Pros and Cons of Outlook’s non-deletion

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The fact that Outlook doesn’t ‘permanently’ delete items (like it says it does) has advantages or disadvantages depending on your need.  Both needs are, thankfully, rare but worth keeping in mind.


These days we’re all more concerned about data privacy and where information can be stored without us realizing it.   Microsoft is misleading customers by saying data will be ‘permanently deleted’ when it’s left in the PST/OST file and easy to find.

The situation in Australia wasn’t unusual.   Emails are sent every day to the wrong people, sometimes with important or confidential information.   In most cases, the recipient does the right thing; lets the sender know and deletes the message.

The message isn’t really deleted if they are using Outlook.   The organization in Australia went to some lengths to remove the message (with passport details of the G20 leaders) from their system.  However the way Outlook works and the misleading ‘deletion’ warning means their honest efforts probably weren’t enough.


The upside of Outlook’s non-deletion is simple.  You can recover a ‘permanently’ deleted message.

Computer staff are often asked if they can find something that’s been deleted.  Sometimes it’s a file or often an Outlook email, contact or appointment.

It’s worth keeping Outlook’s misleading behavior in mind.  Recovering a ‘permanently deleted’ is very simple and can be a real ‘lifesaver’.


Outlook works the way most database programs do.  The problem is the misleading dialog box


This message needs to be re-worded.  Data protection is an important issue and saying something is deleted, when it’s still saved, is not acceptable in 2015.

Microsoft can easily fix this … but will they?

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