How to troubleshoot e-mail messages that are stuck in your Outbox

For information about the differences between Microsoft Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook e-mail clients, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
257824 Differences Between Outlook and Outlook Express


When you try to send an e-mail message, the e-mail message may move to your Outbox and not be sent. This article describes how to troubleshoot problems with e-mail messages that remain in your Outbox.

More Information

This behavior can be caused by any of the following conditions:

  • You open the e-mail message in your Outbox before the e-mail message is sent.
  • You work offline and have not made a remote connection.
  • Your sending options are not set to send e-mail messages immediately by using the correct connection.
  • Your mail folders or e-mail messages within the folders are damaged.

Message Opened from Your Outbox

After you send an e-mail message, Outlook moves the e-mail message to your Outbox. When Outlook connects to your mail server, the e-mail message is delivered and a copy of the sent e-mail message appears in your Outbox. If you open and close an e-mail message while it is in your Outbox, the e-mail message may not be sent because you may have changed its status. If the status of the e-mail message has been changed, the title of the e-mail message no longer appears in bold.

To send the e-mail message, open the message, and then click Send. The message title changes back to the bold format in the Outbox Messages view. The next time that you make a connection to the mail server, the e-mail message is delivered.

You Are Working Offline

To change the Work Offline command:

  1. On the File menu, click Work Offline.
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, and then click the name of the account from which you want to send the message.

Send Options

To make sure that you have selected the correct send options:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Send tab, click to select both the Send messages immediately and Save copy of sent messages in the 'Sent Items' folder check boxes.
  3. On the Connection tab, click Change under Internet Connection Settings, and then make sure that the correct dial-up or local area network (LAN) settings are in the list.
  4. Click OK, click OK, open the message in your Outbox, and then click Send.

Damaged Mail Folders

Your mail folders or e-mail messages within the folders may be damaged. There are two ways to troubleshoot this type of problem. The first method is to concentrate only on the Outbox folder. The second method is to create all new folders.

You can create a new Outbox folder using the following steps:

  1. Exit Outlook Express.
  2. Search your hard drive for Outbox.dbx and delete this file.
  3. Restart Outlook Express. A new empty outbox folder is created automatically.
You can create all new mail folders if you create a new identity. After you create the new identity, you can import your old e-mail messages to your new identity.

Create a New Identity

  1. On the File menu, point to Identity, and then click Add New Identity.
  2. Type a name for the new identity, and then click OK.

    When you are prompted to switch to the new identity, click Yes. Outlook Express quits, and then restarts with the new identity.
  3. Follow the prompts in the Internet Connection Wizard to configure Outlook Express for your new identity.
  4. When the Outlook Express Import Wizard starts, click Do not import at this time. You can import your files later.
  5. Create a new e-mail message, and then send the new e-mail message to make sure that the new identity is working correctly.

Import Messages from the Old Identity to the New Identity

After you send an e-mail message from the new identity, you can import messages from your old identity:

  1. On the File menu, point to Import, and then click Messages.
  2. Under Select an e-mail program to import from, click your version of Outlook Express, and then click Next.
  3. Under Specify Location, click your old identity, click OK, and then click Next.
  4. Click All folders, click Next, and then click Finish.
For more information about using identities, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

209169 How to create and use identities in Outlook Express 5.x and 6.0


Artikelnummer: 262052 – Letzte Überarbeitung: 22.09.2011 – Revision: 1