Messages automatically disappear after receiving

I see new emails coming in but after some seconds they automatically remove themselves from my mailbox. I don't have any rules configured that would move or delete these items.

How can I get this to stop and get to those messages?

Send/Receive buttonThere are 3 common scenarios in which this could happen.

If they are actually being deleted, see the following instructions instead; New messages immediately get deleted upon arrival.

Unread Messages filter

Filter buttonIf you are looking at your mailbox via a filtered view or via the Unread Mail Search Folder and also have the option configured to automatically mark emails as read after x seconds, then it could happen that the messages automatically disappear when they get marked as read.

If you are in an (Unread Mail) Search Folder, switch back to the normal Inbox folder and see if your items are there.

If you are in the Inbox folder already, make sure your view is not set to “Unread Messages in This Folder” or that you have a filter applied to your view.
To change or reset your view use;

  • Outlook 2010 / 2013 / 2016 / 2016 / 2019 / Microsoft 365 (Classic Ribbon)
    • Change View
      View-> Change View-> Compact
      (and optionally set the Arrangement to Date)
    • Reset View
      View-> Reset View
  • Microsoft 365 (Simplified Ribbon)
    • Change View
      View-> Change View-> Compact
      (and optionally press the Arrange By button to set it to Date)
    • Reset View
      View-> Current View-> Reset View

Default delivery location for an Exchange mailbox is set to a pst-file

Exchange Deliver to PST buttonIf you are using an Exchange mailbox, make sure you don’t have the default delivery location set to a pst-file. When this is the case, all items that are being received via your Exchange account are moved out of the inbox and into the pst-file.

To verify/change your default delivery location;

  • Outlook 2010
    File-> section Info-> button Accounts Settings-> Account Settings…-> tab Data Files-> select the Exchange mailbox-> button Set As Default
    Additionally, on the E-mail tab, select the Exchange account and verify that your delivery location is set to the correct mailbox.
  • Outlook 2013 / 2016 / 2019 / Microsoft 365
    In these versions of Outlook, there is no direct option anymore to deliver Exchange emails to a pst-file. However, there are still methods which could move them. To verify that you do not have implemented these see; Delivering Exchange emails to a pst-file in Outlook.

Third party add-ins

Button Add-insThe automatic moving of items can also be caused by any add-ins that you have installed. Depending on the method that they use, they might appear in the Inbox first and are then directly taken out of it. The most common add-ins that do this are virus scanner and anti-spam filters that integrate with Outlook.

If you have such an add-in installed, you should check their settings to see what they do with the emails; move it to another folder, delete it directly or move it to some storage/quarantine location of their own. You can consult the vendor of the add-in which options are available to you.

When you have a virus scanner installed which integrates itself with Outlook, you can safely uninstall this component of your virus scanner as it doesn’t add an extra level of safety and can lead to other send/receive issues as well.

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