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Send or delete an email stuck in your outbox
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Send or delete an email stuck in your outbox

Send or delete a stuck email

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Send mail stuck in your Outbox, or delete it. The usual cause for stuck mail is a large attachment. Watch this video to learn how to send or delete stuck mail.

Fix messages that are stuck in the Outbox

When a message gets stuck in your Outbox, the most likely cause is a large attachment.

  1. Click SEND/RECEIVE > Work Offline.

  2. In the navigation pane, click Outbox.

  3. From here, you can:

    • Delete the message. Just select it and press Delete.

    • Drag the message to your drafts folder, double-click to open the message, delete the attachment (click it and press Delete).

  4. If an error tells you Outlook is trying to transmit the message, close Outlook. It may take a few moments to exit. If Outlook doesn’t close, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and click Start Task Manager. In Task Manager, click the Processes tab, scroll down to outlook.exe, and click End Process.

  5. After Outlook closes, start it again and repeat steps 2-3.

  6. After you remove the attachment, click SEND/RECEIVE > Work Offline to deselect the button and resume working online. Messages also get stuck in the Outbox when you click Send, but you are not connected. Click SEND/RECEIVE and look at the Work Offline button. If it is blue, you are disconnected. Click it to connect (the button turns white) and click Send All.

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Fix messages that are stuck in the Outbox

Get help when messages won't send

You sent an email a while ago and it is still in your Outbox. It has not been sent.

Emails might get stuck in your Outbox for a number of reasons.

Perhaps, you opened and closed the email while it was in your Outbox, instead of opening and then sending it.

This changed the status of the email, and it, therefore, wasn't sent.

The email's properties, such as To and Subject, changed from an italicized font to a regular font, and Sentis set to None.

To send the email, double-click it, and click Send.

An email can also get stuck in the Outbox if it has a very large attachment.

Your email provider may block emails with attachments larger than a size they specify.

For general email performance, it is not recommended that you send an attachment larger than a few megabytes.

I'll provide options for larger files later in this video.

Double-click the email and you get an error. You also cannot delete it. The email is stuck.

My email has a 34 megabyte attachment, that's pretty big.

We need to free-up the email, and then, we can change or delete it.

You got an error when you double-clicked the email because Outlook keeps trying to send emails in the Outbox, and you cannot open or delete an email when it is doing that.

Though we didn't get an error in the first procedure we looked at in this video, if there are multiple emails in the Outbox, you can open the emails that aren't actively being sent.

You can also open the emails if Outlook isn't connected to your email server.

To disconnect Outlook from your email server, which also stops it from retrying to send your email, click the SEND/RECEIVE tab, and click the Work Offline button. It'll change from white to light blue.

And down here, on the status bar, it says Outlook is WORKING OFFLINE.

When you double-click the email, if you still get an Outlook error, close Outlook, sign out of Windows, sign back in to Windows, and start Outlook.

I click and hold the email in the Outbox and drag it to the Drafts folder.

You could delete the email instead, if you wanted to start over.

So, you can continue to send and receive emails. Click the SEND/RECEIVE tab and click the Work Offline button.

It'll change back to white and the status bar now says Outlook is now connected to the email server.

I click the Drafts folder and double-click the email. Right-click the attachment and click Save As.

If you are sending the email from work, save the attachment to a network location and copy the path to the file on the network location.

If you are sending from home, save the attachment to an Internet file sharing service, such as OneDrive, and Copy the path to the file on the service.

In the email, click Paste to paste the path to the file.

Very importantly, right-click the attachment again, click Remove to delete it from the email, and click Send.

Up next, Email is stuck in your outbox because of connectivity or password issues.

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