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Recover Deleted Items doesn’t work

I’ve deleted some messages which I actually wanted to keep. To recover them, I tried I tried to use the “Recover Deleted Items” button on the Folder tab but it isn’t working.

Why doesn’t it work and how can I restore my deleted messages?

The Recover Deleted Items feature is an Exchange feature which allows you to restore deleted items even after you have deleted them from the Deleted Items folder or hard deleted them via SHIFT+DELETE.

However, it may not work under all conditions or for all folders. How it works and how long you are able to restore the items after the deletion also depends on your version of Outlook, Exchange and how it has been configured by your Exchange administrator.

Note: For a POP3, IMAP or Hotmail account, this feature doesn’t exist and, when the deleted items are no longer in your Deleted Items folder, you’ll have to restore the items from backup or you can try to recover them via this procedure or via specialized data recovery tools.

The Recover Deleted Items option may not be available under all circumstances.
The Recover Deleted Items option may not be available under all circumstances.

Deleted items retention

Deleted items retention is a feature of the Exchange Mail Server which keeps your deleted items even after you deleted them from your Deleted Items folder or via SHIFT+DELETE. This is called the “Dumpster”.

To see these items or to recover them, you can use the Recover Deleted Items function in Outlook which you can find in the Tools menu for Outlook 2007 and previous or on the Folder tab in Outlook 2010.

Make sure you first select the folder from which you permanently deleted the items. To recover a folder, select the folder of which the permanently deleted folder was a sub folder.

How long after the deletion you are able to recover the deleted item depends on the retention settings on the Exchange server. The table below lists the default settings per Exchange server version, but your Exchange administrator may have changed these values.

Version Retention in days
Exchange 5.5 0
Exchange 2000 7
Exchange 2003 7
Exchange 2007 14
Exchange 2010 14

To recover, select one or more items and then press the Recover Selected Items button.
To recover, select one or more items and then press the Recover Selected Items button.

DumpsterAlwaysOn Registry value

Even when the Exchange server has been configured to keep your “hard deleted” or “deleted-deleted” items, you may not always find them in the “Recover Deleted Items” dialog or the option may not always be available (greyed out).

To enable the feature, you can add the “DumpsterAlwaysOn” Registry value name.

  • Key for 32-bit Outlook on a 32-bit version of Windows HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options
  • Key for 32-bit Outlook on a 64-bit version of Windows
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options
  • Key for 64-bit Outlook on a 64-bit version of Windows HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options

Value name: DumpsterAlwaysOn
Value type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1

Instead of manually adding the Registry, you can also download this zip-file which contains a reg-file file for any Outlook or Windows combination.

The effect of the value depends on your version of Outlook

  • Outlook 2003
    Setting this key to 1 enables you to access the Dumpster feature of Exchange when connecting via Outlook Anywhere (RPC over HTTP).
    Setting this key to 1 also enables access to the Dumpster for non-mail folders such as the Calendar, Contacts and Notes folders.
  • Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010
    The Dumpster feature functions already for all folders in your own mailbox without setting this registry value. However, you’ll need to set it to 1 if you also want to be able to use it for shared mailboxes

Recover Deleted Items for non-mail folders in Outlook 2010

Even though the Recover Deleted Items feature works for all non-mail folders in Outlook 2010, the feature is not available by default on the Folder tab for these type of folders.

To access it, you’ll have to add it to the Ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) manually.

  1. File-> Options
  2. Select: Quick Access Toolbar
  3. Set the “Choose commands from” list to: All Commands
  4. Locate and select the command: Recover Deleted Items…
  5. Press the “Add > >” button.
  6. Press OK.

Add the Recover Deleted Items command to the QAT to also make it available for non-mail folders such as the Calendar folder.
Add the Recover Deleted Items command to the QAT to also make it available for non-mail folders such as the Calendar folder.



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