How can I stop a message in my Outlook outbox that won't send?

Once a message goes into your outbox, Outlook tries to send it. While it's trying, there's little you can do. So the trick is to force it to stop trying.


How can I stop, delete or move an email that gets stuck in my outbox? The email I have here is 24.5 MB, which is apparently too big. The problem is that it’s stopping all my other emails that I want to send from going out! I use Microsoft Outlook 2003.

It’s been a while, but I’ve experienced this myself. Your ISP rejects the email because it’s too big, only to have Outlook keep trying to send the mail because it doesn’t realize that the error is fatal.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this issue. Surprisingly, the most low-tech solution is what I’ve found to be the most effective.

Let’s say your ISP has a cap of five megabytes on email message size. You start sending your 24.5 megabyte behemoth, and five megabytes in your ISP’s mailer says “Nope, too big – FAIL”.

Outlook doesn’t realize that that’s not going to get fixed and treats it like any transient error that might not happen if it tries again. So it tries again. And again. And again.

With no actual hope of success.

EmailMeanwhile, once you realize that there’s a problem, you can’t do anything about it, because Outlook has the message while it’s trying to send it. You can’t delete or move an email that Outlook is in the process of sending.

There are two ways I’ve approached this problem in the past:

Get lucky – there’s a small window of time between the failure and Outlook’s next attempt to send it when it does not have the message locked. If you’re lucky you can delete it during this time. But you must be really lucky.

Outlook doesn’t realize that that’s not going to get fixed, and treats it like any transient error that might not happen if it tries again. So it tries again.

Pull the plug – not the power, but your network. Literally disconnect yourself from your network. Outlook will not be able to contact your ISPs server at all and won’t even begin to try sending your message. It might take Outlook a few seconds to realize that it’s off line, but once it does, you can delete or move the message. After that, reconnect to your network and get on with your life.

It’s decidedly low-tech, and I can think of a few other ways to accomplish the same thing, but ultimately it’s simple and fast and achieves the desired results.

There are 234 comments:

  1. kubs!x Reply

    Quickly access the pulldown menu File…Work Offline… to prevent/stop the transfer process. Then delete the message from your Outbox.

    • Maddy Reply

      This was so simple and so quick. Just go to 1. ‘File’ then 2. Check ‘Work Offline’ 3. Delete email from the Outbox it was stuck in and, finally 4. Un-check ‘Work Offline’ and Voila! it’s all back to normal.

      I’m so grateful to have found this great place. Thank you for your services.


  2. Ruth D. Barth Reply

    I wrote two pieces of mail to my grandaughter that never got there. I was told there was a fatal error. I cannot get that message off my computer no matter what I do. It comes up constantly with a request that I tell them if I want the message sent or not. If I say to send it it comes up with the same comment all over again. Help! I just want this message OFF my computer. Any help you can give me I would appreciate. There is nothing in “Sent Messages” that I can delete.

  3. Leo Notenboom Reply

    Did you follow the instructions in the article you just commented on? (Look in outbox, not sent mail).

  4. Will Morton Reply

    I seem to have an email stuck somewhere that outlook wants to send;it is not in my outbox. I do get the following outlook messege :-

    Task ‘ – Sending’ reported error (0x800CCC0F) : ‘The connection to the server was interrupted. If this problem continues, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP). The server responded: 553 From: address not verified; see
    I desperately need help

  5. Tim Predaina Reply

    Leo, I am now getting the same thing after a read receipt was sent. My ISP blocks SMTP except to their servers but the message is trying to go through the server the message was sent to.

    “Task ‘ – Sending’ reported error (0x80042109) : ‘Outlook is unable to connect to your outgoing (SMTP) e-mail server. If you continue to receive this message, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).'”

    There is no message waiting in the outbox, where is the system folder outlook uses? I would like to clear outbound queue. Thanks in advance.

  6. kevin Reply

    Just wanted to say thanks! How simple. Disconnected the network connection then was able to delete the hung email.

  7. Brett Reply

    I just resolved the issue: there was an Outlook1.pst in addition to an Outlook.pst. I opened the Outlook1.pst and it was fixed.

  8. Susan Reply

    Solved a month long headache! Went offline — deleted the email — no more headache. You’re better than Bayer, Advil, Extra Strength Tylenol…

  9. Keith Reply

    I have read email off-line and one of them has requested a read receipt. When I go back online Outlook (2003) tries to send the receipt with no joy. As there is no receipt in the Outbox, there is nothing to delete. Any ideas? thanks, Keith. (other mail all sends okay).

  10. Carrie Reply

    I also have a message ‘jammed in my outbox’. I unfortunately tried to delete a message while it was sending. the message deleted out of the outbox BUT the system still tries to send it. I have tried the repair function on my office disk. I did a reinstall of Outlook and I have just upgraded to 2007 (hoping that it would ‘clear’.

    Nothing. Any clues anyone?

  11. Owen Reply

    I have got a user whose email is continuosly sending a ‘Read Receipt’ for the same message even more than 20 times a day. I triesd deleting the original received message but the receipt is still being sent. Other emails from the sender with the flag on are Ok. This user has also another same issue with one of his staff though its a different message now.

  12. Steve Notman Reply

    Tim. I had exactly the same issue as Keith, an invisible read receipt, your link/solution worked.

  13. pat Reply

    Leo, I’ve read the article. I do not understand how to disconnect from the network. Do I turn off the motem? I have 2 stuck messages and I’ve tried delete, took down my firewall and antivirus but it didn’t work. Please Help. Thank You

  14. KULLY Reply


    help- please…..i am pulling my hair out?

  15. Belle Reply

    You are truly awesome!!
    That stupid email has been stuck in my mailbox for 3 months already, and it’s finally gone!!!!!
    Thanks a lot!
    It’s simply and it worked! :)

  16. Mikee Reply

    Tim, used outlook spy – FANTASTIC!! I have been getting close to throwing my laptop. I had same problem as Keith. Many thanks

  17. JohnD Reply

    This tip worked to get a problem email out of the Outlook outbox….Thanks…JohnD

  18. Charlie Howe Reply

    WOW, I found the easiest way to get rid of a large file in your Outlook Outbox! After doing 3 other things, I just unplugged my RJ-45 cable and waited about 10 seconds and delted the file! So Easy! you are Great!

  19. Suman Reply

    When I try sending mail from OFFICE, my mail gets stuck in my outbox. then I log off outlook and the mail is sent. I am using win xp sp2 and microsoft outlook 2003.
    Please help me.

  20. Stephen Blair Reply

    Genius! Best solution to this problem I’ve found. Running Outlook 2003, Win XP SP2. Got a 12mb email stuck in my outbox – went through other ‘solutions’ of offline mode, safe mode and even creating a new profile PST file!
    Found this and it worked instantly! Even easier than pulling the network cable – go to Control Panel – Network Connections then right click on your Local Area Connection and Disable. Then go and delete that annoying stuck email, then go back to your LAN and right-click enable. Job done!

  21. spike Reply

    This worked. Thanks. Why can’t Microsoft post good info like this about their own product? I checked the big help sites on this & they gave terrible advice — set up a whole new User profile, then move all of your files over — what a headache — your method solved to problem in 2 minutes. — Stephen Blair (above) is right — it’s not necessary to unhook any cables — just go to my computer / control panel / network connections — disable the connection for a minute — delete the email — then enable the connection again. Sweet

  22. Jared Reply

    I had such hope, but it didn’t work. I disconnected the cable, disabled the network, put Outlook in offline mode, disabled send/receive… and I still couldn’t delete the message. I keep getting the message “Outlook has already begun transmitting this message.”

  23. Jerry Lacefield Reply

    Alright, I’ve tried everything that has been suggested. However, even though we have a max size limit of 10MB per email, I still cannot delete the four messages that are sitting in my Outbox despite having already been delivered not only once, but possibly many times before. I had this problem before but my boss had someone remotely fix the issue. Now I want to figure out a way to fix the issue myself. The problem though is that everytime I go and hit the “delete” key, I get an error that reads: “The messaging interface has returned an unknown error. If the problem persists, restart Outlook.”

    I have restarted Outlook several times and still receive the popup asking if I want to leave regardless of the fact that there are messages still waiting to be sent (despite already arriving at their destination).


  24. Steve Cauffiel Reply

    The only thing that made this work for me was to use the ‘Del’ key on my keyboard instead of clicking the ‘X’ in Outlook. Clicking the ‘X’ (Delete) button in Outlook gave me the same error as before, but on a whim I hit the delete key on the keyboard and voila – done.


  25. Jared Reply

    I’ve tried this method for a week, without success (see my last post on July 30, 2007). Then tonight, I tried it again and it worked!!! If you’re in the same boat, keep trying. Thanks Leo!

  26. Helen Eversberg Reply

    Yea. I unplugged my rj45 cable and deleted the e-mail and it worked perfectly. Thanks SO MUCH. I love low-tech solutions. Helen

  27. Kate Reply

    Your a genius! I unplugged my network cable and was able to delete the massive email stuck in the system. Thank you!! I will pass my new knowledge on.

  28. greg Reply

    Thanks soooooooo much, if only that chief at microsoft and his poxy company would be so helpful!

  29. ITWORKED Reply

    make sure you are not connected to the internet or your network. Go to the outbox, click on the message, hit delete (it should give you an error). Then hold the shift key and press delete and then hit the ENTER key. do not use the mouse. worked for me!!

  30. L Reply

    Microsoft Office Online was not near as helpful! Thank you for the advice!!! It worked great and I can’t thank you enough for saving me the headache of starting over with a new email account (Microsoft’s suggestion). I have forwarded your link to them so they can learn something from YOU.

  31. George Reply

    However, to make the matter a bit worse, the email message that Outlook keeps trying to send is not large. Actually, it does not exist…!!! Outlook keeps trying to send an email for the past 4 months that does not exist anywhere, not in the outbox, not in send items, not in some crazy Outlook folder. All other messages are beeing sent normally before and after this incedent. Even the same message has been sent normally at my second attempt. But nooooooo. Outlook keeps trying to send an inexistent email. It is almost spooky. Please help. Not that I have a problem with receiving or sending other email messages but it has gotten on my nerves. Even if I cancel all tasks, re-create this email account, reinstall MS Outlook, it still does it. Help!

  32. Kent Reply

    Hello all,

    I had this same problem so instead of unplugging the network cable I simply went under file and then selected “work offline”. Once offline I went to my outbox and was able to delete the problem email. Hope this helps others with the same problem.

  33. Frank Murray Reply

    It worked! I disconnected my cable internet connection and after a few seconds (minute or two?) Outlook allowed me to delete the file. I was very thankful the file showed up in my deleted folder cause I wanted to resend the message minus a number of the pictures that clogged Outlook.

    Thanks Leo!

  34. SEO Web Design Reply

    THANK YOU! omg…i have been trying to delete this email all morning…you ROCK!

    ever need any web design or seo web design..give me a ring!
    have a great day….

    Mega Star Media INC

  35. mrsmagpie Reply

    Kent, thanks I have been trying to delete something in Outlook for a day, all else failed except your tip.

  36. CLIVE SMITH Reply

    My problem is, that once the message is in the outbox, it just keeps on sending over and over, twenty thirty times, the same message and never clears the outbox into the sent items. So you never know has the message been sent or not. How do I fix this one please. Outlook 2003 pro



  37. DAVE Reply

    Shift-Delete worked a treat – !! offline mode etc didn’t work … WELL Done

  38. Sarah Reply

    THank you so much!! I have been stuck with an email in my box for weeks. It is finally gone.

  39. jory Reply

    it says it was already moved or deleted or access is denied. it will let me get rid of it and it looks up my outlook and makes it not repsond.please help

  40. Tawnya Reply

    THANK YOU – this worked perfectly (the offline tip) and stopped my co-worker from disliking what I did to her computer.

  41. John Reply

    YAY!!! SHIFT-DELETE worked for me!!! Unplugging the network and working offline didn’t help… but SHIFT-DELETE did!!!

    Thank you so much!!!

  42. Tareq Zeyad Reply

    yesss, thnx … i’ve been looking for a solution since a week …. wow … u r great. Many thnx

  43. Antonio Reply

    Thank you Leo! You would think Outlook Help would cover this, but I could not find it. Your low tech solution worked like a charm.

  44. Nancy G. Reply

    I still cannot delete the an email with a 25 meg attachment I sent yesterday. Tried all the tricks above…any other ideas? Outlook 2007.

  45. Nancy G. Reply

    Just found an idea on another site and it worked like a dream. Drag the file into the Draft folder – then delete!!! Yeah!!!!

  46. Stephanie Reply

    Great advice!! The trick to unplug the network should have been a no-brainer. However….. I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you so much for your help!!!

  47. N.Subramanian Reply

    Go to the File Menu and click on Work offline. Now you will be able to delete the message stuck in the outbox. Once done change to Work online.

    It worked for me so sharing it here.

  48. IT Guy Reply

    Just an FYI, I just had someone try sending a HUGE attachment and it got stuck. The only thing that worked is taking Outlook offline, unplugging the network cable, disabling send/receive, AND (most importantly in this case at least) changing the SMTP server settings to something that wouldn’t resolve. Then I could open the message (couldn’t delete it still) highlight the attachment, delete it, close the message. Then I could delete the message itself. That was painful for such a “simple” thing.

  49. Nera Polkinghorn Reply

    Going to File Menu and clicking to Work Offline was the best solutions. Thanks for whoever suggested that above, genious!!!

  50. MyPCHatesMe Reply

    I had a similar problem, where an email in my outbox would not send while I was disconnected, however it would not let me open the email either due to “Can’t open this email. Outlook has already started transmitting this message”
    Connecting to the VPN was impossible, and all of the tips above did not allow me to delete/open the email.

    So, I created a new folder off my inbox, and selected “Copy Outbox to…” to my new folder.
    This created a copy of the email I needed, I was able to open, copy the contents and attachment, and send via webmail.
    I still cannot delete the original, but at least a copy has been sent

  51. Sheri Wood Reply

    In Outlook 2007 you can Close Outlook and reopen it and then go to the Outbox quickly and delete the email! It worked for me.

  52. JT Reply

    Good call. Simple but yet effective. After searching MS tech site as well as others, nothing worked except this simple “disable or unlpug your network” remedy. Also, it might help if run Outlook in safe mode. (Start, run, Outlook /safe)
    Thanks again. You saved me some frustration.

  53. Joan Reply

    I’ve found the following solution works for me quite well.
    Select the “Send/Receive” option in the Outlook toolbar.
    Select “Send/Receive Settings”.
    Select “Show Progress”
    Click “Cancel All” when it brings up the e-mails attempting to be sent. This works just like canceling a print job in a queue. I kind of like it. I do move the canceled e-mail to the drafts folder as a next step so that I can modify the size.

  54. Pam Reply

    Thank YOU for posting the stes on how to delete an e-mail tht was stuck in the outbox…All I did was click file, work off line and deleted the file, it was that that simple!!! Thank you, Thank you!! P.S. The e-mail was literally sitting in my outbox for one day! THANK YOU!!

  55. rebecca Reply

    I tried the “work offline” from the file menu. What I didn’t realize is the e mail in the out box which was too large to send would take a while to delete. After trying several times, I decided to wait for the hourglass to go away, and it worked just great!!!!!
    Thanks for the lesson in patience!!!

  56. KRJ Reply

    That was so helpful! Thank you for posting this explanation!! I will visit your site again for other computer help when it is needed! :) Thanks again! What an easy fix….I’ve had that message in my outobox for 3 days!!

  57. Robyn Reply

    There is an email in my outbox 2KB(which was sent to me as an Outlook meeting request that I accepted) that I have been trying to delete since Friday 5/30, that just will not delete. I keep receiving error messages. This prevents me from sending other messages that I require to send.
    I have tried everything you suggested above, plus calling my ISP,the IT dept of the company where the invitation originated and the WEBEX company to see if they could help from their end-to no avail.

    Can you please help me?

    Thank you kindly.

  58. Dan Reply

    Thanks, Leo. Your tip saved me a lot of grief. Enjoy the Latte.

  59. Cynthia Reply

    that cancel all did the trick thanks ever so much, I am glad I found this site. Will check back.

  60. Anna Reply

    Thanks Leo! I deactivated my send server by putting an x infront of the smtp (I use Outlook). It took a couple of Send/Receives before I could get access to the stuck e-mail and fix my too large attachments.

  61. Laurent Reply

    Thank you so much.
    I had this message stuck in my outbox for weeks and it was really starting to drive me nuts.
    Simple yet really efficient.
    You are my today’s star

  62. Adrianna Reply

    I had to take it a step further and open the message when i was offline and move it to another folder: file-move to folder-Deleted Items.
    And then once they moved to the deleted items i could delete them without any hassles.

  63. Mary Reply

    I tried all of the above and still can’t get rid of the huge file. Any other suggestions?

  64. joan dale Reply

    I tried the disconnect from internet access to get rid of huge attachment that won’t send to no avail. Any other suggestions. My attachment is really huge.

  65. joan dale Reply

    No more huge attachment jamming my out going emails. I didn’t know to go to my “outbox” to delete it. A comment on page two made that clear to me. Thanks much for this site.

  66. InDiSent Reply

    Great tip. Another easy way is to click File > Work offline. Then, you can delete the message.

  67. Leilani Cariazo Reply

    THANK YOU!!!! The information about deleting a huge file that could not be sent worked. Option 2, to disconnect from the server, did the job and I deleted it completely from everything!!! YAY…it’s literally been 2 weeks that the message has been in my outbox trying to send.

  68. Doug Bishop Reply

    Thanks, the low tech remedy worked well. I just had to add one more step. I disconnected the LAN connection, tried to delete file which it would not, closed Outlook, restarted Outlook and then was able to delete the file. Reconnected LAN and now my wife is happy.


  69. Tina Reply

    Awesome…… I was ready to beat the crap out of my PC until I came across your website…

    You’re the man……

  70. Rich A Reply

    I had this problem some time ago and your solution worked fine.
    Not long ago I had a similar problem with a photo that turned out too large to send.
    I use Norton antivirus and internet protection so
    I was able to simply click on the button in norton to blockall internet access. Waited a few minutes then after deleting the message file, clicked to allow internet access again and everything was back to normal.
    Thanks for the page when I needed it the first time.

  71. Linda Reply

    THANK YOU! What a quick and easy fix to what would have likely taken me hours to figure out if not for this wonderful site.

  72. Jeph Reply

    Going through this hassel is great if you get a file stuck but that is fixing the sympton not the problem. How can I change the settings so Outlook will allow larger files to be sent? I can send the same files on the same computer using Yahoo email without a problem. Thanks!

    It’s not Outlook that’s preventing it – it doesn’t care. It’s typically the ISP or mail service that you’re attempting to use that disallows emails over a certain size.


  73. Dan Reply

    Mine will not go away either. Since it was in the process of sending it is now stuck in limbo. I used the Work Offline option. I also tried using mbdvu32.exe to delete the message, again it was locked.

  74. Monty Reply

    Thank you all for you valuable help.
    I was stuck in the middle when i tried to send a zip folder which was 24MB. I forgot that its too large to send thru outlook.
    Then ur help really helped. I disconnected LAN, shutdown outlook, open outlook, delete the file and then my problem was resolved.

  75. Lynne Lowery Reply

    Fantastic – I’d been trying to delete my 12MB email all night, and your solution took about 10 seconds.

  76. Howyrd Reply

    Just wanted to thank you for the most elegant and simple method of deleting a too-long message from Outlook 2003. It works!

  77. Andrew Reply

    I use Outlook 2003 also and if you look at the bottom right where it says “sending message” or something similar, it allows you to right click your mouse and cancel sending the email. Then quickly delete it!!! It works!

  78. geek41week Reply

    Don’t unplug anything it is a waste of time.
    Outlook organized into folders “Inbox” ,”Outbox” and so on. Just Delete all messages in “Outbox” it is what Outlook is trying to send and all this never stopping sending stops in one second

  79. VAL MILTZ Reply


  80. James Reply

    Hi Guys! I know of two ways. This has happened to me a few times. First and easiest and about the same as pulling the plug is to click file and choose “Work offline” Second and a last resort if nothing else works is to click file and choose export to a file. Choose .PST then Personal folders (include sud folders) then export your mail box to a PST file. When exporting Outlook will not take the contents of the Outbox to a PST. Delete then recreate your mail account and import your PST file back in. This is a pain to do but it works if nothing else will!

  81. Phil Rambo Reply

    Why not just click on “file” check “work offline” and then go to outbox and delete in offline mode?

  82. Mirela Reply

    You don`t have to pull the plug, you can always go to File->click on Work Offline, then click on Outbox, select the email message and delete it. I consider this the easiest way, after deleting this message, go back to File->Work offline and uncheck it so you can send and receive email messages again, this is equal to the procedure described above, the only difference is that you are in the middle of a discussion on IM you are not going offline, just the Outlook :D this method is not leaving you iwthout internet connection for a few seconds. Hope that helped and I admit I didn`t read all the comments so it is possible that someone else already mentioned this :)

  83. Don Reply

    Great, thanks a million, I’ve been trying for days to delete a 72mb picture file that wouldnt send, then i done as you said and whithin about 30 seconds it was gone, cheers!

  84. Steve K Reply

    Outlook 2003 keeps trying to send “phantom” messages. It says sending message 1 of 7 when I have nothing in the outbox. Each day it keeps adding another message and it is dragging down my computer. If I cancel sending or disconnect network connection it is still there.

  85. Catherine Uffen Reply

    outlook Professional – Neither of your answers worked for me. The message wouldn’t delete (it had a 30 MB attachment). AND it immediately engaged the sending function, so it couldn’t be deleted. So I went into message properties for that message and gave it an expiry time that had already passed. Then the message showed as an expired message. I was then immediately able to delete it.

  86. Warren Reply

    Outlook 2007, XPPro SP3
    e-mail never sent, remains in Outbox, endless looping of send-receive tasks (multiple 100’s in a minute or two!!), must resort to Task Mgr to stop process, attempts to delete the message fail;
    error message: access denied, Outlook has already begun transmitting this message

    I’ve worked for hours and hours, for a couple of days, running virus/ adware cks, trying MS suggestions, ck’g the forums, and nothing worked

    FINALLY, one of the responders to this question suggested: under File menu, check Work Offline … go and delete


    (don’t forget to remove check-off, before attempting to send-receive again)

    THANK YOU Mark (10.July.07) for helping sanity to reign again

  87. Ben Reply

    I tried clicking Work Offline; didn’t help. I tried closing the network connection; didn’t help. Then, with the network disconnected and the Work Offline box checked, I turned Outlook off, waited a couple of minutes, and turned it back on. That did it–instant delete. BTW, the email had an 80mb attachment (yikes!).

  88. Katie Pace Reply



    You’re the best. Simple, easy advice.

    Katie Pace

  89. Gary Atkinson Reply

    Had the same problem in Outlook 2007 trying to send through an http account (thought that shouldn’t make a difference). Tried all the above without success. Then did the following:

    1) Set Outlook to Offline
    2) clicked “message options” for the offending message
    3) set the “do not deliver before” to sometime later,
    4) click delete…. hey presto, I could delete it!!

  90. Judith O'Connell Reply

    My outgoing emails are getting stuck in the Outbox and won’t send. How can I get my emails to send?

  91. Christian Reply

    If you tried the offline trick and it doesn’t work, go offline and then just restart Outlook and it will work

  92. sok chong Reply

    Great! I pulled the plug like you said and went offline and wait few minutes and guess what! it work like wonder. thank you.

  93. vicki Reply

    Thank-you!!! I googled a few other places with NO luck and one of your low tech styles worked! Pulled the internet plug, deleted the thing and was done. What a relief!

  94. Hannah Reply

    I wrote an email with a “do not deliver before” time, but it is still in my outbox. I do not want to delete it; I just want to know what to do in the future to make sure it sends at the selected time. I have no trouble doing this from other accounts on the same server. Suggestions? Thanks.

  95. Annie Nahon Reply

    I have a migraine at this point, but thanks to the triple punch of WORK-OFFLINE and DISCONNECTING THE POWER TO THE ISP and RESTARTING THE COMPUTER, my email got deleted (with a 97MG .psd file I accidently attached…)
    THANK YOU SO MUCH! Now I am going to go take some Excedrin!

  96. Tommy Ingram Reply

    Is there a fix to keep outbox from looping and sending the same email over and over again. I see several ways to delete it but, what is causing it and is there a fix. This has happend to me in outlook express and I went to outlook 2007 thinking this would cure it, but to no avail.
    I sure hope there is a fix.



  97. Tom Gackle Reply

    Tried your suggestion…unfortunatetly, I’m either doing it wrong or it’s just not working…any other suggestions? What if I remove the E-mail account from Outlook, reboot and add the E-mail account again? Any danger in doing that?

  98. Rebecca Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…that was so annoying!!! Your trick worked like a charm:)

  99. Tom Gackle Reply

    Thanks. I didn’t do it correctly at first. Taking it offline, then deleting worked.

  100. Bill Graves Reply

    I am having the same problem as Tommy Ingram and I don’t see any response to his concern. Can someone advise on this?

  101. Alan Mack Reply

    This worked like a charm. Talk about SIMPLE. My outlook kept locking up (trying to send a 65 meg file), but all I did was unplug my network and voila. It stopped trying to send and I was able to delete the “pending” file. Many thanks!

  102. Rosanna Reply

    It worked!!!!!! thanksss
    I just closed outlook then I opened again and instantly I went to outbox and deleted that huge stucked message…and it worked!!!
    Thanks for the help

  103. Bill Reply

    The 72meg file hung outlook. I came to the conclusion that unpluging the network would get the file to stop sending so it could be deleted. Reading this solution gave me the confidence to unplug the cable. Even after closing outlook I need to stop the process in the task manager. When outlook was restarted the problem email could be deleted from the outbox. Plugeed the network cable in and the rest of the pending emails were sent.

  104. Jared Reply

    Thanks. I was hung up for the better part of a day. Solved the problem in less than a minute.

  105. Jennifer Reply

    i found that choosing File, Work Offline, Exiting Outlook, and then re-opening it, allowed me to open and delete my mistake message… hope this helps someone!

  106. Ron Gray Reply

    Worked immediately. Thanks for the lo-tech fix that MS does not even tell anyone about.

  107. Earl Reply

    Thanks. Worked perfectly. Read the instruction. Reached down and pulled the wire directly out. Closed outlook. Let the PC figure out that it was immediately off line. Reopened outlook while the PC is still off line. Opened the outbox and deleted that little troublesome e-mail. Plugged the network wire back in. All is well. I had been jacking with this for the last 5 days.

  108. jon Reply

    best idea yet. stay online. pulled out internet cord/usb wireless dongle. reopened. deleted. et voila. merci leo!

  109. ozlem Reply

    thanks so was a big problem for me.. i couldnt delete the mail in outbox..and now i deleted it..really thanks

  110. Anthony Reply

    Thanks, by unplugging my netowrk cable I was able to delete a file that Outlook kept locking on.

  111. Theresa D Reply

    I read the instruction and it seemed silly but I tried it and it fixed my problem first time, Thank you you are a wonderful and great find I plan to keep your details in my favourites.

  112. kath Reply

    i have this problem only i deleted it form my outbox folder and its been 7 days its still trying to send the messages..i deleted the msgs as soon as they failed but its still doing this i called my isp..they cant help dell said its not a hardware isssue so they wont help they directed me to microsoft and i was told for a fee it can be any no cost low hassle way to fix this?

  113. Bill Dickson Reply

    Brilliant, all it took was 10 seconds.
    There is no reference to this problem in MS Help

  114. kaenar langford Reply

    Jennifer, you’re brilliant. I was having a terrible time with a stupid message stuck in the Outbox and your fix worked perfectly. Thanks so much. Although I read through everything on the page, it was easier for me to figure out your solution than some of the others.

  115. Fiona Grenfell Reply

    THANKYOU SOOOO MUCH Leo! What a wonderful solution to such a stupid problem…. it worked with just 10 seconds to pull out the cord to my internet, straight back to Outlook, delete… and wholla!!! the problem solved….
    You are an ABSOLUTE GENIUS…
    thanks again, now I can get on with emailing!!

  116. Brian schmidt Reply

    Thanks for the tip– fixed my problem.
    THough I found an even easier way… at the bottom right of outlook, right click and select “Work offline.” that’s like disconnecting the network cable. Delete the email from the outbox and then un-select “work offline” and you’re back in business.

  117. Christian Reply

    I closed my Outlook program. Then I reopened it & quickly deleted outbox email before it could start sending. Without this information, I never would have thought to do that. Thanks so much for this simple and effective solution!!

  118. Peter W Reply

    Thank you!!! Low-tech really did the trick (after much unsuccessful messing about and frustration trying to follow other ‘official fixes!)

  119. EL Reply

    Thank you so much, you really saved the day!!!!!!! I was lucky to utilize that small window of time you wrote about. Thank you!

  120. Merlescraps Reply

    Hi, I tried everything to delete an email in my outbox which won’t send still no luck
    when I try to delete it I get a message saying outlook is sending the message, but this is not so.

  121. emily Reply

    I’m hooked up to a business network and didn’t want to unplug for fear of ruining company equipment, but I did find another way to accomplish this. There’s a send/receive icon on the bottom right of your outlook screen(at least there is for oulook 2007). Right click and choose cancel. Then you can delete items stalling your outbox.

  122. Dave B. Reply

    Thank you. I first had to tell outlook to stop sending and recieving, but then it was easy to delete the message.

  123. Michelle Portela Reply

    Leo, you are a genius;

    I’ve been trying anything and everything for a week ’till finding your instructions.


  124. Harry Reply


    Thanks a lot for the great help. But one small suggestion, instead or removing the cable, if we just disable the LAN under Network Connections would work…………..

  125. Peter Frampton Reply

    Well done Leo. You saved my marriage. Such a simple trick that works. We could do with a few more like you.

  126. Dave Reply

    Thanks for the clue it’s been bugging me for weeks, but I had you restart my Outlook with the network disconnected before mine would delete.

  127. Laura Reply

    You saved the day!! I have had my outlook locked up since June because of the two emails….thank you for setting me free!!

  128. Kenneth Korshin Reply

    From another forum, worked fine for me.

    In Outlook do File-Work Offline. Close Outlook. Restart Outlook. It should
    start in offline mode. Try and delete it then…

  129. Miki Reply

    Thank you, I’ve been staring at my computer for the last 2 hrs.. I disabled the LAN and it deleted right away…

  130. Bill lands Reply

    That was a brilliant “work-around” compared to the messy suggestions of Outlook engineers.

  131. Clint Reply

    I have just had the same issue, after reading this article i disabled my internet connection, and was then able to delete the msg that wouldnt send from the outbox, have been trying to do this for week now :-)

  132. Patrick Reply

    Great low-tech solution. Ran into this same issue and was glad to get a 5 second fix!

  133. Misty Reply

    Worked great! I went to file-work offline and deleted the message in my outbox – didn’t even have to restart Outlook!

  134. Tracy Reply

    This was tremendously helpful and so easy. I just clicked on my “file” button in outlook and then clicked “work offline”…then clicked delete– it deleted immediately. Amazing :-) Thanks so much!

  135. Jo Reply

    I will put ask-leo on my favourites list. I usually get really frustrated trying to follow poor instructions, but not this time. Clear and concise and IT WORKED. Thanks very much :)

  136. Stefan Reply

    Incredible, that it works only this way. Outlook sometimes is really stupid.

  137. DBall Reply

    If I had followed MCFST help on their website I would have been deleting and rebuilding profiles, messing with the mail server, what a mess. I followed your simple instructions and in 10 seconds I had removed a 23 MG message that was stuck in the Outbox all week. Thanks

  138. Amy S. Reply

    I couldn’t get to my network plugin without nearly dismantling my desk, so I clicked file–>work offline–>closed outlook–>reopened (still had work offline checked), and I was able to delete the evil email. Then I just unchecked the work offline button, and all is right with the world.


  139. Seyed Reply

    This is really helpful.
    It’s working for me. I am really thankful for your idea and it save my time.


  140. Vivien Reply

    Oh thank you so much, what a result!! Thank goodness that long email has disappeared now. What great help!!!

  141. Mary Reply

    Thanks, Amy – It Worked , annoying email deleted. I was going crazy for two days.

  142. Archie Reply

    Couldn’t find the workoffline option and couldn’t delete the e-mail even disconnected from the internet but found a little drop down menu at the bottom left giving me the option of cancelling the e-mail, which I did.

  143. Pete Reply

    I tried to delete the email like you suggested, but I can’t click on it in the outbox and the delete is not highlighted for me to use. It doesn’t matter if I am offline or online. When I try to click on it, it says not responding.

  144. laurie Reply

    I GOT LUCKY. I cancelled my send and receive tab and deleted it!!!

  145. shaina Reply

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! i went offline, and it deleted right away!!! you are a lifesaver thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  146. Bella Reply

    I was able to delete email the minute I went offline. Thank you so much, only wished I knew about your site a long time ago.

  147. Joan Reply

    Yes, it helped because I went back to Outlook and saw in the lower right hand corner of the screen that the email was trying to be sent. I also saw a dropdown arrow which I never noticed before. When I selected the dropdown screen I was given the opportunity to delete the email. I then didn’t need to disconnect.

  148. Kim Reply

    Finally was able to delete my message stuck in the outbox. thanks

  149. Fartculeze Reply

    Disconnecting from my server didn’t work.
    Turning computer on/off, didn’t either.

    Went to //OUTBOX\ (at the lefthand side of the Inbox screen)& deleted the stubborn bloated message from there.

  150. Jay Reply

    Thankfully I am one of your newsletter addicts and had a problem when one of my emails with an attachment got stuck in my outbox of office 2007. I looked through the archives and found a solution which worked. I didn’t have to go off line.

  151. Cliff Reply

    Turned off the connection, wend back in outbox and deleted it! Wham bam thank you mam!

  152. Ange Reply

    Thank you! Saved me from so much heartache and took just seconds to complete.

  153. Kim L Reply

    I did what Leo said and it worked. My big email was a video file. On my laptop, I just turned off the wireless switch, then was able to delete the email. then just turned the wireless switch back on

  154. Kathy Reply

    Found another way… if you click on the little arrow next to the Sending Message 1 of 1… a box will pop up that says cancel send/receive, hit it, it works!!!!!!

  155. Chris Reeves Reply

    After the error flags go to the Outbox. Delete the message from the outbox. Then go back to the error dialog box and select cancel.

  156. Jaymeben Reply

    Worked good for me I have been trying to delete
    that thing from my out box for a month.
    If this guy helps you, buy him some coffee. You tip that blonde don’t you?

    Jay So. City

  157. Tim Spargo Reply

    Thanks Leo… a 60mb Video file my daughter “tried to send” has been stuck for awhile.

    for the first time in months
    “Send/Receive Complete”


  158. Ken Walker Reply

    Have had the problem for a while. My email was 12.5mb. Go to File and select Work Offline. This will allow you to delete the email or attachments to make the email smaller. Go back and select Work Offline again – to get you back online. You can now carry on as normal.

  159. Henry Tan Reply

    The file that Outlook tried to send was 28 MB. It got stuck there for days. Because of this, all my later “Send” emails of even less than 5 KB could not be sent because apparently it was in a queu. Trying to delete that large email was unsuccessful -> nothing happened. When I foolowed the suggested low-tech method (close Outlook -> unplug internet cable -> open Outlook, that stucked file was deleted easily. Thank you, thank you for the advise.

  160. Leo Swanepoel Reply

    Rather than altering your registry (and to suggest it without reminding people to do a backup of the registry is not wise, imho), try this first:
    close Outlook
    outlook /safe

    highlight the message in question
    delete the message
    close Outlook
    open Outlook again normally

  161. Trish Reply

    That advice did not work for me, but what did work was editing the delivery parameters by right-clicking on the message stuck in the Outbox and selecting a delivery deadline that had already expired. The message immediately disappeared-had been stuck for 2 days in the Outbox!

  162. Mike Freeman Reply

    The best way is go to “File”, “Work Offline” then delete the files. Go back and “File”, “Work Online” – you don’t have to get off your seat!

  163. George Reply

    This has happened to me a couple of times now, eaisest way is to click on work offline. then you can delete it, no problem!

  164. cigarman Reply

    1. Just close outlook, 2. reopen and immediately open the outbox, 3. drag and drop the message to the drafts folder.
    4. Then open the message and send, it will usually go out. 5. If not, repeat.

    You can also go from step 2 to opening the message and copying the contents before deleting, then you can paste it in a new message.

  165. Duffin Martin Reply

    Go to file/work offline. Then close outlook. Restart and you can delete message. Now go to file/work offline and untick. Presto! :-) Thank you for your posting but I found this easy fix.

  166. Judi DiPietro Reply

    Getting off the network, deleting the message and then logging back on worked for me. Thanks!! :)

  167. Stephanie Reply

    Thank you for the advice, going offline and deleting the message then logging back on worked perfect! Took me 3 days to find this link,but was worth it!!

  168. Sarah Reply

    Ahhh! Thank you! I just switched over to Work Offline, deleted, and jumped back on. Thank you so much!!

  169. noname Reply

    Thanks for the advice to disconnect from the network – this is the only thing that helped.

  170. S.A. Mason Reply

    Tried ‘File/Work Offline’ – was then able to delete message stuck in Outbox. Didn’t even have to close and restart Outlook . Many thanks. I hope I remember for next time!!

  171. Davet Reply

    Great this has been driving me up the wall for five days and I have just sorted the problem in ten seconds.

  172. Carlos Reply

    Simple and effective — it worked in seconds — I was going at it all day with this problem.


  173. Molly Reply

    I never thought this would be something that easy to fix. Thank you so much for sharing this tip. It solved my stuck outbox email in seconds!!!

  174. Edith Sinon Reply

    Thank you so much – my attachement was 128 MB’s and I just did not know what to do – so simple and it did work with the first try………

    happy to have Leo

  175. Max Reply

    in Outlook 2010, just double click on the email and remove the attachment :) Easy peasy :)

  176. Roger Foreman Reply

    I’m grateful Leo, for the simple advice. It’s saved me an ongoing headache that’s lasted for weeks now.

  177. Hal October Reply

    Thanks very much I was really starting to panic with this problem but you saved the day. Was really simple to fix with your info. Thanks again

  178. Linda Murphy Reply

    Thank you very much for your simple and direct intsructions. I have spent hours today trying to delete a message that was too big for Outlook to send. Because I could not delete the big message, that failure prevented me from sending any other messages. So I “pulled the plug” and am back on track!

  179. Berry in davenham Reply

    Cheers Leo-this sorted problem for me the outlook server didn’t seem to like an 85MB file doh! with your advice I managed to delete the offending mail finally

  180. Sarah in England Reply

    I’ve spent weeks trying to work out how to sort this problem out, read your article, and in 5 seconds the problem was sorted. Thank you sooooo much :0)

  181. Christine Reply

    Pulling the plug fixed it. I’ve been backed up for over a week. Thanks a ton!

  182. Sergio Reply

    Really helpful, thanks for taking the time to keep it simple!

  183. Earp Reply

    The easiest way, at least for 2007 and higher (I suspect will work for older versions as well) is to go File/Work Offline. This turns Outlook offline – you can then delete the message from the outbox.

  184. Phil D Reply

    Wow lo-tech and it worked so well!… after I tried repairing, running diagnostic, running safe mode, hehe… this was GREAT. THANK YOU

    Haha couldnt post this because I forget to reconnect wireless.

  185. Peggy Reply

    Great job!!! Disconnecting from the network worked perfect. Thanks!!

  186. Simon Maccullagh Reply

    Many thaks for the tip my wife tried to send a 175M file??

  187. Michael Reply

    Thanks, worked eventually. I closed internet connection, but couldn’t delete any mail in the Outbox, then I closed Outlook and restarted, didn’t work at all. Then I used Task Manager to close Outlook process, restarted Outlook, all the while off internet, and was able to delete the largest email in the Outbox. Thanks for the good advice.

  188. Gladys Reply

    Lotsa thanx from SA. The Network cable idea worked perfectly! You saved my job. God Bless You!

  189. Pamela Reply

    Thank you so much! I thought this issue would never get resolved!

  190. Roy Mannen Reply

    Thanks what you posted led me to try the following;
    Go to File > Work Off Line
    I was able to delete the stuck outgoing e-mail.

  191. Petri Reply

    thanks, worked also for me! This was really annoying…

  192. Richard Scott Reply

    Brilliant !!

    Worked immediately !

    Microsoft recommended various complex and time-consuming solutions, but you nailed it.

  193. Captain obvious Reply

    Even Easier Solution: Click “Cancel Send/Receive”. Then Right-Click the troublesome email and select Delete. Problem solved.

  194. Tiffany Reply

    Thanks Roy Mannen!! File – work offline let me delete yahhh!!

  195. Barbara Duffy Reply

    Thanks for the fix on stuck emails in Outlook , I had thought of that but wasn’t game to try it.

    What a relief. Having outlook back! Thanks a million

  196. Sheila Cannon Reply

    Leo, you are a genius! I just turned off my modem and voila! I deleted that email. Thank you!

  197. Nigel Reply

    I had this problem the past 2 years and the old disconnect/work off line type of approach worked! Now it is just stuck on ‘message has begun transmission’. You cannot deleted it in any capacity, you cannot amend properties to send at a future date, I have ran MDBVU32.EXE and SCANFIX and neither has fixed/deleted the file even though found. I have made a new PST file and set mail/back up to default to it, then restarted and gone back into the outbox and that still failed. All help facilities/tricks have been tried AND NOTHING works. Gulp!

  198. Gary Reply

    Long way about it! Just go to send/receive tab and click “work offline” then go in and delete, no reason to leave your computer or to touch the network.
    You gave me the idea though so thanks.

  199. sara Reply

    I have been having this problem at work for months and months and it has been really winding me up as all the emails i send take so long to send.

    I didn’t know how to disconnect from the network so i just clicked ‘work offline’ and i managed to delete the said email and voila! perfection..

    thanks :)

  200. Salman Reply

    Super Effective!

    3 simple steps for Outlook 2010:

    1) Disconnect your internet connection.
    2) Go to the ‘outbox’ tab in Outlook.
    3) Delete the intended email.

  201. Joe F Reply

    Here’s another possibility: the message is corrupted.

    Had this problem today! I had a email that was stuck in my outbox for an hour. I started a new blank message, copied the contents from the “stuck” message to the new one, then hit send. It sent right away.

  202. Wesman Reply

    Very helpful… But I am a new Mac user and there was no folder for “outbox” like in the PC version of Outlook. MS modified the 2011 Mac version and put the “outbox” on a status bar at the bottom, below all the other mailboxes. I went offline, clicked the outbox bar, deleted the email and went back online. Quick and easy!

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article. Seriously. You'd be shocked at how many people make comments that prove they didn't.
  • Comment only on the article. If you have a new, unrelated question start with the search box at the top of the page.
  • Don't post personal information. Email addresses, phone numbers and such will be removed.

VERY IMPORTANT: because of a rise in comment spam that's making it through our filters any comments that do not add to the discussion - typically off topic or content-free comments - run a very high risk of being flagged as spam and removed.

If you have a new question unrelated to the article above, ask it on the Ask Leo! ask-a-question page.