How to REALLY delete Outlook information

So now we know that an Outlook item is not ‘permanently deleted’ even if Microsoft says so.  How can you truly delete an Outlook message, appointment etc.

You might want to truly delete when you’ve received something in error (as in the Aussie case) or simply want to prevent sensitive information being grabbed from your computer.

The solution is to Compact the Outlook data file.  This will truly remove records flagged as ‘Deleted’.

Go to File |Info | Account Settings | Data Files.  Choose the data file then click Settings.  Under the Advanced tab choose Outlook Data File Settings then the Compact Now button.

Depending on the size of the PST/OST file, the Compact run could take a few minutes or around an hour.

We’ve never had any difficulty with the Compact Now feature but it’s a good idea to have a backup just in case there’s a problem.  Of course, the backup then creates another copy of the items you want to delete … it’s a tangled web Outlook weaves.