Undelete in Windows Live Hotmail

How to recover mail from the trash

Illustration of a trash can with an envelope hanging out of it

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When you have accidentally deleted an important email, there's still the Deleted folder, right? What, though, when there is not — not a trace of that message left in the trash?

Then there's the safety net. Windows Live Hotmail keeps messages for a few days even after they have been purged from the Deleted folder. In a very simple process, you can restore these backup copies to the trash and undelete mail believed gone.

Microsoft no longer offers Windows Live Mail or Hotmail and has moved all of its email services, including Office 365, Hotmail, Live Mail, MSN Mail, to Outlook.com. These instructions apply to Windows Live, Hotmail, and other email accounts on Outlook.com.

Recover Deleted Hotmail Messages

When you delete an email message from your Outlook.com email, you can quickly recover it if it still in your Deleted Items folder.

  1. Go to Outlook.com and log in to your Live, Hotmail, or other Microsoft email account.

  2. Select the Deleted Items folder in the left pane.

    Screenshot of Deleted Items folder
  3. Select the message you want to recover. To recover all messages, select the circle next to Deleted Items.

  4. Select Restore at the top of the Deleted Items folder.

    Screenshot of Restore in Deleted Items

Recover Permanently Deleted Hotmail Messages

If you can't find the email you want to recover in the Deleted Items folder, the next place to look is the Recoverable Items folder. In some cases, you can recover items after you have emptied the Deleted Items folder.

You can only access the Recoverable Items folder using a web browser on a computer.

  1. Go to Outlook.com and log in to your Live, Hotmail, or other Microsoft email account.

  2. Select the Deleted Items folder in the left pane.

    Screenshot of Deleted Items
  3. Select Recover items deleted from this folder at the top of the message list. The Recoverable Items folder will open.

    Screenshot of Recover items deleted from this folder
  4. Select the items you want to recover and choose Restore.

    Screenshot of Restore in Recoverable Items

The items you select to recover are restored to their original folders. If a folder no longer exists, messages will be restored to your inbox.

You can recover messages and other items removed from your Deleted Items folder for 30 days.

Prevent Outlook.com From Deleting Messages Automatically

You can stop Outlook.com from emptying your Deleted Items folder every time you sign out if you wish.

  1. Go to Outlook.com and log in to your Live, Hotmail, or other Microsoft email account.

  2. Select Settings in the upper-right corner of the page and choose View all Outlook settings.

    Screenshot of View all Outlook Settings
  3. Select Message handling in the Mail category of the Settings window.

    Screenshot of Message handling in the Mail category of the Settings window
  4. Beneath When signing out, clear the checkbox next to Empty my deleted items folder.

    Screenshot of Empty my deleted items folder checkbox
  5. Select Save to apply the changes. Close the Settings window.