How to Recover Deleted Emails from Your Computer: The Complete Guide

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Recover Deleted Emails From Computer

We’ve all accidentally deleted an important email before. That sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize it’s gone is never fun. Fortunately, with the right tools and techniques, you can often recover deleted emails, even if they were removed from your trash folder.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various methods to help you get those lost emails back. Whether you use Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, or another program, these tips will increase your chances of email recovery success. Let’s dig in!

Overview of Email Recovery

When you delete an email, it isn’t immediately erased from your computer. Instead, it’s simply marked as deleted in your email program’s database. The actual email data still resides on your hard drive or SSD until it gets overwritten by new information.

That window between deletion and overwrite is your opportunity to recover that email. The quicker you act, the better your chances since older deleted data has a higher risk of getting overwritten.

Email recovery works best if you:

  • Act quickly before deleted emails get overwritten
  • Avoid sending/receiving new emails or creating files that could overwrite deleted email data
  • Use specialized email recovery software designed to resurrect deleted emails

With the right tools and proper care, you can rescue your deleted emails in many cases. But first, let’s look at some common reasons emails get deleted so you can avoid this headache down the road.

Why Emails Get Deleted and How to Prevent It

Before diving into recovery, it helps to understand why you may have lost emails in the first place. Here are some of the most common culprits:

Accidental Deletion

It’s easy to delete the wrong email by mistake. With one errant click, an important message can be gone before you realize what happened. Make sure to pay close attention when managing your inbox to avoid this unfortunate situation.

Aggressive Spam Filters

Overzealous spam filters may inadvertently flag legitimate emails as junk and delete them. Check your spam folder regularly for any missed messages. Adjust your spam filter settings if needed.

Mail Server Issues

Problems with an email provider’s server can lead to data corruption or lost emails. If you notice emails disappearing, contact your provider’s tech support for assistance.

System Crashes

A computer crash can wipe out emails stored locally. Make sure to back up your data regularly in case disaster strikes.


Cyber criminals can break into accounts and delete emails as part of a larger attack. Keep your computer and email secure to minimize this threat.

Data Corruption

Corrupted databases can ruin emails beyond repair. Don’t ignore error messages or unusual behavior from your email program.

Exceeding Size Limits

Some email providers will automatically delete older messages once you hit maximum storage quotas. Upgrade your account or manually delete emails to avoid this.

Improper Email Client Setup

Configuring your email client to delete messages from the server after downloading them to your computer will result in permanent data loss. Ensure your client is set to keep emails on the server.

The good news? You can take steps to prevent deletion and data loss in the future:

  • Back up your emails regularly
  • Use antivirus/malware tools to keep systems clean
  • Don’t ignore warning signs of data corruption
  • Adjust spam filter settings as needed
  • Confirm email client is configured properly
  • Upgrade storage as necessary to avoid exceeding limits
  • Carefully review before permanently deleting emails

But despite your best efforts, you may someday find yourself needing to recover a deleted email. Let’s explore some DIY techniques to retrieve your lost data.

Also read: Are Emails Case Sensitive? Rules of creating email address.

Technique 1: Check Your Email Client’s Trash Folder

When you delete an email, most email programs don’t immediately purge it. Instead, it gets moved to a trash or deleted items folder. Your emails sit in limbo here, giving you a chance to recover them before they get permanently removed.

This trash folder should be your first stop when trying to resurrect a deleted email. Here’s how it works in some popular email clients:

Microsoft Outlook

Open Outlook and look for the Deleted Items folder, usually under the inbox. Right click and select Move to Inbox to restore deleted messages.


Apple Mail

Go to Mailbox > Trash in the menu bar. Select and drag deleted emails back into your inbox or right click and choose Move to Inbox.


Click on Trash located on the left sidebar. Check boxes next to deleted emails you want to recover then click Move to Inbox.

Click Folders > Deleted to find your recently deleted emails. Select Restore to undo the deletion.

Yahoo Mail

Go to Folders and open Trash. Choose emails to restore and select Move to return them to your inbox.

For most providers, deleted emails remain in the trash folder for 30 days. But this window can be shorter in some cases. Recover your emails ASAP before they get purged from the trash.

Technique 2: Use Your Email Provider’s Recovery Tool

If an important email is no longer in your trash folder, your email provider may still be able to recover it from their servers.

Many popular services like Gmail,, and Yahoo Mail have built-in data recovery tools that let users restore deleted emails within a limited window, usually about 30 days.

Here are instructions for using the native recovery tools in the top free email providers:


  1. Go to and log into your account.
  2. Click the settings icon in the top right corner.
  3. Select See all settings.
  4. Go to the Recover deleted messages section.
  5. Click Recover deleted messages.
  6. Choose a date range and click Search.
  7. Select Restore message for any emails you want to recover.

  1. Sign into your account.
  2. Click on the settings icon in the top right corner.
  3. Choose View Recover deleted messages.
  4. Pick a date range to search within.
  5. Emails from your search results can be restored by clicking Recover.

Yahoo Mail

  1. Launch Yahoo Mail and log into your account.
  2. Click on the Settings icon.
  3. Go to Account Info > Restore deleted mail.
  4. Choose the number of days to search (up to 30).
  5. Click Search deleted mail.
  6. Recover emails by selecting Restore message.

Take advantage of these built-in tools as soon as possible once you realize an email is missing. But what if too much time has passed? Don’t worry, you still have options to rescue deleted emails beyond the last 30 days.

Technique 3: Use Email Recovery Software

For deleted emails no longer recoverable through your email provider, specialized recovery software offers another chance. Email recovery programs scour your hard drive and reconstruct deleted emails that may otherwise be lost forever.

Apps like Stellar Repair for Outlook have advanced algorithms designed specifically to resurrect deleted emails. They can recover emails from hard drives, SSDs, and external drives attached to your computer.

Here are the key features that make email recovery software effective:

  • Deep scanning – Searches every sector of a drive to find remnants of deleted emails not yet overwritten.
  • RAW file system access – Bypasses the operating system to read email files directly from the disk.
  • Email repair – Reconstructs corrupt or damaged emails into readable condition.
  • Preview – Allows viewing the content of recovered emails before restoring.
  • Selective recovery – Restores only the deleted emails you choose, avoiding duplicates.

Follow these basic steps when using recovery software to retrieve deleted emails:

  1. Download and install the program on your computer where deleted emails were stored.
  2. Select the drive or drives you want to scan for deleted emails.
  3. Let the deep scan run to completion, which may take several hours for larger drives.
  4. Preview and select the recoverable deleted emails you wish to restore.
  5. Choose a save location and recover the deleted emails.

As long as your deleted emails haven’t been overwritten, recovery software often succeeds where other DIY methods fail. Just be sure to act fast!

Technique 4: Contact Your Email Service Provider

If all else fails, you may be able to enlist help recovering deleted emails directly from your email provider.

Keep in mind this option is only relevant for web-based email services like Gmail,, and Yahoo Mail. Desktop email clients like Outlook and Apple Mail store all data locally on your machines rather than on remote servers.

Many webmail providers retain backups of user data for extended periods to assist with account recovery efforts. You can contact Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, or other providers and ask if they can restore your deleted emails from their internal backup systems.

Be aware this process often takes time and success is not guaranteed. Plus, some providers may charge fees for such email restoration services. Still, for very important emails it could be worth contacting your provider to see if they can work some technical magic on their end.

Now let’s summarize the key recovery techniques we’ve covered so far.

Key Email Recovery Takeaways

  • Check your email client’s trash or deleted items folder
  • Use built-in restore features from your email provider
  • Run professional email recovery software
  • Contact your email service provider for assistance

Remember, act quickly at the first sign of data loss and avoid overwriting deleted emails for the best chance of getting them back.

Next, let’s dig into some common email recovery questions to expand your knowledge.

Frequently Asked Questions About Email Recovery

Recovering lost emails often leads to more questions about the intricacies of the process. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

1. How long are deleted emails recoverable?

Most deleted emails remain recoverable for around 30 days before getting permanently overwritten. But this timeframe varies based on your storage capacity and computer usage. The sooner you act, the better your odds.

2. Can you recover permanently deleted emails?

As long as an email hasn’t been overwritten by new data, recovery is possible even if the message has been permanently deleted from your trash folder. Specialized software allows recovering emails from your hard drive in such cases.

3. Is it possible to recover emails after emptying the trash?

Yes, emptied trash emails can still be recovered as long as they haven’t already been overwritten by new data. Email recovery software searches your hard drive’s free space for remnants of deleted emails.

4. What happens if I recover an old email – will it show the original sent date?

When recovering older deleted emails, they may have a new sent date corresponding to when you restored the message. The original headers and metadata may not be retained depending on your recovery method.

5. Can I recover emails from a damaged hard drive?

It depends on the extent of the damage. Minor logical issues can often be repaired allowing email recovery. But severe physical damage to the disk platters may make recovery impossible. Consult a data recovery specialist for assistance.

6. How can I recover emails from a crashed computer?

Attach the hard drive from the crashed computer to a working system using a USB adapter or enclosure. Then run email recovery software to scan the drive and restore deleted messages.

7. What email metadata gets preserved during recovery?

It varies. Trash folder restoration retains most metadata like dates, headings, and attachments. But recovery software often only restores limited metadata like the message body and basic header info.

8. Does email recovery work if my account was hacked?

If a hacker deleted your emails, recovery should still be possible as long as those messages haven’t already been overwritten by the time you act to restore them. Prevent future attacks by securing your account.

9. Can you recover emails after a data breach?

If a provider’s data breach resulted in email loss, contact support about restoring from backups. Locally stored emails can be restored using trash folder or recovery software methods. Enable two-factor authentication to protect your account.

10. How can I recover emails after a system crash?

A system crash can corrupt locally stored emails. Restarting the crashed computer risks further data overwriting. Instead, remove the hard drive and attach it to another system to run recovery software safely.

Hopefully these FAQs provided additional useful context around recovering deleted emails from your computer!

Let’s wrap things up with some final thoughts.


Losing access to your emails can disrupt both your professional and personal life. Thankfully, with the techniques covered in this guide, you can often recover deleted messages and get your inbox back in order.

Now you know where to check for emails lingering in the trash, how to leverage built-in provider restore features, when to deploy advanced recovery software, and how to request backup assistance from your email company.

While there’s no foolproof way to guarantee recovering all deleted emails in every situation, just remember these key principles:

  • Act quickly as soon as you notice an email is missing to avoid permanent data overwriting.
  • Avoid sending and receiving new emails or creating files until you can attempt recovery.
  • Use the most appropriate technique based on how long ago the email disappeared.
  • Seek help from data recovery experts for difficult cases related to damaged drives.

Stay vigilant about regularly backing up your data. But if disaster still strikes, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to get those important deleted emails back where they belong – in your inbox.


Skilled software testing specialist with expertise in comparisons and research, passionate about blogging, reviews, and creating video tutorials.

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