How To Recover Permanently Deleted Email in Outlook?

Learn About Soft and Hard Deletion of Emails Along with Recovery Method

soft and hard deletions

This blog will help you understand the concept of both “Soft Deletion” & “Hard Deletion” & how you can recover permanently deleted email in Outlook PST using Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe) and Hex Editor. In cases when scanpst.exe does not work & you are unable to restore deleted items, SysTools Outlook Recovery helps you to recover data from major corruption. You can also retrieve Shift deleted / permanently deleted emails from OST File with help of SysTools OST Recovery.

Before understanding the concept of restoring permanently deleted emails from Microsoft Outlook profile, you need to first understand the situation itself. A Personal Storage Table (PST) or Offline Storage Table (OST) is Outlook’s Data File storing the entire data of an account on the client. This data includes; emails, contacts, calendar, etc. (in the order of importance) and any of this data item when gets deleted they are moved to Outlook’s own Recycle Bin i.e. Deleted Items Folder. The case will be known as “Soft Deletion” because the data is not lost permanently but temporarily.

However, if the same situation takes place with a difference as critical as deleting the data permanently using Shift+Delete command it will be known as a “Hard Deletion” Case. Unlike the case of Soft Deletion, the deleted item, in this case isn’t moved to the Deleted Items folder, but is deleted beyond restoration. Get a chance to recover deleted emails from Outlook using Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe) and Hex Editor.

Getting Back Hard Deleted Emails Using Outlook

If you are using Outlook in a standalone mode, then there is no chance of getting back hard deleted emails. In case you are under any misconceptions that the Inbox Repair Tool by Outlook (Scanpst.exe; inbuilt utility) might help in a situation like this, by you will be disappointed. Because it rarely recover the deleted items.

Without having Outlook in connection with Exchange Server, leaves you with no options to know how to retrieve Shift deleted email from Outlook.

NOTE: Outlook working under Exchange environment has a chance of permanently deleted item recovery through the Dumpster. There is a default time limit set for the Dumpster storage, (Retention Period) which can be customized according to the need.

A Combination of Hex Editor and Scanpst.exe To Overcome Hard Deletion

Although, we have discussed earlier that Scanpst.exe is a suitable solution for repairing minor corruption in PST files. But it cannot restore permanently deleted items of Outlook. In order to demonstrate the same statement, we will be performing and discussing the entire stages of deleted email recovery using scan PST along with HEX Editor.

A Brief: Here we will first perform the deletion of PST / OST file items using Hex Editor and will try to restore them with the help of Scanpst.exe. This will help in clarifying the fact that Scanpst.exe is not a suitable approach to be made for the recovery of permanently deleted data.

Try the below mentioned steps to check for yourself.

TIPS: Create a duplicate copy / backup of your Outlook data file first.

  • Install and run Hex Editor
  • Use Hex Editor to open the PST / OST file from which you want emails to be recovered.
  • Now, delete 7 through 13 position with space bar. Doing this in a Hexadecimal structure will delete 13 characters in the given positions
    • 00007, 00008, 00009, 0000a, 0000b, 0000c, 0000d, 0000e, 0000f, 00010, 00011, 00012, 00013

NOTE: Clearing a position with the help of space-bar makes the editor display value "20" every time.


  • You can choose the value from 07 to the next 13 values an go to Edit >> File Selection and click on OK.
  • Doing this will replace all the respective values to 00.
  • Once you have cleared the position, save the PST. You have now succeeded in corrupting your PST file.
  • Now run the Inbox Repair Tool (Scanpst.exe).
  • Browse the PST or OST file you corrupted just now and scan it.
  • Repair the PST / OST file.
  • Finally, open the repaired PST and check for the restoration of deleted items.

What If scanpst.exe Does not Work?

As we all know that scanpst.exe is a free utility provided by Microsoft that helps us to repair minor level of corruptions. It is specially designed to resolve email header corruption issues. But there is rare chance to retrieve Shift deleted items by following above mention method. Still you are unable to restore deleted items then I would like recommend you to use paid software for the same.

Solution Recommended to Recover Deleted Emails from Outlook

It is highly recommended to make use of SysTools Outlook Recovery software or SysTools OST Recovery Tool for carrying out such recovery procedures. The algorithms of this tool make it capable of recovering not only critically corrupted data, but also retrieve hard Deleted emails and restore them as it is. Apart from this the application also features the restoration of recovered data in multiple file types like; PST, MSG, & EML.