Posted on June 9, 2017 · Posted in Outlook

Outlook: How to Delete E-Mails Stuck in Outbox

The problem of an email stuck in the Outbox folder appears quite often in all Outlook versions. From the user point of view, it seems that an e-mail has got to the queue to be sent (Outbox) and cannot leave, thus hanging up in it. It often happens that you cannot remove this e-mail from the outgoing folder. Let’s consider typical reasons why this issue appears and how to delete messages stuck in Outlook’s Outbox.

Restart Outlook

The easiest and quickest way to get rid of the email stuck is to close and start Outlook again. After the restart try to select the hung-up email and delete it (right-click it and select Delete or press DELETE button on your keyboard) or move it to the Drafts.

outlook delete email stuck in outbox folder

Exceeding the maximum email size

Check if the maximum email size (including attachments) that can be sent by your mail server is exceeded. If it is exceeded, you will have to delete this e-mail from the queue and change its size by deleting the attachments or splitting them into parts.

Outlook Offline Mode

Try to switch Outlook in the offline mode by clicking Work Offline in the Send/Receive tab. Close Outlook and using Task Manager make sure that the outlook.exe process is not running.

Outlook Work Offline mode

Start Outlook, find the message stuck and try to move or delete it. Then disable offline mode and click Send/Receive to refresh the folders.

Outlook Safe Mode

Try to delete the stuck item by starting Outlook in the Safe mode. When started in this mode, Outlook is not load third-party extensions (including antivirus ones) that can block the message in the Outbox folder. You can run Outlook in the safe mode using the command prompt (the path to Outlook executable outlook.exe depends on OS version and bitness, for example, for Outlook 2010 x86 on Windows 7 x64 it will be as follows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14 /safe) or right-click Outlook shortcut while holding down Ctrl key (it’s even easier). When started, Outlook will prompt you to confirm being started in the safe mode. (Outlook has detected that you are holding the CTRL key. Do you want to start Outlook in safe mode).

Outlook has detected that you are holding the CTRL key. Do you want to start Outlook in safe mode

Try to delete/move the hung-up e-mail, and then start Outlook in the normal mode.

Disabled Cached Exchange Mode

One of the most common reasons message stuck in the Outbox when working with Exchange 2010 is the disabled Outlook cached mode. It happens due to some Outlook bug, when it continues to keep all outgoing emails that were actually delivered to the recipients

Try to enable the cached mode (Use Cached Exchange Mode option in Change Account settings) after moving suspended messages to the Sent items folder to prevent these emails from disappearing after caching is turned on.

Outlook - Use Cached Exchange Mode

Temporary PST file and re-creating the Outbox folder

If neither of the methods described above helped, you may try a more radical, but quite effective way to create a new PST file and re-create the Outbox folder.

  1. Create a new PST file: Home -> New Items-> More Items-> Outlook Data Filenew pst file
  2. Assign the created PST file as a default one (File-> Account Settings-> Data Files tab -> select the new PST file and click Set as default)set default pst
  3. Restart Outlook. The original  PST file will be connected as an additional search folder and you can move the hung emails or even completely delete the Outbox folder (delete with holding Shift button)
  4. Then set  the old file as the default one and restart Outlook again. The deleted Outbox will be automatically recreated

How to Delete an Email Stuck Using MFCMAPI

There is an opportunity of low-level interaction with the mailbox through MAPI. To debug MAPI mailboxes, you can use a number of tools. In my opinion, the most convenient one is MFCMAPI (http://mfcmapi.codeplex.com/). Depending on your Outlook version, download MFCMAPI x86 or x64.

Attention! When working with your mailbox using MFCMAPI, be very careful and attentive, since you can seriously damage the mailbox structure with incorrect actions.

  1. Run mfcmapi.exe
  2. Select Session -> Logon in the top menu mfcmapi logon
  3. Select Outlook profile that can be used to connect to the mailbox
  4. In the list of storages, double-click the default storage (with the value True in the Default Store column)mfcmapi default store
  5. In the mailbox tree that appears open the branch that can have one of the following names Top of Information Store, Top of Personal Folders, Top of Outlook data file or IPM_SUBTREE depending on the mailbox settings
  6. Double-click Outbox in the list of foldersmfcmapi mailbox items
  7. Select the hung-up email and select Actions -> Submit-> Abort submit in the menu
  8. Make sure that the e-mail is still selected and select Actions-> Delete message. Click Permanent delete passing DELETE_HARD_DELETE (unrecoverable) and then OK.Permanent delete passing DELETE_HARD_DELETE (unrecoverable)
  9. Similarly, delete all emails that are stuck in the Outbox folder
  10. Close MFCMAPI and start Outlook.

Make sure that the hung Outbox messages have been successfully deleted.

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