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Exchange Tip: Clean Out Deleted Messages

Question:

How often should I empty my Deleted Items folder?

And what happens if I discover I need to get one of those messages back?

Answer:

What if I need to get a message back after emptying the folder?

Even after you delete messages from the Deleted Items folder, they are still stored on the server for 30 days, just in case. Learn how to get them back.

It's a good idea to empty your Deleted Items folder regularly, to avoid wasting space on mail you no longer need.

You can empty the folder manually, or set your mail client to empty it automatically. With the automatic method, the folder will be emptied each time you exit your mail client.

See the specific instructions below for the mail client you use:

 


Outlook 2010 (Windows)

Manual method: Right-click the Deleted Items folder, then select Empty Folder.

Automatic method: Click Outlook's File tab. Click Options. Click Advanced (on the left). Under Outlook Start and Exit, select the Empty the Deleted Items folder when exiting Outlook. Click OK.

 

Outlook 2007 (Windows)

Manual method: Right-click the Deleted Items folder, then select Empty Folder.

Automatic method: From Outlook's Tools menu, select Options. Click the Other tab. Under General, select the Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting. Click OK.

 

Outlook 2011 for Mac

Manual method: Right-click (or ctrl-click) the Deleted Items folder. From the menu, select Empty Folder.

Automatic method: From Outlook's Tools menu, select Run Schedule, then select Edit Schedules. Click to put a check next to Empty Deleted Items Folder. Close the Schedules dialog box. 

 

Entourage WSE (Mac)

Manual method: Right-click (or ctrl-click) the Deleted Items folder. From the menu, select Empty Deleted Items.

Automatic method: From Entourage's Tools menu, select Run Schedule, then select Edit Schedules. Click to put a check next to Empty Deleted Items Folder. Close the Schedules dialog box.

 

Outlook Web App (browser-based mail)

Manual method: Right-click the Deleted Items folder. From the menu, select Empty Deleted Items.

Automatic Method: Click Options, then select See All Options from the menu that appears. Click Settings in the list on the left. Click Mail (from the four icons at the top). Under Message Options, click to put a check next to Empty the Deleted Items folder when I sign out. Click Save (at the bottom right of the web page).

 

Apple Mail

Manual method: From Mail's Mailbox menu, select Erase Deleted Items, then select the specific account (or select In All Accounts).

Automatic method: From Mail's Mail menu, select Preferences. Click Accounts. Select the appropriate account on the left (you may have only one). Click Mailbox Behaviors. Under Trash, using the drop-down list, select Quitting Mail. (You can select other options, but we describe it this way to make Mail's behavior the same as the other clients described on this page.