How to Recover Hard Deleted E-Mails from Outlook Folders?

Published: 05th August 2010
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Have you permanently deleted e-mails in Outlook (2000, 2002 or 2003) and want to recover them? You can land in this situation, if you hard delete unwanted e-mails. Hard deletion refers to removing e-mails without moving them to the Deleted Items folder. And, if you hard delete an e-mail and realize its importance later, then you won't be able to recover it from the 'Deleted Items Folder'. But, the good news is that there is a way to recover the hard deleted e-mails if your administrator of the Exchange server has configured the server to retain deleted items for a specific period of time. If this option is configured then you can make changes in Windows registry and bank upon the Exchange Server's retention period for deleted email recovery Software.

Demystifying 'hard delete'
You can delete an e-mail in Outlook simply by pressing delete, which is recognized as regular delete. This deleted e-mail will then be sent to your 'Deleted Items' folder, and if you want you can recover the e-mail. While on the other hand, a hard delete doesn't send the e-mail to 'Deleted Items' folder and remove it completely. Here is how you can hard delete an e-mail:

By using Shift+Delete key combination
Or you are using Internet Message Access Protocol 4 (IMAP4) or Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) or another messaging client which do not send the e-mail to Deleted Items Folder.
Or if you are working with an Offline folder (OST) file and delete the e-mail from your Inbox. And, you clean swipe your 'Deleted Items' folder before synchronizing your OST with the server.

Luckily, you can recover deleted e-mails by using Exchange server's retention period, even if the items do not appear in your 'Deleted Items' folder.

Recovering hard deleted e-mails
In Outlook 'Recover Deleted Items' option is only enabled on the Deleted Items folder. Thus, you cannot recover hard deleted items. But, you can enable the 'Recover Deleted Items' feature on other mail folders like Sent Items, Drafts, Outbox, and Inbox), by making the following changes to registry:
Exit Outlook
Press Windows + R to open 'Run' dialog box, punch in regedit and click OK
After starting the registry editor, locate the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftExchangeClientOptions
On the Edit menu, click Add value, and add the following registry value:
Value name: DumpsterAlwaysOn
Data type: DWORD
Value data: 1
Close Registry Editor

But, this procedure will work only for e-mails which were deleted after changing Windows registry. Also, if you use the registry editor incorrectly, you can cause serious problems which might require you to reinstall your operating system.

Therefore, in order to recover e-mails, deleted prior changing registry settings, you would be required to use a third-party deleted email recovery software.

Stellar Phoenix Deleted Email Recovery is a powerful application which enables you to recover deleted e-mails from both Microsoft Outlook (2007, 2003, 2002 and 2000) and Microsoft Outlook Express (5.x and 6.x). Compatible with Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000 and NT (SP6), this tool recovers deleted e-mails, attachments, calendars, contacts and other components

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