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Lost Email

Overview

There are several reasons your email could disappear:

  • You might accidentally delete some email that you wanted.
  • Your email program could malfunction.
  • Something could go wrong with the Stanford mail system.

If you use Outlook, Thunderbird, or some other desktop email program and you received email that you know has disappeared, you can look for it directly on your mailspool by opening Webmail and checking your Inbox. This works especially well if you've chosen the "Leave mail on server" option in your regular desktop email program: if you receive email, delete it right away, then realize you still want it you can always find it via Webmail. You can also recover messages if you deleted them while working in Webmail.

If you do not see the missing email in Webmail, you can submit a request to have your email restored from the most recent backup. If you do not find the missing messages in the restored email, you can request to have the email headers recovered.

Restore email

If you accidentally delete some email and it is no longer on the server, it may be possible to restore it from the backup. You can request a restore by submitting the Email Restore Form. System administrators will restore your mail from the most recent copy available on the backup. This copy will have been from sometime in the previous six days (the exact date will vary).

This applies only to people who

  • use IMAP or Webmail email, and
  • request the restoration of their email within six days of losing it.

If it's been more than seven days since you lost your email, use the Recover Email Headers Request Form (below) instead. If you deleted any email messages using a POP-based email protocol you won't be able to retrieve those messages at all. POP clears email off the server completely and immediately: there's nothing left on the server to restore.

Recover email headers

By submitting the Recover Email Headers Request Form you can get a list of all the email addresses from which you received email. You can get a list of such addresses (plus the titles of each email sent to you) from as long as three months ago. Armed with this list you can find out who sent you email, and then ask them to re-send it.

Last modified February 1, 2012