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Is there a way to retrieve my email history after I've deleted them?

Is there a way to retrieve my email history after I’ve deleted them?

Chances are by the time you have to ask, probably not. There are several
settings in various email programs that can help, but you do have to set them
up before you process your email in order to get their benefit.

Let’s review a couple of the common ones. Perhaps they’re already set, and
you can retrieve what you’re looking for.

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First, many programs have recycle bins. Much like Windows, if you delete an
email, it gets placed in the Recycle Bin instead of “really” being deleted. The
Recycle Bin gets emptied either when you explicitly do it, or if the option is
set automatically when you exit your email program. Have a look in your
Recycle Bin if you have one.

Some email programs can be configured to automatically save sent messages.
Outlook, for example, has a separate “Sent Mail” folder that keeps a copy of
every message you send – if you’ve turned it on. Many email programs have
similar settings.

Email programs that support “rules” or actions that can be taken when email
arrives can be configured to save a copy of incoming email as well.

Finally, another option particularly useful if you’re traveling is the
option to “leave messages on server”. Normally when you download your email,
it’s removed from the server that was holding it. As it implies, you can
instruct many email programs to leave the messages on the server, often
specifying an optional length of time before they’re automatically deleted. If
the messages have been left on the server, you can typically use a different
email program, or webmail access, to view the messages again.

The bad news is that most of these items are optional and most default to
being turned off. So if you haven’t turned them on, your delete may in fact
have permanently deleted the message.

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48 comments on “Is there a way to retrieve my email history after I've deleted them?”

  1. IF (and only IF) you’ve set it to leave messages on the server, then the easiest way I know of is to create a new account in your email program using the exact same parameters as your primary account (include “leave on server”). When you download using this account, all the messages on the server will get downloaded again.

    If you did NOT set to leave messages on server, then they’re gone – there’s nothing to retrieve.

    Reply
  2. Hi Leo,

    I have deleted my Microsoft Office by mistake. How can I retrieve these programs (Word, Access, Power Point, etc.)?

    Reply
  3. Is there a way of retrieving a message that i sent from a hotmail account but forgot to save it in the “sent messages” folder?(I use hotmail)
    thank you

    Reply
  4. I have an e-mail account that uses Outlook Express 6 with Windows XP. I use folders in OE to save my e-mails. All of the e-mails saved prior to July first are missing but only from one of many folders. There is no chance that I deleted them but they are missing from that one folder. I will take a guess that it had something to do with a compacting operation that froze while the computer was being shut down. Is there any chance of recovering those e-mails? Thanks.

    Reply
  5. I would not expect so. Compacting will probably have overwritten any useful data, and crashing during compacting probably lost or corrupted something important. I’d look at reverting to backup copies of the files, if you have them.

    Reply
  6. is there any possible way to got back the important emails that I’ve accidentally deleted… i really needed it…. pls.. thanks and god bless

    Reply
  7. If emails have been deleted, and even the recycling bin on the account has been emptied, is there a way to retrieve the lost emails from the hard drive of the computer that they were deleted on?

    Reply
  8. In all likelyhood: no. There’s a small possibility, but it’s very complicated and in most cases would require the hands-on assistance of someone who really knew what they were doing. Most of the time it would not work.

    Reply
  9. please its real urgent,reply me,my yahoo id was inactive n i activated it and after activating found that i’ve lost all my emails,including some important and necessary emails,please let me know something by which i can retrieve my all emails,its really urgent

    Reply
  10. Is there some program you can buy in which you can review previously sent and received emails AND IMs? I just read a book where the character was able to retrieve and save old IMs and Emails sent and received. I need to do that…

    Is there a program one can purchase to make furture emails & IMs savable even if deleted?

    Reply
  11. Hi, I have a query regarding emails, sometimes when I send an email the person doesn’t get it, even though it was definitley sent to the right address. What happens to the email that doesn’t get there? does it end up in someone elses’ inbox?
    Thanks

    Reply
  12. I have deleted a email now I have to have that email for a job fair. How can I retrieve it when it has already been deleted out of the trash bin?

    Reply
  13. I accidently deleted some e-mails that I seriously need quickly, I’m a Pastor of a Church and I need them could you please help me.

    Reply
  14. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    You’re *probably* out of luck, but without knowing what email program you use,
    there’s no way for me to say for sure.

    Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

    iD8DBQFGpnd9CMEe9B/8oqERAvwgAKCK1WutPHok+0gwFExAvM8/Ygq2TQCfX94H
    g22kjE7h6CfwTVaGUKmeWhA=
    =RJOb
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

    Reply
  15. I need desperately to retreive some important e mails from aug-sep 2004 from my hot mail account. Unfortunately my computer at home crashed earlier this year and all files have been lost. Is there any way the e mails could be retreived?

    Reply
  16. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Not that I’m aware of.

    Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

    iD8DBQFHF7r+CMEe9B/8oqERAhdmAJ934PB40fq8GNpS35e0rsWqDVq5EwCfclkU
    K+1J8c2UevRhb3zoIyPwoXY=
    =q21W
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

    Reply
  17. i deleted my emails by accident on saturday so i contact hotmail (msn) that i accidently deleted them they contacted me back on sunday saying they went into my account and retreived my email and they should be on there within 72hours if they didnt come on within the 72 hours then they were permently deleted but then i checked my deleted folder again and they were back in my folder by sunday night

    Reply
  18. I didn’t use my email account from last 3 months, i lost all of my emails in that account. how do i retrieve all those ?

    You don’t. This happens when you don’t use an account for a period of time.

    – Leo
    13-Oct-2008
    Reply
  19. I lost important mail from aol account i desperately need to retrieve them this mails are 4 months old..is there a way i may retrieve them?

    Not that I know of.

    Leo
    23-Dec-2009

    Reply
  20. is there a way to retrieve proof of delivery of a hotmail email? the email in questio was sent 5 months ago.

    Nope. Not any way that I know of.

    Leo
    27-Mar-2010

    Reply
  21. I set up my AOL account in Outlook Express then, like an idiot, deleted and purged my saved emails in OE, not realising they would also be deleted in my AOL account. They seems to have gone. Not in “recently deleted”, and cannot seem to recover from OE .dbx files. AOL are worse than useless in helping. I presume theses are gone forever, or is there any way to retrieve?

    Thanks

    Reply
  22. I have a webmail account [edited] and have my own domain and email addresses set up. I have deleted an email 5 weeks ago. Is there any way to retrieve this email? Could their server still hold the email? Many thanks and regards, Kal

    Reply
  23. An old employee deleted his inbox and sent mail. These conversations are important on our project. Is there a way to retrieve these. We have a separate server for email.

    Sounds like a business with a separate mail server? If so, the most common thing to do is to recover from backups that have been made along the way (hopefully nightly). If no backups then it gets real dicey and depends on the mail software in question – you’d need to contact support for the specific vendor.

    Leo
    18-Jun-2010

    Reply
  24. My sent folder on my yahoo acct has never saved any of my emails I would like to know how I can get it to save my sent emails

    Reply
  25. The week of May 23rd, I received an email from SimSlots,Inc IP 209.161.36.20 into my email address above. Is there a way to receover it. I thought it was go to trash, it didn’t. Can help me?

    Reply
  26. Hello Leo,

    Some of my recently received emails have been deleted, and I don’t know who deleted them and why?. Is it possible to retrieve them or find out what happened?
    The lost emails are from my customers, can I trust this way of communication to make my business grow?

    You might want to look at this article: Why is my email being immediately deleted?. As to whether you can trust email to build a business, the answer is absolutely as long as you use a proper email provider, and take additional steps to backup your email yourself.

    Leo
    26-Nov-2011
    Reply
  27. @Coleen
    If you simply deleted the message, you should be able to find it in Hotmail’s deleted folder. It stays there for a few days before it is completely removes from Hotmail.

    Reply
  28. i have deleted a person out of my contacts. i could not get e-mail to her. the e-mail address in my contacts was correct,but when i send a e-mail to her up on my screen her e-mail was miss spelled. i now have her out of my contacts but when i push forward button her and hit the p key her wrong e-mail address comes up

    Your email program or your browser still has an auto-complete feature that’s unrelated to your contacts. Exactly how to clear that depends on what email program, service or browser you’re using.

    Leo
    02-Jan-2012
    Reply
  29. I may have been a bit naughty and sent an angry email about my boss to a colleague. She has deleted it and do have I. Is there anyway that the email could be retrieved by HR or the IT department? We use outlook express with remote access. Thanks

    Reply
  30. @Philis
    Unfortunately, deleted email is never fully deleted. Neither is any file, for that matter. It usually resides on a backup somewhere. The best you can do is hope they don’t search their backup looking for something else and stumble across it. Anything entered on a company computer is the company’s property and they have access to everything done on their machines.

    Reply

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