Can’t delete an email folder in Outlook? Follow these steps

by Teodor Nechita
Teodor Nechita
Teodor Nechita
Software Managing Editor
Eager to help those in need, Teodor writes articles daily on subjects regarding Windows, Xbox, and all things tech-related. When not working, you may usually find him either... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Outlook is a very popular email client, especially among Microsoft fans.
  • Some users have reported that they have difficulties deleting email folders in Outlook.
  • To learn more about common Outlook issues and solutions, visit our Outlook Fix Hub.
  • For more useful information, go to our dedicated Email section as well.
Can't delete Outlook email folder

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If you frequently send emails, especially in a business environment, then you most probably know Microsoft Outlook.

This email client comes pre-installed with Microsoft Windows 10, and it manages emails from many email services.

The problem is that emails pile up over time, and eventually you may need to delete entire folders.

Users have been reporting that they are having issues downloading folders in Outlook.

I’m using outlook 2016 and have an IMAP account set up on it I have created a sub folder under Inbox, which I no longer need. I keep trying to delete this folder, but after a few seconds it reappears.

Apparently, a lot of users are having a hard time deleting email folders, and it can get quite annoying.

Take note: once you delete an email folder, all emails that were inside it will be deleted as well.

As such, check the content of the folder before proceeding with any of the following steps.


How do I get rid of Outlook email folders permanently?

1. Try a different email client

Before going on and trying the troubleshooting steps listed below, you should also consider the possibility of switching from Outlook altogether.

There are plenty of worth-mentioning alternatives. The emerging email clients of these days integrate all the features you can find in Outlook, including scheduled emails, keyboard shortcuts, task management, and more.

We recommend looking for an email client with integrated productivity features. Many options are very similar to Outlook when it comes to user experience, so you won’t have to spend too much time learning how to use them.


2. Try accessing Outlook from your browser

Several users reported that accessing Outlook through your browser can be a viable workaround. If you’re looking for a proper browser for that, we recommend you look into the best browsers for Windows 10.

The most important asset of a browser is security, so make sure you pick an option that has that into place. There are many browsers with built-in VPNs and malware scanners.

Good security and encryption ensure that the content of your emails as well as your online activity stay private.

Other things to consider are the management features, navigation controls, and page loading speed. 


3. Check whether the folder is on the IMAP email account server 

If a folder is on the IMAP email account server (created by the server administrator), it must be deleted on a server level.

But if a folder is simply one you created in your own client, then you can delete without many issues.


4. Remove the IMAP email accounts from your Outlook

IMAP email account stored on your client may make their IMAP folders stay visible for all accounts stored on the clients.

Here’s how you can remove an email account from your Outlook client:

  1. Select File in the upper left corner of the screen
  2. Go to Account Settings
  3. Select the  Account Settings entry right under
  4. Select the account you want to delete
  5. Click Remove
Outlook account settings Can't delete an email folder in Outlook

5. Unsubscribe from the IMAP folders first

  1. Right-click on Inbox
  2. Click IMAP folders
  3. Choose Subscribed
  4. Click on Query
  5. Find the folder in question within the folder list
  6. Select UnsubscribeIMAP unsubscribe unable to delete an email folder in Outlook
  7. Choose Apply and click on OK 
  8. Return to the Outlook main screen and delete the folder normally

6. Delete the folder from the web version

  1. Close the Microsoft Outlook client
  2. Go to Outlook.com via a browser
  3. Log into your account
  4. Right-click the folder you want to delete
  5. Select Delete folder
    Delete email folder outlook web Can't delete an email folder in Outlook
  6. When the Delete folder dialogue box appears, press OK
  7. Re-open the Microsoft Outlook client and check whether the folder is truly deleted or not

There you go, we hope that you found our solutions helpful. If you did, feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below.


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