In Microsoft Outlook, there are two types of delete actions: hard deletes and soft deletes. A soft delete is when an item is moved to the Deleted Items folder in the Microsoft Outlook mailbox; the deleted item can be recovered any time before the Deleted Items folder is emptied. A hard delete is when an item is deleted without first putting it in the Deleted Items folder. (Pressing Shift + Delete in Microsoft Outlook executes a hard delete.) Hard deletes also take place if the remote server uses IMAP and doesn't have a Deleted Items folder.
After a hard delete, you may still be able to recover mail items from an Exchange mailbox -- it depends on what the Exchange server's delete retention time is set for.
This functionality is typically only enabled for the Deleted Items folder. Items hard-deleted from Sent Items, Drafts, Outbox or Inbox are usually gone for keeps.
If you want to set delete-recovery for those folders, you need to edit the client registry accessing the Exchange server through Outlook:
- Open the registry.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options.
- Add a DWORD value named DumpsterAlwaysOn and set it to 1.
- Restart Microsoft Outlook to make the change take effect.
This option can also be rolled out as part of a policy change or made permanent through a .REG file.
Note that even with this option activated, Microsoft Outlook 98 will not support deletions from non-mail folders, such as Contacts and Notes. Microsoft Outlook 2000 and 2003, however, will allow non-mail deleted items to be recovered with this option enabled.
About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter and a regular contributor to SearchExchange.com.
This was first published in November 2004