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Can't Delete Email in Outlook Express

Started by Tech, September 01, 2007, 01:10:11 AM

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"I received an email recently, with no attachment, and when I tried to open it, my computer froze. Even a ctrl-alt-del wouldn't help. Every time I try to open, or just click on and delete this message my computer freezes. I didn't think it was possible for an email to cause this kind of problem, if there was no attachment. I'm using Outlook Express, and running Windows XP Professional Version, Service Pack 2. I just want to delete this message from my inbox -- I have no idea what is in it and I don't care at this point!"

Stranger things have been known to happen to folks using Outlook Express, but I'm sure that's little comfort to you now. Here are some things you can try to remove the offending item from your inbox.

# First, have you made sure that you are current with Windows Update patches and fixes? There are a bunch of nasty bugs in Outlook Express that can leave you open to attacks from specially formatted emails -- with or without attachments. Some viruses can be activated and spread to others just by viewing a message in the preview pane, but ONLY if you are using an old, unpatched version of Outlook.

# Next, is your anti-virus protection up to date? If your service has expired, renew it ASAP. Or check with your ISP to see if they offer any free anti-virus software.

# Try turning off the preview pane in Outlook (use View / Layout and UNcheck Show Preview Pane). Then right-click the offending message and select Delete.

# Some users report success with pressing the Shift and Delete keys after highlighting the message. Note: This technique will delete the message without sending it to the Deleted Items folder.

# Finally, it's possible that the undelete-able email does not contain any harmful content, but attempting to open it triggers a flaw in your anti-virus scanner. If you are certain that the email is a harmless message from a known person (and they are using anti-virus software), you could try suspending your anti-virus program, then attempt to delete the message.

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If you're unable to delete emails in Outlook Express, it could be due to various reasons, including software glitches, incorrect settings, or issues with the email server. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve the problem:

1. Close and Reopen Outlook Express:
Sometimes, a simple restart of Outlook Express can resolve minor glitches. Close the program completely and then reopen it to see if you can delete emails.

2. Check for Corrupted Emails:
A corrupted email can sometimes prevent you from deleting other emails. Try deleting the oldest emails first or identify and delete any suspicious emails that might be causing the issue.

3. Empty Deleted Items Folder:
If the "Deleted Items" folder is full, it might cause problems when trying to delete additional emails. Empty the "Deleted Items" folder and see if that resolves the issue.

4. Compact Folders:
Outlook Express stores emails in a database format, and over time, this database can become fragmented and lead to issues. Compact the email folders to improve performance:

Go to "File" > "Folder" > "Compact All Folders."
5. Check Email Server Settings:
If your emails are hosted on a server, ensure that the server settings in Outlook Express are correct. Incorrect settings might prevent you from properly deleting emails.

6. Try Safe Mode:
Start Outlook Express in Safe Mode to troubleshoot if any third-party add-ins or extensions are causing the issue. To start in Safe Mode, press and hold the "Ctrl" key while launching Outlook Express.

7. Repair or Reinstall Outlook Express:
If the issue persists, you might consider repairing or reinstalling Outlook Express to fix any potential software-related problems.

8. Delete from Webmail:
If you have access to webmail (using a web browser to access your email), try deleting the problematic emails from there. This can help determine if the issue is specific to Outlook Express.

9. Update Outlook Express:
If you're using an outdated version of Outlook Express, consider updating to the latest version. Updates might include bug fixes that address email-related issues.

10. Backup and Re-create Account:
Backup your emails and account settings, then re-create your email account in Outlook Express. This can help reset any incorrect settings that might be causing the issue.

11. Contact Email Provider:
If you're using an email service provider (such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), reach out to their support for assistance. They might be able to provide specific guidance based on their server settings.

If none of the above steps resolve the issue, it's advisable to seek assistance from technical support or an IT professional who can diagnose the problem more thoroughly and provide personalized solutions.

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