outlook 2003: Cannot delete unsendable 32MB message from Outbox

Posted on 2011-03-03
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

I have a customer who has tried to send an email message which happens to be too big for the mail transport to handle.

The send/recv timer has been set to 15 minutes, and to not send messages immediately.
The message cannot be deleted, even if Outlook is put into "Work Offline" mode.
When double clicking on the message, there is a message:
  "! Cannot open this item.  Outlook has already begun transmitting this message [OK]"
However, the task manager shows low network volume, indicating that this message is not being sent right now.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Question by:ChrisEddy
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 225 total points
ID: 35031151
Try opening Outlook in Safe mode and then see if you can delete the email. The command is outlook /safe . Open a command prompt, navigate to program files and where outlook.exe is and run outlook /safe
... Thinkpads_User

Author Comment

ID: 35031484
I'll try that the next time I'm in the customer machine.  Thanks!

LVL 76

Accepted Solution

Alan Hardisty earned 275 total points
ID: 35031527
You can simply disconnect the Pc from the network (unplug the cable once logged in), open up Outlook and then delete the email.

The problem with doing it when connected to the LAN is that when you open Outlook, it will immediately try to send the message which means you can't delete it.
MS Dynamics Made Instantly Simpler

Make Your Microsoft Dynamics Investment Count  & Drastically Decrease Training Time by Providing Intuitive Step-By-Step WalkThru Tutorials.


Author Comment

ID: 35031768
Yeah, I got that memo (from other web research, which makes sense) ...

... but thanks.

LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 275 total points
ID: 35032020
Memo?  What memo?  Do you mean my post?

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35037692
Customer shut down computer yesterday, came in today, turned on the computer, launched Outlook, tried to delete the message - and succeeded.

Suspect the combination of the disabling automatic send receive (to prevent the message from getting locked), and the fresh rebooting of the computer (to prevent the message from being locked, and clearing any possible Outlook insanity), solved the problem.

LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 35039509
Thank you and thanks for the update.  ... Thinkpads_User

Featured Post

Technology Partners: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
Outlook 2010 locking up for periods of time 5 51
Fraud Email 22 125
Certificates for Exchange 2010 4 110
Import Archive PST files into Archive Office 365 mailboxes 2 32
What does UTC stand for?  “Coordinated Universal Time” – Think of this as the true time on Planet Earth that never changes with the exception of minor leap seconds here and there to account for the changes in the planet's rotation.   What does th…
This article lists the top 5 free OST to PST Converter Tools. These tools save a lot of time for users when they want to convert OST to PST after their exchange server is no longer available or some other critical issue with exchange server or impor…
Get people started with the process of using Access VBA to control Outlook using automation, Microsoft Access can control other applications. An example is the ability to programmatically talk to Microsoft Outlook. Using automation, an Access applic…
A short tutorial showing how to set up an email signature in Outlook on the Web (previously known as OWA). For free email signatures designs, visit If you want to manage em…

734 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question