At one time you could not under any circumstances undo an e-mail you have sent. You still can’t in most cases or even if you did it might have already been read by someone. However, on the off chance that someone has not yet read it and you want to undo the sending of it, there is a chance you can.
What You Can’t Undo-At Least Yet (The Sending of The Original E-mail)
This may seem like a minor technicality, but a fact is a fact. An original e-mail cannot be deleted from someone else’s e-mail box unless of course you somehow have access to that e-mail account. Whether someone has given you their password to even check it in the first place is a risk, but this is a discussion for another time.
The main issue here is, once you have sent an e-mail you could delete it from that account if you have access to it, but you cannot technically unsend it. What this means is, you cannot go ahead back into time as if you have not sent it. However, it’s not over until you recall.
Using the Outlook Recall Function Versus the Gmail Undo Send Feature
Gmail is an e-mail server beloved by many users. Word has it that the Gmail Undo Send feature doesn’t seem to work the way it was meant to or the way it is thought to really work. It may work or it may not, and for some people that might just not be good enough. They need to know that the e-mail they mistakenly sent will not get to the recipient at all at least not after the fact and want it to disappear.
Another option besides this Gmail Undo feature would be to use the Outlook Express Recall feature. However, this also does not actually delete the message without the recipient’s permission. Still, it does alert the person who did receive the e-mail that you do not want it read. If the person on the other end of the e-mail you didn’t want sent doesn’t read it and chose to have it deleted, then you could have a new one ready. This would replace the one that you asked the recipient to erase.
Another Option Besides Recall (Time Delay)
When using Outlook Express, you have the option of using the Time Delay feature when sending an e-mail. Instead of having it sent immediately, you can go to the advanced tab on your Outlook Options screen, then uncheck send immediately when connected. Then, you would time your next sending and receiving operation.
However, you still have the chance of sending it even a half a second too late. Do you really want to take this chance knowing someone may be able to read it?
The Old-Fashion Way to Avoid Embarrassment
Someday, the option to undo the sending of e-mails you never wanted the other person to receive may become more of a reality. Technology will continue to advance and make this more possible and more accurate and there will perhaps be the assurance that no unwanted send e-mails will be read. Until then, you may want to just save it as a draft for a few hours and ponder whether or not those thoughts were meant for you or if you really wanted the person on the other end to receive it.