Can't delete folder until sync is complete

Last reviewed on July 25, 2014   —  8 comments

I'm trying to empty my Deleted Items folder but I receive a message telling me I need to wait for the sync to finish. It's been over a week, how long does it take to sync these changes?

When you delete a lot of folders from a mailbox, it's not all that uncommon to receive an error message when you try to empty the Deleted Items folder:

Outlook is synchronizing local changes made to items in this folder. You cannot remove this folder until the synchronization with the server is complete.

Exchange Sync error

Would you believe me if I said it sometimes takes between forever and never? When Outlook seems to get hung on syncing the changes, log into OWA and empty the Deleted Items folder there. If you have a large number of folders in the Deleted Items folder or you didn't allow Outlook a reasonable amount of time to sync changes, you many need to empty the Deleted items from OWA two or three times.

About Diane Poremsky

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlook forums by

8 responses to “Can't delete folder until sync is complete”

  1. howard spiegel

    Wow, thank you so, so very much. Fixed me right up . wished i'd found you hours ago. thanks again

  2. Traci

    This helped me as well. Tried for weeks to fix. Thank you!!!

  3. Michael

    brilliant! - just log into OWA - excellent

  4. Jon

    You are the best. Thank you so much for this tip!

  5. Andrew

    After the fact I noticed my problematic folders had rules attached to them. I wonder if that might have been the underlying cause.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      I don't think so, I think it's just Outlook being... Outlook. I've had it come up in folders in test mailboxes that had no rules.

  6. Craig Katz

    Thanks for the help! No thanks to Outlook for the useless error message..

  7. DWade

    Thank you! You are awesome ... as usual!!

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