How to troubleshoot mail stuck in the Outbox

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Article ID: 182572 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

In some situations, your sent mail may move to your Outbox folder but never move to your Sent Items folder. This article describes how to troubleshoot problems with mail that remains in your Outbox in Microsoft Outlook.

MORE INFORMATION

Any of the following can cause sent mail to remain in your Outbox:
  • You opened the message from your Outbox before it was sent.
  • You are working offline and have not made a remote connection.
  • Your Personal Folders (*.pst) file is damaged.
  • Your Personal Address Book (*.pab) file is damaged.
  • You have an outdated or incompatible add-in.
  • You replied to an e-mail message that you received from an old account.

Message Opened From Your Outbox

After you send a message, Outlook moves it into your Outbox. When Outlook establishes a connection to your mail server, it attempts a delivery and a copy of the sent message appears in your Outbox. If you open and close a message while it is still in your Outbox, you change the status of the message and it is not sent. The message title will no longer appear in italic formatting in the Outbox Messages view.

To return the message to Send status, open the message and click Send on the message toolbar. The message title should become italicized in the Outbox Messages view. During the next connection with the mail server Outlook should deliver the message.

Working Offline

If you use the Internet Mail Only (IMO) installation:
  1. On the File menu, click to clear Work Offline.
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Send And Receive, and click the name of the Internet Service account.
If you use the Corporate Workgroup (CW) installation with Microsoft Exchange Server service:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Services to open the Services dialog box.
  2. On the Services tab, click to select Microsoft Exchange Server and click Properties.
  3. On the Advanced tab, click to clear the "Enable offline use" check box.
  4. Click OK and OK again to close all dialog boxes.
  5. Quit and restart Outlook.
NOTE: When working offline with your Microsoft Exchange Server service, your Microsoft Fax service is in an offline state as well. Fax messages remain in the Outbox when it appears that the only service set to offline is the Microsoft Exchange Server service.

Damaged Personal Folders or Address Book Files

The first troubleshooting step is to run the Inbox Repair Tool. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. If the Folder List is not visible, click Folder List on the View menu while displaying the Inbox.
  2. Right-click the Personal Folders icon in the Folder List, click "Properties For 'Personal Folders,'" and on the General tab click Advanced. Write down the path and name of your .pst file. Click Cancel twice to close the dialog boxes.
  3. Quit Outlook.
  4. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Inbox Repair Tool.

    NOTE: If Inbox Repair Tool does not appear on the System Tools menu, click Start, point to Find, click Files or Folders and search for Scanpst.exe. Double-click to run the found program.
  5. In the Inbox Repair Tool, click Browse and select your Personal Store file (.pst), recorded in step 2.
  6. Click Start to begin scanning your file.
  7. When you are finished with the Inbox Repair Tool, restart Outlook.
  8. Copy the contents of the message stuck in your Outbox and paste it into a new message.
  9. Delete the original message and try sending the new message.

Create a New Personal Folders File

The second troubleshooting step is to create a new Personal Folders file. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. On the File menu, point to New and click "Personal Folders File (.pst)."
  2. Open the folder that contains your existing Personal Folders file, as noted in step 2 in the previous section, type a unique name in the File Name box, and click Create. For this test, keep the default settings in the "Create Microsoft Personal Folders" dialog box and click OK.
  3. In the Folder List, click the new Personal Folders file.
  4. On the File menu, point to Folder, and click "Properties For 'Personal Folders.'"
  5. Click "Deliver POP mail to this personal folders file," and click OK.
  6. Try sending your e-mail.
NOTE: If, after installing Outlook, you receive the following message
The MAPI Spooler has already begun transmitting this message
follow the steps above to create a new Personal Folders file, copy the contents of all of the folders to the new Personal Folders file, excluding the Outbox, exit, and restart Outlook, and then recreate and send your messages.

Create a New Profile

The third troubleshooting step is to create a new profile with a new Personal Folders file (PST) and a new Personal Address Book (PAB).

If you use the Corporate Workgroup installation (CW), follow these steps:
  1. Quit Outlook if it is running.
  2. Click Start, point to Settings and click Control Panel.
  3. Double-click the Mail And Fax icon or the Mail icon, click Show Profiles and click Add to add a new profile.
  4. Follow the Inbox Setup Wizard to create a new profile with a new .pst and .pab file.
  5. Start Outlook and try to send a message.
If you use the Internet Mail installation (IMO), follow these steps:
  1. Quit Outlook if it is running.
  2. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and click Control Panel.
  3. Double-click the Mail icon.
  4. Select and remove each of your Mail Accounts, and then add each one back.

    NOTE: Make certain you know all the required settings before removing any of these items.
  5. Click Close when you finish, and close Control Panel, start Outlook, and try to send your e-mail.
The fourth troubleshooting step is to search your system for multiple Personal Folders files (PST) and/or Offline Store (OST) files. Rename each file and create a new profile.

The fifth troubleshooting step is to check for the addressee's e-mail name in the Personal Address Book. If it is not present, add it. If it is present, delete the entry and re-add it.

The last troubleshooting step is to try another client. Quit Outlook and search your hard disk for Exchng32.exe. Run Exchng32.exe using your existing services to send mail.

If you are able to send mail with the Exchange client, remove and reinstall Outlook. To do this, follow these steps.

NOTE: Because there are several versions of Windows, the following steps may be different on your computer. If they are, please consult your product documentation to complete these steps.
  1. Quit Exchange.
  2. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon.
  3. Click to select Microsoft Outlook 98, click Add/Remove, and then click Remove.
  4. Click the Start button, point to Find, click Files Or Folders, and type Outllib.dll in the Named box. If the file is found, click to select the file. On the File menu, click Rename, and rename the file to outllib.bad, and then press ENTER. Close the Find dialog box.
  5. Reinstall Outlook.

Outdated or Incompatible Add-ins

Outdated or incompatible add-ins may cause mail delivery problems.

Add-ins, such as old Netscape extensions or Fax software, may cause e-mail delivery problems. Follow these steps to check your active add-ins:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Options to open the Options dialog box.
  2. On the Other tab, click Advanced Options, and then click Add-In Manager. Your active add-ins have check marks beside the add-in name.
  3. To deactivate an add-in, click to clear the add-in check box, and click OK three times to close all the dialog boxes.

Replied to Message From Old Account

When you reply to an e-mail message within Outlook, Outlook tries to send the reply by using the same account through which you originally received the message. If the account in which you received the message no longer exists in your Outlook profile or account settings, the message may not leave your Outbox. This scenario is most likely to occur when you have old mail delivered to an Inbox in a Personal Folders File (.pst) on your local hard disk and you have changed mail accounts since you received the message.

The easiest way to resolve this issue is to move the message that is stuck in your Outbox to your Inbox, create and address a new message, paste the information from the message that is stuck in your Outbox to the new message, and then send the new message. Outlook attempts to send the new message from your current default e-mail account instead of the old account.

REFERENCES

For additional information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
ARTICLE-ID: 181692
TITLE : OL98: Error Message That Sent Items Remain in Outbox

ARTICLE-ID: 180982
TITLE : OL98: Undeliverable Mail Message When Sending Internet Mail

ARTICLE-ID: 180418
TITLE : OL98: (CW) Remote Mail, Offline Folders, and Working Offline

ARTICLE-ID: 185307
TITLE : OL98: (CW) Email Does Not Leave the Outbox

ARTICLE-ID: 185313
TITLE : OL98: (IMO) Email Does Not Leave the Outbox

Properties

Article ID: 182572 - Last Review: April 17, 2006 - Revision: 1.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Outlook 98 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto KB182572
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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