Last reviewed on July 25, 2014   —  11 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.


  1. Andrew says

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

    • Diane Poremsky says

      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.

  2. scott feld says

    Thanks. I don't want to count the hours I have wasted over the last few months trying to figure this out.

  3. Phil says

    Hi Diane, not sure if this is the correct place to ask but I am using Outlook 365 and it will not let me delete unneeded folders. Gives me the error message: Cant delete the folder. Right click the folder, then click permissions...........
    It is driving me crazy.
    I logged in online and when I delete the folder it disappears and then reappears!!!

    Going insane over here

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