Recovering deleted email from a hotmail account

This question concerns recovering the previous state of a Hotmail account. Recently, a Hotmail account was commandeered and emails were deleted (and emptied from the Deleted folder). There is suspicion that the motive was to hide incriminating evidence that could lead to criminal charges. However, without the evidence, I have read that the police tend not to be so interested, even though a cybercrime has been committed (simply by unauthorized access of the account).

Microsoft is a difficult organization to navigate to have questions answered reliably.
1. What is the best way to proceed?
2. Is recovery of account emails even possible? How far back? -- 1 week? 30 days? 60 days?

Note that the account was only ever used with the webmail interface. No email clients were involved, so there’s no hope of recovering the emails from an email client, since one was not used.

Experiences shared, recommendations, and advice are most welcome.
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William FulksSystems Analyst & WebmasterCommented:
In Hotmail if you go to the Deleted Items folder, at the bottom of the screen you should see a Recover Deleted Items link and it will bring back some stuff. Have you tried that yet?

Otherwise, you need to first login to the account then contact customer support.
JonahGroupAuthor Commented:
Yes, I neglected to mention that this has been attempted. The suspicion is that the emails were *recently* deleted, but given that "Recover Deleted Items" didn't work, then this might not be the case. The emails are actually very old, and I'm not too certain when *exactly* the deletion took place; only that it did happen within the last 12 months or so.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Without a local copy you are out of luck I'm afraid.
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William FulksSystems Analyst & WebmasterCommented:
The only other thing I could think of is to check Sent Items. If the emails were part of a conversation you might have some part of them in a replied-to message.
JonahGroupAuthor Commented:
I know that large organizations have data centers and redundancy and backups for disaster recovery. My speculation is that the data exists (somewhere). I know that a finer granularity retrieval like this, is probably very difficult. But my thinking is that this can't be the first time an issue like this has arisen. I work for a small software company, and I know that it is "possible" to retrieve an inbox or calendar for a specific user, from several months ago. The sysadmins understood the reasons why going back a few months is desirable. But it's a labor intensive recovery task.

Do you think that perhaps an upgrade to "Hotmail Plus" would grant me a conversation with anyone knowledgeable at Microsoft? That is, I'd really like to get beyond the first few layers of "content-free" tech support staff. As you well know, the answer that resolves all customer support calls is: "this is not possible". The correctness of the answer is always secondary.


David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
have you any idea of how many users have a free email account.  Note it is free, support is limited, and if you need a backup you should do it yourself or pay someone else to do it.  A microsoft employee would have to (a) find the backup for the date involved and only select your user account to restore to this may overwrite newer information.  A paid plan hotmail+ may give you more options but restore to an earlier time and date is very likely not one of the options.  Check the terms of service always..

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JonahGroupAuthor Commented:
Thank you both for your input. I do appreciate it.

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