Email Recovery in Office 365

The following information explains how to recover deleted emails from Microsoft Office 365.

  • Office 365 accounts are not backed up by Computing and Communications Services (CCS).
    • You can back up your emails manually by saving them to a "PST" file. For more information, please visit this Microsoft page for instructions. 
  • Items are retained in your Deleted Items folder for 90 days.
  • After 90 days, items are moved automatically into your Recoverable Items folder, where they are retained for another 30 days.
  • After 30 days within Recoverable Items, they are permanently deleted and cannot be recovered by CCS or Microsoft. 
  • Your mailbox size is 50GB, and for most users this is ample space. It is recommended that you do not empty your Deleted Items folder, that way you will have 90 days to easily recover anything that is deleted. Merely click on the Deleted Items folder and drag the items into the desired folder. 
  • Follow the steps listed below in this document to recover items from within the Recoverable Items folder. 
  • If you are missing a message and you cannot find it in your Deleted Items or the Recover Deleted items folder, you can conduct a search on all of the folders and narrow your search by using Advanced Search Queries (ASQ). 
    • For example, if you are looking for an email that was sent from, you can type in the search field "" or if you are looking for an email that was sent to, you can type "" into the search field. For more information about the AQS, please visit this Microsoft page. 
  • If the mail folder is deleted, the Recover Deleted Items process in Outlook Web App (OWA) will only restore the messages within the folder (the folder structure can only be restored using the Outlook Desktop client). In OWA, the messages will be restored to your inbox regardless of which folder they were deleted from. In the Outlook Desktop Client, you can drag the folder from the Deleted items and place it into any folder you wish.
  • If a Calendar (or a Calendar item) is deleted, it can only be recovered by using the Outlook Desktop Client. Please see below for instructions on how to recover deleted Calendars or Calendar items in Outlook. 
  • It is not possible to recover any deleted items for clients who are configured with POP3. 
  • Microsoft does not have the ability to restore messages if you were unable to restore them using the processes listed below. 

Recover Deleted Items from the "Recovery items" folder using the Outlook Web App (OWA)

When you delete a message, it is moved into the Deleted Items folder. The message remains in the Deleted items folder for 90 days, or until they are manually removed from the "Deleted Items" folder. 
Once removed from the Deleted items folder, they are then moved into a "Recoverable Items" folder. 

To recover items from the Recoverable Items folder, follow the steps listed below. 

  1. Login to your Office 365 Account via
  2. On the list of your folders, look for the "Deleted Items" folder and right-click on it.
  3. Click on "Recover deleted items"
  4. You will be brought to a screen that allows you to choose all the mail that you can recover. You can either do a search or scroll down and look for emails by date. Once you have selected the items that you want to recover (Click the check box to the left of the message), click on 'Recover' located at the top of your page. The items will be moved to their default location.
    • Messages will go into your Inbox. 
    • Calendar items will go into your Calendar. 
    • Contacts go to your Contacts folder. 
    • Tasks will be moved into your Tasks folder. 
       If you select Purge, the items will be deleted permanently with no option for recovery. 

Recover email from the "Recovery Items" folder using Outlook Desktop Client (Outlook 2016)

  1. Open Outlook and select the 'Mail' icon.
  2. Click on Folder in the top bar, and select "Recover Deleted Item" (please note that Outlook must be set as Exchange Account in order to see the 'Recover Deleted Items', option. Make sure your profile is set with this configuration here.
  3. Click on the message you want to recover, and then click OK.
  4.  The message will be moved out of the deleted folder into the appropriate folder (as per above). 

Recover Other Items from the Outlook Desktop Client (Calendar, Contact Folder, etc.)

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Click on the "..." menu at the bottom, and select 'Folders.' 
  3. Expand the Deleted Items folder by clicking on it. 
  4. You should see the Calendar that you have deleted in there. Calendar items will be displayed alongside messages but with the Calendar icon on the right (as the arrow shows at the bottom picture). 
  5. Drag and drop the meeting from the Deleted Items folder, on to your Calendar folder.
  6. If you cannot find the meeting or the appointment in your deleted items, click on 'Recover Deleted Items' and look for it there.