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How to Find Lost Gmail Messages

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help

Gail Lincoln from United States writes:

99% of my Gmail is gone, including my folders where I was saving tech info. How do I get my Gmail message back?

Logging in to your email and finding all your mail has gone is a sinking feeling that many of have experienced over the years. However, with any luck it is not gone for good. It may just be hidden from plain sight. Here are some of the usual suspects.

1. The Trash – It may seem obvious, but the first place to look for your missing email is the Trash. Gmail will store emails in the Trash folder for 30 days, but after that, they will automatically be permanently deleted, so don’t delay if it has been a while since you have seen this mail.

  • Look for the Trash folder on the left hand side of your Gmail inbox, and click it.

gmail trash

  • If your emails are here select them all by clicking the checkbox above your emails
  • Then click the folder icon to choose a folder to move your emails to.
  • Finally, click Inbox to move your files back to your Gmail Inbox

move to inbox


2. All Mail – This one is less obvious. If your email is not in the Trash, it could be in the All Mail folder. This is where Gmail stores all your archived mail. This is mail that was not trashed, but archived using the archive button on the toolbar. However, the All Mail folder could be hidden from view. Here is how to find it.

  • Hover your mouse over the left hand side of your screen next to the Trash folder we just looked. You should see an option that says More.

more gmail folders

  • Click the More button to reveal additional folders, including the All Mail folder.

all mail

  • Click All Mail to see if your emails are in this folder. If they are, you can repeat the instructions above to select the emails you want and move them to your Gmail inbox.

move to inbox

3. Spam – It is possible that your email may have been accidentally moved to your Junk Mail folder by you or another user. You can find your Junk Mail folder in the same way you find your All Mail folder.

  • Hover your cursor over the left hand-side of your screen next to the Trash folder.
  • The Junk Mail folder is directly below the Trash.

junk email

4. POP/IMAP Email Clients – Have you recently set up a third-party email client like Outlook or Thunderbird to collect your Gmail for you? If so, it is possible that it may not have been set up properly and was instead set to delete the email as soon as it was grabbed by your third-party email client. To check your POP settings, see below and any third party email clients that you have set up on your computer:

  • Click the Gear icon in the top right hand corner and select Settings

gmail settings

  • Next click Forwarding and POP/IMAP at the top of the screen, and look to see if POP is enabled. If it is, be sure that it is NOT set to Delete Gmail’s copy.

pop settings

If you can’t find your email in any of these places, there is a high chance that your account has been compromised. You should immediately go to and click the change password link to prevent any further unauthorized access to your account.

change google password

~ Jonathan

Tags: , ,

64 Responses to “How to Find Lost Gmail Messages”

  1. Romans says:

    all mesages older than 1 year, all contacts gone. lost 10 years there.
    google respond was
    We received your request to recover deleted emails from your account.

    Unfortunately, the emails were permanently deleted, so we’re not able to get them back for you.

    We know this can be really frustrating, and we’re sorry that we can’t help this time around

    • cynthia says:

      Did you check to see if your Google account had been recently accessed from another location to see if someone had indeed put in the request to delete your e-mail messages?

  2. Marissa Wright says:

    IS there anyway to recover emails from delete forever?????

  3. peter walsh says:

    i have lost over 100 of my sent e mails i hope that you can help me
    thank you very much sincerely peter walsh…

  4. DDX says:

    For those missing some emails, it might just be search changes.

    I had a lot of emails ‘vanish’ from search results, but adding a – back into the search had them showing up again. (The specific emails were from a source that had a – in its name, but when using the search bar to find them again I’d always leave the – out. Used to they’d pop up just fine, but now I have to write out the full search term.)

  5. Elizabeth Diederich says:

    Emails in all folders disappeared even deleted messages.
    Every folder shows “no mail”
    Happened 2 days ago but receiving new emails

    • Lori Jordan says:

      Elizabeth, I lost all of my emails in my inbox on this weekend. I noticed they were missing on Sunday, but they were there on Saturday morning. I still had emails in trash, spent and sent folders, but none of them were items from my inbox. I am a little bummed out. I, too, am receiving new emails.

  6. Helen says:

    I received an email from a gmail sender. I, personally, do not have a gmail account. I forwarded it to my husband and then responded to the email. A few days later, I needed to email this person again, but her email could not be found anywhere, in any folder, on my computer. Strangely enough, my husband couldn’t find it on his computer, either. This was the first email I’d ever received from this email address. I need to respond, but it’s missing! Help! BTW, no other gmail messages have “gone missing”.

  7. XRumerTest says:

    Hello. And Bye.

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