail account. Kindly help for the same. else help to log in my old hotmail account .

  9. Hi Leo

    I am trying to retrieve my old emails for my work email address. I had to create a new account but I need the old emails and the my clients do not have the new email address.
    Please assist

    Thanks
    Shara Simmons

    Thanks

    • You would have to access the old email account somehow and download them. Since you haven’t said where that is, or how you access that email (web? email program? something else?) I can’t really tell you what steps to take next.

  10. I recently lost all access to my 10 year hotmail too and scoured the net to try to find out how to get it back. When I typed in the hotmail address it took me directly to outlook with a welcome email. It turns out my computer and hotmail account have been hacked by a trojan virus so this may be the case with other accounts. The highjacking of my hotmail account was part of the progress of the virus. I found Mchelper online and they spent quite some time remoting in to my computer and fixing the issue. So, in my case it was not microsoft that are to blame and this trojan virus may be the real reason why hotmail accounts are being disabled and/or diverted. Am happy to report that all my hotmail information is now on outlook. Whew! A real worry though that if I had not taken action when losing my hotmail account four days ago this virus would have continued to work its way into other areas of my computer, including bank account etc. I have Norton installed on my computer as well and yet this trojan virus was able to discretely operate in the background slowly stealing information, changing passwords and slowing down my computer. Hope this helps someone else as losing a long term email account is very stressful.

  11. I left my hotmail unlogged for quite some time and obviously with the change it is no longer there. Is there a way to get it back? I don’t want to simply create a new one, I need to get my old contacts and such out of it, if there was a way to restore it that would be awesome. Thanks.

    • Your only chance is to contact Hotmail support – and that means it is unlikely. Although the change over to outlook.com would not automatically delete your hotmail email address. Have you tried all the recovery options listed in the article?

  12. whoa! my all past emails are also gone i opened my hotmail account after a year or so and it redirected to outlook.com under same id and password i used to log my hotmail account and what i see i got shocked its empty its fking empty while i were using that it goes upto thousands emails many were my past important emails were also in there. They didnt had to delete like that its a very cheap thing they’ve done

    • “after a year or so”? You’re lucky you could login at all. ALL email services will delete your contents if you don’t login for a long time. Sometimes it’s as short as three months. This is why I keep telling people you must take responsibility for backing up your own information. Always.

      • Sorry, not ALL email services delete contents if not login for a long time. My yahoo account which is also my recovery email account for the hotmail account was not accessed even longer time than this hotmail account. Still I didnot loose a single bit of data, even drafts are intact.
        But only Microsoft does this to the users. Deleted all the emails due their upgrading to new Outlook system. This is very much wrong should be taken as legal issue against Microsoft.
        I was not able to recover my hotmail account due to lost password and some recovery code was being asked. This code they were sending to my recovery email which is yahoo email account. This yahoo email account password too I lost. The recovery for this yahoo account was rediffmail account whose recovery too I lost, but finally yesterday somehow the I recovered rediffmail account. Then I recovered my Yahoo account, where not a single bit of email was lost. Then I could recover my hotmail account where all my email since 1999 are lost. But my emails since 2004 are intact in Yahoo account.
        Hence people please do not rely on Microsoft for any critical data. Be it emails or operating system or cloud drive or any other service they give. Use the services by Microsoft as temporary alternative but not for long term data store and definitely not for reliability, safety or security.

        • That’s not true. i have been using Yahoo since it first launched this service. let me tell you i have never ever encountered any problem. i still have my emails as from year 2000 and perhaps earlier than that. They, too, upgraded their service and they gathered all the mails under the ARCHIVES storage so that all my e-mails are still available.

          • I don’t understand your comment. What she’s saying about Yahoo is that they preserved her mail without losing anything which is essentially what you’re saying.

      • The article talks about the lack of support from MS, I know that is a fact, but I just need a way to recover my e-mails.
        Can you please send me a link to any other article that may help me?

        • Unfortunately, this article probably gives as much information as is available on recovering lost emails. Lots of people write comments like that, essentially repeating the question, expecting more information on the subject. From my experience, Leo covers the material pretty thoroughly. But I have seen commenters come up with things Leo hasn’t thought of. Maybe someone out there has a solution that works.

  13. I can’t get any email showing in my outlook mail it was all showing there ,then it was all gone .when I was trying to open a email earlier it was saying loading and something about server didn’t down load it and then there was nothing in my box keeps saying no mail ,so what happen to my mail thanks

  14. perhaps i have forgotten my password and perhaps the other alternate email id i have given is also wrong. this has happened because of my poor eyesight my hotmail id is {removed} .the other email id given was {removed} i need my hotmail account to be operative as many of my other accounts are linked with it and by losing hotmail account i am not able to reach to them my other e mail id is {removed}

    kindly help me recover my account

    the recovery procedure is very lengthy and i can not answeres to the question they ask how can a person remember other things like subject of the mails sent and to whom the mail was sent or the brand of first car etc how can a man recollect them who has forgotten the his own pass word hace mercy on me and help me recover my hotmail account or else merge it with {removed}

  15. all of a sudden a few weeks back my emails stopped except for a few that are not important which I get regularly, the important ones from various people have stopped, I am wondering if my account has been compromised, I have tried various ways to return these incoming messages to no avail can you tell me what has happened please, there is a possibility that any answer will not get to me, I have another e-mail address that I do not use very often if you can answer this problem I would appreciate, the other “E” is {email address removed}@gmail.com. which I will now start to use if this problem is not sorted.
    Thank you
    Robert.

  16. Hello there. I have been using my hotmail since around 2007, I believe. I remember using it in my IPod and MSN in laptop to get in touch with my old friends. Then one day, I felt like I want to check my hotmail so I did on my laptop and I was surprised to see that this told me I have not touched hotmail for 6 months (when I have been using IPod and msn the whole time) and it deactivated itself. I tried to get my email back but it won’t let me. Is there any way to call for help from Hotmail? They’re kind of useless to me. They have not answered my help calls. Is there a way to get it back?

  17. Hi there

    I really need your support guys!

    I’m looking for an email I received with an attachment end of August/beginning of September 2014… It’s really important, as the attached document proves, that I did my military service…!

    Could you please help me out? otherwise I’ll need to go to the judge and pay money I don’t have… (its really embracing… sorry!)

    I hope you can help me.

    Cheers
    Raphaël

  18. After windows 10 update my emails in my folders have been erased. I put them in folders so they would not be erased. There were some important things in them, now they’re gone.

    • If you’re using Hotmail via the outlook.com web interface what OS you use – be it Windows, Mac, Linux – or what version of that OS – be it Windows XP, 7, 8 or 10 – should have no impact on how your email is organized. Outlook.com shouldn’t be affected by any of that.

  19. I have recently upgraded my laptop to windows 10 but this has made all my old emails disappear. I know they are still there as i have gone into my account via a previous windows 8 version. I just do not want to individually resend to myself to be able to see them. Could you please advise

  20. It have been around 6 month when i opened my Hotmail account…..
    I opened my account in Hotmail which have been update to outlook ….i found that my messages have been erased…..i didn’t delete them…..
    I don’t need new account I need my all old messages and contacts

  21. I had an reply to an email I sent like 2 weeks ago but it is not in my inbox. I have already checked the deleted emails and the inbox but it is not there. What should I do

  22. My Hotmail account was switched over to Outlook, like many others on this site. Same address, same password, but instead of Hotmail, it is now Outlook.live.com. This happened a few months ago. Frankly, I have no interest in updates, etc. I’m not a “techie”, I use a TracFone, and have had the same email account for 10 years. After my Hotmail was switched to Outlook (supposedly an improvement!) all my SENT emails prior to 2007 are no longer accessible. Evidence that these SENT emails actually existed at one time is there. There are probably 100 messages listed, with the dates I actually sent the messages, but there is no other information – who it was sent to, subject line, message content. In the column that should indicate who the email was sent to, it states “unknown”. In the message column, it states “No subject. No message text.” This new “Outlook” account has retained ALL of my INBOX messages dating all the way from 2005. The only thing missing are the SENT messages pre 2007.

    Further information – I have gone to my Inbox and searched for messages pre 2007 that were in “reply” to messages I sent pre 2007. I figured my SENT message would appear in the Reply message in my Inbox. But nooooo. The reply message is there, but the message that I sent which the writer is replying to does not show on the reply message????

    Further, way back in 2006, I moved several messages which I SENT to a separate folder. In the “olden days of Hotmail”, messages SENT, that were 30 days old, were automatically deleted, so when I SENT a message back then, I manually moved the message from the SENT folder to a different folder that I created so they wouldn’t be automatically deleted. (Hotmail changed this method later on and no longer deleted messages in the SENT file, so I no longer had to move the SENT messages to a different folder.) ANYWAY – the SENT messages which I placed in the other folder which I created myself are inaccessible as well, appearing in the same fashion – “unknown”, “no subject, no message”, as the pre 2007 messages in the SENT folder appear??? Again, all my Inbox messages as far back as when I first opened the account in 2005, are there. Just my SENT messages, no matter where they were stored, are inaccessible, as well as in “reply” messages in my Inbox. I haven’t seen a similar situation on this site.

    I have Windows XP but I don’t think that matters. I have tried to access my SENT messages on other computers with Windows 7 and I get the same result.

    Any explanations for this BS!!! These hundreds of SENT emails were to the love of my life, who died suddenly, unexpectedly, this past January. I am devastated that I can no longer access the messages I sent to him pre 2007. After 2007, my SENT messages are all there.

  23. I was switched over to outlook from hotmail without any notification and without my consent. I lost all of my important files and folders.

    This is essentially email rape. No means no. I did not give my consent and I will not be silent about this. This kind of despicable behavior is how companies become bankrupt. I have no issues filing a law suit for lost information. Who would be interested in filing a group lawsuit against Microsoft for losing all of our personal information and for ruining our lives? I suffered a severe panic attack after realizing all of my information was gone. I thought I was going to die. This is not acceptable. We need to group together and get our information back.

  24. It is impossible!!! I lost my 10 year using Hotmail.com contacts, data and emails. I just did not log in the last three months, is that a punishment to loss every thing I had in the Hotmail. The worst time Ever!! I would be very much appreciated if we could stand up asking for resolving this recurrent issues. it is distraction!

  25. Hi i logged into my emails last night and it seems that all my flagged messages have gone Why? they were flagged for a reason not for someone to decide to change my Hotmail account and to remove my emails. why did i not get an email saying this was going to happen and to back up my emails. I need these back how do i get them

    • Hi Sarah,

      I had the same situation. I checked my hotmail everyday. However, when I opened the Macbook Mail to check my hotmail emails this morning, it was empty. All my emails disappeared, included flagged emails.
      Really terrible experience!!!

  26. hi- outlook cleared my Sent email overnight… and i’m in a jam. is there someone who can restore the folder? looks unlikely. if not, do you have a suggestion for an email provider that does this? thinking of switching over and realize it’s worth it to pay. thanks for your help,

    tammy

  27. Hi, Regarding hotmail/outlook, I created a new sub folder under Inbox. Right clicked on an existing folder & dragged the folder to the new sub folder under Inbox. Now my new sub folder created under my inbox is empty. Where have the mails from the original folder gone & how can I recover them. Thanks in advance for the help.

    • If I’m understanding your question the emails are still in the existing folder, which is now under the new subfolder. If you wanted to move all the individual emails you would have needed to highlight them individually and drag them into this new subfolder.

      • Thank you Connie. Found them as a sub folder under the “new sub folder” tab which was hidden. Expanded the tab & the folder was visible. I moved all the mails to the “new sub folder” & deleted the now empty old sub folder.

  28. I have been logged in to my email in the last 3 months.

    I have all emails forwarding from my hotmail address to my own microsoft hosted exchange.

    i noticed my hotmail bouncing back.

    i logged into my hotmail account and was informed everything was now outlook.com

    my account still exists (name and everything) – but all emails are gone.

    very distressing – please fix

    • I am not Hotmail, Outlook.com or Microsoft. I cannot fix this. You must visit Microsoft’s help forum for guidance. (If it’s been many months, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the mail back.)

  29. we are concerned as all our emails and contacts have gone for some reason,we had emails that dated back to when our son passed away but now we don’t seem to have any inbox emails at all. My question is “who gave anyone permission to delete all our emails from our Hotmail address”.

    • In a way, you gave them permission by agreeing to Microsoft’s Terms of Service.

      “Warranties
      12. Warranties. MICROSOFT, AND OUR AFFILIATES, RESELLERS, DISTRIBUTORS, AND VENDORS, MAKE NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, GUARANTEES OR CONDITIONS WITH RESPECT TO YOUR USE OF THE SERVICES. YOU UNDERSTAND THAT USE OF THE SERVICES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK AND THAT WE PROVIDE THE SERVICES ON AN “AS IS” BASIS “WITH ALL FAULTS” AND “AS AVAILABLE.” YOU BEAR THE ENTIRE RISK OF USING THE SERVICES. MICROSOFT DOESN’T GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY OR TIMELINESS OF INFORMATION AVAILABLE FROM THE SERVICES. TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED UNDER YOUR LOCAL LAW, WE EXCLUDE ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING FOR MERCHANTABILITY, SATISFACTORY QUALITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WORKMANLIKE EFFORT, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. YOU MAY HAVE CERTAIN RIGHTS UNDER YOUR LOCAL LAW. NOTHING IN THESE TERMS IS INTENDED TO AFFECT THOSE RIGHTS, IF THEY ARE APPLICABLE. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT COMPUTER AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS ARE NOT FAULT-FREE AND OCCASIONAL PERIODS OF DOWNTIME OCCUR. WE DO NOT GUARANTEE THE SERVICES WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE, OR ERROR-FREE OR THAT CONTENT LOSS WON’T OCCUR, NOR DO WE GUARANTEE ANY CONNECTION TO OR TRANSMISSION FROM THE COMPUTER NETWORKS.
      Go to top of pageTop of page
      Limitation of Liability
      13. Limitation of Liability. If you have any basis for recovering damages (including breach of these Terms), you agree that your exclusive remedy is to recover, from Microsoft or any affiliates, resellers, distributors, Third-Party Apps and Services providers, and vendors, direct damages up to an amount equal to your Services fee for the month during which the breach occurred (or up to $10.00 if the Services are free). You can’t recover any other damages or losses, including direct, consequential, lost profits, special, indirect, incidental, or punitive. These limitations and exclusions apply even if this remedy doesn’t fully compensate you for any losses or fails of its essential purpose or if we knew or should have known about the possibility of the damages. To the maximum extent permitted by law, these limitations and exclusions apply to anything or any claims related to these Terms, the Services, or the software related to the Services.”

      That is one of the problems with relying on a free email service. These articles discuss how to use them safely.
      https://askleo.com/are_free_email_services_worth_it/
      https://askleo.com/can-use-free-email-safely-people-dont/
      https://askleo.com/back-email-using-thunderbird/

    • You did, and no one did. I have no idea WHY emails would be deleted, but when you signed up for Hotmail you agreed to their terms of service, and there are definitely conditions under which Hotmail / Microsoft can and does delete email or close accounts. YOU and only you are responsible for backing up your email – particularly when you’re relying on a third party like Microsoft or Google or Yahoo! or anyone else to keep your email.

  30. Actually I talked to a lawyer and a specialist. Hotmail does have backups. Its the law . Now to somehow get those back. Working on that.

    • Of course, they have backups. All websites do for legal and practical reason, but the problem is you’ll never get access to them without a good reason to get a court order.

      • Like at least 30 other people [which I have learned from this blog and the Microsoft community blog], I logged into my Hotmail and my Live accounts only to find all emails, almost all contacts [except 10] and almost all OneDrive documents [save 3] missing without warning. I am a disabled person and like many disabled persons, I use computers at my public library & senior center. I do not own a home computer because I cannot physically manage the hardware. Maybe a good reason to get a court order would be a class action under the ADA.
        Besides the horrible inconvenience of losing six years of email & documents, would someone please tell me why Microsoft is so incompetent, when this has never happened with Gmail or Yahoo Mail? Also, why won’t Microsoft provide a transcript of the Live Chat you have with their representatives? Every other live chat I’ve had–from Schwab to USPS to BevMo–I have a printed copy of. Microsoft refuses to provide transcripts.

  31. Don’t think this helps, but I found it interesting. I, too, updated my Hotmail account on Outlook 2016. I, too, have lost all my emails, but only the Hotmail account. My Gmail account an my vanity website are still good. Personally, i think Office 365 has doomed us all.

    Most interesting is that i did NOT update the mail accounts on my iDevices (iPad Pro and iPhone 6 plus). The Hotmail is still there, intact.

    On thing I can assure you is that I will NOT be downloading Outlook for my iDevices.

  32. My computer with Windows 7 Premium quick working so I purchased a new one with Windows 10. Now I’m trying to figure out how to gain access to my Hotmail messages I had saved to my old computer. A few of them are available but not all of them, which were important. Any way of gaining access to them? Is it going to require a court order?

    • If it’s just Hotmail … just log in to your old Hotmail account online.

      If you actually downloaded them to your old computer using an email program, then you’ll need to get them off of that old hard drive.

  33. Yep I lost all of my Hotmail emails overnight. checked it the night before and he next morning it was all gone, and Outlook was there. and I had nothing !

  34. I’ve just discovered that all e mails pre 9 March 2017 have been deleted from my Hotmail account. As per previous comments, I transferred to Outlook (there appeared to be no choice) assuming that, other than a few cosmetic changes, there would be no difference in functionality. I’m not particularly technical – am I correct in thinking that’s that and there is nothing I can do to recover years worth of communication?

  35. Hey guys- in the last 24 hours my hotmail account/outlook was updated without any warning and 9000 emails have disappeared. What is more alarming is that every one of my contacts is now missing- Around 20+ years of client, friends and family contact addresses have gone POOF. Was on the phone and online with technical support for two hours tonight and they are giving me a call in the morning- I am hoping they can help me recover my contacts and lists –

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