How to: Remove ghost email messages that appear in Outlook’s Unread Mail folder

Quick TipAnyone who’s ever worked with Microsoft Office Outlook and had a case of power outage or system failure has probably at one point or another needed to check their pst folders for errors with Microsoft’s scanpst.exe program.

If Outlook tells you that your pst folders need to be scanned for errors or if you notice that you’re unable to start up Outlook because your mail storage file has been corrupted, you need to located the secret/hidden file scanpst.exe and execute it. You will then pass in your pst file and wait for it to complete. Be patient. It will take time! In order to find the file, make sure you have enabled the file explorer to display hidden files (go to tools, folder options, view and then check the option: “show hidden files, folders and drives”). The file is located in the Outlook installation folder.

What happens though when, after you’ve run that tool, you get a stubborn email displaying in your Unread Mail folder. Trying to read it or delete it gives an error of “the message you specified cannot be found”.

First, you need to remember that the Unread Mail folder is not a folder. Not really. It is just a filter that displays as a folder in Outlook. The file is unfortunately not available. I’m sorry to say that it is not something you can get back. Chances are that the actual email is also somewhere in your saved emails. If it’s not, sorry but the email is lost. You can’t get it back from this location. What you can do however is remove the ghost email that appears in this folder. How do you do that since you can’t erase it?

Erase the Unread Mail folder. Click on OK when Outlook complains that you are erasing the filter folder and then, in the tree on the left, move down where it says “Search Folders”. Right click and select “New Search Folder”. The first filter on the top is the one you need: “Unread email”. Select it and click OK. Be patient because it will take some time. The filter has to go through your entire list of emails to make sure there’s nothing (or something) to display.

That’s all. Hope it helps.

MGR: the Intelogist

About MGR: the Intelogist

SharePoint Server developer, turned Sitefinity developer, turned Angular developer, turned SharePoint Online consultant, turned Unily consultant, turned O365 consultant... Never a dull moment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.