Delete a message stuck in the Outbox

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003
Microsoft Outlook® 2002

If you send an e-mail message with an attachment but the message remains in your Outbox, you can try to delete it. If you can't delete the message, the following are some options you can try.

ShowOption 1: Temporarily uninstall or disable firewall and antivirus software

One reason for a message to get stuck in the Outbox is that you have some type of firewall or antivirus software installed. If you have any firewall or antivirus software installed, exit Outlook, and then temporarily uninstall or disable the firewall and antivirus software.

Restart Outlook and try to delete the e-mail message in your Outbox. If you still can't delete the message, reinstall or enable your firewall and antivirus software and try to Option 2.

ShowOption 2: Start Outlook in safe mode

  1. Exit Outlook if you have it open.
  2. On the taskbar, click Start, and then click Run.
  3. In the Open box, type Outlook /safe.

 Note   There is a space between Outlook and the forward slash (/).

  1. Click OK.
  2. Try to delete the e-mail message in your Outbox.

If you still can't delete the message, exit Outlook started in safe mode, restart Outlook, and try Option 3.

ShowOption 3: Create a new Outlook profile

Your profile might be damaged. Creating a new profile requires you to set up your e-mail accounts again, but if you save your messages to your computer, you can still use your old e-mail messages. The Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that saved your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for email messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.) that you used in the original profile can be used with the new profile.

  1. Make sure you know the name of the .pst file that contains all of your Outlook items.


  1. Open the Mail Setup dialog box.


ShowIn Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003

  • In Control Panel, click User Accounts, and then click Mail.

 Note   If you are using Control Panel classic view, double-click Mail.

ShowIn Microsoft Windows 2000

  • In Control Panel, double-click Mail.

  1. Click Show Profiles.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Type a name for the profile (Outlook profile: A profile contains configuration information for email accounts, data files, and information about where your email items are saved.), and then click OK.
  4. Add your e-mail account.

ShowAdd an e-mail account

  1. Click Add a new e-mail account, and then click Next.
  2. Select the e-mail server used for your account, and then click Next.

 Note   If you are setting up an MSN e-mail account, click POP3 for MSN Internet Access version 5.3 or earlier. For MSN Explorer, click HTTP.

  1. In the appropriate boxes, type the information given by your Internet service provider (ISP) (ISP: A business that provides access to the Internet for such things as electronic mail, chat rooms, or use of the World Wide Web. Some ISPs are multinational, offering access in many locations, while others are limited to a specific region.) or administrator.


  • If you are using an HTTP account, we recommend that you use the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector, which provides more reliable access to your e-mail messages, calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes attached to your account.
  • Unless your ISP has indicated that your service uses Secure Password Authentication (SPA), do not select the Log on using Secure Password Authentication (SPA) check box.
  • Unless specified by your ISP, all server and address entries are typed in lowercase letters. Some ISPs require a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters for passwords to add further security — for example, passWorD. Check with your ISP to see if it requires a case-sensitive password.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better. For more information, see Help protect your personal information with strong passwords.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

  • You have the option of having Outlook remember your password by typing it in the Password box and selecting the Remember password check box. While this means that you won't have to type your password each time you access the account, it also means that the account is vulnerable to anyone who has access to your computer.
  1. Do any of the following:
  • If you are adding a Microsoft Exchange Server account, click Check Names to verify that the server recognizes your name. The name and server that you entered should become underlined. Be sure your computer is connected to your network. If your name does not become underlined, contact your administrator.
  1. If you want to configure additional settings, such as how you want your computer to connect to your e-mail server, click More Settings. Otherwise, click Next.
  2. Click Finish.
  1. In the Mail dialog box, click Prompt for a profile to be used, and then click OK.
  2. Restart Outlook, and then select the new profile.

You can import your saved messages from your old .pst file that was used by the previous profile by doing the following:

  1. On the File menu, click Import and Export.
  2. Click Import from another program or file, and then click Next.
  3. Click Personal Folder File (.pst), and then click Next.
  4. In the File to import box, specify the path and file name of the .pst file that you want to import.
  5. Choose one of the following:

Replace duplicates with items imported    Existing data is overwritten with the information in the .pst file being imported.

Allow duplicates to be created    Existing data is not overwritten, and duplicates are added to the current Outlook folder.

Do not import duplicate items    Existing data is kept, and the duplicate information in the .pst file is not copied to the current Outlook folder.

  1. Follow the remaining instructions in the Import and Export Wizard.

 Note   You should not import items (item: An item is the basic element that holds information in Outlook (similar to a file in other programs). Items include e-mail messages, appointments, contacts, tasks, journal entries, notes, posted items, and documents.) created in multiple languages or in a language that is not supported by your system code page to a file type that does not support Unicode. For example, if you have items created in multiple languages in a .pst file, you should not import the items to a Microsoft Outlook 97-2002 .pst file. This file type does not support Unicode; therefore, for any items containing characters in any language other than those supported by the system code page, where these characters appear in text fields other than the body of items (such as the To and Subject lines of messages), the ContactName and BusinessTelephoneNumber properties of contact items are interpreted incorrectly and result in the display of question marks ("?"s) and other unintelligible text.

Applies to:
Outlook 2003