How to Stop Accidentally Closing Outlook

Last reviewed on July 3, 2012

Note that this method does not work with Microsoft Outlook 2010 pre-SP1. See the Outlook 2010 section below for one solution when using Outlook 2010 SP1 (v 14.0.6023.1000 or higher).

It’s very easy to accidentally close Outlook by clicking on the X in the upper right-hand corner, instead of the minimum button. There are several ways you can prevent this.

Note: If you have Outlook 2003 or above, its possible to set it to minimize to the tray (notification area). Many users don’t realize they enabled this option and think Outlook closed when they minimized it. Look for the Outlook icon in the notification area to verify Outlook is not running minimized.

Unsent method

  1. Open a new message – enter “Keep Outlook Open” as the subject. Don’t enter an address in the To field!
  2. Save the message to Drafts.
  3. Drag it from Drafts to the Outbox.
  4. When you exit Outlook, you’ll have the chance to cancel closing Outlook.

In Outlook 2000 Corp, you’ll need a POP3 account in the profile for this method to work. (It can use fake server names.)

Outlook 2010

The “Unsent Method” mentioned above does not work in Outlook 2010. In fact, in Outlook 2010 RTM (the released version), there is no unsent message warning, even for “real” messages in the Outbox. SP1 restores the warning but it only works if messages are send-able, meaning the Unsent Method above is still useless.

However, you can set Outlook to delay delivery of a message to force the warning and prevent accidental closing. Choose a date in the future in the “Do not deliver before” date field.

Please note, this only works in cached mode. Delayed messages are stored on Exchange server in classic online mode.

To use this method:

  1. Open a new message
  2. Enter your own address in the To field
  3. Enter “Keep Outlook Open” as the subject
  4. Switch to the Options tab
  5. Click the Delay Delivery button and enter a future date (a year or so should be fine.)

Delay sending messages

Tools in the Spotlight


OLKeeper reliably prevents users from closing their Outlook and thus possibly missing reminders or e-mails. When you click the X button to close Outlook, OLKeeper asks you what to do: minimize, close or cancel. You will never again miss an important appointment or e-mail just because Outlook was accidentally closed or waste your time with unnecessary, long waits during Outlook restarts. Supports Outlook 2010.


Written by

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.

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