Thursday, 8 July 2010

How to recover permanently deleted files in Outlook

I receive hundreds of emails a day from various systems and the occasional email from humans; in both cases, most of that email gets deleted straight away. Because my Deleted Items folder clogs up quickly as a result of this barrage, I've become a chronic shift-delete kind of guy over time—in other words, get rid of it, I don't want to ever see it again, goodbye. This generally works quite well for me and I've never had the need to recover something I've permanently deleted. Until today.

Despite it's fancy new ribbon, Outlook 2010 still allows me to delete all email below the Today group (and other groups)—a complete useability flaw, if you ask me but I'm not a Microsoft genius and I suppose the more barbaric users out there may actually use this "feature".

So I accidentally did just that today—my machine was bogged down running a SQL query: my fat fingers accidently moved the highlight to the Date: Today heading at about 2:30pm, I hit the shift-delete combo, said No I don't want to permanently delete when prompted (having realised what I'd done), and everything that I had yet to file from my Inbox and actually wanted to keep got deleted anyway.

Sigh. The IT guys proposed some registry hacks that didn't seem to apply to 2010 until someone finally found the almighty Recover Deleted Items button on the Folder menu:

Outlook-recover-deleted-itemsClicking this button brings up a list of email messages it can recover from somewhere (Exchange? I don't know and don't care) with details about date, sender, subject, etc. You can recover all files or individual files. 

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