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How do I permanently overwrite Outlook's deleted messages beyond recovery?

Posted on 2004-05-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-08
I'm using East-Tec's Eraser software to completely overwrite junk that has accumulated on my machine -- much of which comes in form of spam that includes porn and other unsavory stuff.  My understanding is that those messages may still be lingering somewhere on the machine after deletion in Outlook, but where? There doesn't seem to be anything in the Recycle Bin. Are those messages still referenced somehow in the .pst file after deletion? Basically, I wan't to isolate all "deleted" messages and overwrite them beyond recovery with one of Eraser's heavy-duty tools.
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Question by:michaelnorth
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by:slink9
slink9 earned 200 total points
ID: 10976089
The only way they will be lingering around is if you have an Exchange Server with Deleted Items recovery turned on.  Without that they are considered GONE by normal methods of recovery.  Using a bit editor and some knowledge you can recover complete and/or partial messages, but that is not the sort of thing that would be done for spam emails.
In short, I don't believe you have a thing to worry about.
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slink9 earned 200 total points
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That is, as long as they have been emptied from the Deleted Items bin.  You can set that to be emptied every time you exit Outlook.
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by:stefri
ID: 10981547
If you are using PST to keep the mails, emptying Deleted Items is not enough: it is possible to recover them (see http://www.htcia.org/pdf_files/vol3iss2.PDF around page 6) Compacting the PST should not allow this recovery but as Slink9 pointed it out: who would recover spam/porn mails, just wait for the next day, they will pop-in your mailbox

Stefri
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by:slink9
ID: 10985227
Hey stefri,
That would be the method I was referring to with "a bit editor and some knowledge."  That is not something a general user would know or be comfortable with.
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by:jderting
jderting earned 50 total points
ID: 10987938
If you are really, really concerned and compacting is not satisfactory for you; Copy all of the content you wish to keep to a new pst and set it as your default. Then delete the original & scrub your drive a bunch of times.
JD
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