Always proceed with caution when deleting messages from the Deleted Items folder. But accidents happen and sometimes we delete emails by mistake. Fortunately, there is a way to recover deleted items in Microsoft Outlook.
First things first: must close Outlook immediately after deleting items . It is also important that you not restart the program until the very end of the process . The longer you keep it open, the more unpredictable the results will become.
What is Outlook PST file?
Your deleted files are saved as a PST file. Outlook instinct is to overwrite the PST file when it detects changes such as deleting content. Our task is to restore files before Outlook can make changes to the PST.
The method described below will require us to make direct changes to the PST file. We do this using the so called Hex Editor. You will need to download and install it before attempting to recover your email.
There are many free Hex editors available on the internet. There are also versions that don’t require installation.
What is a table of contents in Outlook?
The plan is to make Outlook think it’s screwed up. To be more specific, we focus on the table of contents or table of contents. This is what Outlook uses to categorize emails before placing them in the appropriate folder.
Typically a table of contents will remove deleted items. But if we damage and fix (more on that later) fast enough, we might trick Outlook into thinking that there were no changes in the PST file. This action will restore all deleted emails. It will continue as if nothing happened.
Search for PST files
Here’s how to find the PST files stored on your computer.
Go to File Data Management. Browse the list of PST files and select the files you want.
Click Open File Location to access the PST files.
Copy the PST files and paste them to a safe location on your hard drive.
Note. We will edit the copy instead of the original file.
PST file corruption
Open the copied PST file with a hex editor. You will be greeted by rows and columns of numbers and letters. These are the so-called hexadecimal characters. We will make changes to these values ??to achieve the desired results.
Find the hexadecimal numbers 7 through 13.
Using the space bar, delete the values ??below positions 7 through 13. This sometimes replaces the original value with “20”.
After making your changes, save the PST file and exit the hex editor.
If your hex editor supports this, you can also update the PST file using Fill Selection.
- Find and select positions 7 through 13.
- Go to Edit Fill Selection.
- Enter “00” in the Hex Values ??field.
- Click OK.
- Save and exit the program.
Recover PST files
Now that we have been able to successfully corrupt the PST, we will proceed to restore the file. For this we will use a tool called scanpst.exe.
When the recovery tool scans and fixes corrupted PST and TOC, it sees permanently deleted messages and thinks they are just lost. This will move the messages back to their respective folders.
Open scanpst.exe (Office 365 users will find it here: C: Program Files Microsoft Office root office16 )
Click Browse and open the edited PST file.
Click Start. After the repair is complete, open the PST file in Outlook.
If the recovery went as planned, the deleted emails should now go back to the Deleted Items folder or the folder where they were originally located.
While this method works, it is not 100% successful. You need to manage your expectations. If that doesn’t work, you can look into third party recovery tools.