An ntlworld Sent folder (IMAP) in Outlook, this morning, somehow accidentally started to delete - quickly spotted, and cancelled long before most emails would have been reached. But nevertheless the entire contents were deleted. Not accessible in webmail so apparently deleted from the server. VM techies tell me that deletion is instant and permanent and that there's no way they can be retrieved. I find this hard to believe - no backup? And doesn't the government/GCHQ have access to all our emails?
Very sorry you have lost some emails, what you were told is correct that deletion is permanent and it is not something we would recover. I wonder if one of your devices instigated the deletion and therefore worth checking the trash folders on all of them for the emails. IMAP has so many advantages in keeping everything synchronized but mishaps like this may on occasion occur, personally as well as having IMAP I have another account configured to POP3 as well which I generally ignore, that way the emails are always to be found on it, I appreciate that is a bit belts and braces but it may be worth considering.
Thanks very much for your thoughts & suggestion on this. I had indeed explored all folders without success (as had the VM techie). But funny things happened last night .
I should explain that I have two desktop PCs (MNB & HMB) on a home network. They independently upload & download the same IMAP email accounts, both in Outlook (but, in case it's relevant, MNB in 2016, HMB in 2010). It was while on HMB (my wife's) that the original catatrophe occurred, and since then there are no Sent emails prior to that event in the mailbox on MNB (mine, all mine). But yesterday while exploring an issue on HMB I discovered that the Sent folder now contains all emails up to the date of their apparent loss (but none after that date), so presumably repopulated by downloading from the server. Yet MNB Sent folder only contains items from that date - none from before.
The IMAP acount settings on the two machines are identical except that MNB has outgoing server 25 with no encryption, while HMB has 465 with SSL.
I daren't try moving pst/ost files around, because I don't adequately understand them.