6 Best Ways to Fix Microsoft Outlook Failed to Delete a Message Error

6 Best Ways to Fix Microsoft Outlook Failed to Delete a Message Error


Remove the image from the Microsoft Outlook email error message feature

There may be times when a message is not deleted in Outlook. You see error messages such as:

  • The operation failed. Mail interfaces returned an unknown error. If the problem persists, restart Outlook.
  • The messaging interface caused an unknown error.
  • An unknown error has occurred.

At first glance, it’s hard to pinpoint the reason that caused this error. With that said, here is what you can do to fix the Outlook error message:

Use keyboard shortcuts to delete

Among several keyboard shortcuts that you probably remember, this one will come in handy. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Select the message to delete.

Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 1


Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 1

2nd step: Hold down the Shift button on your keyboard.

Step 3: Press the Delete button on the keyboard.

Step 4: You should receive a pop-up message from Microsoft Outlook asking you to confirm the permanent deletion of the email. Click on Yes.

Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 2


Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 2

Clear deleted items

One of the reasons Microsoft Outlook displays an error message when trying to delete an item may be because the Deleted Items folder is full. When the Deleted Items folder is full, you cannot delete Outlook messages.

To correct this error, you must empty the Deleted Items folder. Here is how it works:

Step 1: In the Microsoft Outlook Folder Pane, right-click the folder labeled Deleted Items.

Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 3


Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 3

2nd step: From the list of options, select Empty Folder.

Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 4


Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 4

Step 3: You should receive a pop-up message from Microsoft Outlook asking you to confirm the permanent deletion of all items from the folder. Click on Yes.

Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 5


Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 5

Step 4: navigate to the message to delete and tap the Delete icon.

Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 6


Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 6

Edit mail marked for deletion

A corrupted mail file may also not be deleted. The best way to delete such a file is to edit it by following the steps below:

Step 1: Double-click on the message in question to open it.

2nd step: On the ribbon, find a field named Move and select the More Move Actions icon.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 7


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 7

Step 3: From the drop-down menu, select Edit Message.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 8


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 8

Step 4: Type a few characters or delete a few characters from the email.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 9


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 9

Step 5: Save the message and close it.

Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 10


Remove Microsoft Outlook Email Error Message Step 10

Step 6: Navigate to the message to delete and tap the Delete icon.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 11


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 11

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Mark the items to delete in the settings

This option only works with Microsoft Outlook accounts configured with IMAP. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Close Microsoft Outlook.

2nd step: Launch Control Panel on your PC.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 12


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 12

Step 3: Click on Mail. If you don’t see the Mail option, change the View By setting to Small Icons or try using the search bar.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 13


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 13

Step 4: In the new menu called Email Setup – Outlook, click Email Accounts.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 14


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 14

Step 5: A new menu called Account Settings should open. Double click on your email name to reveal its properties.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 15


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 15

Step 6: Click More Settings.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 16


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 16

Step 7: Select the Advanced tab.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 17


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 17

Step 8: In the menu named Deleted Items, make sure the following items are checked:

  • Mark the items to delete but do not move them automatically. Under normal circumstances, when you mark items for deletion, they are permanently deleted when the mailbox is purged.
  • Purge items when switching folders online.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 17


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 17

Use the inbox repair tool

Another reason that Microsoft Outlook mail may not be deleted can be due to corruption of PST file. PST stands for Personal Storage Table and it is the file format in which emails, calendar events and other items are saved on Outlook. To repair a PST file, you will need the inbox repair tool. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Close Microsoft Outlook.

2nd step: Launch File Explorer.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 18


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 18

Step 3: Open your C: Drive.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 19


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 19

Step 4: Select Program Files.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 20


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 20

Step 5: Select Microsoft Office.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 21


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 21

Step 6: Select your version of Office (Office 14, 15, 16, etc.).

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 22


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 22

Step 7: Double click on SCANPST.EXE to run the file.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 23


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 23

Step 8: Click Browse to select the PST file to scan.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 24


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 24

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 24


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 24

Step 10: Click Yes when prompted to confirm the creation of the backup.

Step 11: Close the tool when the process is complete.

Step 12: Relaunch Microsoft Outlook and check if the problem is resolved.

Restart Outlook in Safe Mode

To restart Microsoft Outlook in safe mode, here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Hold down the CTRL key.

2nd step: Click on the Outlook shortcut.

Step 3: You will see a warning dialog box asking you to confirm if you want to launch Outlook in Safe Mode. Click on Yes.

Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 25


Remove Microsoft Outlook E-mail Error Message Step 25

Last updated on July 3, 2021

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