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Office 365 - Recover deleted items

The follow document explains how to recover messages that have been emptied from your Deleted Items folder.

When you delete an item (email, calendar event, task, etc.), it is moved to your Deleted Items folder. Depending on your settings, these messages may be periodically emptied from your Deleted Items folder. Once this folder has been empty, some Microsoft clients, including Outlook Web App and some desktop versions of Outlook, allow you to recover deleted items that are no longer visible in your Deleted Items folder.


  • Office 365 accounts/domains are not backed up, even with Bucky Backup.  
    • Bucky Backup is an option for backing up your PST on your workstation.  Talk to your departmental IT staff to discuss options.
  • Items can only be recovered within 30 days of when they were emptied from within the "Deleted Items" folder. After this time elapses, items cannot be restored. If items are purged from the "Recover Deleted Items" folder, they can no longer be recovered. The UW-Madison Office 365 team has no additional way to recover deleted items. If the steps below don't work, the deleted item(s) cannot be retrieved
  • The UW-Madison Office 365 team does not have any way to tell what caused the deletion of the messages.
  • Often a "missing message" was not deleted at all but was accidentally moved to another folder. Make sure to check all of your folders for missing messages, including your "top-level account folder" ( by following the instructions in Office 365 (Outlook on the web | Outlook 2016 for Windows) - How to find messages that have been moved to your top-level folder.
  • If a mail folder is deleted, the "Recover Deleted Items" process will only restore the message within the folder (the folder structure cannot be restored). The messages will be restored to your inbox regardless of which folder they were deleted from.
  • If a calendar is deleted, it can only be recovered using Outlook desktop client - you cannot use Outlook on the web. Look below for steps to recover a deleted calendar.
  • Items within the recover utility will only show the message headers. The full message will be available after the message has been recovered.
  • In some cases, it may not be possible to recover items that were deleted via a client that is configured via IMAP.
  • It is not possible to recover deleted items with clients configured for POP3.
  • Microsoft does NOT have the ability to restore message(s) that you were unable to restore using the processes below.

Recover Deleted Items

Use Microsoft instructions to recover a deleted item. Important: At this time, Outlook 2016 for Mac does not have the ability to restore an item - use Outlook on the web instructions instead.

Note: If you need to recover a contact, user these instructions.

See Also:

Keywords:microsoft office o365 2013 2016 windows mac web app owa client outlook exchange mozilla thunderbird apple mail imap pop help emails calendaring events tasks contacts messages instant searching tasks filtering deleted items recovery trash missing restore mobile devices android ipad ipod iphone ios cellular retention mac windows   Doc ID:31947
Owner:Ara M.Group:Office 365
Created:2013-07-31 08:13 CDTUpdated:2018-06-21 11:42 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Office 365, UW Platteville
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