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Why Doesn’t MSN Hotmail Save My Sent Mail?


My Hotmail “Sent Messages” folder always remains empty, though I sent a number of emails. As a result, I can never confirm they were sent nor review the text again unless I “cc” myself. A search online yielded no results specific to this question nor an email contact for MSN. What’s up?

In my humble opinion, Hotmail has several annoyances, and this is another one. I can guess why they do it, but nonetheless it annoys a lot of people.

Hotmail makes saving “Sent Messages” difficult.

Apparently on purpose.

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It’s very simple, really. When you compose a new message in Hotmail, at the bottom of the message is a checkbox:

Copy Sent Mail checkbox

Notice how it defaults to being unchecked?

Notice how it defaults to being unchecked for every message you send?

The bottom line is that you must remember to check that box every time you send a message. There’s no way that I’m aware of to make “Copy Message to Sent Folder” the default behavior.

If you forget? You’re out of luck.


Now, the question is “Why do they do it this way?” My theory, and it’s only a theory, is that MSN is worried about server space. If every user saves a copy of every message they send … that adds up to a lot of messages taking up a lot of space. And more space means more hardware and more cost for MSN. More cost for them for what they provide as a free service.

Certainly there are alternatives. I strongly recommend against any of the free services as your sole email account, or for anything important. (More on why in my article “Are free email services worth it?“) But even other free services, such as GMail, do what I consider to be “the right thing” and allow you to save all your sent mail automatically.

So, it’s pretty much up to you: remember to check the box each and every time.

Or switch to a different service.

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78 comments on “Why Doesn’t MSN Hotmail Save My Sent Mail?”

  1. They do save your sent mail, all you have to do is click the save this email button on the bottom of the email message box. Its a little box. You click it and a small check is installed and its saves it. Its just an paying attention that matters.

  2. You could use the Firefox greasemonkey extension then write a small script to check the checkbox automatically, but that is a bit advanced.

  3. Leo, you understated the fact that GMail saves your sent mail: that’s the very gist of their promotional hype: Just about every aspect of the GUI focuses upon their philosophy that says you *ought* to save *all* your mail (the program’s “Delete” button notwithstanding). After all, they say, whatever you want is just a search away. There’s even a little counter when you log on that keeps ticking away, getting bigger and bigger, telling you how much space you have.

    The main reason why I went ahead and switched all my main accounts to Google is they are responsive. In just over six months with the service, they have implemented three of my suggestions, and none of those were on their checklist polling users as to which features we’d most like to see.

    The other upside to Google is that you can POP your account — unlike Yay-Hoo, wherein you can only POP with the pay-for-it account. This means you can keep a local copy of EVERYTHING and don’t have to worry about something happening on their end.

    But that’s among the least important reasons why I closed all but one of my pay-for-it Yahoo accounts — and just one year ago, I was a veritable poster boy for Yahoo Mail. In fact, I’d close that one if it wasn’t for the way pay-Yay-Hoo lets you spoof your e-mail address. Did Macromedia Support sell your spoofed addy to criminal spammers? No prob! Just delete it, cause you can create and maintain as many spoof addresses as you personally can handle.

    As for Hotmail, I still cannot get over the bad taste in my mouth left by a test I conducted several years ago. I opened a Hotmail account and told my address to NOBODY. Within a day, the Inbox was almost full to capacity with spam. Now, that’s not the case today, and I keep one Hotmail account open with my stylized pen name as the addy just on GP. Nobody knows the address and I never get any mail except the usual notices from Hotmail. But Hotmail’s GUI — indeed, the overall system — just doesn’t cut it for me. At all.

    Take care!

    Cliff W

  4. “I opened a Hotmail account and told my address to NOBODY. Within a day, the Inbox was almost full to capacity with spam.”

    That’s simply because the username you chose must have been a very common name, or a word in the English language.

  5. I’m going to soon quit using hotmail altogether because even though I paid for their highest level of service, I still can’t arrange for their system to automatically save my sent messages. Millions of hotmail users will soon fire hotmail too if they continue to take their customers for granted.

  6. dear sir,

    i have a problem in my hotmail inbox, when i read or forward my emails they delete autmatically from my inbox and i never find them at all.
    plz help me wt i to do .. ??

  7. i want to save all my sent nessages ,but i forget to tick the copy box i want it to be automatically saved what should i do?

  8. Hello Leo,

    what you can do is CC the email to your own email address.

    After you save this email in the folder sent messages.

    Best regards,

  9. is there any way in wich i can check sent messages, even though they’ve not been saved?
    any site? any kind of cheat?

  10. Why did’nt you answer my question?

    Are you certain there is no way to automatically save sent messages. Can’t MSN do this is you upgrade?

  11. Can u please tell me how to save all teh sent messages which i send from my mailbox as i dont kno how to save it automatically
    Please help me i m trouble

  12. i sent a very long message to a friend of nine on july 8 1906 on msn messanger and he is one or my msn buddies but he never got yt and I can’t retrieve it. Why?

  13. Ok! First my msn doesn’t work and now my hotmail doesn’t work!!! and it’s making me really mad! What is going on?????? PLEASE e-mail me back! This is my 3rd comment due to msn problems and you haven’t e-mailed me back a solution so please e-mail me back!

  14. If MSN is worried about server space, it is unfounded because they display a condition that all sent mails will be automatically deleted after 30 days. It’s funny, when mails are not automatically saved in the first place, they are talking of deleting them!

  15. That is a silly theroy. Each users has 250MB of storage allocated to them. Its up to them how they want to use it. whether its sent items, received items, junk email or whatever…..everyone has the same 250mb if not more or less, whatever the rule is, for them to do what they want with it.

    And the 30 day rule is to only help MSN when people dont realize they have a build up of sent items that could reduce the total amount of storage that could be used for incoming email. Then MSN would get a lot of support emails saying” I cant get emails, it saying mailbox is full”

    So whats the real reason??

  16. Hey Leo,
    For some reason I cant delete email/trash it..and i cant download files from my friends that sent me the email. It has Page cannot be found..or w/e..plz leo help me!

  17. hello every time i start uo windows live msngr it alwauy does not respond could u please tell me y and how i could fix this problem
    thank you

  18. Even though I put a check manrk next to Copy message to Sent folder.. the attachment in the original message does not get saved in the sent folder..Any idea as to how to save the attachment also?

  19. my internet connection is fine as i can use sites such as google, but whenever i try and open msn hotmail it takes forever to load up and eventually says that you need to refresh it, connection failure or make sure you types in the address properly… etc
    CAN ANY1 Pleez help me!!!

  20. hi Dan I’m having the same problem… hotmail won’t display the fact that I sent an attachment (little paperclip icon)… I have NO idea why

  21. Hello, Thank You.

    Beautiful answer; i got all the info i needed..its strange that Hotmail doesnt allow us to automatically save sent messages- There are no options where you can do it anyway. And most of the time, you may forget to save the message which means that the message is lost. Besides, going back in the browser says either page expired or displays a blank new compose-email page.

    So to everyone out there, do choose GMail, which definitely is the best around. You can configure it freely with ur email cleint software (Outlook, mozilla thunderbird, etc ), you can even use your GMail address on MSN messenger by signing up for a live passport, amongst others.

    Gmail is very advanced in itself- It works just fine- keeps all my mails safely, saves all my sent messages, saves temporary messages as draft automatically (in case you get a powercut, u can log back to continue your mail)..and much more..

    Thumbs up GMail..


  22. They do not. To address your concerns, I’d have your children use some other free service that allows you to save all sent mail.

    Remember, though, that you child can just as easily delete messages from any Sent Mail folder if they have something to hide.

    Parental Monitoring software may be your only recourse, but even that only works on the machines you have control over.

  23. Not only does hotmail make saving sent email difficult.But it also seems to make it just as difficult to retrieve any you may have saved by checking the box.Uptill now, I still haven’t yet figured out how to retrieve my sent messages.

  24. the latest version of hotmail doesn’t have the box to check to save sent mail – it says your sent message will not be saved then has a link to click to save message – it only saves it as a draft and as soon as it’s sent it is automatically deleted from the drafts folder and NOT saved…any help??????

  25. Well, Well, I always wondered why i could never see my sent msg’s,
    Thanks for your help, such a strange method >?

  26. I just sent a message in hotmail with important work information, the problem is that I was in a hurry and forgot to check the “save sent mail” check box. Now I need to see the information I sent. Is there a way to retrieve that sent mail? Thank you.
    By the way, I’m only using Gmail from now on.

  27. My hotmail sent messages folder always remains empty, Even though I sent a lot fo massages to friends, I cant review what I sent or who I sent to When I need to can you please help me,Thanks, Con,

  28. When I open my Hotmail, my new emails are already open. How do I change the default, so my emails remains unopened until I open them? Thanks for your help. Sandi

  29. all e mail providers saves the sent messages automatically and why not hotmail?
    previously it was a provision in hotmail too
    but now after finishing the e mail drafting-amny time/s i forget to reach to the dn box to tick mark that to save sent mail
    kindly give to me an automatice savuing of sent amils
    suggest me

    Hash: SHA1

    My only suggestion is that if it’s that important to you, then don’t use



    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)



  32. Thanks Leo! You saved the day! I sent a very important email to my boss and then looked like a complete idiot when I had to email her back and ask her to send it back to me so I would have a copy of my hours of work! Thanks! Now I know what to do!

  33. Can you post the advanced script you mentioned for GreaseMonkey? I do not have the scripting skills to write a code for that but I would like to be able to use it if possible. Thanks a bunch

  34. I checked the box to save my email. But when I go to my Sent Msg Folder, it doesn’t show the paperclip showing that an attachment was sent – but the person did get it. How can I save the attachment that went with the email?

  35. My friend told me that some people who are really good at computer can hack to hotmail database and retrieve the sent messages. Is that true?

  36. I’m with Saac. Can you retrieve hotmail sent messages from a year ago? hack into your account somehow? I now realise my stupidity in using this account but thought they saved them automatically. Would be very valuable to me at the moment….

  37. I have an msn account I access through hotmail and msn (the butterfly). All mail I receive I see in both hotmail and msn. I do not see any properly captured ‘sent’ messages via hotmail in my MSN. Has anyone ever experienced that or know why that is. I use the MSN account only for backing-up my mail in hotmail and I cannot backup my sent messages because MSN doesn’t see them???

  38. i’m sure msn is not short of money.. Even so, if they’re were worried about server space, they could warn that “All sent messages with more than ‘x’ days old will be deleted”…easy, isn’t it?

  39. If all users start reminding Hot Mail (MSN) administrators that we need the feature that automataically saves the sent messages, perhaps they would listen. Perhaps someone should write to Bill Gates directly (if they have his address).
    We should all demand what we need.

  40. I still don’t have a direct answer to the following question I asked, Leo! Please respond.
    “Where did the option to save sent messages in both msn’s and my computer’s sent folders go? It used to be there until recently. Now, it only saves on my computer folder. Does this option not exist anymore?”

  41. I have two hotmail accounts and one has this problem with not saving to my sent folder automatically. But my other account does this automatically. Every emnail I sent gets forwarded to my sent folder and I can go into this sent folder to confirm that an email was sent and on what day. But I do clean up this folder every now and then. (every 6 weeks) So my question is why is one account different that another?

  42. I’m am very irratated that my MSN account (that I was forced to use with teh purchase of my computer) now forces me to the and will not show me my sent messages…yahoo to msn…losers

    I don’t understand how you were forced to use a particular email service on the purchase of a new computer. The internet is nothing if not full of choices. Certainly you could have used a different service.


  43. You go into options and you will see a section called saved sent messages. go in there and tick the box that you want your sent messages saved. I just created a new account and had the same problem. the old email with hotmail automaticaly saved the sent messages. Hope this works for you

  44. My Hotmail “Sent Messages” folder from today morning its empty, I sent a number of emails. Please make my all emails back to same folder so that i will keep my complete record. Its very important email so please update.

    Please update my record i wil very thankful to you wt for your reply

    I am not Hotmail. I cannot help you. Perhaps you should read this article: How do I contact Windows Live Hotmail customer service?


  45. I found out why the e-mails i send never appear on the sent section, if you want your sent message to appear there click on option on the top right corner, under “Writing email” click “Saving sent messages” and set it.

  46. You can save your sent emails with hotmail by clicking on Hotmail / Options / More options… / Saving Sent Messages (under Writing Email) / select save all sent messages in the Sent Items folder. Hope this helps.


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