How to Find Old Email

By Terrance Karter

When you are done with an email, you might delete it or archive it in a folder. If you delete an email by accident or later decide you need information in a deleted email, you can try to get it back. The emails might be saved on your computer, in your email program, or in temporary Internet files. Depending on your email program and your operating system, you might have to search through a few places before you find the copies of your email. But not all lost email can be found once deleted.

Things You'll Need

  • Email program
  • Information from emails such as senders, dates, or subjects.

Computer Based Email Programs

Step 1

Look in the trash bin of your email program first. When you accidentally delete an email, it will go here. If you find an email in the trash, right-click it. Most email programs will have a "Restore" option or a "Send to Inbox" or "Undelete" option. They might also have a "Move To" option where you can choose to move a deleted email to the Inbox or another place. The options will appear on the same screen as your trash bin, and will be available to check or click when you highlight a deleted message.

Step 2

Search through your other email folders to see if you accidentally transferred an old email somewhere it was not supposed to go. Look in the Junk mail box in case the email was wrongly identified as spam.

Step 3

Look in the Recycle bin on your computer's desk top. The Recycle bin is full of files that you have deleted. Some emails might have been sent to your Recycle bin as a file. If the name of particular files matches information found in the missing email, those files might contain the missing email.

Step 4

Open your computer's program menu and choose "Find." Pressing "Control + F key" is the shortcut on a PC. Type in information found in old emails, including names, sent dates, or important words. If the emails are saved anywhere on your computer, this find function will show you where they are.

Web Based Email Programs

Step 1

Open your web based email program, such as GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo! or MSN Mail. Check to see if there is a "search" bar at the top of your Inbox. Some email programs have search bars. If there is a search bar, put in the names that correspond with the old email, a subject line, or even a date to filter through all of your email contents to find old emails. Click "Search" to complete the search.

Step 2

Manually open each folder of your email box and use the "Find" feature on your computer. Click "Control + F key" at the same time to bring up a search box on a PC. Type information into the search box and click "Find." You can locate information displayed on your screen in this manner, so only search for subject lines or sender information.

Step 3

Look in your Trash bin in your email program. Sometimes, old emails will still be in the trash bin.

Step 4

Open up your Internet options box. Internet Options is found under "My Computer> Control Panel" or, in some cases, in your Start Menu. The information about temporary Internet files is found in a tab under your Internet Options. Choose "Display Temporary Internet Files." Scroll through these until you find emails you are looking for.