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Old 2nd April 2005   #1
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Microsoft Outlook 2003: Cannot delete old emails


I use Microssoft Outlook 2003 (not Express) and have a particular problem that is bugging me. I have about 3000 emails from 9/2/03 to 12/9/03 that I can't delete from my send file. Each time I attempt to delete one or more of these emails, I get the message "The messaging interface has returned an unknown error. If the problem persists, restart outlook".

Obviously, restarting outlook does not solve the problem. Also, I tried reloading Outlook (twice) but this did not help. Obviously since I have had this problem for a year and a half, it is a stubborn problem. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Old 2nd April 2005   #2
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A common cause for this error, is having too many items in the deleted folder. Or a folder/box that has reached it's size limit. When the deleted folder hits its limit, you need to empty it. (Sorry but I don't know the crunched size/limitation numbers off the top of my head.)

Let's try something easy first. One way to delete these items, without addressing the cause, is to hold the shift key when you delete to bypass the Deleted items folder. Or another possible work-around is to open the send to folder and select and delete a few or fewer items at the same time. Repeat this procedure until all the items that you want to delete have been deleted.

If you can't delete them, can you move them, to another folder (that you make) and then delete that folder? Just to clarify...are these messages in the "Outbox" or copies in the "Sent" box. Does outlook have a box, literally, named "send"?

I don't know how much help, ^the above, will be for you. I have office 2000 and don't use Outlook but prefer OE. Therefore specifc Outlook 2003 fixes are pretty much beyond me. I did think that the above method may just work for ya' though and thought it worth a try so I took a shot. (Not knowing if you have searched this boards "Archived posts", may I suggest that? It's filled with tons of OE info. Perhaps Outlook will produce similar bountiful hits. Barring that I will be glad to look for possible alternative solutions, with the steps needed for Outlook 2003, if another member doesn't supply the method/fix you'll need in the meantime.

--Back from google shopping and here's what I came up with---
If this is the outbox, perhaps this will apply but please... please take all precautions needed to make sure your current mail data is backed up so you can restore all should it become neccessary. While we are only messing with a few spoiled apples, trying to get rid them may damage the whole barrel. (< Forgive the bad metaphor). That said:
http://www.outlook-tips.net/howto/stuck_message.htm

Or as a twist to the ^above keep the new pst:
Create a new PST, make it your default delivery location, and move
everything from your old PST (except the items you don't want) to it. Close and delete the old PST.

-Now for a possible fix that may cause this------------------
Have you patched your office program? You may need to update.
Shoot....! I had the link but I closed the window. Be back in a bit.....

-------------------
As a side note, I did see a couple of references hinting at a possible snafu if this was an upgraded install of office 2003 (from office xp for example) and the older files where from the previous version. So far the advice noted has been to create a new profile but there has to a better solution than that, don't you think? I won't bother with this "monkey wrench" as I don't know if it applies, I just thought it was an interesting "hmmmmmm".


Last edited by goddez1; 2nd April 2005 at 13:10.
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Old 3rd April 2005   #3
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ultrasnd,

I think goddez1 is right on the money , you can directly *hard delete* messages from any folder in Outlook by clicking the message and then pressing the SHIFT+DELETE keys.
You may not be able to clear all the emails in your 'Sent Items' in one shot, if not, try a few at a time. If this doesn't work, post back and we can try something else.

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Old 3rd April 2005   #4
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Microsoft Outlook--Can't delete old emails


Goddez1, thank you for the help. Just to clarify, the emails I can't delete are in the "sent items" folder. With Outlook the 4 main folders are inbox, outbox, sent items, deleted items.

Here is what I can add at this time:

I tried a Shift + Delete and got the following message:
Are you sure yo want to permanently delete the selected items?
yes, then 2nd message said:
The messaging interface has returned an unknown error. If problem persists restart outlook.
I restarted Outlook, but still could not delete

Also, there are currently about 250 emails in my deleted file. The most I have had is about 2000 in the deleted file.

I have tried for about 2 weeks to download upgrades to office 2003 but for some reason have not been able to. I didn't think this was the problem though because I use Outlook 2003 and have loaded (and tried reloading) this progam, without affecting the problem. Do you think my delete problem has something to do with not being able to download an office upgrade?

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Old 3rd April 2005   #5
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ultrasnd,

Have you tried using the 'Detect and repair' tool that can be found under the Help menu in Outlook? It will ask for your installation CD so have it handy. With the error message being of the 'Unknown' type maybe running 'detect and repair' will help.
Are you using any 'add-in' programs with Outlook? Any 'desktop' search programs that might tie-in to Outlook? If you are, disable them before running 'detect and repair'. Also disable your antivirus program while running the repair (don't forget to enable it afterwards). Have you been having any other problems with your computer lately?

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Old 4th April 2005   #6
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Casting a few other ideas to the winds..........
--------------

Error message when you try to read or to delete email or when you click "Send/Receive" in Outlook: "An unknown error has occurred" or "Messaging interface has caused an unknown error"
------------

Do any of these emails contain attachments? Perhaps outlook is choking on these. Maybe you need to take an added step of separating the attachment from the emails and deal with deleting them separately:
Move or Delete E-mail with Attachments
Attachments often take up a large amount of space in your mailbox. These files can be saved on your computer or on your network drive. To do this:
1. Open an e-mail containing an attachment
2. Right-click the attachment and choose Save As…
3. Select the location you wish to save the file to
4. Click OK.
5. Close and Delete the e-mail

-------------
If you can't delete them, can you move them, to another folder (that you make) and then delete that folder?...........
In OE, I can click on a selected email (in the "sent items" folder) to highlight it and right click on it which gives me many otions for working with that email. Moving it to a new folder is one of those options. (I can either have made a New folder prior to this or can do so from within the options popup after right clicking on it.) After moving this to the new folder, I can delete the whole folder. It and anything I put in it, is gone. Perhaps Outlook is not that different, can you do this?

----------
Have you tried the other suggestion of creating a new pst and using one of the metods of either 1]opening the old and deleting these "sent item" buggers or 2]moving the old wanted things to the new pst and deleting the old pst?


--Putting these particular emails under the microscope----------
Anything unusual about these stubborn emails that makes them different then the others you can delete? Attachments...accounts....rules (particularly an "after sending rule")...size...etc.

Are these actual "copies of items from the outbox" and not something you've dragged into the sent items box yourself or possibly something that outlook can do that I'm not aware of? Archiving would be an example of this. I have very simple basic email needs and have never really used or investigated many functions (bells and whistles) that I know exist. This is where I'm hoping other members more familiar with Outlook 2003 or at least more familiar with problems that can occur, when using and putting an email program through it's paces, will step in and fill in the gapping holes that I know I must be leaving. While searching for "Outlook 2003" problems, I have learned one sure thing, this does come with lots of them "Bells and Whistles".

Do these emails open (can you read them)? Are these in a subfolder in the "sent items" folder?

Going back to the possible "Office upgrade" scenario; Where these made with and while using the current version of your outlook or are they hold overs or imports from a previous version upgrade?

---------------
Quote:
I have tried for about 2 weeks to download upgrades to office 2003 but for some reason have not been able to.
What's the problem[s]? I take it there are patches available that you need but have not been successful at getting at "Microsoft Update".


Last edited by goddez1; 4th April 2005 at 13:15.
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Old 8th April 2005   #7
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Hi ultrasnd,
While doing some checkup/followups on back posts, I noticed you've disappeared from my prefered "two day message display" preference. I'm giving this a bump and a second chance for a hopeful update. (Just so I don't forget about the post and in case you have gotten lost.)

It's been a few days since we've heard from you. How are coming along on this? Any progress at all?

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Old 11th April 2005   #8
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Microsoft Outlook--Can't delete old emails


Goddes1:
Sorry for the delay, as I am a small busness owner, the 12 to 14 hour days sometimes leave me little time to take care of everything need. Here is what I have so far. Let me know anything I have missed. Thanks again for your help.

1) The emails that can't be deleted do not have attachments and are not lengthy. Most just a few lines or few paragraphs maximum.
2) I have tried moving the emails into folders many times, but microsoft message comes up barring this.
3) Yes, I can open and read any of the emails that won't delete.
4) None of the emails are in subfolders.
5) No, I haven't tried setting up a new PST yet. I was hoping there was an easier way to solve this problem.

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Old 27th April 2005   #9
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Have you tried right clicking on the folder and selecting Properties
and then AutoArchive - and setting this to "permanently delete" after
a selected number of days? When you do this, what happens?

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Old 26th May 2005   #10
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Smile

Thanks


Thanks goddez1......The <highlight email><shift><del> combo worked..I have had the same annoying problem...it started a few weeks ago and usually involves offensive spam...I have been unable to delete the email...

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