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Recover a single folder or message from backup

I’ve accidentally deleted a message which I liked to keep and since I have Outlook set to empty delete the Deleted Items folder upon closing Outlook, I can’t restore it from there anymore either.

I do make frequent backups of my pst-file, however, I do not want to lose any of my new emails which I’ve received or sent since creating that backup.

Is there any way to recover just that single message or the folder containing the message from my backup?

Recover folder or message from pstThis issue might actually be easier to solve than it seems at first.

Restore the pst-file of the date where that folder or message should still be in there to another location than the original pst-file. For instance; Create a folder named “!Restore” in your Documents folder.

Then in Outlook, connect to that file via:
File-> Open-> Open Outlook Data File

You should now see an additional folder set somewhere below your mailbox in Outlook from where you can copy your restored folder or message.

  • You can copy a folder by right clicking on it and choosing: Copy Folder.
  • You can copy a message by holding the CTRL button while dragging and dropping the message from the recovered backup to the folder you want to restore it to or by selecting it and using the keyboard shortcut: CTRL+SHIFT+Y

When you’re done, you can disconnect the recovered pst-file via the Remove button on the Data Files tab in Account Settings.

  • Outlook 2007 and previous
    File-> Data File Management…
  • Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
    File-> Account Settings-> Account Settings…-> tab Data Files

Recover from pst without a backup

If you don’t have a recent backup of your pst-file, but only recently deleted the message or folder, then you might still be able to recover the message via the instructions from: Restore Deleted Items from an Outlook PST-file

Recovering items from an Exchange mailbox

When you use an Exchange account, items which are deleted from your Deleted Items folder might still be recoverable from the “Dumpster”.

This Dumpster is accessible via the “Recover Deleted Items” command on the Folder tab of the Ribbon. Whether or not it is recoverable depends on the retention settings configured on the Exchange server.

Recovering items from an Outlook.com mailbox

When you use an Outlook.com/Hotmail account, then you can recover the message or messages from a folder via the “Deleted” folder accessible in the Outlook.com web interface. This can be done even when the message currently is no longer being shown in the Deleted folder.

For details and full instructions see: Recovering deleted Hotmail/Outlook.com messages


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