Using the DumpsterAlwaysOn option in Microsoft Outlook

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:


  1. Open the registry.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options.
  3. Add a DWORD value named DumpsterAlwaysOn and set it to 1.
  4. Restart Microsoft Outlook to make the change take effect.

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More on recovering deleted items in Microsoft Outlook:

Contributor Brad Dinerman explains how to set up a Deleted Items Retention policy for Microsoft Outlook in this tip.

Learn time-saving advice for managing deleted items retention in this excerpt from Learning Exchange Server 2003.

If you didn't find what you were looking for, check out these tips and resources on Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Server mailbox management .

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

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