COMPLETE GUIDE TO BULK DELETE (& RESTORE) GMAIL EMAILS

  • Gmail offers lot of storage to hold thousands of emails, but you might still need to delete them to have a clean mailbox and to better save your storage for the emails that matter.

  • In this detailed blog post, you would find multiple ways to search and delete Gmail emails (in bulk) that are no more important to you.

  • Also, if you deleted some of your emails by mistake, and now need to recover them, you would find all possible options in this post.

Table of Contents

Should You Delete Gmail Emails?

Before we even talk about different criteria to narrow down to only the emails you want to delete, let us answer a few preliminary questions.

  • Should we really be deleting emails from our Gmail mailbox? 
  • What exactly happens when we delete emails in Gmail?
  • Is there any alternate to delete emails?
Gmail Deletion Impact
When you delete emails from Gmail, they go to your Trash label and stay there for 30 days (unless you go to Trash and empty it), but once they are permanently deleted from Trash label, there is no way to recover them (unless you are G Suite User).

So let’s be careful while deleting emails………

 

Delete vs Archive in Gmail
If your inbox looks messy with lots of emails, and all you need is to clean it up, you may consider using “Archive” in Gmail.

Once you archive an email, it moves from your Inbox and goes to “All Mails” label.

 

Purchasing Additional Storage
If you are not sure whether you should be deleting your emails OR which ones should you delete, you may also consider option of buying additional storage.

You can look at your existing storage consumption along with an option to purchase additional storage here https://drive.google.com/settings/storage

Additional storage is applied to your Gmail + Google Drive + Google Photos.

Move to G Suite
If you are using a consumer Gmail account, you may also consider moving to G Suite, though it costs you a bit ($6/user/month for basic plan), but it does offer some additional features including :

  • 30 GB of Storage (vs 15 GB in personal email).
  • Email on your own domain (e.g yourname@yourbrand.com).
  • You / Your company own the data.
  • Additional Security & Controls.

Ok….. so I am done with highlighting your options, if neither of them fit your use case, and you really want to delete emails from your Gmail…..

Absolutely, let’s do it…………

 

Delete All Gmail Emails at Once

Deleting “All” your Gmail emails is pretty straight forward, if you are sure to delete them all, this is what you should do :

  1. From your Gmail Inbox, click on the checkbox to select all emails, by default it would select the emails on page 1.
  2. Click on “Select all ….. conversations in inbox” as shown in the screenshot below.
This would select all the emails in your Gmail inbox.
1. Select all your Gmail emails
  1.  You should see a note from Gmail that all your ……. conversations in inbox are selected.

  2. Now click on Trash can icon as shown in the screenshot below.
2. Click on delete button in Gmail
  1. Gmail would like you to confirm that you really want to take this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all Gmail emails at once
3. Confirm bulk action to delete Gmail emails

If everything goes fine, you would see a message “No new emails”.

Hurray…….. your Gmail inbox should now be empty, let me know in comments how you feel:)

BTW – I wish it was that easy to lose some pounds too:(

4. All your Gmail emails should now be deleted
  1. All your deleted emails can be found in Gmail Bin as you see in the screenshot below, you have an option to move them back to Inbox (just in case).

  2. These would be deleted automatically after 30 days, but you also have an option to empty your bin and delete all of them permanently.
5. Deleted emails can be found in Gmail Trash bin

Delete Gmail Emails based on Sender

If you want to delete Gmail emails that came from a specific sender,  you can use following to first search these emails, and then delete all of them at once.

Synax: from:sender’semail address

For example, I want to delete all the emails that I received from noreply@okta.com, so my filter would be :

from: noreply@okta.com

 

6. Delete from a specific sender

If you want to delete Gmail emails that came from from either of the specific senders,  you can use the “OR” operator to first search these emails, and then delete all of them at once.

Syntax: from:senderoneemailaddress OR sendertwoemailaddress

For example, I want to delete all the emails that I received from either noreply@okta.com OR o365su17@microsoft.com, so my filter would be :

from: noreply@okta.com OR o365su17@microsoft.com

7. Delete from multiple specific senders

If you want to delete all of your Gmail emails except the ones which came from a specific sender, then you use the NOT operator as shown below :

Syntax: -senderemail (You can either use NOT or the – sign, I prefer the – sign).

For example, I want to delete all the emails except the ones that I received  from  o365su17@microsoft.com, so my filter would be :

-o365su17@microsoft.com

8. Not from a specific sender

If you want to delete all of your Gmail emails except the ones which came from multiple specific senders, then you can combine the NOT and AND operators as shown below :

Syntax: -sendereonemail AND -sendertwoemail

For example, I want to delete all the emails except the ones that I received  from   
o365su17@microsoft.com and from noreply@okta.com, so my filter would be :

-o365su17@microsoft.com AND -noreply@okta.com

9. All except specific senders

If you want to delete Gmail emails that came from a specific domain name,  you can use following filter to first search these emails, and then delete all of them at once.

Syntax: from:domainname

For example, I want to delete all the emails that I received from amazon.com, so my filter would be :

from: amazon.com

 

10. Delete Gmail emails from a specific domain

but what if you want to delete all emails from a specific domain except one sender from that domain?

You can use the NOT operator to exclude emails from that specific sender.

Syntax: from:domain.com -sender@domain.com

For example, I want to delete all the emails that I received okta.com except the ones from hello@okta.com, so my filter would be :

from: okta.com -hello@okta.com

 

13.-Delete-all-gmail-emails-from-a-domain-except-one-email-address.png

You can also delete emails from multiple domains by using the OR operators with the domain names to first search these emails, and then delete all of them at once.

Syntax: from:domain1 OR domain2 OR domain3

For example, I want to delete all the emails that I received either from amazon.com OR microsoft.com OR okta.com, so my filter would be :

from: amazon.com OR microsoft.com OR okta.com

11. Delete Gmail emails from multiple domains

There might be cases where you want to delete emails from multiple domains with an exception.

For e.g I want to delete all emails that I received either from amazon.com OR microsoft.com OR okta.com, but not the ones which has the term action needed

I can search for it with the following criteria :

from: amazon.com OR microsoft.com OR okta.com -“action needed”

 

12. Delete Gmail emails from multiple domains except a word

If you have successfully searched all the emails based on your sender criteria :

  1. You can select these emails by clicking on email selection checkbox as shown in the screenshot below.

  2. By default, checkbox would select the emails on first page, click on “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all emails.

 

14. Select all emails to delete
  1. Now click on Trash icon, Gmail wants you to be sure before performing this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all of your emails in Gmail based on your criteria.
15. Click on delete icon to delete all emails in gmail

Delete Gmail Emails based on Recipients

In this section, let us look at the various searches we can perform to filter out emails based on the recipients including :

  1. Sent to me where am in either TO or CC or BCC or group/list.
  2. I am in CC
  3. I am in BCC
  4. I am in group list
  5. I sent it to a specific recipient
  6. I sent it to multiple recipients

If you want to delete Gmail emails that you received where the sender had you in TO.

Syntax: to:me

You can also use your email address (e.g to:youremail@gmail.com or youremail@yourdomain.com

If you want to delete all emails in Gmail where you are in CC, you can use the following search

Syntax: cc:me

16. Emails where am in cc

If you want to delete all emails in Gmail where you are in BCC, you can use the following search

Synax: bcc:me

17. Emails where am in bcc

If you want to delete all emails in Gmail where you are either in CC OR BCC, you can use the following search

Syntax: cc:me OR bcc:me

18. Emails where am either in cc OR bcc

If you want to delete all emails in Gmail which you received because you are a member of the group, you can use the following search

Syntax: list:groupemail

For eg. – If I want to search for all emails that I received being a member of sales@goldyarora.com, then my filter would be

list:sales@goldyarora.com

19. Emails where am in group

If you have successfully searched all the emails based on your recipient criteria :

  1. You can select these emails by clicking on email selection checkbox as shown in the screenshot below.

  2. By default, checkbox would select the emails on first page, click on “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all emails.
14. Select all emails to delete
  1. Click on Trash icon, Gmail wants you to be sure before performing this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all of your emails in Gmail based on your criteria.
15. Click on delete icon to delete all emails in gmail

Delete Gmail Emails based on Content

If you want to delete all emails in Gmail which have specific phrase in the subject line, , you can use the following search :

Syntax: subject:”your phrase”

For eg. – If I want to search for all emails with which have “App password created” in the email subject, then my filter would be :

subject:”App password created”

20. Search emails based on subject

If you want to delete all emails in Gmail which have specific phrase any where in the email content, you can use the following search

Syntax: “your phrase”

For eg. – If I want to search for all emails with which have “invited to the class” any where in the email content, then my filter would be :

“invited to the class”

21. Search emails based on content in email

If you want to delete all emails in Gmail which have specific phrase in the subject line but with an exception phrase, you can use the following search :

Syntax: “your phrase” -“phrase to exclude”

For eg. – If I want to search for all emails which have “invited you to the class” except the ones where email content has “work from home training”, then my filter would be :

“invited you to the class” -“work from home training”

22. Search emails based on content except some words

You can also combine the operators for granular searches, so if you want to delete all emails in Gmail which have specific words in the email content except some words, you can use the following search :

Syntax: wordtoinclude AND secondwordtoinclude -wordtoexclude

For eg. – If I want to search for all emails which have calendar AND invited in the email content but not the ones where am not in TO, then my filter would be :

calendar AND invited -to:me

23. Search for gmail emails with multiple words but not sent to me

If you have successfully searched all the emails based on your email content criteria :

  1. You can select these emails by clicking on email selection checkbox as shown in the screenshot below.
  2. By default, checkbox would select the emails on first page, click on “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all emails.
14. Select all emails to delete
  1. Click on Trash icon, Gmail wants you to be sure before performing this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all of your emails in Gmail based on your criteria.
15. Click on delete icon to delete all emails in gmail

Delete Emails based on Gmail Categories

You can also delete all (or some) of your emails based on Gmail categories, you can learn more about Gmail categories in Google’s support documentation here

Syntax to find emails in single category category:categoryname

Syntax to find emails in multiple categories category:(categoryname OR categoryname)

For eg. – If I want to search for all emails in either promotions OR forums OR updates category, then my filter would be :

category:(promotions OR forums OR updates)

24. Search Gmail emails from categories

If you want to search and delete all Gmail emails except the ones in primary category, then you can use the NOT operator as following:

Syntax to find all emails except the ones in primary category -category:categoryname

For eg. – If I want to search for all emails except the ones in primary category, then my filter would be :

-category:primary

26. Search Gmail emails from all categories except one

If you need to search and delete in multiple categories except one, you can use NOT operator.

Syntax to find emails in multiple categories with a category to exclude 

category:(categoryname OR categoryname) -category:categoryname

For eg. – If I want to search for all emails in either promotions OR forums OR updates category, but not the ones in updates category, then my filter would be :

category:(promotions OR forums OR updates) -category:updates

25. Search Gmail emails from categories except one

Delete Gmail Emails based on Status

Delete All Unread emails in Gmail

If you need to search and delete all unread emails in Gmail, you can use is:unread to filter these emails. 

Syntax to find all unread emails in Gmail is:unread

29. Delete all unread emails in Gmail

Delete All read emails in Gmail

If you need to search and delete all read emails in Gmail, you can use is:read to filter these emails. 

Syntax to find all read emails in Gmail is:read

28. Delete all read emails in Gmail

Delete All unread emails in Gmail from a specific sender

If you need to search and delete all unread emails in Gmail from a specific sender, you can use AND operator in combination with is:unread to filter these emails. 

Syntax to find all unread emails from a specific sender in Gmail from:sender AND is:read

30. Delete All unread emails from specific senders in Gmail

Delete All emails in Gmail which are marked as imporant

If you need to search and delete all emails in Gmail which are marked as imporant, you can use is:important to filter these emails. 

Syntax to find all unread emails in Gmail is:important

Syntax to find all emails in Gmail which are not marked as important -is:important

31. Delete all important Gmail emails

Delete All starred emails in Gmail 

If you need to search and delete all starred emails in Gmail, you can use is:starred to filter these emails. 

Syntax to find all starred emails in Gmail is:starred

Syntax to find all emails in Gmail which are not starred -is:starred

32. Delete all starred emails in Gmail

If you have successfully searched all the emails based on your email status criteria :

  1. You can select these emails by clicking on email selection checkbox as shown in the screenshot below.
  2. By default, checkbox would select the emails on first page, click on “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all emails.
14. Select all emails to delete
  1. Click on Trash icon, Gmail wants you to be sure before performing this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all of your emails in Gmail based on your criteria.
15. Click on delete icon to delete all emails in gmail

Delete Gmail Emails based on Size

Delete All emails in Gmail based on the size

If you need to search and delete all emails in Gmail based on their size, you can use the larger & smaller operators (along with combining it with other operators for granular searches).

Syntax to find all emails larger than a certain size larger:size

Gmail supports (i) Bytes (ii) KB / Kilobyte and (iii) MB / Megabyte

So if I want to search and delete all emails larger than 1 MB, then my search filter would be-:

larger:1M

33. Delete Gmail emails by size (e.g larger than 1MB)

Syntax to find all emails smaller than a certain size smaller:size

So if I want to search and delete all emails smaller than 1 MB, then my search filter would be-:

smaller:1M

34. Delete Gmail emails by size (e.g smaller than 1MB)

You can also use the user interface in Gmail to find such emails.

36. Delete Gmail emails by size also support KB and Bytes

You can also use AND (or other operators) to find emails between sizes.

So if I want to search and delete all emails larger than 1 MB and smaller than 2 MB, then my search filter would be-:

larger:1M AND smaller:2M

35. Delete Gmail emails by size (e.g larger than 1MB AND smaller than 2MB)

You can also delete heavy emails which have attachments by combining attachment and size operators :

Syntax to find all emails with attachments, and larger than a certain size has:attachment larger:size

So if I want to search and delete all emails with attachments which are larger than 1 MB in size, then my search filter would be-:

has:attachment larger:1M

37. Deleting Gmail emails with large attachment size

You can also delete heavy emails with specific file type attachments by combining attachment, filename, and size operators :

Syntax to find all emails with specific attachment type, and larger than a certain size has:attachment larger:size filename:fileextension

So if I want to search and delete all emails with pdf attachments and larger than 1 MB in size, then my search filter would be-:

has:attachment larger:1M filename:pdf

38. Delete Gmail emails with large attachments and filetype

If you have successfully searched all the emails based on your email size criteria :

  1. You can select these emails by clicking on email selection checkbox as shown in the screenshot below.

  2. By default, checkbox would select the emails on first page, click on “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all emails.
14. Select all emails to delete
  1. Click on Trash icon, Gmail wants you to be sure before performing this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all of your emails in Gmail based on your criteria.
15. Click on delete icon to delete all emails in gmail

Delete Gmail Emails based on Date Range

If you want to delete all Gmail emails based on the date range, you can use the before and after date operators.

Syntax to find all emails before a certain date

before:YYYY/MM/DD

So if I want to search and delete all emails before May 12 2020, my filter would be-:

before:2019/05/12

39. Delete Gmail emails before a certain date

Syntax to find all emails after a certain date

after:YYYY/MM/DD

So if I want to search and delete all emails after May 12 2019, my filter would be-:

after:2019/05/12

40. Delete Gmail emails after a certain date

You can also find emails between a certain date range by using before and after operators together.

Syntax to find all emails between a certain date range
after:YYYY/MM/DD before:YYYY/MM/DD

So if I want to search and delete all emails between May 12 2019 and May 12 2020, my filter would be-:

before:2020/05/12 after:2019/05/12

41. Delete Gmail emails between a date range

You can also use the before / after operators in combination with other operators to find the emails you want to delete.

For e.g – If I want to search and delete all emails that I sent to support@okta.com which have attachment/s, larger than 1MB in size, and sent before April 12 2020, then my search filter would be:

to:support@okta.com before:2020/04/12 has:attachment larger:1M

42. Delete Gmail emails based on date range, size, sender

If you have successfully searched all the emails based on your date range criteria :

  1. You can select these emails by clicking on email selection checkbox as shown in the screenshot below.

  2. By default, checkbox would select the emails on first page, click on “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all emails.
14. Select all emails to delete
  1. Click on Trash icon, Gmail wants you to be sure before performing this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all of your emails in Gmail based on your criteria.
15. Click on delete icon to delete all emails in gmail

Delete Gmail Emails based on File Type

Gmail has the filename operator which can help you find and delete all emails with a certain file type extension.

Syntax-: filename:fileextension

For e.g – If I want to search and delete all pdf emails, then my search filter would be:

filename:pdf

43. Delete all Gmail emails based on file type (e.g all pdf files)

Similarly, you can find all png files with the filter filename:png

44. Delete all Gmail emails based on file type (e.g all png files)

You can also combine the filename operator with other operators to find the emails you need to delete.

So if I want to search and delete all pdf, png and xlsx files, then I can use the OR operator along with filename as following-:

filename:pdf OR png OR xlsx

45. Delete all Gmail emails based on multiple file types (e.g all png OR png OR xlsx files)

Usually the video attachment files take large space, you can find and delete such emails by using the filename and larger than operators together.

filename:mp4 larger:5M

46. Delete all Gmail emails with large video files

Gmail also has operators to find Google Drive files, so you can search the Drive links and attachments.

Syntax: has:drive

47. Delete all Gmail emails which has Google Drive links

You can similarly find all spreadsheet files which would include Google or Microsoft spreadsheet files and/or links.

Syntax: has:spreadsheet

48. Delete all Gmail emails which has spreadsheet (e.g xlsx or google sheet link)

There is also has:youtube operator which can help you find and delete all emails which have youtube link.

Syntax: has:youtube

49. Delete all Gmail emails which have youtube link

If you have G Suite Enterprise subscription, and record your Google Meet meetings, you get notification in Gmail once your meeting recording is available in Google Drive.

These files have GMT-7) in their title, which can be leveraged to find these recording file emails.

Filter: has:drive GMT-7)

50. Delete all Gmail emails which have Google Meet recording link

If you have successfully searched all the emails based on your file type criteria :

  1. You can select these emails by clicking on email selection checkbox as shown in the screenshot below.

  2. By default, checkbox would select the emails on first page, click on “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all emails.
14. Select all emails to delete
  1. Finally, Click on Trash Icon, Gmail wants you to be sure before performing this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all of your emails in Gmail based on your criteria.
15. Click on delete icon to delete all emails in gmail

Delete Gmail Emails based on Labels

If you need to find and delete all or some Gmail emails in specific label, then you can use the label operator.

Syntax: in:labelname

51. Delete all Gmail emails in sent labels

You can also search in multiple labels by using the label and OR operators together.

52. Delete all emails based on Gmail labels (e.g in sent or draft label)

You can combine Gmail search operators to find the emails that you really need to delete-:

53. Delete all Gmail emails in sent or draft labels which have attachments larger than 1MB

If you have successfully searched all the emails based on your Gmail label criteria :

  1. You can select these emails by clicking on email selection checkbox as shown in the screenshot below.

  2. By default, checkbox would select the emails on first page, click on “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all emails.
14. Select all emails to delete
  1. Finally, click on Trash Icon, Gmail wants you to be sure before performing this bulk action.

  2. Click OK to delete all of your emails in Gmail based on your criteria.
15. Click on delete icon to delete all emails in gmail

Recover Deleted Gmail Emails

There might be scenarios where you would need to recover your deleted emails, may be because you deleted them by mistake, or you never thought you would need them back.

but….. now….. you might be asking, “Are deleted Gmail emails recoverable“?

The answer here really “depends” on whether you are using consumer Gmail (@gmail.com) account OR G Suite account, are you a regular user OR G Suite Admin, which G Suite plan you have subscribed to………

Let us see all these scenarios in details, and how they impact our ability to recover our deleted Gmail emails.

Recover deleted Gmail emails as a User

Recovering Deleted Gmail Emails as regular Gmail User:

When you delete emails, by default they go to your Gmail Trash Bin and stay there for 30 days, so if you are within 30 days range, you can restore them as shown below.

Note -: If you are using personal / consumer Gmail account, it is not possible to recover permanently deleted Gmail if you permanently deleted them over 30 days ago.

Permanently Gmail emails = You deleted from Gmail Trash Bin manually OR Google automatically deleted them after 30 days.

To recover emails deleted within last 30 days, go to Trash Bin in your Gmail as shown below, select either the required ones OR all emails that you want to recover.

By default emails viewable in first page would be selected, if you want to restore all deleted Gmails, select all the conversations.

54. Go to Gmail Trash bin and select all emails
55. select all emails if you want to restore all deleted Gmail emails
  1. Click the move to icon.

  2. Click on Inbox.
56. Click move to, and then inbox to restore all deleted gmail emails

Gmail would ask you to confirm the bulk action, Click OK, and your emails would now be restored from Trash Bin to Gmail Inbox.

57. Confirm that you want to restore all deleted Gmail emails to inbox

Recover deleted Gmail emails as a G Suite Admin

If you use G Suite, you have more options / flexibility to restore Gmail emails permanently deleted by your users.

Option 1: Restore Emails from within G Suite Admin Console

Available in all G Suite plans.

You can restore permanently deleted Gmail emails to your users right from G Suite Admin Console within 25 days of permanent deletion by user.

  1. To use this option, login to your G Suite Admin Console and search for the concerned user.
  2. Go to user’s details page.
  3. Click on “More”
  4. Click on “Restore Data” as shown in the screenshot below.
58. Go to G Suite Admin console and search for user for whom you want to restore delete gmail emails
  1. Enter the date range for which you want to restore deleted Gmail emails (within 25 days range).

  2. Select Gmail from the Application dropdown.

  3. Click on Restore.
59. Enter the date range and click on restore

Option 2 -: Restore Deleted Emails from Security Investigation Tool

Available only in G Suite Enterprise plan

G Suite Enterprise plan offers “Security Investigation Tool” where you can run investigations and then perform the respective action/s.

Assuming you are on G Suite Enterprise plan, let us investigate the emails permanently deleted by our user, and then restore them to user’s mailbox.

Notes -: 
— Security investigation tool supports restoring permanently deleted emails within 30 days of permanent deletion.
— You should also have required privilege to access security investigation tool. 

To start investigation, login to your G Suite Admin Console, and then go to Investigation tool under Security settings.

 

60. Go to Investigation tool from G Suite Admin console security

Investigation Details :

  1. Select “Gmail messages” as Source.
  2. Use AND for the conditions.
  3. Select your date criteria for restoring emails.
  4. Select your recipient.
  5. Select “Deleted” label (e.g deleted here = emails which are permanently deleted)
  6. Click on Search

 

61. Run a security investigation to find user's deleted Gmail emails

You should now see all the emails which are permanently deleted by this user within the date range you specified.

  1. Select either required or all the emails that you want to restore.

  2. Click on Actions menu as shown in the screenshot below.
62. Select the Gmail emails you want to restore and click on Actions

Click on “Restore Messages”.

63. Click on restore messages from security investigation tool

It would ask you for confirmation that you want to restore X messages to this user.

Click on “Restore”.

64. Confirm to Google that you want to restore this user's gmail emails

Your email restoring process should now start (along with an option to Abort the action if required).

65. Restore Gmail emails process will start

Security investigation tool now shows you the action results, and if everything goes fine, you should see “message/s was restored successfully”.

Important Notes-:

  1. These emails will be restored to user’s Trash Bin, and not to Inbox, because thats where these emails were before being permanently deleted.

  2. Are you asking why didn’t we restore directly to user’s inbox? good question, thats because it is not possible, you would see the error if you try to put them directly to Inbox.

So now, as we restored emails to user’s Gmail Trash Bin, we can either ask the user to restore them from their Bin OR run one more investigation (this time on Trash Bin), and then send them to user’s inbox.

 

66. User's Gmail emails will not be restored

Now, to restore emails from user’s Gmail Trash Bin to Inbox, let us run another investigation where everything remains same except the Label Name.

This time label name should be “Bin”, and then our action should be “Send to Inbox” as shown in the screenshot below.

67. Run the investigation to find gmail emails in trash

Confirm that you want to move these emails in bulk by clicking on “SEND TO INBOX”

68. Click on send to inbox from security investigation tool

Send to Inbox process should now be started.

69. Send to inbox process would now start

Congratulations, your user’s emails should now be available in his/her Gmail inbox.

70. Users deleted Gmail emails should now be sent to inbox

Option 3 – Restore Deleted Emails via Google Vault.

Available in G Suite Business and Enterprise Plans.

Google Vault is an archiving and retention application which helps you retain your G Suite data based on the retention rules you define.

You can learn more about it in my “THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO GOOGLE VAULT“.

You should login to ediscovery.google.com, create a matter, and then run your search to find the deleted emails that you want to restore.

In the following example, am trying to restore emails for a given user from 01-May-2020 to 11-May-2020 which are permanently deleted (denoted by label^deleted).

Click on Search after putting your search criteria.

71. Run query in Google Vault to find permanently deleted Gmail emails

Now you should see the permanently deleted emails based on your Google Vault search criteria.

Click on “Export results” to export this data.

72. Click on Export results from Google Vault

Google Vault should now begin exporting your data, and it may take sometime depending on the size of the data.

73. Google Vault would not start the export
  1. Give your export a name.

  2. Select the data region (e.g none, United States, Europe) where your export result would be saved, and available for 15 days.

  3. Select the format (e.g Mbox or PST for emails), I would go with PST as it is easy to import it than Mbox).

  4. Click on Start Export.
74. Select the pst format and click on export in Google Vault

Click on “view X completed files” to expand your export results.

75. Click on export files in Google Vault

Your Mbox file would be in .zip format, click on download to save it to your local machine.

Note -: Depending on the size of your data, you might have multiple .zip files, as each file can be max 1 GB for PST.

76. Download the deleted files pst from Google Vault

You can now unzip your downloaded file to extract the pst file.

You can then use Google’s G Suite Migration for Microsoft Exchange to migrate this PST file to your user’s mailbox.

77. You should now have users deleted files pst

FAQs about Deleting & Restoring Gmail Emails

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers about deleting Gmail emails and restoring them.

No.

Once you delete your Gmail emails, they go to your Trash Bin, and stay there for 30 days.

so if you have deleted them permanently from Trash Bin OR Google deleted them automatically after 30 days, then there is no way to recover them.

It depends on the retention period you defined in Google Vault.

E.g if you have created a retention policy to retain data indefinitely, then these would be available till the time you are a Google Vault customer.

It depends.

If the user permanently deleted these emails more than 25 days ago and either do not have Google Vault OR you did not set it up yet, then even if you sign up for Google Vault (or set it up now), you can not recover them.

As per Google’s documentation, there is upto 60 minutes latency for Gmail logs to appear in Security investigation tool.

So it might not show the emails permanently deleted within last 60 minutes, if thats the case, try again in one hour’s time.

No, both Google Vault and Security Investigation tool offer delegated administration privileges, you should be able to leverage these tools to restore permanently deleted Gmail emails till the time you have delegated administrator role with these permissions.

You can click on “Ask your question” button in the top navigation menu.

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