This page explains how to delete and recover deleted email from your Microsoft Exchange email account using Microsoft Outlook 2007.
Every message has a 'life cycle' which will include several of the following stages:
- compose, edit, send,
- arrive, read, reply to (or forward),
- 'accidently delete', recover, archive and (finally) 'deliberately delete'.
Many of these stages are obvious, but the final stages are not universally understood.
What happens to a message when you delete it is not straight forward.
- a message arrives in your Inbox.
- you open the message and read it.
- you keep the message for a period of time.
- you click on the message:
- press the 'Delete' key.
- right click on the message and select the 'Delete' option.
- click on the 'Delete' button on the toolbar.
- press: Ctrl & D.
all of the above actions cause the message to go into 'Deleted Items' folder.
The Deleted Items Folder
Messages in the 'Deleted Items' folder:
- still count against your Quota.
- can easily be recovered by:
- dragging the message out of the 'deleted Items' folder.
- dropping it in your Inbox.
If you know that you definitely want to delete a message, you can 'Hard Delete' it by doing the following:
- select the message.
- hold down the 'Shift' key and press the 'Delete' key.
The message will NOT appear in your 'Deleted Items' folder.
Clearing Your Deleted Items Folder
Because messages in your 'Deleted Items' folder count against your quota, you may want to clear messages out of your 'Deleted Items' folder to save space. Messages can be removed from your 'Deleted Items' folder in the following ways:
- delete the message out of the 'Deleted Items' folder.
- Outlook can be configured to empty your 'Deleted Items' folder on close down.
- the central Exchange system will automatically delete the message from 'Deleted Items' after four days.
After a message has been 'Hard Deleted', or deleted out of the 'Deleted Items' folder by any of the methods above, it is still not entirely lost. After a message is 'finally' deleted out of Outlook, the following happens:
- Exchange moves the message on to an area on the server known as the 'Dumpster'.
- on weekdays, Exchange backs-up the messages to tape.
The message remains in the 'Dumpster' for eight days, and during that time, you can relatively easily 'recover' a 'hard deleted' message from the Dumpster.
Recovering Deleted Messages From The Dumpster
How to: Recover deleted messages in Outlook 2007 - Link to LancasterAnswers solution.
Although the quotas on Exchange have increased, people will still reach their quota limit at some point. As data retention policy dictates that all email that is a matter of record is kept this will happen sooner rather than later for many people.
How then should you archive your email?
There are several methods of archiving Exchange email in use at Lancaster University:
- Manual - deleting most email and saving important emails to disk - not recommended.
- Personal Folder - periodically moving email out of 'Inbox' into a 'Personal Folder' - acceptable.
- Archive Folder - configure Outlook to periodically move old email to an 'Archive Folder' - recommended.
The Manual Method
The 'manual' method involves saving important emails to filestore by doing 'File' then 'Save As', and deleting unimportant emails.
This method is not recommended because it is time consuming and encourages people to delete more email than is advisable.
The 'Personal Folder' method involves:
- creating a 'Personal Folder' which is stored on your hard disk.
- periodically moving messages to named folders in your 'Personal Folder' .
- 'Personal Folders' are on your hard disk and therefore do not consume your Exchange quota.
- email in Personal Folders can be read and replied to just like mail in Inboxes.
- You can easily choose what you want keep and put it in a named folder.
- there is work involved moving email from your inbox to your 'Personal Folders' and mistakes can be made.
- 'Personal Folders' are not available when you read your mail from home or other remote locations.
- 'Personal Folders' are not backed-up automatically. You are responsible for making back-ups.
'Archive Folders' are the same type of file as a 'Personal Folders' and also sit on your hard disk. Archive Folders are different because Outlook can be configured to automatically move messages over a configurable age into the Archive Folder.
- Outlook will automatically move old messages into a replica of the folder structure of your Mailbox - this means that you are not tempted to delete mail that may turn out to be important.
- 'Archive Folders' are not available when you read your mail from home or other remote locations.
- 'Archive Folders' are not backed-up automatically. You are responsible for making back-ups.
Managing Archive Folders
You will notice that all the recommended ways of retaining email have issues.
Accessing old email from remote locations
There are various dodges that people use to access their Personal/Archive Folders from other PCs. All of these 'dodges' are not recommended. The Exchange Server is designed to make your email available to you where ever you log-on from, it does what is required to maintain the integrity of your email on the server. Personal/Archive Folders are not designed to allow access from multiple locations and can easily be corrupted by attempts to do so.
Backing Up Personal/Archive Folders
Personal/Archive Folders are not backed-up automatically. You have to ensure that you have a security copy yourself. Copying the Personal/Archive Folders to 'CD R' or 'DVD R' periodically is a satisfactory method of backing up your old email. Instructions for doing this will be available soon
Personal/Archive Folder Size Limit
Two Gigabytes is the size limit for Personal/Archive Folders. To deal with this problem:
- you can have multiple Personal/Archive Folders.
- you can 'move on' to a new folder when the old one is full or...
- create a new folder for each year.
Deleted Items Folder On Personal/Archive Folders
When you are reducing the size of a 'Personal/Archive Folder' by deleting files and/or folders you should be aware that there is a separate 'Deleted Items' folder for each 'Personal/Archive Folder'. And that the 'Deleted Items' folder in Personal/Archive Folders are NOT emptied by the system automatically. Messages in the Deleted Item folder still take up space and to save that space you will have to delete them out of Deleted Items. Messages deleted in this way can only be recovered from back-ups that you have made.