Use This Shortcut to Permanently Delete Messages in Windows Mail

A screen shot of the Mail app in Windows 10.

 Joli Ballew

How can you permanently delete a message without sending it to the trash folder? In the discontinued email clients Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express, there is a shortcut to do this. This shortcut also works with You can give it a try if you are still using one of those programs. This shortcut does not work with Mail for Windows 10.

It is a desirable option when you spot a message you think may have a malicious attachment and you want it to be gone from your computer in a single step. If you simply hit the Del key, you will find these programs send the email to the trash instead of immediately getting rid of it completely. This is a nice safety net, but sometimes what you want is deletion without a net.

How to Bypass the Trash

To delete an email message immediately without utilizing the Recycle Bin in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express:

  • Hold down the Shift key while pressing Del.
  • Click Yes.

It's important to be careful with this shortcut, though, since your message won't be recoverable once deleted this way with most programs. However, with, you can still recover permanently deleted items.

Was this page helpful?