Recovering Permanently Deleted Email in Outlook

Doesn’t that sound just wrong? “Recovering” and “permanently deleted” in the same sentence like that?

Since my last post about one little registry setting suddenly making months or a years’ worth of “deleted” email reappear, I’ve gotten a flurry of responses. Among the interesting mentions:

-You don’t need the registry hack in Outlook 2007; only Outlook 2003.

-If you really want to delete something, you’ll have to move it from your server to a PST file, then compact that file.

-I don’t know that I trust that, either…

-There are commercial tools for this (which you can use on a trial basis in an emergency), for instance RecoverMyEmail at

-If you’re a Do-It-Yourselfer (or a Do-It-For-Free-er) there are some good user articles, for instance

This capability represents, depending on your perspective, a terrific opportunity to rescue some hapless user (or yourself) and look like an IT demigod, or a horrifying feature, of which most users will be oblivious, that will inevitably result in a very, very nasty legal situation. Techs and security take note.

Special thanks to Subnet7 and Herbbie for their contributions.