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How to Set Options for Emptying E-Mail Trash

The Deleted Items or Trash mail folder works like all other folders in your email program: It stores messages. The messages sit in the folder and aren’t deleted until you direct the program to purge them. You have several options for purging messages:

Not at all. This option leads to the Deleted Items or Trash folder growing very large and eventually your email program becoming sluggish as it deals with the bulk.

Delete messages after a given amount of time. This is a popular option and setting the delete interval to one month has advantages. That way, you can fish for something urgent that you might have accidentally deleted and still be able to find it.

Delete messages when you close the mail program. This option still allows you to rescue missives from the Deleted Items or Trash folder, but only until you close the email program.

Delete at once! This option doesn’t allow any recovery for deleted mail — vicious, satisfying, and permanent.

Here’s how you can adjust the Deleted Items folder’s behavior in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, and Outlook Express:

  1. Choose Tools→Options.

    In Windows Live Mail, press the F10 key to see the menu bar.

  2. Open the Maintenance window.

    • In Windows Live Mail and Windows Mail, click the Advanced tab in the Options dialog box and then click the Maintenance button.

    • In Outlook Express, click the Maintenance tab in the Options dialog box.

  3. Place a check mark by the item Empty Messages from ‘Deleted Items’ Folder On Exit.

    By placing the check mark there, you ensure that the mail program purges all deleted messages when you exit. Otherwise, the messages are retained.

  4. Click the OK or Close button and close any other open dialog boxes.

In Microsoft Outlook 2010, follow these steps to remove email left in the Deleted Items folder:

  1. From the File tab, choose Options.

  2. In the Outlook Options window, choose Advanced from the left side of the window.

  3. Place a check mark by the item Empty Delete Items Folders When Exiting Outlook.

  4. Click OK.

In earlier versions of Microsoft Outlook, you can control the Deleted Items folder behavior by following these steps:

  1. Choose Tools→Options from the menu.

  2. In the Options dialog box, click the Other tab.

  3. Place a check mark by the item Empty the Deleted Items Folder Upon Exiting to have the folder purged when you close Outlook.

  4. Click OK.

You can always purge an individual message from the Deleted Items or Trash folders by opening the folder, selecting the message, and then deleting the message.

The Deleted Items or Trash folder works like every other email message folder. It’s not a real folder, but it is a long text file database stored on your PC. When you purge a message from the Deleted Items or Trash folder, or when you empty that mailbox folder, the deleted messages are gone for good!

In Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, and Outlook Express, you can instantly purge the Deleted Items folder by choosing Edit→Empty ‘Deleted Items’ Folder.

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