How to Recover Deleted Emails for Free


Email is such a quick communication tool that sometimes we get hasty in its handling. Act too fast, and you may accidentally delete an important email. Do not despair. Deleted emails are not physically erased until the trash has been emptied.

Most email programs leave the contents of the trash bin untouched for 30 days, unless the trash has been manually emptied by you, the user. There are a few quick moves you can make to retrieve deleted emails from the trash before it's too late.

  • Go to the panel on the sidebar of your email program. It will have have a list of folders such as "Inbox," "Sent," "Spam" and "Contacts."

  • Scroll down until you find the folder labeled "Trash."

  • Click on the trash icon and look for your missing email by reading the subject lines. If you don't remember what the subject line said, look for the date it was sent or the names of the other parties who received it.

  • Find the email you are looking for and click on it. In many email programs there will be a checkbox to click. Select the action "Move to inbox," located at the top of the window. Your email will be safely retrieved and put back in your inbox.

Tips & Warnings

  • Another search method would be to look in your "Sent mail" folder. Go to the panel on the sidebar of your email page and click on "Sent." Scroll through the list of recently sent mail and find the email you are looking for. Select it by clicking on the email, or checking the box, and pick the "Move to inbox" function at the top of the window.
  • If your email has been the victim of a disk crash, it may require a different approach. The data is likely to have been corrupted. If the "Trash bin" or "Sent mail" method is not helping you, search the Internet for email retrieval programs, such as Mail Recovery Express (see Resources). It can help you to restore the data following a catastrophic event. The "try it before you buy it" feature enables you to search for the email for free.
  • The email service you are using may also be able to help you. In most cases, it does not delete the email from its server for at least 60 days. Go to the "Help" function on its website for assistance.
  • Back up Important emails immediately, for safekeeping. Either email a copy to yourself at another one of your email addresses (e.g., if it came to your Yahoo! account, forward a copy to your Gmail, AOL or Outlook account) or print a hard copy. You can also highlight the text of the email, copy and paste it into a word processing document on your computer, and save it.

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  • Photo Credit businessman with notebook image by asiana from Email LCD display image by Alex Yeung from trash image by Orlando Florin Rosu from
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