SOLVED: Cannot open this item. Outlook has already begun transmitting this message

Outlook is an amazing desktop email client. However, that does not mean that Outlook is perfect. There are many issues that plague all the many different versions of Outlook, and one of these issues occurs when an email that an affected user sends out gets stuck in the Outbox folder with the user unable to send, delete and sometimes even open it. Such an email simply remains in the Outbox for what seems like all eternity, refusing to go anywhere. In addition, to top it all off, this problem has and continues to affect quite a lot of Outlook users. Whenever a user affected by this issue tries to open or resend the culprit message, they receive the following error message:

Cannot open this item. Outlook has already begun transmitting this message

Emails can get stuck in the Outbox because they are too large, because of a crappy internet connection, because of an internal problem with the email itself or because of any one of dozens of other reasons. Thankfully, though, no matter what the cause of this issue may be, there are tons of things that can be done to try and fix it. The following are some of the most effective solutions that you can use to try and fix this problem:

Solution 1: Open the email and then delete it

Launch Outlook

Navigate to your Outbox.

Double-click on the email to open it. If the email simply refuses to open, ignore this step and move forward with the next one. If the email opens successfully, close it.

Right-click on the email and click on Delete in the context menu.

Pro Tip: If this solution doesn’t work for you, simply drag and drop the culprit email from your Outbox to your Drafts folder. Once that’s done, open your Drafts folder and either delete the email or open it by double-clicking on it and click on Send to try and send it. If sending the email from the Drafts folder doesn’t work, be sure to try to delete it.

Solution 2: Try to fix the problem in Offline Mode

Outlook has a handy little Offline Mode which you can switch to in order to try and get rid of the culprit email in case Solution 1 didn’t work for you. To use this solution, you need to:

If you are using Outlook 2007 (or an even older version), click on File > Work Offline. If you are using Outlook 2010 or later, navigate to the Send / Receive tab and click on Work Offline.

Try to delete the culprit email. To do so, repeat steps 24 from Solution 1.

Pro Tip: If this solution doesn’t work, you can even try switching to Offline Mode and then using the Pro Tip from Solution 1 to maximize your chances of overcoming this issue.

Solution 3: Try to fix the problem in Safe Mode

Apart from Offline Mode, you can also try to fix this problem in Outlook’s Safe Mode. In order to do so, you need to:

Hold down the Ctrl key, and while doing so, double-click on a shortcut to Outlook or click on Outlook in your Taskbar or Start Menu to launch it.

Keep holding down the Ctrl key until you see a dialog asking you whether or not you want to start Outlook in Safe Mode. Once you see this dialog, let go of the Ctrl key and click on Yes.

Try to delete the culprit email by repeating steps 24 from Solution 1.

Pro Tip: Once again, it is recommended that you reuse the Pro Tip from Solution 1, but this time while you have started Outlook in Safe Mode.

Solution 4: Create a new .PST file and then delete the culprit email

If none of the above solutions have worked for you, this borderline drastic yet extremely effective solution may just be the way to go. Many users affected by this issue have been able to delete the emails that were stuck in their Outbox after creating new .PST files. In order to apply this solution, you need to:

If you are using Outlook 2007 (or an even older version), click on File > New > Outlook Data File…. On the other hand, if you are using Outlook 2010 or later, click on File > Account Settings > Account Settings…, navigate to the Data Files tab and click on Add….

Name the new Outlook Data File something like New PST and then click on OK.

Click on the newly created Outlook Data File to select it, and then click on Set as Default to set it as your default Data File.

Click on OK in the resulting dialog.

Restart Outlook by closing it and then launching it again. Once it opens, you will see that the contents of your original .PST file are displayed in Outlook as an additional set of folders now.

Navigate to your secondary Outbox (the one from the original .PST file) and delete the stuck email or move it to your Drafts folder and then remove/resend it from there.

Set your original .PST file as the default Outlook Data File and, if you want, delete the new .PST file that you created.

Restart Outlook and, hopefully, all should be well again.

Solution 5: Use MFCMAPI to remove the culprit message

If all else fails, the only remaining path for you to go down is to use MFCMAPI, an extremely trustworthy and reliable third-party program designed as a low-level editing tool for Outlook, to try and remove the culprit email. In order to do so, you need to:

Go here and download the latest version of MFCMAPI.

If the downloaded file is an archive file, uncompress it using a compression program such as WinRAR.

Locate and double-click on exe among the contents of the downloaded file to launch MFCMAPI.

Click on OK in the resulting popup.

Click on Session > Logon….

Select your Outlook mail profile in the dropdown menu and click on OK.

Double-click on the entry which has True in its Default Store

In the left pane, expand the very first entry. This will be called Root – Mailbox or Root Container depending on whether or not you are using an Exchange

Expand each of the following folders:

Top of Outlook data file
Top of Personal Folders
Top of Information Store

The goal is to find your Outbox folder, so you can stop when you expand one of the folders listed above and see your Outbox folder.

Once you see your Outbox folder, double-click on it and a dialog containing all of the email messages in your Outbox folder will open up.

Click on the culprit email to select it and then click on Actions > Submit > Abort submit.

With the culprit email still selected, click on Actions > Delete message.

Open the dropdown menu directly underneath Deletion style and click on the Permanent delete passing DELETE_HARD_DELETE (unrecoverable) option to select it.

Click on OK.

Close all open MFCMAPI windows, launch Outlook, and you should see that you have finally gotten rid of the culprit email.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.