Deleting many messages from connected Outlook

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From time to time you’ll probably have to clear out the older messages in your Deleted Items and Junk E-Mail folders. However, there are some things you should know.

From time to time you’ll probably have to clear out the older messages in your Deleted Items and Junk E-Mail folders. It’s usually a good idea to keep those messages for a month or more just in case a message you need ends up in one of those folders by mistake.

Trevor K does this but writes “when I try to delete anymore than a few message Outlook thinks for a while then stops with an ‘out of memory’ error”.

If you have Outlook connected to Exchange Server then do the deletion when DISconnected from the network server. Otherwise you’re likely to hang Outlook or get out of memory errors. Probably because Outlook is trying to communicate with the server for every deletion and the poor dear can’t cope.

But if Outlook is disconnected from the network (and the folders are replicated locally) then you can delete the messages offline. When Outlook next syncs with the server it will update the folders in the background.

To remove messages from a certain date backwards in time: Order the folder with newer messages at the top, select the message you want to start at, hold down the shift key then End — this will select from the selected message to the bottom of the list. Then press the Delete key. Deletion can take a minute or two.

If there’s a message with a read receipt you’ll get a message asking if you want to send the receipt (if you’ve chosen for receipts to be optional). I usually choose ‘No to all’ so none of the messages generate a receipt. Otherwise the sender will get a receipt, often saying you deleted the message without reading it. At worst the message is spam and the receipt is used to confirm that your mail account is still active.

Hint: To stop deleted messages automatically sending receipts, go to Tools | Options | Preferences | Email Options | Tracking Options and choose ‘Ask me before sending a response’.

Don’t select too many messages — if you try to delete more than a few thousand messages at once, Outlook will have a nervy and lock up entirely. Better to select a block of messages, delete them then select and delete some more.


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