If you use Microsoft Outlook to manage your email, you may, at some point need to find old emails. This can be difficult if you don’t know where to look or what search criteria to use. It may also be a challenge if you regularly delete your emails.
Luckily, you can find old emails in a few different ways in Outlook. This article will show you how to locate old emails in Outlook and Office 365 using several different methods.
Why Can’t I Find My Old Emails in Outlook?
If you’re an Office 365 user, there’s a good chance that you’re using the Outlook desktop app. And if you’re using Outlook, it’s likely that you’re not seeing all of your emails.
This is because the default view for Outlook only shows emails from the past two weeks. To see old mail, you’ll need to change your view settings.
There are several other reasons why you might not be able to find your old emails in Outlook. One possibility is that you’ve accidentally deleted them. To check if this is the case, go to the Deleted Items folder and see if they’re there. If they are, you can move them back to your Inbox.
Another possibility is that you’ve archived your old emails. Outlook automatically archives emails over a certain age, and you can manually archive emails yourself.
To check if your emails have been archived, go to the Archive folder and see if they’re there. If they are, you can move them back to your Inbox.
How to Find Old Emails in the Outlook Email Client
If you’re using Outlook on your Windows computer, you may search for previous emails in the installed version of Microsoft Outlook that is set up to send and receive Office 365 emails.
This method works if you have not already deleted the old mail and data you need to locate.
To locate the emails you need, first, navigate to the “Folder” menu tab and click “New Search Folder”. In modern Outlook versions it is enough to click “Search Folders” and then “New Search Folder…” item.
In the “New Search Folder” window, scroll down to the “Organizing Mail” section and click “Old mail”.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to choose how far back you want to locate data (e.g., two weeks, one month, three months, six months, or a year).
After you make your selection, click “OK”, and the search will begin.
Then, go back to the primary window (that you were on before opening the “New Search Folder” option) to view your results, which will be displayed in a separate folder.
From there, you can drag and drop the email messages into your Inbox (or wherever else you want to store them).
You can also save this search as a custom view that you can use again in the future by clicking the “Save as” button.
As we mentioned, this is not a method for finding email messages that have been deleted permanently. If you want to recover deleted items, you’ll need to learn how to find old deleted emails in Outlook.
Using Advanced Find option of the Search Tools
Outlook equipped with a multi-criteria advanced search feature. This feature was in the quick access in previous versions of Outlook, however, you may need to enable it on purpose if there is no Search tab in your Outlook Ribbon. Here how to do this:
- Right click to Outlook Ribbon and choose “Customize Ribbon” in the list of Options.
* – alternatively you may use menu File > Options
- In the “Choose command from:” list choose the “Tool Tabs” item.
- Locate the “Search Tools” header below and click “Search” item.
- Click “Add” button.
- Finally click “OK” button to save changes.
Now you could see the “Search” tab in the Outlook ribbon. Click it to see the available search options.
You may use the Search Tools option to launch the “Advanced Find” engine where you may search Outlook emails by multiple criteria.
Alternatively you may use the Outlook helper (the search field “Tell me what you want to do”) for quick access to the Search Tools or to launch the Advanced Find.
Click into helper field or press Alt+Q shortcut and type in the name of desired option, then click it to launch.
How to Retrieve Old Emails From Microsoft Exchange Server
Microsoft Exchange email services is a popular mail server used by businesses. If you’re an Exchange Server user, you may be able to retrieve old emails from the server itself.
To find Outlook old emails this way, the steps are as follows:
- Open Microsoft Outlook and click on the “File” tab.
- Then, select “Account Settings”.
- Next, double-click on your Exchange account to open the “Change Account” window.
- In the “Change Account” window, go to the “More Settings” tab and click on the “Advanced” button. This will open the “Advanced Find” window.
- You can search for old emails by date, sender, recipient, subject, or other criteria.
- Once you’ve found the emails you’re looking for, you can move them to your Inbox (or wherever else you want to store them).
You may also export Exchange mailbox to PST file.
Check the Cache Exchange Mode
The Cache Exchange mode is a feature in Outlook that stores a copy of your Exchange mailbox on your computer. This can be helpful if you want to access your emails offline or if you want to improve performance.
However, the Cache Exchange mode can also prevent you from seeing your most recent emails. To check if this is the case, go to the “File” tab and click on “Account Settings.”
Then, double-click on your Exchange account to open the “Change Account” window or select your account name and click “Change…”
In the “Change Account” window, go to the “Advanced” tab and look for the “Offline Folder File Settings” section.
For Exchange accounts, you can modify the parameters for Cached Exchange Mode, which are only available in that case. Outlook clients on Windows default retain emails on a computer for one year using local storage.
After that, local Outlook client storage is cleared of previous messages. Slide the dial to the right from 1 year to All. Then follow the on-screen instructions to finish configuring and rebooting Outlook, after which the changes should take effect.
After that, your old emails should not be deleted from your computer for three or twelve months.
How to Retrieve Old Emails in Outlook Web Client
If you use the Outlook web app with Office 365, you can find your old email messages in a few ways.
Since some of your old mail will automatically be archived, it is best to start by checking the “Archive” folder. To do this, click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner and select “Mail.”
Then, click on “Options” and select “See All Options.” Next, go to the “Mail” section and click on “Auto Archive Settings.”
From there, you can change how often you want Outlook to automatically archive your emails.
You can also manually archive your emails by selecting the emails you want to archive and clicking on the “Archive” button.
If they aren’t in the “Archive” folder, there is a chance that you deleted them. It is best to check the “Deleted Items” folder next.
If you deleted them and they are in this folder, you can select the emails and click on the “Recover Selected Items” button.
You can also find old emails by searching for them. To do this, click on the search bar and enter what you are looking for.
Change Retention Policies
Retention policies are used to determine how long emails should be kept before they are deleted.
You can change the retention policy if you want to keep your old mail longer.
First, open the Exchange Control Panel by going to “Compliance management.”
Then, click on “Retention Policies.” From there, you can create a new retention policy or edit an existing one.
To configure the new policy, select the “Do not delete items until they are older than” option and enter the number of days you want to keep emails.
You can also choose to have emails deleted after a certain number of days or weeks. Or learn how to stop Outlook from deleting emails in our previous blog post.
Once you have made your changes, click on the “Save” button.
Recovering Old Emails From a Backup
If you made a backup of your Office 365 data before the emails were deleted, you can use that backup to recover your old emails.
To do this, open the “File” tab and click on “Open & Export.”
Then, click on “Import/Export.”
In the next window, select the “Import from another program or file” option and click on the “Next” button.
Then, select the “Outlook Data File (.pst)” option and click on the “Next” button.
In the next window, select the backup file you want to use and click on the “Open” button.
Then, select the mailbox you want to import from the backup file and click on the “Finish” button.
You could also perform a Kernel Office 365 backup. To do this, download and install the Kernel Office 365 Backup & Restore tool.
Once installed, open the tool and select the “Backup” option.
In the next window, select the mailbox you want to backup and click on the “Add” button.
Then, select the location you want to save the backup file to and click on the “OK” button.
Choose “List all mailboxes” to back up all the mailboxes in your Office 365 account.
Use the desired filters to filter the mailbox items according to your needs and click through the guided process
The backup process will now start. Once it is finished, you will have a PST file that you can use to recover your old emails.
There are a few different ways you can find old emails in Office 365. Chances are, your old mail is either archived or recently deleted.
However, if you can’t find your old emails, you can try changing the retention policy or recovering them from a backup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Outlook delete old emails?
Whether Office 365 deletes old mail or not depends on how you have Outlook configured. By default, Outlook does not delete old emails, but it does have an option to archive emails automatically after a certain period.If you have this option enabled, your old emails will be moved to an archive folder and no longer appear in your inbox. You can still access them if you need to, but they will no longer clutter up your inbox. Ultimately, whether or not Outlook deletes old emails is up to you.
How long does Outlook keep emails?
This depends on how you have Outlook configured. By default, Outlook does not delete old emails, but it does have an option to archive emails automatically after a certain period.If this option is enabled, your old emails will be moved to an archive folder and no longer appear in your inbox. You can select any time frame for the emails to be archived.
How do I find old emails in Outlook by date?
To find old emails in Outlook by date, open the “Search” tab and click on the “Advanced Find” option. Then, select the mailbox you want to search in and enter the date range you want to search for. Click on the “Search” button, and all the emails from that date range will appear. You can then scroll through the results and find the email you’re looking for.
How do I get Outlook to show all my emails?
If you’re not seeing all of your emails in Outlook, it’s likely because they’re being filtered somehow. To fix this, open the “View” tab and click on the “Show as Conversations” option. This will show all of your emails in a list, regardless of whether or not they’re part of a conversation.If you’re still not seeing all of your emails, a filter may be hiding them. To fix this, open the “View” tab and click on the “Change View” option. Then, select the “All Messages” option from the list of available views. This will show all your emails, even those hidden by a filter.
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How do I search for emails older than 2 years in Outlook? ›
To find old emails in Outlook by date, open the “Search” tab and click on the “Advanced Search” option. Then, select the mailbox you want to search in and enter the date range you want to search for. Click on the “Search” button, and all the emails from that date range will appear.How do I find old emails in my inbox? ›
- On your computer, open Gmail.
- In the search box, click the Down arrow .
- Click the All Mail drop down, then select Mail & Spam & Trash.
- Enter some information that's in the missing email. ...
- At the bottom of the box, click Search .
To temporarily view messages older than 12 months you can scroll to the end of an email list in a folder and click 'Click here to view more on Microsoft Exchange' or 'More'. To change your view permanently you can change the setting in account settings.Why is my Outlook not showing old emails? ›
It's not uncommon for Outlook users to encounter Outlook not showing old emails or all emails issue. This problem arises when the mailbox becomes oversized/corrupted, or the settings are misconfigured. In such situations, you can simply change the settings or clean the mailbox to reduce the file size.How far back can you search Outlook emails? ›
If you're online, you can search through your entire mailbox except for your Draft, Deleted, and Spam folders.How long are emails kept in Outlook? ›
In most cases, deleted items become unrecoverable after 30 days from deletion. Ultimately, the duration for which data can last in your mailbox is determined by the Microsoft 365 retention policy. Using the Microsoft 365 retention policy, you can keep your emails on Outlook until you permanently delete them.Can you search Outlook emails by date range? ›
To search a specific range of dates, use your desired start and finish date range. For example, type “received:>=02/23/2018 AND received:<=02/25/2018. ” This sequence will retrieve all email received during the time period you specified.How do I view emails older than 6 months in Outlook? ›
Old Emails in the Outlook Email Client
Open the Folder menu tab, and click New Search Folder. In the New Search Folder window, hit Old email in the Organizing Mail section. Click Choose and select the needed time period, for example, Older than 3 months. You can select days, weeks, and months.
Start Outlook. On the File tab, click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings. On the E-mail tab, double-click your Microsoft Exchange account. In the Change Account dialog box, drag the Mail to keep offline slider to the desired number of months or to All to synchronize all email messages.Why have my old emails disappeared? ›
Emails might skip your inbox if they have been accidentally archived, deleted or marked as spam. Follow these steps to search all of your emails, including those that aren't in your inbox: On your computer, open Gmail. Click the All Mail drop-down menu, then select Mail & Spam & Bin.
How far back does Outlook archive go? ›
The default period for your Draft and Inbox items is six months, and three months for your Sent Items, but you can change these periods using the Clean out items older than option.Does Outlook delete old emails after a year? ›
Select the AutoArchive tab and select Archive this folder using this settings. In Clean out items older than, enter 180 days, or whatever the desired amount of days/months/years may be. Select the Permanently delete old items option.Does Outlook delete emails over a year old? ›
Note: By default, items in your trash folder will be permanently deleted after 30 days. If your Outlook shows Trash folder instead of Deleted Items folder, then you cannot recover permanently deleted emails using the Recoverable Items folder.Do emails disappear from Outlook? ›
Conclusion. Usually, emails disappear when you accidentally delete or archive them in Outlook. It may also be an indicator of your account being compromised and used by someone else without your authorization. Further, incorrect settings, rules, and filters may also give the impression that emails are disappearing.How do I search an entire email by date? ›
Click the drop-down arrow on the right-side of your Gmail search bar to open the Advanced Search module. Enter your date range. In the Search drop-down, change it from All Mail to Chats. Click search.How do I get to advanced search in Outlook? ›
- Click in the Search field. The Search tab opens on the ribbon automatically.
- Expand the Options group, if necessary.
- Click the Search Tools button.
- Select Advanced Find. The Advanced Find dialog box appears. ...
- Fill in the search criteria you know.
- Click Find Now.
Based on your preference, you can use Advanced Search by clicking the filter button on the right side of the search box. Alternatively, the Outlook ribbon will change to show the Search tab and you use any of the options in the Refine group to refine your search results.Where did all my emails disappear to? ›
Most of the time your messages can be found within the Spam or Trash folder. Or you may have filters in place which automatically move messages to different folders. There are some other reasons your emails go missing depending on your mail service provider.Where have my recent emails gone? ›
If you delete an email, it stays in your Trash for 30 days. After 30 days, emails are permanently deleted from the trash. There's only one copy of every Gmail email. If you deleted an email from one place, like a label or a device, it is deleted from Gmail entirely.How do I retrieve old emails in Outlook Windows 10? ›
- Make sure you are online and connected to the mail server.
- In Outlook, go to your email folder list, and then select Deleted Items. ...
- In the Folder menu, select Recover Deleted Items. ...
- Select the items that you want to recover, select Restore Selected Items, and then select OK.
Why are my emails not showing up in my inbox Outlook? ›
If you find that all emails do not show in your Outlook inbox, it may be that you have the “focused” inbox feature enabled. With focused inbox enabled, all emails do not show in your main inbox, only those deemed to be most important by Outlook. Everything else sits under the “other” tab.How do I restore my emails? ›
If you want to restore deleted messages for your personal Gmail account, go to Delete or recover deleted Gmail messages. When a user deletes a Gmail message, it stays in their Trash for 30 days.