I recently signed up to Hotmail and to keep my inbox clean I've always deleted messages (these messages then go to the Deleted mail folder) and I quite often go there to find an old message that I need again for some reason.

Now, Hotmail seem to delete mails every day, so that only the last 7 days of deleted mails are in the Deleted folder and I can't find any settings to prevent it happening.

Does anyone have a solution? (other than creating a new folder and manually moving messages from my inbox to that folder instead of just deleting)

First of all, I've never lost e-mails this way before. Have had my own Outlook .pst files on my PC for something like 10 years (backed up regularly, of course) and for a couple of years also on hosted exchange. No problems whatsoever.

Secondly, I am glad you guys want to help, but not glad you want to change my habits. If I have a habit and it works for me and have worked for years then I see no reason to change it. Besides, moving to a folder rather than pressing Delete requires a least one more step for each and every e-mail I process. Not really what I want.

So please, save me from habit-changing suggestions and let me know if anyone has a solution to not have deleted mails be auto-deleted by Hotmail after 7 days.

  • 1
    This is how Hotmail has been programmed to work. Why is using a folder other than Deleted not an option for you? Oct 6, 2010 at 14:24
  • 1
    If you use the Delete folder this way because there's the "Delete" link at the top of the window for quickly moving it there, shift your eyes 4 links over to the "Move To" link. That lists all your folders so you can quickly archive messages to the specific folder (like what you're really trying to do).
    – Agent_9191
    Oct 6, 2010 at 15:38
  • 5
    I'm guessing you also archives your files in Recycle Bin?
    – Lie Ryan
    Oct 6, 2010 at 19:53

5 Answers 5


Use Gmail. In Gmail, you can "Archive" old mail messages that you most likely don't want to see anymore to free the inbox from clutter; but the messages will still be there if you go to "All Mail" (or search).

  • 2
    And not to promote what really is a rather bad habit, Gmail deletes mail in the Trash when it is over 30 days old.
    – ale
    Oct 6, 2010 at 13:17
  • +1 for the Gmail suggestion - it really is way better than HotMail IMO and provides the facility to archive.
    – MrWhite
    Oct 6, 2010 at 16:37
  • You can move your mails from Hotmail to Gmail, it is possible.
    – ilhan
    Oct 8, 2010 at 10:30
  • I switched to Gmail and love their archive functionality! :)
    – rassom
    Aug 13, 2012 at 12:19

Would you put something in the waste bin and expect it still to be there weeks later? Of course not, so why are you treating the Deleted folder differently?

Put the items you want to keep in a different folder instead.

  • 6
    Not amazingly helpful but certainally a sensible answer. Gets a +1 from me at any rate.
    – Joe Taylor
    Oct 6, 2010 at 9:56
  • Thanks for answering, but old habits are not that easily changed, so creating a different folder is exactly what I don't want to do. Anyone else knows how to (if possible) have Hotmail not remove the messages from the Deleted folder?
    – Rasmus S
    Oct 6, 2010 at 10:00
  • 9
    Not a good, or smart, habit. I've heard many horror stories from people who've lost important stuff they kept in their deleted items/trashcan. You really, really, need to learn new habits.
    – Cry Havok
    Oct 6, 2010 at 10:59
  • 2
    @Rasmus In any system, when you delete something you need to be prepared that it will in fact be deleted! The bin/trash/delete folder is not a method of archiving.
    – MrWhite
    Oct 6, 2010 at 16:24

Use the forwarding option to forward all email to a backup address. e.g. [email protected]. Make sure that the "keep a copy of forwarded messages..." is ticked.

This way, any emails deleted will still be accessible after your seven days have passed. Just log into your backup account and forward the email to undelete to your main address.

I'd use gmail to hold the forwarded emails. Hotmail will delete your account if you don't log in after a certain number of days.

  • btw - Although this is an answer to your question, I agree that you need to train yourself to archive read emails instead of deleting them.
    – seanyboy
    Oct 6, 2010 at 13:22

If your account has been migrated to using Exchange, you can use Outlook 2016 to see what is going on. Select the Deleted Items folder, and then click Folder > Policy in the ribbon. You should see that the folder policy is fixed at "Consumer Deleted Items (1 week)".

Fortunately, the same properties dialog that shows the policy also has a workaround: Click the AutoArchive tab and set up an archive policy. If you set it to 5 or 6 days, you can beat the server to the punch, which will leave you with the old emails sitting around in an offline .pst file in case you need them.


Every 5 days, move all messages in your deleted folder to an archive folder.

  • 1
    Very tempted to -1 this answer as it creates an unnecessary amount of extra work to essentially work around a very bad habit (using the delete folder as an archive). But if the OP is stubborn enough to persevere then it could be an ugly solution.
    – MrWhite
    Oct 6, 2010 at 16:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.