Recover a deleted item

When you accidentally delete an item from your Outlook Web App mailbox (the web browser version of Outlook), you can often recover it. The first place to look for a deleted item, such as an email message, calendar appointment, contact, or task is the Deleted Items folder in your mailbox. If you can't find it there, the next place to look is the Recoverable Items folder, which you can access by using the Recover Deleted Items tool.

Recover a deleted mail folder

You can recover a deleted folder (with all of its messages) if it's still in your Deleted Items folder. Unfortunately, you can't recover a folder that's been permanently deleted. But you can use the steps in this topic to recover messages from the Recoverable Items folder that were in a folder when it was permanently deleted.

Recovering items from the Deleted Items folder

When you delete an email message, a contact, a calendar item, or a task, it's moved to the Deleted Items folder in your mailbox. If you're trying to find a message that was deleted, the Deleted Items folder is the first place to look.

Steps for recovering items from the Deleted Items folder.

Recovering items from the Recoverable Items folder

If you can't find an item in the Deleted Items folder, the next place to look is the Recoverable Items folder. This is a hidden folder, and it's the place where items are moved when you do one of the following things:

  • Delete an item from the Deleted Items folder.
  • Empty the Deleted Items folder.
  • Permanently delete an item by selecting it and pressing Shift+Delete.

Steps for recovering items from the Recoverable Items folder.

Steps for recovering deleted items

Steps for recovering items from the Deleted Items folder

  1. Sign in to your account.
  2. In your email folder list, click Deleted Items.
  3. When you find your message, do one of the following to recover it:
  4. To restore a message to your Inbox, right-click on it, and then click Move > Inbox.

Move deleted item to inbox

  • To restore a message to a different folder, right-click on it, and then click Move > More.
  • Select a folder location and then click Move.
  1. To recover other types of items in the Deleted Items folder, do one of the following:
    • To recover a contact, right-click on it and then click Move to Contacts.
    • To recover a calendar item, right-click on it and then click Move to Calendar.
    • To recover a task, right-click on it and then click Move to Tasks.

Tips for recovering items in your Deleted Items folder

  • If you delete a folder, it's moved to the Deleted Items folder and appears as a subfolder. To recover it (and all the items it contains):
    • Right-click the deleted folder
    • Click Move and then select a folder to move it to.
  • To make it easier to find items in the Deleted Items folder, you can sort by Type, which groups together similar types of mailbox items.

Steps for recovering items from the Recoverable Items folder

  1. Sign in to your account.
  2. In your email folder list, right-click Deleted Items, and then click recover deleted items.

Recover deleted items button

  1. If necessary, use the search box to find the item you want to recover.
  2. When you find the item, select it, and then click Recover.

Recover button

Where do recovered items go?   

The item is moved to its default location for the item type. This means:

  • Messages go to your Inbox.
  • Calendar items go to your Calendar.
  • Contacts go to your Contacts folder.
  • Tasks go to your Tasks folder.

Tips for recovering items in your Recoverable Items folder

  • The deleted date for an item in the Recoverable Items folder specifies when the item was originally deleted and moved to the Deleted Items folder. It's not the date the item was permanently deleted and moved to the Recoverable Items folder.
  • If you have a lot of items in the Recoverable Items folder, it may be hard to find what you're looking for because items don't have icons, and they all look very similar. Here are some tips:
    • If you're looking for a contact, look for the name of the person. Contacts also don't have a subject field.
    • If you're looking for a calendar appointment, look for an item that doesn't have a person's name or a subject line.
    • If you're looking for a contact, calendar appointment, or a task look for the text, No preview is available.
  • To recover multiple items, click the checkbox next to each item and then click Recover. The checkbox doesn't appear until you hover over it.

recover multiple items, click the checkbox next to each item and then click Recover.

  • You can also recover multiple adjacent items by clicking the checkbox for first item, holding down the Shift key, and then clicking the checkbox for the last item. When all items are selected, click Recover.
  • You also can purge items that are shown in the Recover deleted items window. Just select the item and then click Purge. But be careful, if you purge an item, you cannot use the Recover Deleted Items tool to get it back. The message will no longer be recoverable.
  • There is a policy that lets you recover items in the Recoverable Items folder for up to another 30 days from the time of deletion.