retrieve deleted emails from outlook archive file

Posted on 2013-01-09
Last Modified: 2013-04-26
long shot and long story short, i have a user that has deleted emails out of one of his outlook archive files.  is there anyway to get those back?  i have searched around but can not find out what happens to items that are deleted from an archive file.   its a win 7 pro 32bit system with outlook 2003 and exchange 2003.  any help would be appreciated.
Question by:sonvolt
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LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38761322
As far as I know, when emails are deleted from an archive, and if they have also  been deleted from the Deleted folder, then they are gone.

Since email is very current, I think restoring a backup would be out of the question.

So I think the user has lost those emails. .... Thinkpads_User
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 38761875
If the archive is on a local PST file then you may have a chance - I have using the following procedure for a long time ago and in more than 95% of cases the recovery was successful: Recover deleted Outlook e-mail by corrupting the PST file.

But if the archive was on the Exchange server then only the Exchange Admin(s) will could help you if they have a backup.

Author Comment

ID: 38765533
it is an archive .pst file on the local hard drive.  so I hope to have time tomorrow to try this and maybe a few other things I found about recovering deleted items in archive .pst files.  Just hoping my theory of how these particular emails disappeared, which is he accidentally deleted them.  will keep you posted.  thanks!

Author Comment

ID: 38769023
well, no luck.  tried scanpst.exe, recoverall and tried to corrupt the file.  it does the repair but the deleted items folder is empty. the odd thing is that it says it found over 19000 items.  there are just over 11000 items in the sent folder but the deleted items folder is empty.  nothing else.  I wonder where and/or what the 8000 items are.  that would probably be close to the number of files that would have been in there if I had to guess.  not going to waste too much more time but any other thoughts are welcome.

LVL 14

Accepted Solution

luconsta earned 500 total points
ID: 38773496
Unfortunately the trick with "corruption then run scanspt" is working when is done ASAP after deleting the objects from PST file (even if done with "shift + delete") otherwise the successful rate is dropping very fast.

The messages should be recovered to their initial place, except when deleted (with "simple deletion" not with "shift + delete") and then emptied the "recycle bin" - in this case the recovered items should be in the "recycle bin".

If between deletion and recover where some other actions especially "compact PST" or other element were added to the archive, in this case the recover may not work. If you have an older backup closer to the moment when the deletion occur you may try the procedure of "corruption and recover" on that PST (or maybe you have a complete backup that include the missing files and you just could import them in the current PST archive).

And finally one other idea: did you try search for one of the missing message?... may not be deleted - just moved into another folder by mistake.

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