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Summary: This blog addresses the issue of Outlook 2016 automatically deleting emails and offers practical solutions. It explains the causes behind this behavior, such as rules and sync settings, and provides step-by-step instructions to prevent auto-deletion. Additionally, it suggests third-party tools for email recovery and highlights the importance of distinguishing between accidental deletions and intentional removals.

“Is it possible for Outlook to delete emails on its own, without any action on my part? I’ve noticed that some of my emails are disappearing from my account without my authorization. Can anyone shed light on why this might be happening and how I can resolve this issue?”

Similarly to the previous user, some of us may not be familiar with certain Outlook features, including the auto-delete function. To address the user’s question regarding automatic email deletion, the answer is ‘Yes,’ Outlook has the capability to auto-delete emails or move them to other folders. While the specific reasons can vary, there are various situations where Outlook may exhibit this behavior. Before delving into solutions, let’s explore these scenarios.

Message Rules in Outlook

Outlook’s auto-deletion of emails is typically due to user-defined rules. It’s important to recognize that Outlook is an application that follows user commands, and this situation may be a result of incorrect rules you may have applied in the past.

Message Rules in Outlook

Move Conversation

The ‘Move Conversation’ feature in Outlook doesn’t actually delete emails; it simply relocates them from one folder to another as per your specified settings. This movement of emails from one folder to another may create the illusion of deletion.
Move Conversation

Ignore Conversation

Outlook also includes the ‘Ignore Conversation’ feature, which prevents you from receiving emails from specific conversations you’re part of. Essentially, it automatically moves or deletes emails sent regularly to you in conversations where you’re not actively participating, such as spam emails.

Ignore Conversation

Fixing the Issue

To prevent Outlook from automatically deleting emails, you can implement some quick fixes by making minimal adjustments in the settings. Here’s how:

Stop Outlook 2016 Automatically Deleting Emails- Solution 1

Begin by preventing Outlook from automatically deleting emails stored in the Deleted Items folder. Follow these steps:

  1. Open MS Outlook > Click on File option
  2. In the Advanced tab, click on “Empty Deleted Items folder when exiting Outlook” option.
  3. Click on OK to finalize the changes.Fixing the Issue
  4. Click on OK to finalize the changes, and you are done.

After successfully completing the above steps, your Deleted Items folder will remain unchanged even after exiting or restarting Outlook.

Stop Outlook 2016 Automatically Deleting Emails- Solution 2

If the previous method didn’t resolve your issue, you can attempt this alternative solution to prevent auto-deletion from a specific folder. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Outlook and right-click on the specific folder (the one you want to make changes to).
  2. From the menu, select the Properties option.
  3. As you click on the properties option, a dialogue box will open, go to the AutoArchive category over there and mark the option “Do not archive items in this folder.”
  4. Click on OK to finalize the changes.
  5. Stop Outlook 2016 Automatically Deleting Emails

Following the steps as shown in the screenshot, your older emails will now be retained in the specified folder. To apply similar changes to other folders, simply repeat these steps. This method is applicable to all folders within Outlook.

Stop Outlook 2016 Automatically Deleting Emails – Solution 3

Another potential reason for the automatic deletion of emails is the synchronization with other devices where you use Outlook, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more.

If you use Outlook on multiple devices, there’s a possibility that emails are being deleted or moved inadvertently by one of those devices. This confusion can be attributed to different devices using IMAP and POP3 settings. To address this, you can either deactivate the Outlook account on all other devices and observe if the issue persists, or you can make specific settings changes, such as enabling the ‘Leave a copy on the server’ option under POP3.

Solution 3

Conclusion and Recovery of Deleted Emails in Outlook 2016

“In this blog, we’ve explored various approaches to resolve the Outlook auto-deletion issue. For guidance on recovering disappearing emails, you can refer to our blog titled Outlook Incoming Emails Disappear. However, when emails are intentionally deleted, the process may differ.

While issues or accidental deletions can lead to email loss, recovering recent deletions is often possible from the Deleted Items folder in Outlook. However, when dealing with older emails, relying on a trusted third-party tool like Kernel for Outlook PST Repair is advisable. This tool has the ability to recover permanently deleted emails. To see it in action, check out the screenshot of the tool below.

Kernel for Outlook PST Repair