Last reviewed on September 18, 2014   —  11 Comments

Several users noticed the Delete button was missing when a message was selected in the Inbox:

I recently switched email accounts and the Delete button is disabled and some of my messages are missing. The Delete key on the keyboard will delete messages, only the Delete button in the Home ribbon and the right-click menu for selected e-mail(s) is disabled.

This is the result of exporting an IMAP data file to a pst file or opening IMAP pst files in Outlook. The folders retain certain IMAP features, one of which is the Delete button doesn't work as expected. (In IMAP, it purges.) To fix it, you need to edit the Inbox folder using MFCMAPI and change the PR_CONTAINER_CLASS to IPF.Note.

  1. Get MFCMAPI . If you have 64 bit office, you need 64 bit MFCMAPI.
  2. Open MFCMAPI, go to Session, Logon
  3. Select your profile
  4. Double-click on the affected data store.
  5. Expand Root - Mailbox
  6. Expand Top of Information Store or IPM_Subtree
  7. Select Inbox
  8. Look for PR_CONTAINER_CLASS in the right pane, double-click on it.
    edit the folder properties
  9. Change IPF.IMAP to IPF.Note then click OK to close the dialog.
    change the container class to ipf.note
  10. Repeat for each folder that was exported from an IMAP data file.
  11. When you are finished, close the MFCMAPI window, click Session, Logoff on the last MFCMAPI window.

Video Tutorial


  1. Daniel Michael says

    Downloaded 64 bit version, installed and started it. No errors.
    1st: didn't know which account to double click on, so I tried doing both.
    The instructions above are not accurate with Outlook 2013.
    So I improvised as best as I could.
    Next, couldn't find the "PR_CONTAINER_CLASS " anywhere in either of them..

  2. K says

    I have a user experiencing an inability to use the delete or tab key inside outlook 2013. It's an exchange 2012 server and it just started. She has had no issues prior. Running Outlook 2013 through terminal services with server 2012. Over a hundred other users, no one else is having the issue. Any idea.

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      I'm assuming that there are no updates waiting to be installed since this is a terminal services situation, because waiting updates can cause issues in Outlook. If the problem just started within the last couple of days or weeks, it could be updated - system restore should fix it, if the problem is related to recent updates and is limited to her workstation.

  3. Robert A. ober says

    Thanks so much, moved a client back to pop3 as OL handles IMAP so poorly and after using your fix the Delete is back.

  4. kevin says

    hi diane, firstly thanks for your work above, it has helped me out previously with imap to exchange migrations. however, i have a weird issue. i have 9 mailboxes with thousands of folders from gmail. ive connected via imap, and exported to a pst.for each account. i was then going to use your script to change the PR_CONTAINER_CLASS attribute prior to importing to exchange, but i thought id check one pst file first with mfcmapi manually. the property PR_CONTAINER_CLASS does not exist at all in any of the folders. im in the middle of the migration and the customer is getting a bit twitchy - any chance you can tell me what i should do? the mailbox in question im looking at with mfc mapi was connected to gmail via outlook 2007. is it because of 2007 that this has occurred? thanks in advance for your help.

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      Is the exported mail visible? Are the views on the folders the IMAP views? If the exported mail does not have the IMAP views, you don't need to change anything. To the best of my recollection, Outlook 2007 generally exported IMAP correctly.

    • kevin eaton says

      hi diane, thanks for your reply. yes, its all visible and doesnt appear to have any issues. thats great but it also worries me as the pr_container class property is missing. im guessing if the property doesnt exist then maybe outlook decides its a mail folder by default?

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      When you create a new pst, the inbox, sent, deleted probably won't have it but everything else should. At least that is how it is in Outlook 2013 - I haven't checked exported pst files or pst files from older versions of outlook. I have some older pst around here somewhere, I'll check them - I know the container class problem is most common with newer versions of outlook so it's possible it's due to a change in the data file structure used with imap.

      As long as the pst works correctly in Outlook, I wouldn't worry about it but would do a test import and see if it imports ok. (I fully expect it will.)

  5. kevin eaton says

    it all seems fine. i had 9 mailboxes, and all bar 1 were exported from o2k13, the other being 2k7, all downloaded from gmail via imap. some of them had the property, and had it wrong, and others just didnt have it. i fixed the ones that were wrong with your script, and couldnt do anything with the other ones so i imported them. it seems to all be fine so far....

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