Did you know deleted email on Outlook.com is not really deleted?

Do you use Microsoft’s Outlook.com email service for your messaging? How do you delete an email? This is not a trick question. Even if you delete an email and then empty the Deleted folder, it can be recovered. This could be useful if you accidentally delete an email, but scary if you really want to delete a message because it seems that you can’t.

It appears to be impossible to delete an email on Outlook.com and no matter what you do, you can recover it, or someone else could if they gained access to your account. On the one hand, that is a useful feature and it means that you can recover accidentally deleted messages, but seriously Microsoft, why can’t an email be deleted so it cannot be recovered?

It could be considered to be a security flaw because if you receive an email with personal information in it, you cannot delete it after reading it. To see what I mean, try this...

Log in to Outlook.com and delete one or more messages - junk mail and so on. We all get junk in spite of the junk filters. Now select the Deleted folder on the left and all the deleted emails are displayed. Let’s get rid of them. Click Empty in the menu bar at the top and all the messages in the Deleted folder are deleted.

Empty Outlook.com's Deleted folder

Are they really deleted though? Look at the link at the bottom of the now empty Deleted folder. It is fair enough deleting messages and then being able to recover them from the Deleted folder, but this is going a step too far. Click the recover deleted messages link and see what happens.

Recover deleted mail on Outlook.com

Outlook proceeds to recover every email you have deleted from the Deleted folder recently. In my case it recovered 475 messages!

Recover deleted mail on Outlook.com

This isn’t every email deleted, ever, so eventually messages deleted from the Deleted folder do get removed from the system. The messages are recoverable for a couple of weeks though.
Is this a useful feature or not? I would rather not have it. The Deleted folder is designed to catch accidentally deleted messages and it works just fine, so if I empty the Deleted folder it’s my responsibility.

It is a bit like those pop-up messages you when do something that say, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ Then when you click Yes, it says, ‘Are you really sure?’ Of course I’m sure. Agggghhh!

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1 Comment on Did you know deleted email on Outlook.com is not really deleted?

  1. thank you so much brother

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