Outlook emails have disappeared: 9 solutions to get them back

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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fix Outlook emails have disappeared

“I’ve just opened my outlook 2010 inbox and there is only messages for the last eight days or so. Would like to know where my emails have suddenly disappeared to and how to stop them disappearing again?”

Are you facing a similar situation where your Outlook emails have disappeared? Worry not, there are ways to fix the problem and get all your mail back intact, where they should be.

Usually, when Outlook emails have disappeared, it could be an issue of configuration in your settings, account inactivity, email rules set up on Outlook, and emails moved to a deleted folder, your account may be hacked and the mail deleted, or the Conversation Threading feature is turned on.

In this case, we recommend you to check how to recover Outlook password and take all necessary security actions.

It is important to note, however, that if you upgrade to Outlook.com, the upgrade is only on the user interface to the new interface, so your emails should still remain in your inbox.

Sometimes Microsoft changes can also cause emails to disappear, like in 2016 when Microsoft changed from POP/IMAP to Exchange platform, so everyone using @Hotmail, @outlook, @live and/or @msn got an email upgrade.

The result is that all the emails in the POP platform prior to the switch were not migrated to the Exchange platform.

In such a case, the emails were saved on the computer or device (locally), and may not have been configured to remain on the server, which made it difficult for Microsoft to migrate them to the Exchange platform.

If you want to resolve the problem of Outlook emails disappearing, try the steps below.

Alternatively, you can check out another guide to recover your lost emails. Both are perfect anyway!

FIXED: Outlook inbox suddenly empty

  1. Export old mail history
  2. Create a new Outlook profile
  3. Import old email
  4. Use the recover deleted/lost emails feature
  5. Clear all filters/view
  6. Use Advanced Search
  7. Change filtering options
  8. Enable Don’t let another program delete messages from Outlook option
  9. Have a regular backup plan

1. Export old mail history

  • Open Outlook
  • Click File and select Open & Export
  • Click Import/Export
  • Select Export to a file
  • Select Outlook Data File (.pst)
  • Select the email account
  • Ensure Include subfolder is checked
  • Click Next
  • Click Browse
  • Select a location and name the file
  • Click Finish

Alternatively, you can do this with a third-party software and also become an expert on the matter.

2. Create a new Outlook profile

  • Click Start and select Control Panel
  • Click View by and select Large Icons

Outlook emails have disappeared

  • Click Mail

Outlook emails have disappeared

  • Click Add

Outlook emails have disappeared

  • Select create new profile

Outlook emails have disappeared

  • Use the Outlook wizard to configure the new account using an email address and password.

3. Import old email

With the new account, you can import your old email. To do this:

  • Open the new Outlook account
  • Click File and select Open & Export
  • Click Import/Export
  • Select Import from another program or file
  • Click Next
  • Select Outlook Data file (.pst)
  • Click Next
  • Click Browse. Find your PST file on the location you saved it (from solution 1)
  • Once complete, wait until the history finishes syncing. When you get a message saying ‘All folders are up to date’ then it is complete.

If this is successful, you will see all your Outlook emails that were missing, appear on all devices.

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Note: In case you encounter such problems on Outlook regularly, we strongly recommend switching to a mail client. We suggest you try Mailbird. This app is currently the best email client app and it is great at managing multiple accounts. You can also create multiple archives and other lists that will help you sort your emails, plus, it has the possibility to secure your email so they won’t disappear. 

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4. Use the recover deleted/lost emails feature

This tool can restore your lost emails, but it doesn’t have the option to select the range of dates of the emails to restore, so you’ll get as many emails as the system can restore regardless of dates.

Again, there’s no guarantee that the emails will all be recovered.

If you accidentally delete emails from Outlook, you can recover them if they’re in Deleted Items or Junk Email folder, or even after the Deleted folder is emptied (but this is in some cases).

We suggest you to try to recover your deleted Outlook emails before you give up on them, especially if there is important information.

How to recover messages when Outlook emails have disappeared:

In Outlook.com (classic)

  • In the left pane, select the Deleted Items folder or the Junk Email folder.
  • Do one of the following: Deleted Items folder: Select the message you want to recover and select Recover.

Outlook emails have disappeared

  • Junk Email folder: Select the message you want to recover, and select Not junk.

Outlook emails have disappeared

  • If you can’t find an item in the Deleted Items folder, check the Recoverable Items folder
  • In the left pane of the Outlook.com window, select the Deleted Items folder.
  • At the top of your message list, select Recover deleted items.

Outlook emails have disappeared

  • Select the items you want to recover, and select Recover.

Outlook emails have disappeared

  • Select OK.

Note: Messages deleted from Deleted Items folder cannot be restored. Recovered items will be restored to original folders when possible, but if the original folder doesn’t exist, the recovered items are restored differently. Messages go to inbox, Calendar items to calendar, contacts to contacts folder, and tasks to the tasks folder.

To stop Outlook.com from emptying the Deleted Items folder when you sign out, do the following:

  • Select Settings at the top
  • Select View full settings.
  • Select Message handling.
  • Under When signing out, uncheck the box next to Empty my deleted items folder

Things to note on deleted items on Outlook:

  • You can recover items removed from Deleted Items folder in 30 days
  • After 14 days, emails are automatically removed from Junk Email folder and cannot be recovered
  • If you don’t see messages you want to recover, they’re probably permanently removed. Messages deleted from child accounts cannot be recovered either.
  • Keep your account active by signing in at least once every 365 days otherwise it will be deleted and is not recoverable.

5. Clear all filters/view

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on View tab
  • Click on View Settings
  • Under Filter tab, check if any filter are applied.
  • If yes, click on Clear all
  • Click

If Outlook emails have disappeared issue persists, reset the current view and check if all the email appears by clicking View>View Settings>Reset Current View.

6. Use Advanced Search

  • Log in to your Outlook account and go to Inbox
  • On the upper-left pane, click on Search
  • Click Advanced Search. Fill out as many fields as you can.
  • Tick the Has attachment if emails come with attachments box
  • Click Search.
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We’ve written a nice piece about this, check it out:

7. Change filtering options

Filtering options can vary from date received, to keywords, importance, size, sender/recipient, or read/unread status. To change the view options, do the following:

  • In the ribbon, select the View
  • In the Current View area, click View Settings.
  • Click Filter, and then review the following tabs for any selections that could filter out specific messages: Tasks, More Choices, and Advanced

8. Enable Don’t let another program delete messages from Outlook option

  • On your mailbox, click on the Gear icon.
  • Select More mail settings.
  • Find Managing your account
  • Select POP and deleting downloaded messages.
  • Make sure that Don’t let another program delete messages from Outlook option is selected.
  • Click Save. In addition, you need to make sure that the option Always leave a copy of the message on the server is selected if you don’t want your emails to be deleted from your inbox permanently after downloading to your mail program.

9. Have a regular backup plan

This can help you prevent loss of your emails by backing up your important email data. Outlook data isn’t stored on your computer, neither does Microsoft back it up. If the data is important, you need to back it up, especially if it resides on the cloud and is not under your control.

To backup your email data, configure your account on a Mail client. To do this:

  • Download Windows Essentials. It is a package with Windows Live Mail, Writer, Outlook Connector Pack, Microsoft OneDrive, and Family Safety.
  • Choose custom install or install Windows Live mail only (your choice)
  • Once installed and configured, sign in to your account
  • Wait for the program to download your emails
  • Once it is done, a copy will be on your hard drive that is synced with Outlook server
  • If you need to save an additional copy, export your emails and your account by pressing ALT+F and export to your desired location.

Become an expert on configuring Windows Live Mail for Outlook with our comprehensive guide!

In order to get a dedicated tool that could do this job for you, check out this list of  5 best free and paid email backup software to use.

Did you get all your emails back on Outlook using any of these solutions? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Editor’s Note: This post is constantly revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

For more information about the best file/email backup and recovery solutions that you can use on your Windows 10 computer, check out the guides listed below: