Are Deleted Emails Really Deleted?

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It is said that “deleted files” are never completely erased unless you actually do so with the proper software. Does this also refer to emails? Once I erase an email (incoming or outgoing copy), does that stick around somewhere also?

In order to make the operation fast, when you delete a file, the operating system typically just sets a flag or removes an entry from a directory – the actual data within the file is left on disk until that space is needed, when it gets overwritten. Does the same apply to email messages?

It depends.

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What Does It Mean When My Email Program Asks If It Should Compact My Email?

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When I close my email program, Windows Mail, I constantly get a message that says I can compact the mail. Do I wish to do that? I say no as I don’t know what compacting it entails. What happens when it’s compacted and will I be able to reconstitute the mail that I have in the various folders so that I may respond to it, forward it, or whatever?

Compacting should make the files on disk smaller and potentially the access of emails thereafter a little faster.

I say ‘should’ because compaction has what I’ll call a sordid history. In Outlook Express, compaction was a land mine.

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