How to Fix the Situation Where I Cannot Delete a Message in Microsoft Outlook?

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  • Published on
    December 12th, 2013
  • Updated on
    July 14, 2022
  • Read Time
    5 minutes
Summary:- Are you unable to delete a message in MS Outlook 2019, 2016, 2010, and other earlier versions? If yes, then don’t worry at all, as I will be providing quick solutions to fix the situation where you cannot delete a message in Microsoft Outlook. Sometimes emails can get stuck in your Inbox or Sent Items folder, and you cannot move or delete them, and Outlook shows an error message “An unknown error has occurred, and more or less due to this, there is the possibility of Outlook PST file corruption. No need to worry; you can use the PST File Recovery Tool to fix all the different issues in the PST files, and no data loss happens.

Why We Cannot Delete a Message in Outlook?

Cannot delete an email message in Microsoft Outlook can probably occur if the folder is locked. That’s because it is being used by a 3rd party application (for example, it may be scanned by an antivirus program). You can restart windows to fix it.

If users cannot delete a message in Microsoft Outlook, then their Outlook data file might be corrupted. If you are an Outlook 2003 or 2007 user, then you can check for errors using the Outlook Detect & Repair / Diagnostics tool available from the Outlook Help menu. But unfortunately, Microsoft has removed the Inbox Repair tool from Outlook 2010. However, some easy methods are available to try to fix the situation where you cannot delete messages in Outlook.

Effective Methods to Fix the Situation Where I Cannot Delete a Message in Microsoft Outlook

Several methods are available to fix the issue of being unable to delete a message in MS Outlook 2019, 2016, 2010, and other earlier versions. Go with these top-notch solutions to troubleshoot issues completely.

Method 1: Empty the Deleted Item Folder

It is one of the easiest ways where you need first to empty the Deleted Items folder and then try to delete the message again.

A faster way to do this is by right-clicking on the Deleted Items folder and choosing the Empty folder. You will also find this command when you select the Deleted Items folder and then choose the Folder tab of the Ribbon.

Method 2: Hard Delete the Message

Users can also hard delete the message by holding the SHIFT button while clicking on the Delete button or using the keyboard’s Delete button. Hence, this message will now skip the Deleted Items folder and will be deleted permanently. Microsoft Outlook will show a warning if you really want to do this. Press Yes Option.

But at the same time, if you require to preserve the emails for future usage of Outlook.com, you can easily keep a copy of the email files with the help of Hotmail Email Backup Software. However, if you are a desktop user, try downloading the mailbox emails into a PST file. It stores your data locally and also deletes it from the Outlook database.

Method 3: Edit the Message

You can edit the message first and save it. Doing this could reset a particular message corruption, allowing you to remove it normally afterwards.

  1. First of all, open the message by double-clicking on it.
  2. Now place the message in edit mode;
  3. Outlook 2003 and previous
  4. Choose Edit >> Edit message
  5. Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016
  6. Actions >> Edit Message
  7. Then type or remove some characters.
  8. After that, Save and close the message.
  9. Now try to delete the message again.

Method 4: Scan your pst-file for Errors

If the above methods fail to fix the issue, then it could be caused by corruption within your PST file. Therefore, to fix this problem, run scanpst.exe against your PST file. The location of scanpst.exe depends on the version of Outlook and Windows you are using.

Steps to Repair Outlook Data Files Containing Cannot Delete a Message in Microsoft Outlook Issue

  • First, close Outlook and go to one of the following file locations:

Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15

Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14

Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12

  • Here, you have to Open SCANPST.EXE.
  • Click the Browse button to select the Outlook Data file(.pst).
  • After that, choose Start to begin the scan.
  • If the scan finds errors, click on Repair to start the process of fixing them.
  • Once the process is completed, you can start Outlook again and check whether the issue is fixed or not.

However, if you are still facing the problem to fix the Cannot delete a message in Microsoft Outlook and all the manual tricks fail, then there is a problem with your PST file, restricting you from deleting the messages. Therefore you must use SysInfo Outlook PST Repair; this is a completely user-friendly solution that can repair your corrupted PST file within a few clicks. It is highly capable of recovering all your Outlook emails. Not only this, but it can also successfully recover Encrypted and Password Protected Outlook PST Files.

Follow the Steps to Recover Data from the PST file.

  1. Run the PST file Repair as an administrator.
  2. Click Open to browse the Outlook data file(.pst).
  3. Select the recovery mode as per the level of corruption.
  4. The software scans the corrupt PST and shows you the recovered data.
  5. Check the folders you want to backup and click on the Save button.
  6. Choose a path and select the saving option as PST.
  7. Click Ok to finish the process of saving.

Bottom Lines

The blog describes the situation where you cannot delete a message in Microsoft Outlook. Also, we have discussed the best possible solution to fix this issue, including the manual approach and the third-party tool. So, now it’s your call to pick the right one for you. Hope it helps.

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