And so the process begins, where you beat yourself up for not leaving things alone because you just know Murphy's email law (is there such a thing?) would come back and bite you.
You then scramble around praying the message is still sitting in your Hotmail Deleted folder. Only to find it's gone.
Well if you are lucky enough, you can use Hotmail's "Recover Deleted Message" feature to get that Email message back…and delete Murphy's law instead.
The Fine Print
Before I show you the steps of the recovery process, here are a few details you need to know.
- When messages are emptied from the Deleted folder, Hotmail will keep these deleted messages for a few days before they are permanently deleted. It is unknown how long. It could be five days, less than five or more.
- Once you recover messages (that can be recover), make sure you move it back to your inbox or personal folders since the Deleted folder gets cleaned out periodically (or else you will lose the message…again).
- You can opt-out of the recovery feature if you like. When you’ve opted-out, you won’t see the recovery message and link in the Deleted folder. More on this and how to opt out, later in the article.
- This feature doesn’t work for child accounts. This is by design. Microsoft reason is so parents can be confident that when messages are deleted from their children’s accounts, they stay deleted.
Recover Your Deleted Messages
Ok, let's get those messages back.
Simply access you Hotmail mailbox and click on the Deleted folder in the left navigation pane.
In the main window, you should see the recover deleted messages link. Click on it to begin the recovery process.
NOTE: If you don't see the link, it may be because you are opted out. To enable the link, follow the Opt Out steps below, and select Let me recover deleted messages (instead of the opt out selection).
The recover deleted emails, will appear in the Deleted folder. Hotmail will try to recover as much as possible.
If you don't see the deleted messages that you wanted restored, it means that they are permanently lost.
How To Opt Out Of the Recovery Feature
There may be reasons you don't want the recovery feature enabled for your Hotmail mailbox, such as privacy concerns, don't want a trail of messages left behind, etc.
What ever the reason, follow these steps to Opt-out:
1. In your Hotmail mailbox click on Options (upper top right), then More Options.
2. Under Customizing Hotmail, click on Advanced privacy settings.
3. Under Deleted messages section, choose Don’t let me recover deleted messages – once they leave the Deleted folder, don’t give me a link to get them back. Then click Save.
That's all there is to it.
A Word on Opting Out If You Been Hacked
If you ever had your mailbox hacked, you know what a nightmare it is to not only get back access, but discover all your messages have been deleted.
Fortunately all is not loss.
In the latest release of Hotmail, Hotmail has changed how recovery works for accounts that have been hacked.
If it looks like an account has been hacked, Hotmail will keep deleted messages longer than normal. By doing so, you will have a better chance of getting your messages back once you gain access to your mailbox.
In the case that you have previously opted out of deleted message recovery, Hotmail will enable the feature for hacked accounts.
If an account looks hacked, Hotmail will disable turning off deleted message recovery, so the hacker can't hide their tracks and permanently delete your messages. According to Hotmail, hackers often delete messages in an email account. Because of this, you will have a decent chance of getting your messages back.
While the recovery deleted messages feature in Hotmail may not be perfect, it still is a feature that other web based email providers don't provide.
Having this much control after accidentally deleting an email, is much better than trying to get those other email providers to recover messages for you.
Good luck with that!