Delete a message stuck in Outlook's Outbox

If you are unable to delete the message while in offline mode or cannot go into offline mode, you'll need to change your default delivery location.

Note that this option should be rarely needed – if you are patient and wait a few minutes for Outlook to stop the message spooler, or close Outlook and restart it in offline mode, in almost all cases, the stuck message will delete without issue.

Change the Default Delivery Location

  1. Outlook 2010: Open File, Account Settings dialog
    Outlook 2007: Go to Tools, Account settings
  2. Accounts setting dialog in 2010 and 2013

  3. Select Data Files tab (1) then click Add (2). Create a new PST for your profile then select it and click the Set as Default link (3).
  4. Change Default data file

  5. Close Outlook then restart it.
  6. Show the folder list, using Ctrl+6 if necessary, and find the old Outbox. Delete the message.
  7. Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3, restoring the original pst as the default delivery location.
  8. Show the folder list and move any new messages from the new pst  to the original pst.
  9. Right click on the new folder's name and Choose Close to remove it from your profile.
  10. close data file

    Last reviewed on February 24, 2014.

  • paulhk

    Many of the solutions are complex. Here is a simple one.
    Open Outlook, open File menu, select Work Offline (Item should now be checked). This method only succeeds if you now DISCONNECT PHYSICALLY from your wifi or Ethernet network. Go to the Outbox and select the file that's stuck. Press the Delete key or select Delete. The file will be removed. Reconnect to your network and click again on Work Offline, which should now be displayed as unchecked. You should now be able to use Outlook normally again.

  • outlooktips

    That's actually our first recommendation - and disconnecting from the internet is not necessary but Outlook does need a few minutes to release the stuck message. If you wait about 5 minutes, it should delete without issue.

  • David

    Tried everything to delete outgoing messages that are hung up including creating a new default database, working off line, working in safe mode, disconnecting from my modum and loading the mfcmapi executable and trying to manually delete. No luck and shuts down mail every time.

    Office 2007. Help!

  • David

    Office 2007. Tried all the suggestions to delete two hung messages in outbox (originally from "report junk mail" utility - which I've removed). Tried working off line, ditto safe mode and deleting (message already sending), changed data base and loaded mfcmapi executable and followed directions to delete. No luck and shuts down outlook everytime I try to send.

  • news

    its working now in my system as well thanks for help

  • Wayne

    First of all the "Work Offline" is not in the File menu, but the Send/Receive menu. Click on it and restart outlook. You will then be able to delete the file. Click Work Offline again in the Send/Receive tab and restart just to make sure everything is happy.

  • outlooktips

    Where you find the Work Offline command depends on your version of Outlook. In Outlook 2007 and older, it is on the File menu (as shown in the screenshots in this article).

    In Outlook 2010, its on the Send/Receive ribbon as seen in the screenshot at

  • Dorrignton

    This was such a great help. It worked.

  • AZ

    thanks for the "work offline" option - this really worked!!!

  • Tej

    Thanks it Worked for me. Saved Lot of time. It was very slow due to the stuck message.


    OH THANK YOU!!!!

  • neil bautista

    WOw! That was very easy. Thanks so much! I dont why others made it so complicated.

  • Karin

    Wow what a wonderful site you made me feel like genius thanks for the tip to delete an email stuck in my mail box :)

  • Sarah

    I can't believe I looked through three other blog explanations on how to delete a stuck message and 'open the message and remove the attachment that is too large' turned out to be the best and most direct answer. Having a forehead slap moment.

    Thank you for having common sense.

  • Martin

    Have tried all of the suggestions, working offline, physically disconnect from router but still no luck. Cannot send or receive emails at all. Have tried to open message and delete attachment but cannot. HELP!!!

  • Diane Poremsky

    What happened when you tried deleting the attachment?
    How long did you wait? Depending on the message size, you may need to wait longer than 5 min for outlook to release the message.

  • Martin

    When I try and delete (even when working offline after waiting 30 minutes) by pressing shift and delete i get a dialog box message "Some items cannot be deleted. They were either moved or already deleted, or access was denied". If I try to open the message the dialog box says "The file c:\.....pst has reached its maximum size".

  • Diane Poremsky

    "“The file c:…..pst has reached its maximum size”."
    Tells me its a different problem. Try deleting the message using Shift+Delete. If that doesn't help, see Repair a 2GB Personal Folders File for other solutions.

  • Vinod Kumar

    Solution worked fine, thanks for the solution.

  • Sarah

    Had massive email with attachment stuck in my outbox. Found your suggested solution. It worked. Thank you!

  • Dan Edwards

    Thanks for the suggestion, it was so easy to remove the file as you suggested

  • chantal

    Thanks lots...damn my boss got me to do that and i had no idea but you saved my cute ass :* :* :*

  • Shannon Cox

    Hi, I was able to get clean out the outbox after resorting to creating a new pst file but have now lost all of our email folders?? I was able to get some back from the favourite folders section but lost all the others?? Outlook 2003 - Any ideas?

  • Diane Poremsky

    You used the instructions to create a new, default pst? After you delete the stuck mail, set the old pst back as default.

  • Roger

    I've also tried all of the above. I can't open it to delete attachment as good old Microsoft thinks that it has 'already started sending' the bloody message. Shift delete doesn't work as good old Microsoft insists I don't have the right privileges and I should skitz out and talk to myself (I am the bl%^Dy administrator).... offline good...I have had this email stuck since december. This is driving me NUTS
    :( <---(that's me weeping in frustration lol)

  • Diane Poremsky

    How large is the message? Did you set Outlook offline and wait at least 5 min, more if the file is huge? The average large message (under 30 MB) will stop sending within 5 minutes or so but really, really large ones need more time. (I needed to wait about 15 minutes for a 100+ MB message to stop sending.)

  • Roger

    Thanks for the reply...I'm off to walk my kids in the park..all is set to offline and I'm disconnected from the net and my modem is off....I'll see what happens when I get home. The attachment size is maybe I just haven't waited long enough. I'll let you know how I go.


  • Christine

    Hi, In my folder it says that there is a message in my outbox which can't be sent. But if I open the outbox, there is no message, so I'm not able to select and delete it. Nevertheless the outbox is trying to send a message !! Can anyone help me with this ?

  • alex

    Guys, i tried everything -diconnecting for 30 min, making new folders etc. -nothing worked, I still had error messages (Outlook 2002)
    Finally I found in this tread solution, very simple. In offline mode I used Shift+delete instead of usual right click menu to delete messages. It immediately worked for file with large atatchment. Amusingly- notmal delete procedure still did not worked for other 5 messages in out box, For each ofthem I had to use shift+delete and only this helped to delete all of them one by one. Hope it will help to others like me

  • Diane Poremsky

    This may because your data file was "full" - when you delete the message goes into the deleted items folder. Shift delete bypasses the deleted folder and deletes it permanently. If you don't want to edit and resend the message, Shift+Delete is better.

  • Brad James

    I have the same problem as Christine. There is no message in my Outlook 2011 for Mac. Initially, I tried sending a message from Outlook, via Gmail, that was too large because of size restrictions. There error message was the following: 5.2.3 our size guidelines. n27sm14783408yhe.18 .

    I tried to go into gmail... no file is in the outbox or drafts there. I was able to actually delete the message from the outbox, but it still tries to send a message every time.

    Any other thoughts... I've tried all of the above methods and still have to deal with constant error messages emerging.


  • Diane Poremsky

    When a message is not in Outlook but something tries to send it, its usually antivirus that is configured to scan email at fault. Which antivirus do you use?

  • Christine

    I'm using Outlook for Mac. There is a message in the outbox, but you don't see it. So even when I go offline, I don't see the message and therefore can't open it and even delete it.
    Any tips for me ?

  • Christine

    I don't think I even have an antivirus running......

  • bill

    Here is an an easier way. Click on the windows icon on the bottom left tool bar. Type outbox in the search programmes and files and you should see the email and it's attachments. Delete away!

  • Diane Poremsky

    This will only work if outlook isn't open and still trying to send it... and you need to use Windows Desktop Search (optional in Windows XP).

  • mike

    EXCELLENT!! I've had an oversized e-mail in my outbox for 11 months and was finally able to delete using Bill's recommendation above (Outlook 2003).

    As Diane states below, it's best to close Outlook then use the Windows icon (bottom left too bar) and type "outbox" as Bill stated above.

    This will likely bring up a number of files but if you look closely the items stuck in your outbox will be there also. Before doing this I took Outlook offline but I'm not sure if this is necessary if you've closed Outlook.

    Thank you all for your assistance.

  • Diane Poremsky

    if you type store:mapi outbox it will limit it to outlook items and may reduce the number of items shown.

  • TinaF

    Finally a solution to the problem that's been plagueing my outbox for a year! Thank you!!!

  • Hans

    Fantastic !!! I struggled for days and then Googled the problem and came to your site. How simple if you know how !!
    Thanks, I wish all tech-help would be as easy and well described !!!

  • Peter D

    Brilliant, this solved it. Thanks guys, good simple advice.

  • Shah

    Thank you Bill.

    It worked like a charm. Start the computer - do not open outlook - do per Bill's message up - search for the email attachment you want to delete - sorting them by size would help - delete the email file - shut down - restart - bingo the stuck email would be gone and may show up in deleted folder - empty it

  • Oscar

    Thanx, it was a very fast fix, thanks a lot.

  • Teri McCarthy

    Bill's method saved me! It worked and I was up and running in five minutes--the too large file had be out of commission for four hours! So amazed by Bill's help. Thanks!

  • Elizabeth Swoope

    Bill's method is a lifesaver! The cancel button no a freebie Word macro to e-mail with attachments didn't cancel and things went progressively downhill from there. Fortunately, the hundreds of duplicate messages went to MY inbox, but several thousand more were clogging up my outbox. Canceling all operations within Outlook did not work, deleting all the messages from the outbox within Outlook did not work. My computer is deleting over 6000 items in my outbox folder as I'm typing this. Thank you SO MUCH!

  • Roxane

    Bill's method worked!!!! Yahoo!!

  • Richard Rees

    Thanks for the solution.
    every time I send a new e-mail (however small) it keeps getting stuck in the Outbox and doesn't get delivered. I can receive mails OK but can't send any! Any ideas?

  • Diane Poremsky

    It is getting marked as read? If you don't look in the outbox, does it send? Does it send if you use Safe mode? (Close Outlook, hold CTRL and click the Outlook icon to open it. A dialog will come up asking if you want to use Safe mode.)

  • Margaret

    This worked great! Deleted the whole file.

  • Asheville websites

    Sooooooooo helpful. Thank you! Going offline and deleting it worked.

  • Laura

    Thanks for your help! Bill's method worked like magic! Finally a clean outbox! Eureka!!!

  • Simon

    Thanks for this great post. I had a number of emails with large attachments stuck in the outbox and use the "outbox" method under Win 7 to great effect.


  • Wayne

    Thanks, worked like a charm. Just went to file, work offline. Went into outbox and tagged file and hit delete. Gone in less than 30 seconds.

  • jo

    Thanks SO much :)

  • Farhan

    Thank you very much for this GREAT! information.

    It help me alot.



  • Rick

    Thank you paulhk!!! Your solution Worked instantly! And so easy!!! Why does MS not bother to fix such a pesky nuisance??? Talk about user un-friendly.

  • ellie

    I've been trying to get rid of the email in the outbox for 2 days. Thank you.

  • peter

    the explanation of how to delete an unsent message from outlook gave the crucial factor that you need to wait after setting your inbox to work offline.

    "Brilliant" as I am the proverbial idiot when it comes to matters like this but now ................move over Bill Gates.

  • bjmartens

    I've tried to do everything Paul suggested and I waited for a couple of hours but the stuck email is still there. It was a reply to a fairly small email without any attachments I went to File/Work Offline/Outbox and clicked Delete and nothing happened, then I tried Shift/Delete and got the "are you sure" message. I clicked Yes then I got this message: this item could not be deleted. It was either moved or already deleted or access was denied. I waited over an hour then tried the same thing again with exactly the same results. This is my business email client and I'm sure I'm losing business emails. Please help!!!

  • Diane Poremsky

    What tye of account is configured in Outlook - ie, POP3, IMAP, or Exchange?

    If Exchange, right click on the folder and choose properties then click the button to clear offline items. You can also log into OWA and see if the message is stuck in your outbox.

  • Praveena

    Thanks a lot. The problem was instantly rectified. Thanks a lot.

  • Lorraine

    Wish I had looked this article up before I wasted valuable time trying to delete the stuck file. My problem was that as soon as I opened Outlook it immediately started sending the stuck file. I didn't think to work offline to stop the send function. I've learned my lesson and there won't be a next time.

  • Susan

    I'm so glad I came across this article. Your "work offline" method worked well and quickly. My headache is now disappearing. Thank you!!

  • alaa


  • Srinivas Naveen


    you are too smart...

    it was working :)

  • Dieter Freezer Disco

    Thanks for advice on how to delete stuck message in Outlook. I openend Outlook offline, waited a bit and then deleted a movie that got stuck in my outlook for a couple of days.

  • Ed

    I too had stuck Outlook2003 messages in the Outbox. I tried all of the above to no avail but a shutdown/reboot/restart always seemed to work. I have finally worked out the real solution:

    Archive off as much as possible in order to reduce the size of the PST file
    File | Archive
    - Then scroll to the top of the Archive window select "Personal Folders" and turn it blue by selecting it.
    - Choose a date. I chose anything older than 1/1/2011.
    - Name your archive file. I called mine outlook2010.pst
    - check the box for Include items....
    - OK

    If, in the future, you need to retrieve anything that might be in that archive, File | Open | Outlook Data File | then pick that file. It will open as another "Personal Folders" at the bottom of your All Mail Folders window. You should close it when done.

    I suppose that Outlook 2003 has sensitivity to very large .pst files.

  • Maurita

    I LOVE YOU - whoever wrote this - I love you. fix number one (search Outbox in the start menu) worked like a charm!!!

  • Diane Poremsky

    This indicates the pst file may be near its maximum size. ANSI pst have a limit of 1.87 GB and between 14,000 and 65,000 messages per folder. With Outlook 2003 you should be using a Unicode format pst which has virtually unlimited file and folder sizes.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Bill gets the credit for that nifty trick. :)

  • Ephraim Joel Willmarth

    Bill's method worked for Outlook 2007 running on Windows Vista Business. Thank you very much for helping to resolve a frustrating problem!

  • Bertram Pender

    Used the offline method. Changed outlook to 'work offline' in the file menu, closed outlook and reopened it. Then located the email, and deleted it; 1 shot, worked like a charm.

  • Wilfredo Sy

    It work ! Using Bill's Method.
    Thank you very much!

  • Karen

    My outbox shows (1) to the side of it like there is an outgoing email, but when I open the outlook box there is nothing there to delete. I tried right clicking to "delete all" "clean up folder" etc and nothing happens. It does show 1 Item , 1 Unread at the bottom left but there is not an email showing to delete. Any suggestions?

  • Diane Poremsky

    What type of email account? The outbox folder looks like the last outbox folder in this screenshot?

    Did you try using MFCMapi to see if there is a message stuck in some hidden state? The steps are here: delete message that keeps resending

    If the sent item doesn't properly move to the sent folder and you have 'show total count' enabled instead of 'show unread count', you'll see a number in green brackets. Blue parenthesis means unsent mail is in outbox. If you use a server-based account and have "invisible" messages in outlook (either blue or green numbers), you might see the message in the online copy of the outbox.

  • Karen

    It's the third one with the (1) in Blue. I did not try using MFCMapi as of yet - it looked complicated to me! I went to the online email through explorer (we have microsoft exchange server) I did not find an "outbox" there. When I send an email going through here ... the email goes immediately.

  • Rita

    I have somehow now removed my Outlook, (I think) my icon does not work, how do I get it back. Sorry I'm not very good at this. Help

  • Carolyn B

    Yay!!!!! Thank you to Bill's Method!!!! It worked and i am so happy. I am freeeeeeeeeeee!! LOL

  • Tim Koehler

    I had the same problem as Richard. However, I could not find the answer to Richard's problem, just his thanks for fixing it.

    I too had emails stuck in the outbox. Now visibly gone, by deleting off line. However, I cannot send emails. I can receive. On clicking send/receive "sent" is immediate, and then the "receive" completes a few seconds later, and it thinks it has done everything, but the email is unsent in outbox. Office 2003 on XP professional (update 3). Thanks for any help.

  • Maizy

    I have Windows Live Mail so this Outlook info will not help me. Wondering if Bill or
    somebody knows how to delete my e-mail that has 6 files in it (it starts up everytime go to my E-mail. Did go to Search and put in the name of the files and they are in there but no delete in the info that comes up.
    Thanks for any help.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Live mail isn't our area of expertise, but i think you can close live mail, go to the live mail folders in windows explorer - here its at C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail - then select the stuck messages and press the delete key. You probably could delete the outbox folder and live mail should rebuild it - that is how it worked in Outlook Express.

  • Dee

    Try to remove any RSS feeds that solved my outlook problem :-)

  • James K Boyer

    "bill's method" worked great. Thanks for the help!

  • rajaram

    thanks a great help.. with just off outlook and remove....

  • Brandi

    Bill's method worked the first time! Thank you so much!

  • Jack

    Thanks for this guide - Helped a lot!

  • Dhiren

    Thanks a lot for this great help.

  • Mary

    Bill's Method worked for me. I've been trying to get rid of a Ginormous file in my Outlook Outbox since 2010. Thank you!

  • AJ

    Brillant --awesome --thanks for the tip.....sorted outlook problem for me
    thanks again

  • dk

    Got a Mac. Solution worked perfectly. Thank you.

  • koduruabhinav

    Great post.Helped me lotThnks

  • Douglas Utley

    Selecting WORKING OFFLINE worked for me.
    Very Grateful for the information.

    Thank You!!

  • Peter de Tolly

    Thank you so much; your advice allowed me to break the log jam.

  • Bdavis

    This worked great!!!!!! I finally have an empty outbox!

  • Rugged23

    Thanks it worked.

  • Jimmy

    The "Work Offline" method worked for my Outlook 2007 in a Win 7 OS.

    Thanks for the the tip and more power to you.

  • Maureen

    I could not get Bill's method to work; however, what DID work for me was opening the email in the Outbox, removing the attachments and then sending to myself. However, it took several tries to be able to get the Outbox to open to access the email.

  • Original Bob

    Bills method didn't work for me either

    However, Maureen's method did - thanks!!

    A friend tried to send a 137mb file in outlook!

    As you can imagine - we had all sorts of fun trying to get this one deleted. Outlook even got corrupted and needed to run a repair

    Maureen - here's a virtual beer in thanks to you - your method worked!

  • yvonne

    THANK YOU BILL!! Your method works and it is easy. I had a message in my outbox for almost 12 months, thank you, thank you!

  • mac3r

    Thank you for your tip.

  • Dayle

    Bills method worked straight away - thanks so much.

  • Linda

    Thanks so much I had an email blocking my outbox for two days!!
    Work Offline method worked and was so easy :)

  • Ann

    Bill's method worked for me. Awesome! I have Windows 7 and Microsoft Outlook 2007.

    Thank you sooooo much for resolving this frustrating problem for me!

  • Lauren

    Thanks so much for this post....the offline mode solution worked like a charm, thanks again

  • carol howarth

    Thank's Bill - never thought I'd get it out of my Outbox - won't be sending files that are too big again!!!

  • Rick

    It took 45 minutes for my emails to get to a client so I thought I had a virus.
    Once I figured out what it was I could not get the message to delete from my outbox.
    I did the work offline and it deleted instantly. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!

  • Brian

    Outlook 2011 for MAC.
    Close out look, hold down shift button while reopening outlook. Go to out box and delete the "stuck" message

  • Jim

    Bill's method worked perfect for me!

  • Joe

    That was great. Thank you.

  • Richard

    Excellent! It worked the first time I tried it and disconnected inetrnet and then put Outlook in Offline mode and it worked. Thanks a lot!

  • Aimal Sarhadwal

    Thanks you so much from all your help, that was great, work offline work for me perfectly.

  • Dave Booth

    Bills method,,,,great, worked like a dream

    Thanks so much.

  • Diane

    Thank you - Brian's method worked for Outlook 11 on my Mac after all else failed. Thank you!

  • Brock

    Brian's method for Outlook 2011 for Mac worked perfectly. Simple and easy.

  • Muzy

    Bills method worked !
    Thank you .

  • Diane

    Thank you Brian!!! I have a Mac and couldn't get this large file in my email to go through, didn't think it was too big when i was sending it. Your info helped a lot thanks!!

  • Karen

    Finally! Thank you so much.

  • Jim M

    Outlook 2011 for MAC.

    Issue . . .

    -- Outbox is empty
    -- Outlook tries to send 3 non-existent (?) messages (status message: "Sending... 0/3")
    -- I click the red exclamation mark, and find the three errors/messages listed:
    1 and 2) address malformed, 2) size exceeds max

    (A) Tried the "Offline" method
    (B) Tried the "hold shift and re-start method

    ... for both methods, the messages do not display in the Outbox.

    -- Also re-built the pst

    -- Is this an issue MDBVU32.EXE would resolve? However, I don't see a "Mac version" of this tool . . .

    Thanks guys!

  • Diane Poremsky

    No, mdbvue won't work with mac. Because the messages are hidden (I'm not sure where), the methods we have listed won't work.

    Are you using an imap account? if so, Control-Click (Right-click) on folder and select Synchronize Now then Control-Click (Right-click) on IMAP header and select Synchronize Now.

    Do you have the latest updates for office 2011 installed?

  • Jim M

    Diane --

    --No, this is a POP account.
    --Yes, Outlook is up to date.

  • Vic

    Waooooooo!! GREAT TIP!!!
    It is important to close outlook before trying.
    Thanks again to both of you!

  • Jim M

    Does anyone have ideas regarding above issue (Mac 2012) ? Thanks.

  • Ian kibble

    Different problem. I'm on Outlook 2010 and I'm getting repeated windows coming up saying "Enter your user name and password for the following server." the server is or
    It ignores the password and I can neither send or receive emails. Any ideas anyone?

  • Diane Poremsky

    AT&T/Yahoo did something to their server a few months ago that make this problem worse - see Tip 918: Persistent Network Password Dialog for possible solutions. We do recommend setting Outlook to check mail no more frequently than 8 -10 minutes and if using a smartphone, to increase the period between checks on the phone. Press Ctrl+Alt+S to open the send/receive dialog in Outlook to change the time.

  • Fiona Doie

    Thanks removed immediately with your advice. Managed to clear outbox after two days of panic.

  • aviolett

    The 2011 mac strategy worked for me. Thank you!!

  • carmen

    Thansk a lot!
    It worked with Work off line from send/receive

  • Dave

    Bill's Method -"Brilliant"

  • Jessica

    I used "Bills Method" and it worked! It was so simple! I was to the point that I thought I would have to uninstall Outlook and re-install it.Thank you so much for posting this.

  • Susan

    Bill's Method worked! Thank you sooooo much!

  • Barkha


    Thanks a lot... it has helped me alot... :)

  • Doreen's finally deleted!
    I had a message stuck in the Outbox for days and was starting to panic.
    Thanks SO MUCH for the simple, yet effective "Offline" solution...ta da it's gone!!!

  • Gaurav

    I tried all of the suggestions, waited, and FAILED.

    The final solution, which worked, was:
    Physically switched off the modem, and pressed Send/Receive a few times. Outlook 2007 gives up trying to send the message. Now the message can be opened, edited/ deleted/ anything else.

    Think this should work in most cases. All the best!

  • Diane Poremsky

    Yeah, it will work too - most people don't want to disable the internet so we recommend it only as a last resort.

    How large was the stuck file? It can take time for large files to stop sending so the other methods work.

  • Michael

    My problem isn't that i can't delete the messages getting stuck in my outbox. My problem is that the messages just won't leave the outbox! Any suggestions? Michael

  • Diane Poremsky

    Do the messages send by don't get moved to sent folder or do they not send?
    Does it work as expected if you use Safe mode?

    See Messages won't send for things that will cause messages to not send.

  • Susan P

    I have windows XP and attempted to send a message with attachments to a friend at work, unfortunately it was blocked but Outlook keeps on trying to send it. It will not highlight so cannot delete or send elsewhere, it just sits there, have tried Bill's method amongst others but no luck, cannot locate file elsewhere so cannot delete - help!

  • Diane Poremsky

    Set Outlook offline or disable your network card. Wait 5 - 10 minutes for Outlook to stop trying to send it. Then try to delete it.

    If the file is really large, you may need to wait longer.

  • Susan P

    I have tried going offline but still cannot access the message to delete it, it is 1084kb size, this is stopping me sending other emails though I can receive by clicking 'receive all'. Cannot locate outbox to delete, not very good with technology so daren't try anything too difficult in case I end up crashing everything.

  • Susan P

    Finally managed to solve it by creating a new Outbox and Sent Items folder, create a new folder for any messages you with to save then go to tools/options/maintenance/store folder - copy location down or copy & paste it into Start/Run. Enable show hidden files and folders under Start/control panel/folder options icon/view. With OE closed, find Outbox.dbx and Sent Items.dbx file and delete, new files will be created automatically when you open OE. So very happy.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Yes, this is the correct way to do it with Outlook Express. You don't need to delete the sent items folders - just outbox.dbx.

  • midhun

    its working now in my system as well thanks for help

  • Wendy J

    Brian's method worked perfectly the first time for Outlook 2011. i had been frustrated with this issue for weeks. Thanks so much.

  • jim finnigan .glasgow , scotland

    worked first time , thankyou Bill , whoever you are !!!

  • Peter

    Brilliant advice about the working offline. It even allowed me to retrieve the body of the email from the trash folder which I thought I would have to retype. Many many thanks Bill.

  • Shahab

    Followed and successfully
    1. Mark Offline
    2. got send/receive and disable schedual of send receive
    3. restart outlook
    4. delete from outboox


  • sh

    thank you, the method of deleting in offline mode worked just fine.

  • Bob

    Worked perfectly, thanks !!!

  • Lori

    My computer is still stuck with a too large email trying to send - I tried working offline, tried deleting attachment, restarting, etc.. problem is every time I open outlook it goes to pinwheel of death on my mac and won't let me do anything in outlook. Any suggestions on how to get the pinwheel of death to go away would be greatly appreciated!

  • R. Erath

    Thank you.. Worked off line to get my very large photo stuck email deleted. The waiting suggestion was also helpful

  • TJ

    Could not delete message for months. Shift key worked right away! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Ron

    Brian's method did the trick for me.
    Close out look, hold down shift button while reopening outlook. Go to out box and delete the “stuck” message

    I am running on a MacBook Pro, Office 2011 connecting to Gmail. I could not see the stuck file until I quit Outlook and restarted Outlook holding down the Shift key. Then I could see the Outbox folder and delete the stuck file.


  • bitla

    I thought an issue with the smtp server "as it was shown in the error message"

  • artisticsharon

    Bill's method worked perfectly for me...Thank YOU!!

  • Nathalie

    thank you Bill, I can go home now ! Nathalie

  • Martha

    Thank you! I have a Windows XP with Outlook 2007. "Work Offline" worked just as you wrote it

  • Rae

    My outbox had a large email followed the advice to work offline in the send receive settings and it deleted instantly.

  • Veronica

    The message had been stuck in my outbox for a day and it was taking forever to do anything. Thank you so much for the help, the first suggestion fixed it.

  • lesego

    it did work thank u

  • Selcuk BASAK

    thanks a lot. it was driving me nuts.

  • Sue Goodwright

    Thank you Bill - I had a colleague going mad!!!!!

  • Michèle Potvin

    The work offline worked very well for me through Teamviewer from a Mac to a PC, thank you.

  • Anusuya

    Thanks a did help me to solve the issue which I was struggling for many weeks...

  • raul goron

    best answer on web. message, remove attachement....etc


  • nadox

    Thanks a bunch.....

  • Mary

    Thank you, your advice helped enormously... I have provided a step by step guide below outlining what I did to rid myself of this most annoying problem in the hope that it might, in turn, help someone else....
    Step 1. Print these points out
    Step 2. Shut down computer
    Step 3. Turn off wi-fi or other internet connection
    Step 4. Wait 5 minutes
    Step 5. Turn on computer (not wi-fi or internet connection)
    Step 6. Open Microsoft outlook
    Step 7. Click on outbox
    Step 8. Click on outgoing message (so that it is highlighted)
    Step 9. Click on Send/Receive
    Step 10. WAIT
    Step 11. The computer will not look or sound like it is doing anything but WAIT – this step took over 6 hours in my case!
    Step 12. Once a pop up message appears informing you that your internet server cannot be found, it will give you two options, ok or cancel, click CANCEL.
    Step 13. Make sure message in outbox is still highlighted.
    Step 14. Click EDIT (top left),
    Step 15. Click DELETE
    Step 16. The message should disappear.
    Step 17. Make sure the message does not appear in any other files (sent, deleted etc)
    Step 18. Close Microsoft outlook
    Step 19. Shutdown computer
    Step 20. Restart computer, open outlook, make sure message no longer appears in outbox, start wi-fi or other internet connection up.

  • Diane Poremsky

    6 hours is a long wait with the Internet disabled. How large was the file? What version of Outlook? Setting Outlook offline should have allowed you to skip Step 9 - 13, which would have cut 6+ hours off the process.

  • Ellen

    HI folks
    I have a huge 225MB file which I idiotically tried to send, it has sat in my outbox for three days now and I have tried all of the above and cannot delete it
    It says the outlook.pst file is in use when I do the shit+delete thing

    can anyone help me? I am now going to leave it offline overnight and switch off the net but will check in later in case anyone has any ideas for me
    thanks soooo much in advance

  • Diane Poremsky

    With a file that size, it will take a long time to stop sending - and i highly recommend using Shift+Delete to delete it. If you use Windows 7, close Outlook and use Bill's method to find it using windows Search. Deleting it this way will delete it from the data file.

  • Valerie Deshon

    "Bills Method" worked great! The large file had been stuck in my outbox for 4 days now and 'work offline' (then delete) had not worked. Thank you!

  • Deborah

    Thank you Bill!! I stumbled on this answer a full year after you posted it and it worked like a CHARM. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Muchismo gracias :^D

  • car

    for mac people: run apple script and insert: tell application "Microsoft Outlook"
    delete every message of outbox
    end tell

  • Sunil

    Thank u works

  • Jessica

    This worked for me! I used the work offline method for an email that was giving me a lot of grief. Thank you very much!

  • Cheryl

    Your response worked great. I used the work offline method and it responded almost immediately

  • Mohammed Muzammil

    Thanks for your information Mr. Paulhk, it really helped me

    paulhk on May 17, 2011 at 6:05 am
    Many of the solutions are complex. Here is a simple one.
    Open Outlook, open File menu, select Work Offline (Item should now be checked). This method only succeeds if you now DISCONNECT PHYSICALLY from your wifi or Ethernet network. Go to the Outbox and select the file that's stuck. Press the Delete key or select Delete. The file will be removed. Reconnect to your network and click again on Work Offline, which should now be displayed as unchecked. You should now be able to use Outlook normally again.

  • Dotan

    Thanks guys! I was ready to sell my laptop or alternatively to smash it on the ground. Excellent!!!!!

  • Jerry Hopper

    Bill your a genius!!!

  • jshk

    haha, I agree with Jim, Bill, you're a genius!

  • Gary

    disconnect DSL or wireless. Open email. Open Outbox and Delete. Delete deleted messages. It's gone!

  • Toni Conwell

    Bill's method worked like a charm! Many Thanks!

  • Mohamed Shafeeq

    Thankzzzzzzzzzz a Lottttttttttttttttttt

    Bill's Method helped Me

  • Kim

    Now my email won't open. Didn't see the "Work Offline" until after I'd deleted the email. Now why won't Outlook open?

  • Diane Poremsky

    what exactly happens when you try to open it?
    Does it open in Safe mode? To open Outlook in Safe mode: Close Outlook then hold Ctrl as you click on the Outlook icon. You'll get a message asking if you want to start in Safe mode. Click Ok.

  • Rizwan

    Thank you very much

  • joe molina

    bill thank you so much.

  • Michele Alise

    Worked like a charm! Thank you :)

  • Daniel

    An other way, less immediate but surely effective, is to double click on (each) message into the DRAFT folder and then save and close it. Once you did that, the message should be (finally) deletable.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Moving mail into the drafts folder won't work if Outlook is trying to send the message, so you need to go offline and wait a few minutes for the attempt to send to stop.

  • Julia Linehan

    Thank you very much, using the setting 'work offline' worked a treat!

  • Naveen

    first disconnect your machine from internet and then open out look and happily delete the huge attachment in out box ..and then reconnect to internet

  • Jason

    Worked great, thank you. I had to wait a while as my file was over 200 MB. You have to be patient for it to work.

  • Vik

    thanks.............that was easy and worked well !!!!

  • Alex Blaine

    This has been bugging me for ages.

    Bill's Method worked perfectly (Outlook 2010 on Vista).

    Thanks a lot!

  • lovetoconnect

    Wow that was amazing advice! It deletely immediately offline. Thank you so so much.

  • john lawless

    Thanks, that worked (offline method)

  • Niki Eckstein

    You saved my day by working offline

  • Joseph Muthana

    Holy cow I was stuck for over one week this working offline worked was able to
    delete from my outbox Thanks!

  • Basavaraj

    thank U

  • peter

    Simple - Many Thanks

  • Linda

    Paulhk, thank you, thank you thank you, it worked!!

  • Shammi

    Thanks for this informative post. I was also stuck in deleting that stuck mail

  • Kelley

    I don't have an outbox or sending folder so I can not find it to delete it, Please help!

  • Diane Poremsky

    This is in Outlook 2011? Close Outlook 2011, hold the shift button down while reopening Outlook. You should be able to see the Outbox now and delete the “stuck” message.

  • Mohamed

    Thanks, this worked.

    Once you close Outlook, Go to task manager and end task outlook.exe then search for the mail and delete in Windows search.

  • M Noor

    to wayne. June 5 2011. ur tips worked, thanks

  • Johnson

    Super ! thanks

  • Ron

    I have Outlook version 2003 (SP 3). The delete function worked perfectly after checking "Work Offline" in the "File" menu. I went back to the Outbox and easily deleted the message. Thanks for the article. BTW, the search method did not work for me, nothing was found.

  • Allison

    Fixed my problem. Thank you so much!

  • max

    Fixed the problem of stuck oversized in outbox. Thankyou for getting rid of my frustration for this problem

  • Sumit

    finally i have solved stuck problem with help you. Thanks a lot

  • Yennit

    Nothing has worked for me. It says Outlook has already begun transmitting this message (I HOPE so, its from 2/2013). I cannot move the file, open the file, delete offline, using shift+delete, or the outbox search and deleting the file. I have disconnected from the is DONE STUCK in my Outlook Outbox. It has a green bracketed [1] but I am not sure what this means and how to proceed...aside from taking a hammer to the PC. Great forum...but I am at a LOSS!

  • Diane Poremsky

    Green bracket is the total message count.

    Do you get any error messages when you try to delete it?

    When you disconnected from the internet, how long did you wait? Outlook can be slow at stopping the send, especially if the file is large. Closing and restarting Outlook can help.

  • Yennit

    Yes, when I try to delete the file it says the item could not be deleted it was either moved or already deleted or access was denied. I try to delete using shift delete. The file is not large only 3KB. I Also tried deleting from the run line I type outbox and I see the file. I use shift delete and it disappears but then comes back again.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Try running scanpst on the data file, or if its in the imap folders, you could delete the imap data file and let Outlook create a new one - it will need to re-download everything though, and you may lose flags and categories as they are not stored in the mailbox online.

  • Aimee McPherson

    I am getting the same error as Yennit. some item cannot be deleted. they were either moved or already deleted, or access was denied. what do i do next? pls help

  • Diane Poremsky

    What type of email account? Did you try running scanpst on the data file?

  • Larri


  • Yennit

    Hi Diane-
    Thanks for all the help. I am still trying to resolve this issue. I guess this is IMAP, as when I look at the email accounts they (there are several of them) show type as IMAP/SMTP. A third party hosts the accounts but they tried and could not help me resolve this. I am fine blowing this awAy if I have to but of course prefer not to. Is there any way to remove just the outbox and rebuild it? Uugh! Thanks!

  • Diane Poremsky

    Which version of Outlook are you using? Since only one account is affected, at most you will need to remove the data file that account uses. If its in a local pst (Outlook 2010 or earlier), you could add a new data file and set it as default, then import the calendar and contacts to it.

  • Yennit

    I did remove the data file and set up a new one. It did get rid of the stuck file-haha. Thanks for the advice. This is a great site!

  • Chris Hartley

    Using Outlook 2010 on Windows 8 laptop. E-mails were working fine, but now all sent e-mails get stuck in the outbox, showing as bold (not italic). After opening items from outbox & hitting send, the e-mails send just fine. Laptop has Norton 360, have tried turning off e-mail scanning, shutting Outlook, reopening & trying to send again, but problem persists. Any advice would be appreciated?

  • Diane Poremsky

    Are you using any other addins? Are the messages sent but not moved to the sent folder? If so, what type of email account?

  • Mohamed

    Thanks it worked

  • Yvonne

    Big THANK YOU. I finally got rid of a message stuck in my outbox. Outlook has been trying to send for months thanks to your article.


  • Kristina

    Bill's method worked. Thanks very much

  • WK

    Thanks, saved me from the embarrassment of a Reply All slip up!

  • Alberto

    offline mode, it worked like a charm

  • Angel DeFalco


  • Erica

    Thank you soooooo much! The mac trick worked a dream.

  • Meg

    I am working on a Mac and have a too-large file stuck in my outbox. I can't seem to get the "outbox" to display. I just receive error messages clogging my sync messages. I can't follow the directions above because I don't see the outbox. Please help

  • Diane Poremsky

    Initiate a send and receive and open the the Progress dialog. Click the little x at the right of the entry to stop the progress. The Outbox should now be visible in message list and you can remove the attachments or delete the message.

  • Neil_in_Norfolk

    Many thanks - going Offline allowed me to get shot of that pesky message in the Outbox.

  • oziwood

    Thank you!! after many attempts your advice for Mac worked perfectly

  • Leonel Correia

    One more thanks message.
    Really annoying message that I was able to got rid of...

  • Dee

    I used Bill's method and it worked! I had an email with a huge zip file of pics that has been stuck for weeks. Success!

  • RamaKrishna M

    Thanks Allot for this advise it worked ...

  • Nouman

    BIG THANKS BUDDY , u saved me from sending a wrong email message. ;)

  • Carole Proctor

    Thank you so much. So easy once you know how!

  • Dr Dan

    Thank you VERY much!

  • mrflibble

    Awesome - thanks Bill, whoever you are

  • viv

    I found the Progress dialog under the tools tab. Finally gone. Thanks so much.

  • Punky

    Thanks! It worked great.

  • Rick

    Fantastic !!!!!!!!! THANKS!

  • Ahmad Mohasseb

    I am joined to thank you for this tip ...

  • Nicole

    THANK YOU!!! That 24 MB message was sitting there for 3 days!

  • Patty

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have had emails stuck in my outbox for months and even the best of our office techies couldn't figure it out!

  • prem

    thank u boss

  • Mary

    Thank you! I should have asked the question earlier would have saved a lot of stress!!

  • Sujith kumar

    Thank you sooooooooo much ...... it saved my job :P

  • shena

    Thanks a lot for the article.. It worked well....

  • John Mccartney

    That was the BEST solution yet after trying for two days.

  • rahul

    thanks!! it sorted the issue in 10 secs!! Big Up!

  • Michael Carroll

    Brilliant, message stuck in outbox was really annoying me

  • Tony G

    Thanks loti. Your tip for Outlook2011 worked for me

  • Tracey

    thank you so much. your first recommendation worked first time! it was driving me insane as it would never send but could not delete the darn thing either! (and then it was causing google to temporarily lock down my account. i have learnt my lesson in that i will never try to send so many large files at one time!

  • David

    store:mapi outbox worked for me (Outlook 2007) to delete a 185 Mb file accidentally attached to an email, but had to delete it 3 times before it finally disappeared.
    Thank you very much!

  • Linesh

    Thank you ... I had solved the problem in first step.. Thanks a ot

  • Grant

    Bill's process worked awesome!!

  • Journalistic Malpractice

    Woooo Hoooo!

  • marc

    Brilliant Thanks!:-)


  • DavidV

    Thank you, the 'Work Offline' method worked fine for me.

  • lahlahlah

    Thank you - wasted so much time before I found this easy solution. Logical when you think about it but that's why this stuff is so easy and so hard at the same time!

  • Bob

    Thanks for the info, that was very helpful!

  • Kate

    Thank you so much. The first recommendation also worked for me. And it was so easy to do!!! Thank you co much


    Got rid of the email from Outbox but now I can't open Outlook. Now what?

  • D Poremsky

    Do you get any error message?


    No, just rebooted and Outlook opened.

  • Joe

    Thank you for a great recommendation! A message with a large attachment was stuck in my outbox. It is gone, finally !!!

  • Leanne

    I have no outbox - I can't delete the message as I can't locate it. I have tried the offline to an avail. Please, please help, this have hung up my computer all afternoon!

  • D Poremsky

    Gmail account? If you don't have the outbox in the gmail folder set, look in the default pst file (assuming you are using Windows).

  • Sarah

    Huge thank you! Fixed my problem by holding down the shift while opening Outlook, then going into the outbox to remove the attachment. Perfect! Now to apologize to the addressee for jamming-up their server with my emails!

  • Marty

    Thanks Brian! That was a great solution.

  • Cleo

    None of this seems to work! When I open the progress window, the message doesn't stay long enough to even click on the X or open the file to delete the attachment. Why doesn't the Mac version show an OUTBOOK?????

  • Fred Guizini

    Thank you very much for your help! Finally I deleted the message!

  • Stephen

    Thank you Bill - not exactly the most important of issues but VERY annoying - fixed in 30sec - didn't even wait for the 'few minutes'!!

  • Gary Kish

    I just uplugged by internet cable and after a minute or two, I was able to delete it. Nothing else seemed to work.

  • John Saunders

    I used bills method and it worked, deleted the file to big for the mail box, thanks heaps

  • Kushan

    Thanks a lot. First method only help me with this problem. Having problem with my website email

  • Ryu Yamato

    Many thanks. I've been trying to remove the 98 MB message from the outbox for weeks. The "work offline-restart" method worked like a charm for Outlook 2013. :)

  • Kan

    I have about 400 invisible message trying to send. What is the trick in getting these deleted? I do not want to max out my SMTP relays at 6:30AM tomorrow and miss an entire day of work. Thoughts?

  • D Poremsky

    if they are invisible, its probably read receipts. you can use mfcmapi to delete them.

  • Deb Flanagan

    THANK YOU!!! The offline idea worked!!!! So good to delete those 4 messages that have been in my outbox.

  • JCI400

    Thank you. User had 365Mb attachment in Outlook 2007's outbox. Bill's method is what worked for me. Like the movie title says... 'Gone in 60 seconds'

  • Ty

    Whoever provided this information you are amazing!!! My computer has been running so slow this past week as I was trying to delete the message in my outbox. THANK YOU!!!