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Old Apr 22, 2013, 10:57 AM   #1
PinkMafia
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How do I recover emails that I deleted on my server (using Mac Mail)?

I did a very stupid thing... I set up my Outlook Exchange account on my Mac Mail... I decided last week I no longer wanted to get my work emails on my personal computer so I deleted the account. In the process, I deleted ALL my messages from the server as well.

Now, we have automatic back-ups of our server every night... So our IT guy has been trying to recover my outlook emails from this. However, over 1 week has passed now and I am wondering if there is an alternative to just putting all my faith in our IT support... I've googled it, but have yet to find a clear solution (complete with what data recovery software to use).

I should mention I deleted using my Macbook Air, and I also own an iMac. (I saw some forums say something about connecting the two to recover the data from one - this sounded a bit like chinese to me...)

Any help would be hugely appreciated.

Last edited by PinkMafia; Apr 22, 2013 at 10:59 AM. Reason: additional info
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 11:38 AM   #2
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I'm confused as to why you're posting here first and not immediately contacting your IT guys at your workplace.
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by PinkMafia View Post
I did a very stupid thing... I set up my Outlook Exchange account on my Mac Mail... I decided last week I no longer wanted to get my work emails on my personal computer so I deleted the account. In the process, I deleted ALL my messages from the server as well.

Now, we have automatic back-ups of our server every night... So our IT guy has been trying to recover my outlook emails from this. However, over 1 week has passed now and I am wondering if there is an alternative to just putting all my faith in our IT support... I've googled it, but have yet to find a clear solution (complete with what data recovery software to use).

I should mention I deleted using my Macbook Air, and I also own an iMac. (I saw some forums say something about connecting the two to recover the data from one - this sounded a bit like chinese to me...)

Any help would be hugely appreciated.
If you have the emails on your iMac there may be a way to copy them back to your server. If you have a backup of your Air from before you deleted the account, you might be able to recover them that way.

However, what you should be doing is asking your work IT support what is taking so long. If they can't restore your email, it makes one wonder if they can restore anything - but that's another issue.

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I'm confused as to why you're posting here first and not immediately contacting your IT guys at your workplace.
He did. He's just trying to speed up the process. Which of course isn't going to happen here. He does need to contact them again.
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 11:46 AM   #4
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I'm confused as to why you're posting here first and not immediately contacting your IT guys at your workplace.

As per my original post, our IT guys have been working on it for a week now and have not managed to recover the emails. Hence why I am now looking for alternative options.
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 12:00 PM   #5
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If you have the emails on your iMac there may be a way to copy them back to your server. If you have a backup of your Air from before you deleted the account, you might be able to recover them that way.
I don't have the emails anywhere anymore I never set up my TimeMachine either.
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 12:08 PM   #6
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If you have a backup of your Mac via Time Machine or something similar then it would be easy to recover your emails.

I presume rather than just remove the exchange account from mail, you actually deleted the messages (or the folders containing the messages), which Mail then synced the changes backed to the exchange server, removing the messages there.

If you have no backup, then you have a chance of recovering your mail on your Mac by going to a specialist data recovery company - but this is very expensive and it is unlikely they will be able to get a full recovery of your Mail.

You best chance is to wait for your IT team at work to recover your mail from the last good backup. However if they still have not got it back after one week, it does make me wonder why it is taking so long.

EDIT - Just seen you don't have a backup so realistically only option is to hope that your Company's IT department can recover them for you.
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 12:27 PM   #7
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EDIT - Just seen you don't have a backup so realistically only option is to hope that your Company's IT department can recover them for you.
I've read about booting up in target disk mode and using data recovery software via a second Mac... If anyone knows more about this, could they try to explain it in very simple/clear steps?? And recommend which software to use?


Edited to add: especially key is that my iMac is not Thunderbolt, but my Macbook Air is... Just to keep things interesting...

Last edited by PinkMafia; Apr 22, 2013 at 12:37 PM.
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 02:02 PM   #8
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I've read about booting up in target disk mode and using data recovery software via a second Mac... If anyone knows more about this, could they try to explain it in very simple/clear steps?? And recommend which software to use?


Edited to add: especially key is that my iMac is not Thunderbolt, but my Macbook Air is... Just to keep things interesting...
To be honest I would not bother it would be a waste of money trying to recover your mail database using off the shelf tools. A professional data recovery company might be able to recover some information, but even they would be unlikely to recover all the messages that were deleted. It would only make sense if you had some critical and specific data that you wanted to recover. Also trying to rebuild you mail database would be almost impossible without professional help.

In short, put it down to experience and move on if your company can't restore the files.

I am sure that if it is anything critical you need you can ask someone to resend it back to you.
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 03:27 PM   #9
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In short, put it down to experience and move on if your company can't restore the files.

I am sure that if it is anything critical you need you can ask someone to resend it back to you.
You are *probably* right, but there are SEVERAL years of important information in there... It's not just the odd email to re-send... So if our IT guys can't sort it out, I'm hoping someone knows other options to exploit.
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 05:21 PM   #10
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If the information is that critical, then stop using the your computer as every time you use it, you run the risk of overwriting the information that has been deleted (when files are deleted your computer just removes the entry from its file index, and does not actually remove the data until something else overwrites it).

Your only hope of recovering some data on your machine is to send it to a professional data recovery expert. I know someone who has his own data recovery company UK and had a chat with them this evening about your problem. It might still be possible to recover some or all of your deleted emails, but the more you use the computer the greater the chance of not being able to recover them.

Your best bet is for the IT dept to restore your emails on the server. Failing that use a data recovery expert. Unfortunately there are no other options if you don't have a backup. Off the shelf data recovery tools are not designed to recover information in email database structures.
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Old Apr 24, 2013, 07:06 AM   #11
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If the information is that critical, then stop using the your computer as every time you use it, you run the risk of overwriting the information that has been deleted (when files are deleted your computer just removes the entry from its file index, and does not actually remove the data until something else overwrites it).

Your only hope of recovering some data on your machine is to send it to a professional data recovery expert. I know someone who has his own data recovery company UK and had a chat with them this evening about your problem. It might still be possible to recover some or all of your deleted emails, but the more you use the computer the greater the chance of not being able to recover them.

Your best bet is for the IT dept to restore your emails on the server. Failing that use a data recovery expert. Unfortunately there are no other options if you don't have a backup. Off the shelf data recovery tools are not designed to recover information in email database structures.
I shut down my Macbook immediately following deleting my emails, precisely because I didn't want to overwrite anything... I haven't turned it on since. I would be grateful if you could speak to your friend regarding data recovery and what my options are. So far our IT guys have been unable to restore from the server
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Old Apr 24, 2013, 07:25 AM   #12
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I shut down my Macbook immediately following deleting my emails, precisely because I didn't want to overwrite anything... I haven't turned it on since. I would be grateful if you could speak to your friend regarding data recovery and what my options are. So far our IT guys have been unable to restore from the server
Hi - I just sent you a private message with contact details. He is moving house today, but you should be able to reach him tomorrow. His data recovery business is based near Bath, in the South West of the UK. He can recover data from Mac and PC.
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Old Apr 24, 2013, 10:01 AM   #13
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Hi - I just sent you a private message with contact details. He is moving house today, but you should be able to reach him tomorrow. His data recovery business is based near Bath, in the South West of the UK. He can recover data from Mac and PC.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer. The latest news from the IT team is that they think they will be able to crack it by end of play today... Hopefully this will all be a bad dream by tomorrow! Learnt a lot of good lessons this week...
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Old Apr 24, 2013, 10:18 AM   #14
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I did a very stupid thing... I set up my Outlook Exchange account on my Mac Mail... I decided last week I no longer wanted to get my work emails on my personal computer so I deleted the account. In the process, I deleted ALL my messages from the server as well.
I'm curious how you deleted the account/emails. Did you just go into preferences and remove the account or did you delete the messages in the mailboxes too?
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Old Apr 24, 2013, 12:19 PM   #15
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I'm curious how you deleted the account/emails. Did you just go into preferences and remove the account or did you delete the messages in the mailboxes too?
Going into preferences and removing the account should be fine. I have done it a couple of times before without affecting the mail stored on the server and synced to other devices.

However before doing this make sure that all your mail is stored on the server. Check you Mail settings, as sometimes storing sent messages on the server is turned off. In any case always make sure you have a working backup before attempting any changes to your mail accounts.
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