6 Easy Ways to Recover Lost Emails in Outlook

At times, MS Outlook users may find some or all the emails in a folder are missing. In this article, we will show six different ways to retrieve those emails back.

There are different email clients out there like Eudora, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Mailbird. But MS Outlook is dominating the domain of email clients. However, sometimes users might face an unwanted situation. When they open a folder in the pst file, they cannot find some or all of their previous emails in that folder. This issue can happen for various reasons. Let’s look into each one and see how to solve the issue accordingly.

6 Easy Ways to Recover Emails in Outlook

Possible Reasons

This problem can arise suddenly without any prior notice. The main headache is that it doesn’t show any error messages. We will not be aware of it until we cannot find some emails. And it can occur in one or multiple folders.

As we mentioned earlier, there are many reasons for this issue, as follows:

  1. PST file corruption
  2. PST file reaches the size limit.
  3. Virus or malware infection.

    Now we will offer 6 effective and easy ways to solve the issue.

#1. Use Inbox Repair Tool(ScanPST.exe)

On our local machines, if we have installed Outlook, we all have a PST repair tool named “ScanPST”. You can refer to this article to find it. Note this tool may cause some data losses.


To use this tool, please:

  • Start ScanPST.exe.
  • Click Browse to select the corrupted PST file.
  • Click the Start button to begin the recovery process.
  • The log will tell you detailed information about the recovery process, so that you can know what’s wrong with your file and whether your file has been fixed or not.

#2. Run a PST Recovery Tool

Sometimes ScanPST.exe will still fail to resolve the issue and report the following error:

ScanPST Error

In such a case, your PST file is too corrupt to be fixed by ScanPST.exe. You’d better use a professional tool to recover the contents from the affected file and transfer the data into a new PST file. There are multiple tools out there you can find for this purpose. But DataNumen Outlook Repair has been recognized as the most effective one. It has the highest recovery success rate among its peers. This Outlook repair tool gives you access to virtually all the Outlook contents from embedded files to contacts or journals. It also processes the data in a quick way. So this is the best possible way to get back our missing emails.

DataNumen Outlook Repair

Alternatively, we also offer some more methods that are completely free. So if you are not on urgent, you can try them first.

#3. Moving the Folder to a New PST File

In this way, you simply create a new PST file. Then copy the affected folder to the PST file, as follows:

  1. Start MS Outlook.
  2. Click Start.
  3. Click New Items, then More Items, then Outlook Data File.
  4. Follow the instructions to create the new PST file.
  5. Next, you need to copy the corrupt folder to the new file.
  6. Right-click the corrupt folder and select the Copy Folder.
  7. Chose the new PST file and then click OK.
  8. Check the copied folder in the new PST file to see if the disappearing emails appears.

If moving the complete folder does not resolve the problem, the folder itself might have issue. You can verify this by copying some other emails from a different folder to the affected folder, then checking if those emails are visible or not.

#4. Reduce the PST File Size

Oversized PST file may also be the reason. Always keep checking the size of your PST file. If the size exceeds the maximum size limit, some emails may disappear. If you are using UNICODE personal folders(.pst), the default size limit is 50 GB.

You can use the following steps to compact and reduce the file size:

  1. Open the MS Outlook.
  2. Right-click the top node of the oversized PST file, then select Data File Properties.
  3. In the pop-up dialog, click Advanced.
  4. Click Compact Now. Outlook will compact the file and reduce its size.

If compacted PST file size is still larger than the limit, then you can try to increase the limit of the file size. If this still cannot help to bring the lost emails back, then you can try method below.

#5. Use MFCMAPI to Find the Missing Emails

MFCMAPI is a free tool to access the internal data in a PST file. So you can try to use it to inspect the affected folder, and check if we can see and open the missing emails, as below:

  1. Download the latest version of MFCMAPI from this GitHub Link.
  2. Close Outlook completely if opened, and open MFCMAPI.exe.
  3. Click the Session option and select Logon.
  4. Then hit OK after selecting your profile.
  5. From the list, open a new window by double-clicking the messed-up PST file.
  6. There a new window will open. Expand the Root Container and at the top of the Outlook data file click Inbox
  7. Find and right-click the problem folder under Inbox, select Open contents table.
  8. After opening that contents table section, in the new window, check if there are your emails in the upper part of the window
  9. Finally, double-click an item to check if you can open the email in the Outlook window.

That’s all.

#5. Run the Cleanviews Command

Sometimes after following all the steps above, it is possible that you might be stuck with the issue. In such scenarios, it can happen due to a view problem. We can try to open Outlook with the /cleanviews switch to troubleshoot this error.

  1. First Exit the MS Outlook.
  2. To open the Run command press the Windows Key + R on your keyboard.
  3. In the box, type Outlook /cleanviews and hit Enter
  4. We can also try searching the missing emails by using Instant Search to check if any result is showing up there or not (though it is highly unlikely you will get any).

Final Thoughts

With all its available features and being a solid application for sending and managing large volumes of emails, MS Outlook still can cause this type of issue and has a few vulnerabilities of its own. It becomes really painful when you are in between completing some critical tasks and you see some emails are missing from an important folder. So it is necessary to follow some step-by-step process and find out the exact problem behind the issue as we have shown in this article. And keeping a well-designed Outlook recovery tool like DataNumen Outlook Repair in your toolkit will always speed up the process for you.

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