Empty the Deleted Items folder

Items that you delete are moved to the Deleted Items folder, but aren’t permanently deleted until that folder is emptied. Over time, the contents of the Deleted Items folder can consume a large amount of your data file or email server storage quota.

Outlook can be configured to automatically empty the Deleted Items folder, or you can manually empty the folder at any time.

Automatically empty the Deleted Items folder

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Options.

  3. On the Advanced tab, under Outlook Start and Exit, select the Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting check box.

  4. To be notified before the Deleted Items folder is emptied automatically, on the Advanced tab, under Other, select the Prompt for confirmation before permanently deleting items check box.

Manually empty the Deleted Items folder

  • In the Mail pane, right-click the Deleted Items folder you want to empty, and then click Empty Folder.

    You can also do this procedure in Folders view, in the Folders pane.

See also

Recover deleted items

Archive older items automatically

Automatically empty the Deleted Items folder

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Other tab.

  2. Select the Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting check box.

  3. If you do not want to be notified before the Deleted Items folder is emptied automatically, do the following:

    1. Click Advanced Options.

    2. Clear the Warn before permanently deleting items check box.

Note: To turn off automatic emptying of the Deleted Items folder, clear the Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting check box.

Manually empty the Deleted Items folder

  1. On the Go menu, click Folder List.

  2. In the Folder List, right-click the Deleted Items folder, and then on the shortcut menu, click Empty "Deleted Items" Folder.

Purging IMAP items marked for deletion

When you mark an item on an IMAP e-mail server for deletion, the item is displayed in strikethrough text in the header list. However, the item isn't removed from the IMAP mail server until a purge command is used.

Tip: You can change the view of an IMAP folder so that items marked for deletion do not appear. On the View menu, point to Current View, and then click Hide Messages Marked for Deletion. If you are using the Reading Pane, you must turn it back on after using this command. On the View menu, point to Reading Pane, and then click Right or Bottom.

If you don't purge deleted items periodically, you might reach and exceed the allotted disk space on your e-mail server. If you exceed your allotted disk space, you might not receive any new messages.

Note: You must be working online with the mail server for these features to work.

Manually purge deleted items

To permanently delete the items marked for deletion, do the following:

  1. Click a folder in your IMAP e-mail account.

  2. On the Edit menu, point to Purge Deleted Messages.

  3. Do one of the following:

    Purge deleted messages in all IMAP accounts

    • Click Purge Marked Items in "folder".

      Only items marked for deletion in the folder that you're in are purged from the IMAP mail server.

    • Click Purge Marked Items in "e-mail account".

      All items marked for deletion in any folder for this IMAP e-mail account are purged from the IMAP mail server.

    • Click Purge Marked Items in All Accounts.

      All items marked for deletion in any folder for any IMAP e-mail account are purged from the IMAP mail server.

Tip: Add the Purge command to a toolbar. On the Tools menu, click Customize. On the Commands tab, under Categories, click Edit. Under Commands, drag the Purge command to a toolbar.

Automatically purge the deleted items

You can configure Microsoft Outlook so that when you switch between folders, any items you have marked for deletion are purged from the IMAP mail server.

  1. Click a folder in your IMAP e-mail account.

  2. On the Edit menu, point to Purge Deleted Messages.

  3. Click Purge Options.

    The Internet E-mail Settings dialog box opens.

  4. On the General tab, under Purge Options, select the Purge items when switching folders while online check box.

See also

Archive older items automatically

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