Can't Delete emails. (When Inbox Repair Tool doesn't work.)

OS: Windows 2K Server
App: MS Outlook 2000

Outlook 2000 stopped letting me delete emails, in any folder (Inbox, Sent, Deleted, etc). When I highlight an email and click delete, I get the following error:

"Errors have been detected in the file F:\thomas_pab\OUTLOOK BACKUP\outlook_mail.pst. Quit all mail-enabled applications, and then use the Inbox Repair Tool."

So I shut down Outlook and use the inbox repair tool on the file in question, and the first time, it said it "repaired" the files and all was well.  But it still didn't allow emails to be deleted.  So I rebooted, and tried again, this time Inbox Repair Tool said there were no errors with the file.  Outlook opens, sends and receives perfectly fine.  It just won't allow me to delete.
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Do you ever or can you empty your deleted items folder, and then try again?

If you need to keep your deleted items contents, you might want to open a new PST file and drag-drop the contents of your deleted items folder to the new PST file, then try deleting something.  If you are not sure how to go about doing this, please reply with whether you are running Internet Mail Only  or Corporate/Workgroup mode ( you can find that under help->about)
tomgrinAuthor Commented:
>> "Do you ever or can you empty your deleted items folder, and then try again?"

That is the problem.  As of today or last night some time, Outlook would not allow me to delete any emails, or empty my deleted items folder.

My setup is: Internet Mail Only  

I don't need to keep any of my deleted item contents, and was actually trying to delete it when it started to give me this problem.  It WAS allowing me to, then I highlighted all in my deleted items folder, (it was a lot), and hit delete.  It spun up, then started coughing up this error.  
Instead of using the delete command, try right clicking on the deleted items folder and choosing "empty deleted items folder"

Assuming that doesn't work, you can click on FILE->NEW->Outlook Data File (i'm working from memory, I don't have a copy of OL 2000 handy, but it's something like that)
Save the file where ever on the hard drive with whatever name.

You should then see a new Personal Folder in your Folder List (view->folder list if you don't see that).  The one titled "Outlook Today - Personal Folders" is your old one, the one that is just "Personal Folders" is the new one and should just have a deleted items folder in it.

Try to drag and drop everything from your old deleted items folder into the new one.  The close and reopen Outlook and see if you still have the error.
Big Business Goals? Which KPIs Will Help You

The most successful MSPs rely on metrics – known as key performance indicators (KPIs) – for making informed decisions that help their businesses thrive, rather than just survive. This eBook provides an overview of the most important KPIs used by top MSPs.

tomgrinAuthor Commented:
>> "Instead of using the delete command, try right clicking on the deleted items folder and choosing "empty deleted items folder"

No go. Tried it, and got the following "The messaging interface has returned an unknown error.  If the problem persists, restart Outlook."

I'll try your second suggestion. I'll post the result in a few.
tomgrinAuthor Commented:
Nope. I tried to drag a single email in Folder List View from my old deleted items folder to the new empty deleted items folder and got the following error:

"Can't move the items.  The item could not be deleted.  It was either moved or already deleted, or access was denied."

When Outlook initially choked, I had my entire (1600+ items) deleted folder selected and had hit the delete key.  It seemed to be in the middle of that batch delete when it choked and started kicking the error.  Do you think it "THINKS" that these files are already deleted even though it didnt delete them? Then again, that would not explain why it stopped allowing me to delete new and old emails in my Inbox.  
Hold down SHIFT then press delete. This will delete them for good and they will not hit the deleted items folder.

Also, how big is your pst file - I have seen files hit 1.6gb and become corrupt even though the MS limit is alleg

Not sure whether this will help you or not.

...I will continue.......even though the MS limit is allegedly 2gb for pst files for Outlook 2000.
tomgrinAuthor Commented:
Ok, this is getting weirder.  Rodlab's suggestion to hold SHIFT + press DELETE worked in my inbox, and in my sent folder, but NOT in my deleted folder.  Still however, if I don't hold shift and try to delete a file in any of those folders, it still will not delete.

My pst is 380Mb.  Once, several years ago I had to go through a full truncate since I had let it get to almost 2Gigs.. but thankfully thats not the problem this time around.

So - I'm still open to ideas on this.
How about exporting everything in the current pst to a new pst and then use this is the main pst file. ie change delivery to this file.

Sounds to me as though there are still errors in the original pst.


Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
tomgrinAuthor Commented:
Worth a try. I'm giving that a go right now.
tomgrinAuthor Commented:
Ok, so far so good. Exported everything to a NEW .pst, and opened that through outlook.  Was able to delete the entire deleted items folder and deleting is not a problem in new account.

I'm not clear on how to have new email delivered into this account versus the old/existing one.  When I highlight (in folder view) the new pst account, and go to properties, there is a checkbox to 'Deliver POP mail to this personal folders file'.  Is that all I have to do to have all of my pop accounts start dropping new emails into the new pst, so that I can hopefully delete my old/corrupted personal folders file?  
tomgrinAuthor Commented:
So when the file just goes corrupt and inbox repair tool doesn't work, first try what we did and export a completely new .pst file, then open that in Outlook and tell it to have all new POP mail delivered there.

Note to anyone reading this after this is closed, your outlook shortcuts will possibly be broken since you end up closing the old pst.  You can quickly right-click in the shortcuts area and create any new shortcuts to get it "back the way you are used to".  

Thanks to both of you guys. Since Traval did suggest starting a clean pst, but Rodlab helped me through it in more detail, I'll split the points. Thanks again.
What you could do is rename the old file (or just delete it) and then name the new pst file as per the old name. Then you dont have to worry about properties as long as they live in the same dir.

Thanks for the points.

tomgrinAuthor Commented:
THanks for the help.
I can't clear the delete box in MS Outlook. It says that the files either have been deleted or moved or I do not have permissions to delete these items. How do I resolve this problem.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.