Tip 264: Email Won't Send

Having a problem making Outlook send email?

Causes we're aware of include:

  1. An add-in that marks items read if you view the Outbox. See After viewing the Outbox, messages won't send for more information. 
  2. Not authenticating properly with the mail server. Check your account settings.
  3. No default email account set. This is may happen when you use a preconfigured script provided by the mail server administrator.
  4. Using a program that access the pst or ost data, such as MSN Desktop Search. Reboot and disable the search before starting Outlook to make it work.

Published June 14, 2005. Last reviewed on December 21, 2012.

  • Marjoire

    I have a 29 mb message in outobx that won't send. I cannot cancel message nor can I move it to deleted folder. It has been trying to almost 24 hours. I was sending a music file and usually they are not that large. Didn't realize it until the problem developed. How do I stop the attempt to send? I have shutdown Outlook; shutdown PC but to no avail.

  • outlooktips

    Set Outlook offline, wait at least 5 minutes then try deleting.

    See http://www.outlook-tips.net/2011/2814/delete-a-message-stuck-outbox/ for more information - in most cases the long method will not be required if you give outlook time to shut down the spooler.

  • Joe Phillips

    I have 3 messages stuck in outbox (all less than 100kb). Send and receive goes through and reads complete. Items remain in outbox? Any ideas?

  • Diane Poremsky

    Do you get any error messages when you try to delete them? Can you delete them if you set offline and wait 5 minutes?

  • Al

    I've had success by starting Outlook in safe mode at which point I can delete the files that won't send.

  • JBCralle

    At separate time both Apple's iCloud Outlook Add-In and AVG Anti-Virus have stopped my email. Telltale symptom: in Outbox the "Sent" date reads "None." I've uninstalled both and the problem is resolved.