How to Recover Hard and Soft Deleted Emails or Folders in MS-Outlook

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To delete any unwanted items in Microsoft Outlook (2003, 2007, 2010, &2013), a user applies a simple deletion method and move those emails into "Delete Items Folder". Sometimes, they used "Shift+Delete" command to delete such items and in Windows environment "Shift+Delete" is a sign of Hard Deletion. In short, there are two different methodologies to delete emails or other attributes of Outlook, which are known as Hard Deletion and Soft Deletion.

Outlook item can be an email, contact, contact, calendar, etc., and enforcing the hard deletion method moves these data forever (even from delete item folder). Usually after soft deletion (means a normal deletion) of any item, it goes to "Deleted Items Folder" which can be restored using by simply moving back into the desired folder. But, once you have deleted Outlook email permanently, then there is no any possibility to recover those items.

Soft Deletion & Hard Deletion

We used two modes of deletion in Microsoft Outlook to delete any of its attribute:

So, the question which is moving in your mind is that what is meaning of two above given terms and how it takes place in deletion procedure.

Soft Deleted Items in MS-Outlook

In Outlook, the user uses "Delete" button to delete emails and the items goes into the "Deleted Items Folder". This straightforward way of deleting files in Outlook is known as "Soft Deletion" and the item which has been moved into trash using this process called "Soft Deleted Items".

Outlook Deleted Item Folder

Recover Soft Deleted Items in Outlook

Yes, it's too easy to get back the deleted emails in the case of Soft deletion. In this scenario, deleted Outlook PST Data exists in "Deleted Items Folder" and user can retrieve it back by using "Move to Folder" option.

Note: But after a particular time period the deleted emails also get permanently deleted from the trash folder or deleted folder in Outlook.

Is It Also Possible to Retrieve Hard Deleted Items?

All Windows operating users are familiar with the use of "shift+delete" command to delete folders as permanent. Somewhere, they also use this command to delete Outlook emails. Deleting Outlook emails and associated items using "shift+delete" called Hard Deletion or permanently deleted items.


Note: While using "shift+delete", user also gets a notification pop-up window like below.

Also, when users delete the Outlook data from the "Deleted Items Folder" the email gets permanently deleted.

soft deletion in Outlook

Recover Permanently Deleted Items in MS-Outlook?

If you have been deleted any of Outlook items using the "shift+delete" command or moved emails from the "Deleted Items Folder", then there is no any option apart from choosing any third party like Outlook Email Recovery Software. This utility is specially designed to restore the permanently deleted items or Outlook items which has been lost due to the hard deletion.