Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

My Hotmail "Sent Messages" folder always remains empty, though I sent a number of emails. As a result, I can never confirm they were sent nor review the text again unless I "cc" myself. A search online yielded no results specific to this question nor an email contact for MSN. What's up?

In my humble opinion, Hotmail has several annoyances, and this is another one. I can guess why they do it, but nonetheless it annoys a lot of people.

Hotmail makes saving "Sent Messages" difficult.

Apparently on purpose.

It's very simple, really. When you compose a new message in Hotmail, at the bottom of the message is a checkbox:

Copy Sent Mail checkbox

Notice how it defaults to being unchecked?

Notice how it defaults to being unchecked for every message you send?

The bottom line is that you must remember to check that box every time you send a message. There's no way that I'm aware of to make "Copy Message to Sent Folder" the default behavior.

If you forget? You're out of luck.


Now, the question is "Why do they do it this way?" My theory, and it's only a theory, is that MSN is worried about server space. If every user saves a copy of every message they send ... that adds up to a lot of messages taking up a lot of space. And more space means more hardware and more cost for MSN. More cost for them for what they provide as a free service.

Certainly there are alternatives. I strongly recommend against any of the free services as your sole email account, or for anything important. (More on why in my article "Are free email services worth it?") But even other free services, such as GMail, do what I consider to be "the right thing" and allow you to save all your sent mail automatically.

So, it's pretty much up to you: remember to check the box each and every time.

Or switch to a different service.

Article C2600 - March 22, 2006 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Sarah St. James
March 23, 2006 7:43 AM

They do save your sent mail, all you have to do is click the save this email button on the bottom of the email message box. Its a little box. You click it and a small check is installed and its saves it. Its just an paying attention that matters.

March 23, 2006 11:50 PM

You could use the Firefox greasemonkey extension then write a small script to check the checkbox automatically, but that is a bit advanced.

March 24, 2006 4:02 PM

Upgrade your hotmail to Windows Live Mail Beta, will save all of your sent-email automatically,no need to place the check any more

Carl G.
March 24, 2006 6:07 PM

Windows Live Beta is very buggy - don't bother - it doesn't even show your fav. contacts!

March 25, 2006 12:54 PM

Leo, you understated the fact that GMail saves your sent mail: that's the very gist of their promotional hype: Just about every aspect of the GUI focuses upon their philosophy that says you *ought* to save *all* your mail (the program's "Delete" button notwithstanding). After all, they say, whatever you want is just a search away. There's even a little counter when you log on that keeps ticking away, getting bigger and bigger, telling you how much space you have.

The main reason why I went ahead and switched all my main accounts to Google is they are responsive. In just over six months with the service, they have implemented three of my suggestions, and none of those were on their checklist polling users as to which features we'd most like to see.

The other upside to Google is that you can POP your account -- unlike Yay-Hoo, wherein you can only POP with the pay-for-it account. This means you can keep a local copy of EVERYTHING and don't have to worry about something happening on their end.

But that's among the least important reasons why I closed all but one of my pay-for-it Yahoo accounts -- and just one year ago, I was a veritable poster boy for Yahoo Mail. In fact, I'd close that one if it wasn't for the way pay-Yay-Hoo lets you spoof your e-mail address. Did Macromedia Support sell your spoofed addy to criminal spammers? No prob! Just delete it, cause you can create and maintain as many spoof addresses as you personally can handle.

As for Hotmail, I still cannot get over the bad taste in my mouth left by a test I conducted several years ago. I opened a Hotmail account and told my address to NOBODY. Within a day, the Inbox was almost full to capacity with spam. Now, that's not the case today, and I keep one Hotmail account open with my stylized pen name as the addy just on GP. Nobody knows the address and I never get any mail except the usual notices from Hotmail. But Hotmail's GUI -- indeed, the overall system -- just doesn't cut it for me. At all.

Take care!

Cliff W

March 25, 2006 2:24 PM

"I opened a Hotmail account and told my address to NOBODY. Within a day, the Inbox was almost full to capacity with spam."

That's simply because the username you chose must have been a very common name, or a word in the English language.

R Bittman
April 1, 2006 9:07 PM

I'm going to soon quit using hotmail altogether because even though I paid for their highest level of service, I still can't arrange for their system to automatically save my sent messages. Millions of hotmail users will soon fire hotmail too if they continue to take their customers for granted.

April 5, 2006 8:12 AM

my friend made to me add on his email his email
and my email is how he make that i need ur help mr leo

April 12, 2006 2:20 AM

is there anyway of saving my messages wen i send them, without clicking that box

April 15, 2006 10:27 AM

dear sir,

i have a problem in my hotmail inbox, when i read or forward my emails they delete autmatically from my inbox and i never find them at all.
plz help me wt i to do .. ??

May 1, 2006 11:23 PM

i want to save all my sent nessages ,but i forget to tick the copy box i want it to be automatically saved what should i do?

May 2, 2006 7:12 PM

You have very few options.

a) remember
b) use some service other than HotMail

May 4, 2006 12:26 AM

Hello Leo,

what you can do is CC the email to your own email address.

After you save this email in the folder sent messages.

Best regards,

May 8, 2006 4:46 PM

is there any way in wich i can check sent messages, even though they've not been saved?
any site? any kind of cheat?

May 8, 2006 4:51 PM

No, not that I am aware of. Other than asking the recipient to send it back to you.

May 22, 2006 7:23 AM

Why did'nt you answer my question?

Are you certain there is no way to automatically save sent messages. Can't MSN do this is you upgrade?

May 22, 2006 9:28 AM

b) yes, I'm sure.

May 26, 2006 12:55 PM

how do i read to my emails that are sent to me

May 31, 2006 12:17 AM

hello i want to ask if i can save my sent mails without click on copy to snet ??

Leo A. Notenboom
May 31, 2006 9:05 AM

No. As stated in the article you must remember to check it each time.

June 13, 2006 3:36 AM

Can u please tell me how to save all teh sent messages which i send from my mailbox as i dont kno how to save it automatically
Please help me i m trouble

Joy Burman
June 29, 2006 3:41 AM

Hi leo
In regard to hotmail does not have saving options for sent mail,

I can provide modules which could be integrated and update the current situation.

Please let me know your interest at

July 8, 2006 3:56 PM

i sent a very long message to a friend of nine on july 8 1906 on msn messanger and he is one or my msn buddies but he never got yt and I can't retrieve it. Why?

July 8, 2006 3:59 PM

where are my sent e-mails I sent to my msn buddies

July 21, 2006 9:42 AM

If I purchase hotmail plus can I then have sent mail saved with the need for remembering to save it?

Masry L. McCormick
July 23, 2006 11:16 AM

I can't delete email via delete or trashbin

Mary L. McCormick
July 23, 2006 11:16 AM

I can't delete email via delete or trashbin

August 24, 2006 3:58 PM

Ok! First my msn doesn't work and now my hotmail doesn't work!!! and it's making me really mad! What is going on?????? PLEASE e-mail me back! This is my 3rd comment due to msn problems and you haven't e-mailed me back a solution so please e-mail me back!

Mukul Jhaveri
August 30, 2006 7:08 AM

If MSN is worried about server space, it is unfounded because they display a condition that all sent mails will be automatically deleted after 30 days. It's funny, when mails are not automatically saved in the first place, they are talking of deleting them!

Joe Puma
September 7, 2006 11:04 AM

That is a silly theroy. Each users has 250MB of storage allocated to them. Its up to them how they want to use it. whether its sent items, received items, junk email or whatever.....everyone has the same 250mb if not more or less, whatever the rule is, for them to do what they want with it.

And the 30 day rule is to only help MSN when people dont realize they have a build up of sent items that could reduce the total amount of storage that could be used for incoming email. Then MSN would get a lot of support emails saying" I cant get emails, it saying mailbox is full"

So whats the real reason??

September 8, 2006 5:37 PM

have you noticed that on the pda version of hotmail theres not even a save sent checkbox ! I have to copy and paste...

thanks leo

September 9, 2006 8:44 AM

Hey Leo,
For some reason I cant delete email/trash it..and i cant download files from my friends that sent me the email. It has Page cannot be found..or w/e..plz leo help me!

September 10, 2006 10:10 AM

hello every time i start uo windows live msngr it alwauy does not respond could u please tell me y and how i could fix this problem
thank you

October 15, 2006 8:51 PM

why aren't my sent messages saved

November 1, 2006 8:16 PM

i wanna my mail box msn , why i cant see?

November 5, 2006 9:05 AM

Even though I put a check manrk next to Copy message to Sent folder.. the attachment in the original message does not get saved in the sent folder..Any idea as to how to save the attachment also?

December 4, 2006 11:03 AM

my internet connection is fine as i can use sites such as google, but whenever i try and open msn hotmail it takes forever to load up and eventually says that you need to refresh it, connection failure or make sure you types in the address properly... etc
CAN ANY1 Pleez help me!!!

December 7, 2006 4:48 AM

hi Dan I'm having the same problem... hotmail won't display the fact that I sent an attachment (little paperclip icon)... I have NO idea why

Shailen Sobhee
December 14, 2006 4:21 AM

Hello, Thank You.

Beautiful answer; i got all the info i needed..its strange that Hotmail doesnt allow us to automatically save sent messages- There are no options where you can do it anyway. And most of the time, you may forget to save the message which means that the message is lost. Besides, going back in the browser says either page expired or displays a blank new compose-email page.

So to everyone out there, do choose GMail, which definitely is the best around. You can configure it freely with ur email cleint software (Outlook, mozilla thunderbird, etc ), you can even use your GMail address on MSN messenger by signing up for a live passport, amongst others.

Gmail is very advanced in itself- It works just fine- keeps all my mails safely, saves all my sent messages, saves temporary messages as draft automatically (in case you get a powercut, u can log back to continue your mail)..and much more..

Thumbs up GMail..


December 26, 2006 10:16 PM

i want all my msn send messages to be saved automatically when i send do i do that?plz help

Leo Notenboom
December 26, 2006 10:26 PM

As the article you commented on states fairly clearly: you don't.

Danny Fleming
December 27, 2006 6:49 AM

Hot mail will not save my password so I have to re-type that every time I log on??? How do I save it permanently?

Bridget A Coffey
December 31, 2006 1:56 PM

After all the complaints, does msn hotmail save sent mail yet? I think it is wise to have when children, who are minors, send mail out; so us parents can keep track of their safety. Bridget Coffey

Leo Notenboom
December 31, 2006 1:58 PM

They do not. To address your concerns, I'd have your children use some other free service that allows you to save all sent mail.

Remember, though, that you child can just as easily delete messages from any Sent Mail folder if they have something to hide.

Parental Monitoring software may be your only recourse, but even that only works on the machines you have control over.

January 16, 2007 9:59 AM

How do I get hotmail to remember my email address and password?

January 27, 2007 3:11 PM

How do I get MSN Hotmail to REMEMBER my email address and password??????????

January 30, 2007 4:13 PM

Great article. Keep up the good work!

george kamau
February 1, 2007 7:05 AM

Not only does hotmail make saving sent email difficult.But it also seems to make it just as difficult to retrieve any you may have saved by checking the box.Uptill now, I still haven't yet figured out how to retrieve my sent messages.

February 26, 2007 1:38 PM

Excellent, thank you for explaining.

March 27, 2007 11:58 AM

the latest version of hotmail doesn't have the box to check to save sent mail - it says your sent message will not be saved then has a link to click to save message - it only saves it as a draft and as soon as it's sent it is automatically deleted from the drafts folder and NOT saved...any help??????

May 1, 2007 1:38 AM

Well, Well, I always wondered why i could never see my sent msg's,
Thanks for your help, such a strange method >?

Aruna serasinghe
May 8, 2007 10:26 AM

Dear MR Leo,
Thank you for explaining.

May 8, 2007 7:50 PM

I just sent a message in hotmail with important work information, the problem is that I was in a hurry and forgot to check the "save sent mail" check box. Now I need to see the information I sent. Is there a way to retrieve that sent mail? Thank you.
By the way, I'm only using Gmail from now on.

May 23, 2007 10:36 PM

Hotmail only save your "sent mails" for 30 days. Then they delete your mails.

June 5, 2007 11:56 PM

My hotmail sent messages folder always remains empty, Even though I sent a lot fo massages to friends, I cant review what I sent or who I sent to When I need to can you please help me,Thanks, Con,

Sandi Allen
June 15, 2007 9:00 AM

When I open my Hotmail, my new emails are already open. How do I change the default, so my emails remains unopened until I open them? Thanks for your help. Sandi

June 28, 2007 3:10 AM

all e mail providers saves the sent messages automatically and why not hotmail?
previously it was a provision in hotmail too
but now after finishing the e mail drafting-amny time/s i forget to reach to the dn box to tick mark that to save sent mail
kindly give to me an automatice savuing of sent amils
suggest me

Leo A. Notenboom
June 28, 2007 3:51 PM

Hash: SHA1

My only suggestion is that if it's that important to you, then don't use



Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


June 29, 2007 8:48 AM


Ruth Ann
July 6, 2007 6:27 PM

Thanks Leo! You saved the day! I sent a very important email to my boss and then looked like a complete idiot when I had to email her back and ask her to send it back to me so I would have a copy of my hours of work! Thanks! Now I know what to do!

July 26, 2007 12:24 PM

Can you post the advanced script you mentioned for GreaseMonkey? I do not have the scripting skills to write a code for that but I would like to be able to use it if possible. Thanks a bunch

August 12, 2007 2:52 PM

I checked the box to save my email. But when I go to my Sent Msg Folder, it doesn't show the paperclip showing that an attachment was sent - but the person did get it. How can I save the attachment that went with the email?

September 23, 2007 11:22 AM

My friend told me that some people who are really good at computer can hack to hotmail database and retrieve the sent messages. Is that true?

Charlene Belzer
October 24, 2007 12:16 AM

I just switched from MSN to YAHOO. I was un aware that you would have deleted all of my sent mail. charlenebelzer

November 9, 2007 4:07 AM

I'm with Saac. Can you retrieve hotmail sent messages from a year ago? hack into your account somehow? I now realise my stupidity in using this account but thought they saved them automatically. Would be very valuable to me at the moment....

Frank Kotulak
December 16, 2007 3:50 PM

I have an msn account I access through hotmail and msn (the butterfly). All mail I receive I see in both hotmail and msn. I do not see any properly captured 'sent' messages via hotmail in my MSN. Has anyone ever experienced that or know why that is. I use the MSN account only for backing-up my mail in hotmail and I cannot backup my sent messages because MSN doesn't see them???

January 5, 2008 7:46 AM

i'm sure msn is not short of money.. Even so, if they're were worried about server space, they could warn that "All sent messages with more than 'x' days old will be deleted"...easy, isn't it?

Lisa W. Summerlin
January 17, 2008 1:11 PM

How do I save sent messages automatically everytime?

Robert of New York
August 7, 2008 8:18 PM

If all users start reminding Hot Mail (MSN) administrators that we need the feature that automataically saves the sent messages, perhaps they would listen. Perhaps someone should write to Bill Gates directly (if they have his address).
We should all demand what we need.

Jo Branham
August 20, 2008 10:00 AM

Great. Thanks for the help regarding MSN sent messages! Yes it is a pain and I hope it will one day be changed!

October 9, 2008 6:48 AM

I still don't have a direct answer to the following question I asked, Leo! Please respond.
"Where did the option to save sent messages in both msn's and my computer's sent folders go? It used to be there until recently. Now, it only saves on my computer folder. Does this option not exist anymore?"

March 4, 2009 11:19 AM

I have two hotmail accounts and one has this problem with not saving to my sent folder automatically. But my other account does this automatically. Every emnail I sent gets forwarded to my sent folder and I can go into this sent folder to confirm that an email was sent and on what day. But I do clean up this folder every now and then. (every 6 weeks) So my question is why is one account different that another?

Gaye Kloster
March 9, 2009 3:02 PM

One day I could go to my sent messages and the next day it was gone. Makes me want to quit msn.

August 21, 2009 6:00 PM

I'm am very irratated that my MSN account (that I was forced to use with teh purchase of my computer) now forces me to the and will not show me my sent to msn...losers

I don't understand how you were forced to use a particular email service on the purchase of a new computer. The internet is nothing if not full of choices. Certainly you could have used a different service.

April 1, 2010 11:01 PM

You go into options and you will see a section called saved sent messages. go in there and tick the box that you want your sent messages saved. I just created a new account and had the same problem. the old email with hotmail automaticaly saved the sent messages. Hope this works for you

Rizwan Habib
May 15, 2010 8:10 AM

My Hotmail "Sent Messages" folder from today morning its empty, I sent a number of emails. Please make my all emails back to same folder so that i will keep my complete record. Its very important email so please update.

Please update my record i wil very thankful to you wt for your reply

I am not Hotmail. I cannot help you. Perhaps you should read this article: How do I contact Windows Live Hotmail customer service?

March 15, 2011 1:43 PM

I found out why the e-mails i send never appear on the sent section, if you want your sent message to appear there click on option on the top right corner, under "Writing email" click "Saving sent messages" and set it.

June 13, 2011 8:26 AM

You can save your sent emails with hotmail by clicking on Hotmail / Options / More options... / Saving Sent Messages (under Writing Email) / select save all sent messages in the Sent Items folder. Hope this helps.

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