If you attempt to send a message that is too large for your mail server you may be unable to delete it from the Outbox. If you try to open it (to remove attachments) or delete it, an error will say that Outlook has begun transmitting the message.
We have three methods listed below that can be used to remove the stuck message. The first two methods are the easiest and either should work for most users.
The solutions on this page are for messages you can see in your Outbox. If there is an invisible message Outlook keeps trying to send, see Delete Stuck Read Receipts using MFCMAPI for the steps needed to delete the hidden stuck message.
Find the Message using Instant Search
Users with Windows 7 or Vista and Desktop Search configured to search Outlook data may be able to delete the stuck message using Bill's method. If you use an older Windows version, you'll need the Windows Desktop search engine installed.
Messages deleted using this method are permanently deleted and bypass the Deleted Items folder.
- Close Outlook and wait a few minutes for it to close completely.
- Type outbox in the Start menu's search field.
- Wait for Search to finish then find the message, select it and press Delete
Search may find a lot of messages. Using store:mapi outbox as your search terms may reduce the number of results and make it easier to find the stuck message.
The first thing you should try is setting Outlook offline using the File, Offline menu. Wait about 5 minutes or so before trying to delete the stuck message. Or, close Outlook after setting it offline and reopen.
Offline mode is not supported in older versions of Outlook but disabling the network card will have the same effect. Either disable the card in Windows Control Panel, under Networking, or disconnect the network cable or turn off wireless card. Wait a few minutes for Outlook to complain about the lack of network access, then delete the message.
It can take Outlook a few minutes to shut down the spooler, so waiting is important!
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 Default Delivery Location
Outlook 2011 for Mac
The above instructions are for Window's Outlook only. "loti " is an Outlook 2011 user said the following steps work in Outlook 2011.
- Right click on message in outbox, choose “open message”
- Remove the attachment
- Press send
It then re-send the message without attachment (3kB instead of >30MB) — end of story. Phew!
Brian uses this method:
Close out look, hold down shift button while reopening outlook. Go to out box and delete the “stuck” message
If the Outbox is not visible, initiate a send and receive and open 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.
Last reviewed on December 17, 2015.