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

Teodor Nechita
by Teodor Nechita
Software Managing Editor
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  • 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.

Since you are always going to choose a better alternative, try Mailbird – Winner of Most Popular Mail Alternative 2020.

It brings to together all of your email addresses in one place, and the customizable UI along with the integration of various services make it a delight to use as well.

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2. Try accessing Outlook from your browser

UR browser Can't delete an email folder in Outlook

Several users reported that accessing Outlook through your browser can be a viable workaround. If you’re looking for a proper browser for that, you should try UR Browser.

This browser is based on Chromium engine, so it’s quite similar to Chrome in terms of functionality.  However, UR Browser has a fair share of unique features.

UR Browser comes with a built-in malware scanner for downloaded files, so it will ensure that your PC is safe at all times. In addition, there’s a built-in tracking and phishing protection, as well as a built-in VPN.


Want to know why UR browser is better than other browsers? Check out our in-depth review!


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.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2019 and was revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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  • Thank you so much for showing me how to delete a folder that wouldn’t go away. I will remember the IMAP folders if it ever happens again