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We've got a sub folder of an inbox in Outlook 2007 with currently over 300,000 messages sat in it. It's taking ages, if at all, to select them all and remove them chunk by chunk so I was wondering if there's an Exchange 2010 EMS command I can run to remove items from this specific folder without purging the rest of the inbox?


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If I want to get rid of all the Server Errors email from my Errors folder I make a Use-only-once Rule.

This is what I do:

  • I create a new Rule and I call it Permanently Delete Emails on Selected Folder. I move this rule to all the way at the bottom of the rules.
  • On the first screen of the rule I select received in a specific date span, I select two days ahead of today's date and click Next (By selecting two days ahead I remove all emails, but if I want to keep a couple of days worth of emails I select a day or two back)
  • On the next screen select stop processing more rules and permanently delete it and click Finish. It will warn you that it's a client only rule, but that's ok. alt text
  • Make sure you unselect the rule so it doesn't run on it's own. This rule will delete anything on the folder you decide to run it on so run it carefully! alt text

  • Click Apply on your Rules and Alerts dialog and close it

  • Select the folder where all these emails are at and then reopen the Rules and Alerts dialog; click on the Run Rules Now... button.
  • The folder you are about to apply the Permanently Delete Emails on Selected Folder is on the Run in Folder field. Double check this since if you run this it will remove all emails permanently!
  • Check the Permanently Delete Emails on Selected Folder rule on the Select Rules to run list. Click Run Now and see your emails disapear forever. It'll take a while to remove them all but it's easier than removing them manually bit by bit since Outlook will take forever to select all emails and delete them. alt text

This is one of the easiest ways I know of removing tons of emails at once. What I like is that if the emails are unread you can keep track how many you have left to delete:)

Again, I can't stress enough that this rule should be at the very bottom and unchecked plus run only on the selected folder that you know you want to delete these emails otherwise all those emails will be deleted permanently. I had a guy with this rule and he "wasn't receiving" any emails and I looked and he had that rule checked so any email that was coming in was being deleted.

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You're not entirely clear whether you want to delete everything from the folder or just specific items, but this might help you.

If you want to delete everything in the folder, you could just delete the folder itself and create it again (Shift+Delete it though, or you'll have exactly the same problem with your Deleted Items folder).

If you only want to delete some items, you might get away with creating a new folder, moving items you want to keep into this new folder, delete the old folder (again Shift+Delete it) and then rename the new folder so it has the same name as the old one.

If you want to be a bit selective on what you delete, you could try and use Outlook in a bit of an unusual way. Create a new folder in the mailbox (e.g Stuff to delete) and then create an Outlook rule to move messages with your specified criteria to the Stuff to delete folder. Run the rule on the large folder and then Shift+Delete the Stuff to delete folder.

You'll need to bear in mind that if you do any of the above, Outlook might take forever to complete the action and appear as though it's hung/crashed - more than likely it hasn't and is just churning through the sheer volume of messages. Make yourself a cup of tea and give it a while, it should come back eventually.

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Export mailbox.

Delete mailbox.

Create mailbox.

Import desired content.

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