Outlook Messages Disappear When Moved To Folders

Your emails are disappearing in Outlook 2010! You dragged an email message from your Outlook Inbox folder to a sub-folder and now it’s disappeared! It’s a strange quirk of Outlook 2010 and here’s how we fixed it.

First, just to be sure, check the folders adjacent to see if it has been dragged there by mistake, this can happen in Outlook, especially if you have a lot of sub-folders. When you’re in a hurry or are doing an Inbox cleanup it’s easy to drag a message to the wrong folder by mistake – and difficult to find afterwards.
You should also check the Outlook Deleted folder to see if, somehow, the message has gone there.



Outlook Messages Disappear

If you’ve checked the items mentioned above and your email is not in another folder or your Deleted folder then chances are it really is in the right place, you just can’t see it!

It’s a setting in your sub-folder view settings. In these few simple steps you can make sure you are seeing all the email messages in the folder. Hopefully once you’ve followed these instructions you will now be able to see all email messages in that folder and your email message will be there too. No longer will Outlook messages disappear!

outlook messages disappear

  • In Outlook 2010 click the View tab for the ribbon bar
  • Click on the folder you want and then click View Settings
  • Go to advanced and see if there is any advanced filtering shown.
  • If so, remove it and click OK.


Check Your Other Folders

If you had to follow these steps to stop Outlook messages dissapearing then you should check your other Outlook folders as well. Make sure filtering is not applied to any of them.

Unfortunately there is no way in Outlook to select the root folder and make the change on all sub-folders. You actually have to go through each sub-folder and check it and change it if necessary.

It’s a pain, but it’s worth going through the steps to make sure you’re seeing all the messages you have.

About the Author

Guy is owner of Trusted Technology Inc, a Canadian based company. With 20+ years experience Guy provides managed IT support services to small businesses and non profits across Canada.

66 Comments on "Outlook Messages Disappear When Moved To Folders"

  1. Thank You technicalguy!

  2. Richard Francescutti | October 16, 2018 at 11:12 am | Reply

    It may be 2018 but I just encountered this problem. Office 2010 fulfills my needs (I am now retired) and I do not need to upgrade. My ISP moved me, for a while, from POP3 to IMAP (horrible on a slow old laptop). When I go my new laptop, they moved me back to POP3 and everything went faster but the e-mails vanished. They did appear when I performed a Search. Thanks to you, I now know how to get them all back. ….. Rick

  3. Yep, had a rogue filter applied. Cleared it and hey presto the sub folder repopulated with all the ‘lost’ emails. I though i’d lost the plot!!

    Thank you

  4. YOU ARE DA MAN! Hours. Talking Hours of trying every single crap answer to this problem – many of them from Microsoft LOL. So Simple. Yet So “hmmm why didn’t I think of that?”. Thank you so very much for keeping me from tossing %^#$ around the room in the next hour (its almost 4 am now…)

  5. oh man.. thanks, dude, that was weird indeed.

  6. My problem is different, I don’t have a filter but I share a gmail account with a colleague and we both access it through Outlook (imap). I cannot see the emails (sent or received) that he moves to our subfolders, even though they are there. He can see mine, too and our configurations are the same. Any ideas?

  7. Thank you very much. This was exactly what I needed and saved me the embarrassment of asking my boss to send me back an email I had sent her a few days ago because I had lost it!

  8. Thank you a lot.

  9. Using Office 2016, I ran into a similar issue and it turned out I apparently decided to sort the folder by attachments and thought I was missing emails. I just clicked on the down-triangle next to the “Mentions” and selected date and it resorted my emails and they re-appeared.

  10. Antonios Stefanou | November 4, 2016 at 3:08 am | Reply

    Thanx from the bottom of my heart. I ve gone nuts with this problem. Couldnt see the deleted mails in the delete items in outlook 2010

  11. this worked perfectly. Thanks. Is there a way to change this setting in all folders at once instead of having to do one at a time?

  12. i am using Microsoftoulook 10, i tried moving some mails to my own sub-folder but it went missing and i receive mail to Sync issue folder. how do i get back the original email? please help

    • Renu, try searching for it from the search bar at the top if the email list.

    • Hi, I had a same problem with Outlook 2010. During a spring clean of inbox emails, I was drag and dropping the emails in to relevant sub folders. But some sub folders moved and some sub folders along with the previous emails just disappeared. I try to find the lost folders and its contents through ”search” functions but its not showing.
      Is there any way I can retrieve those lost emails/sub folders back? Please advice.
      Thank You

      • D’raj there is no way that I know of to search for a particular folder in the folder list, you will unfortunately just have to wander through and try to find it.

  13. Thank you so much!! I had an EMA director who was going nuts because important emails she had moved had ‘disappeared.’

  14. Try to add the folder to the same inbox it was in as if you were recreating it, it has to be the same exact name.

    When I did this, the missing folder reappeared as it if was untouched. Strangely enough, the only reason I tried doing this was to see if it would let me create another folder with the same name and it automatically reappeared. Hope this works for the rest of you.

  15. I am so immensely thankful for this that I had to leave you a message. I had been about to tear my hair out in frustration, and this tip magically solved all my problems. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  16. Muchas gracias Thank you very much. Spent an hour with Microsoft technician who found no solution. She proposed I subscribe to a service costing ~140.00 for one year and they would take carte of the problem. What an Outfit!
    Your solution is elegant: simple and effective.

  17. This also worked in Outlook 2016. Not sure how my user applied the filter but messages reappeared once we removed it. Thank you!

  18. fantastic, this link has saved me hours of searching.

  19. You Da Man/Woman! Figured this out from this site before my IT Guy did. Thank you so very much!

  20. I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU for pointing me – and many others – in the right direction. I had already spent loads of hours trying to find my files. You have quite probably saved my sanity.

  21. Thank You!Problem Solved.

  22. Thank you, Friday night 5 pm and the client says they cant see emails that I transferred earlier in the day.
    Your solution has saved me a lot of angst and I got to finish other work on time for once.
    Excellent. thank you.

  23. Hi,
    I am using MS Outlook 2010.
    I was getting a lot of unwanted mails from a subscription but I did not want to delete them. So I right clicked on the inbox and created a new folder. According to the help I found in many places, I should be able to see the newly created folder below the inbox as a sub folder. But in my case, the new folder just disappears. When I right click again on the inbox, I can see a box getting opened with options like new folder , delete folder etc etc . Here I can see the new folder that I just created with the inbox but not able to open it. I also added rules to move some mails to that new folder and as soon as I did that all my selected mails got disappeared from the inbox as if they have moved into the new folder but I am not able to see the mails and the new folder both.Please help me to organize the new folder so that I can view the emails in it.

  24. I did as you suggested. My lost emails DID NOT reappear. Any suggestions?

  25. Titus Presler | April 17, 2015 at 8:09 am | Reply

    Seems like this has got to be the problem, and I’m encouraged by readers who have experienced this fix solving the problem. But: I’m a Mac user of Outlook 2010 (ver. 14.0.0), and the configuration is a bit different. On the ribbon bar there is no File tab to the left of the Home tab, so there is no View Settings option. I tried Home > Filters > Clear All Filters, and that did not solve the problem. Any ideas?

  26. Hi,

    I’m having the same problem. I was aware of this fix however im trying to fix the root cause of this issue. When i make a sub folder it automatically applies a filter. Is there anyway i can stop outlook from applying a filter to a new subfolder?

    The strange thing is, if i make a new folder and then add a sub folder this does not have a filter. It is only happening when i add a subfolder to an already existing folder (no filters are set to this existing folder though).

    Can anyone help with this?

    Thx in advance.


  27. Thank You. You saved me from such a frustration of e-mails that i was unable to see !!!
    I had to go though every folder and change view from ‘hide messages marked from deletion’ to ‘imap messaged’ and problem was solved 🙂

  28. I had same problem with Outlook 2013. Your solution fixed it completely! Thanks.

  29. Chris S Ainsworth | January 15, 2015 at 12:22 am | Reply

    thanks for these comments – i found that i had to do an Advanced Message search through the Deleted Items before i could find all the messages that moved by the hand of Gates

  30. Hi, I have moved my email folders (From IMAP) to google apps sync folders and again moved those to IMAP without any modification. When I am looking in to few of folders or Sub folders, it’s showing “You didn’t find anything to show here”. I missing most important mails in these folders. Please do needful ASAP.

  31. grateful reader | January 3, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Reply

    Thanks so much! I was going crazy; couldn’t find all the important emails I had saved. I came across this post and it was EXACTLY my issue. I followed the instructions above and now everything is visible and where it belongs…THANK YOU!

  32. This is brilliant! When I checked the view settings for a folder that I’d just created and moved a lot of messages into, only to have them disappear without trace, I found that Outlook 2013 in its wisdom (?) had decided that I wanted to see ‘Only items that are unread’. Uncheck that filter and hey presto, all my vanished messages reappear. Phew! Mop sweating brow. Great relief! Thanks so much!

  33. Thanks so much. It did the trick! And I’m not sure why a filter was added. I certainly didn’t do it. Also, this worked for Outlook 2013.

    • Glad to hear it worked for you!

      • I have Outlook 2013. I have set up folders inside outlook. I move my emails from my inbox to their designated folders. Aftere two or three days, my moved e-mails disappear. I did what you suggested about view and checking to see if anything is checked. Nothing was checked.The only change I made to the advanced filter was to clear setting. What is my next step??????

        • Peter, if the filtering did not work then there could be a number of avenues to pursue. Start with backing up your PST file and run a pst scan and fix. If that does not help then you should probably talk to a tech and have them review it in person.

  34. OMG! I have been having this problem for ages. I have been on the phone for ages with Microsoft support – they had no idea why. I also spoke to an IT support guy who also didn’t know why. Thank you so much!

  35. Thank you. That fixed everything

  36. Thank you! It worked and was a quick and easy fix! Last time this happened I remember that the process I was given, was L O N G and complicated.
    I checked all my folders and found a few (seldom used) that were also “Hiding” mail. What a relief to get those important emails visable and functional again!

  37. Great! Thank u so much!!!!!

  38. Tried all the above and still no go. Some earlier emails in the folders are gone, but not all. Any (test) emails I try to move now disappear. Any other possibilities?


    • Sorry you’re still having problems Katherine. If you haven’t already done so I would backup your Outlook (make a copy of the PST file) for recovery purposes. I’d try reinstalling Outlook and if necessary calling Microsoft for support. Maybe someone else will have other ideas.

  39. THANKS SO MUCH! I alredy thought that I lost my entire project communication in the specific sub-folder because of some Outlook bug and then I found your article. The only think I really don’t understand is how the filter to show only unread mails was activated as I’ve never used the filter funcionality in any of my sub-folders.

    Anyway, thanks again! :-)))


  40. Thanks for this, Worked a treat, Our hosted mail provider has not been able to work this out for over 4 weeks. I will be forwarding them this artical.

  41. We are using MS Exchange Server on Office 365. This issue has happened to us twice over the last year. When we move an item from one folder to another by right clicking the item and selecting move, the item completely disappears. The first time this happened, we found all the items had been sent straight to the Recover Deleted Items folder, by-passing the regular deleted items folder. We were able to recover the items into the regular Deleted Items folder. The second time this happened, the item was copied twice to the Recover Deleted Items folder; once as the original and once as a Team E-mail object with no From: Again we were able to recover the items from the Recover Deleted Items folder and eventually move the files where we wanted them. This may be an Office 365 “feature”, but my point is that you might want to check your Recovered Deleted Items folder if that is applicable to your installation.

  42. Didn’t help. Still have a missing email that I moved from my Inbox to a Folder. I’ve searched all the other folders including Deleted Msgs. Checked all the filtering w/o any luck. The email is just gone.

  43. or go to the view, Change Settings and select IMAP Messages,



  44. Thanks a lot…

  45. Thank you! solved lots of email missing….do we need this filter?

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