Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Why Are Blank Messages Showing Up in My Hotmail Drafts Folder?


I own a Macbook Pro. Lately, I’ve been receiving blank and empty messages in
my Drafts folder. I did a search and I only found one reference which suggested
the account might be hacked and to change the password. I changed my password
and the following day I received two blank messages in the Draft folder. I ran
Sophos, which turned up nothing. Is this a form of spam? Do I need to be
concerned and take further steps? If so, can you guide me?

In this excerpt from
Answercast #100
I look at some possible reasons for blank messages to be
showing up in an email account.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

Blank messages in drafts folder

Well, certainly hacking is a possibility. I can’t discount that completely.
It’s not the first thing I think of.

What I would have you do, just to eliminate that possibility, is have a look
at an article that I’ve got right now called, “Email
hacked: 7 things you need to do now
“. That will walk you through seven
steps you need to take, beyond just changing your password, to secure your
account from a potential hacking.

If someone else has access to your email account then this article will run
down the things you need to do to make sure that you regain sole control of
your email account.

Drafts in Hotmail

Now, with that out of the way.

It’s interesting. I occasionally use Gmail’s web interface and I know that
you’re using Hotmail. I didn’t read it in the question but I see that you

What often happens to me is that I will accidentally compose a new
message. By “accidentally,” I’ll say that I hit some keystroke combination (a
shortcut key actually in Gmail) that is the equivalent of making a new message.
If I don’t notice that I did that, and I go back to my inbox, what Gmail does
is it saves this message that it thinks I’m composing. Even though I haven’t
done anything with it yet, it saves this message into my Drafts folder.

So I’m wondering if something like that could be happening to you – where
accidentally you are telling Hotmail to compose a new message. Then when you
don’t do anything with that message (you go back to your inbox or whatever,
however you navigate Hotmail) it says, “Oh, this message, he told me to create
is a new message… but he’s not sending it, so I better save it in

My guess is that is the most likely scenario. That’s probably what you ought
to be looking at.

So the first thing I would have you do is to figure out if Hotmail does in
fact have shortcut keystrokes for composing a new mail. I’d bet money that they
do. I’d actually would bet a couple of pennies on it being something like
Control-N or something related to the letter “N” for “new.”

See if maybe you’re accidently hitting it from time to time. That would
explain this completely.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

1 thought on “Why Are Blank Messages Showing Up in My Hotmail Drafts Folder?”

  1. Only one problem in the case of Hotmail (which s being replaced by rapidly as I write and I’ve already been changed over automatically)…Hotmail AND ask you something like “You’re about to throw away this message, do you really want to?” if you move away from the message without saving it yourself or sending. You can auto-save an empty draft (I’ve seen it once or twice) but you’d know you were still in the composing mode unless your computer lost power or accidentally shut down. Some programs suspend shutdown to ask for an action on open files but if notm you would not notice but would find the version of the draft last saved in Drafts. is actually much like the last version of Hotmail in basic functionality so this applies to both.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.