External emails disappearing from Outlook: How to fix?

Another day, another crucial email you were anticipating has mysteriously vanished. Perhaps it’s an email from yesterday that you can’t find today. Missing emails can result in quite a lot of frustration for the recipient. The fact that lost emails are more than just unpleasant is much more problematic. They have the potential to cost your company money. What if the email that went missing was a client order? What if it came from a client with a critical question? If you do not respond to your clients within a reasonable amount of time, they may take their business elsewhere. You need to figure out why your emails aren’t showing up in Outlook. More importantly, you must figure out how to recover those deleted emails.

Step by step process – How to stop Outlook emails disappearing?

  1. First, go to the Outlook app and sign in if you are not already signed in.
  2. Now click on file > Account Settings > Account Settings.
  3. Select the preferred Outlook email or mailbox account and click “Change”.
  4. Here make sure the checkbox is ticked and click on “More Settings”.
  5. Click on “Advanced”
  6. Here ensure that the box that says “Download Shared Folders” is checked.
  7. Then click on “OK”.
  8. Close the account settings panel.

If all the points above have been done correctly all the outlook shared content will now have a downloaded copy available in your server for use if the content keeps disappearing. 

When Outlook emails vanish, it’s usually due to a setup error in your settings, account inactivity, Outlook email rules, or emails being transferred to a deleted folder.

In a worst-case scenario, your account may have been hacked and your emails destroyed, or the Conversation Threading function could have been enabled.

Outlook can’t receive emails – How to resolve this issue?

One thing the recipient user can do is restart the Outlook application. Certain times Outlook may cease to work correctly and may buffer if there is constant mail traffic, so having the application restarted will keep the content flow less congested and may allow for accruing emails to flow back to your mailbox again. You may be able to achieve the same results if you close and reopen Outlook, which could clear up any issues that prevent the receipt of emails.

If restarting or refreshing Outlook does not resolve the issue, try to check the internet connection you are using Outlook with. There may be network connectivity difficulties or Outlook is set to function offline if the statuses of Disconnection, Working Offline, or Trying to Connect appear in the Outlook status bar. In this instance take the most appropriate steps to ensure you are connected to an internet source. You may find that once the loss of connection has been resolved the emails you assumed were missing may start to appear again.

If you still are unsuccessful with locating lost email messages you may want to check other folders or categories present within your inbox to see if the messages have gone in there. You may find that emails that do not arrive in your inbox or if new emails do not show even when there is a notification, those messages may be going to the Junk Email folder more commonly known as the spam folder. Spam content is generally content which mail organisations like Outlook have deemed to be quite repetitive and have no context to why they are present. These types of messages generally should be avoided, however occasionally content that is important from an actual email client you expect a mail from may end up in this folder, so it’s worthwhile to check this folder and see if the email you are looking for is here.

Do you have other devices connected to the same Outlook account as you? You may want to investigate those devices to ensure the messages have not gone to them. You may have downloaded the message to another device such as a phone, tablet, or work computer. If the POP email in Outlook is not set to save a copy on the server, your missing email may be on the device where you first checked your email of the device that was first logged into your Outlook account.

Where are your Outlook emails located?

In any email system, it’s not unusual for emails to go missing. When an email is mistakenly erased, it usually goes lost. It can also happen if an inbound message is erroneously flagged as spam by the email system, resulting in the message never reaching your inbox. An email can occasionally go missing if it’s archived and you don’t know it.

Let’s look at where Outlook stores emails to see if you can find your Outlook lost emails. Here are the main folders in MS Outlook where you should check for lost email messages:

  • In the spam folder. Spam mails are automatically sent to the Junk Email folder in Outlook. However, if you use a third-party spam filter add-in, the add-in may create a Spam folder for you.
  • Folder for archiving. When you archive a mail for the first time in Outlook, it generates this folder. After a set length of time, older messages are automatically moved to the Archive folder.
  • Deleted Items is a folder that contains items that have been deleted. This is one of MS Outlook’s default folders. When you remove a message, it goes to this folder.
  • In the Junk Email folder, put any emails that you don’t want.This folder is also a default folder in Microsoft Outlook. This folder receives email that seems to be spam. (How a message ends up in this folder is determined by your Junk email settings.)

In-depth step by step process: How to stop Outlook emails disappearing?

Breakdown of all the steps:

  • First go to the Outlook app and sign in if you haven’t.

You should see this screen with your main inbox showing on the left and a menu option showing at the top. You can even login from your Office 365 account.

  • Now click on the “file” button.

This option will not be available in the online version of Outlook, it’s only available in the application version.

  • Now click on “account settings” >  ”account settings”

Account setting is a dropdown option as well as a feature within the dropdown.

  • After that click on “Change”

Locate the email address you need to find the lost mail on and click change.

  • Now click on “More Settings”

More settings will bring out a panel that looks like the one above. Here is where some of your exchange email and mailbox settings can be updated.

  • After that click on “Advanced” and check the boxes as shown below.

Once the boxes have been selected it will download the shared file for you to save in the server and access it in case the messages get deleted from the main inbox.

  • FInally, click OK.

This will have now saved the content preferences and the mail box settings should now be updated the way you need it to be updated.

Saajid Gangat

Saajid Gangat has been a researcher and content writer at Business Tech Planet since 2021. Saajid is a tech-savvy writer with expertise in web and graphic design and has extensive knowledge of Microsoft 365, Adobe, Shopify, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and more! You can connect with Saajid on Linkedin.

Recent Posts