Items Cannot be Deleted/Cleared from Outlook Deleted Items Folder


  • When trying to delete or empty the deleted items folders in the Outlook, We are get the following Error.

“Some items cannot be deleted. They were either moved or already deleted, or access was denied”

Cause of this problem:

  • When the “Litigation Hold” is enabled for a Mailbox, the mails deleted are stored in purged storage.
  • Those mails cannot be removed by the user.
  • The default storage for the Recoverable items for a mailbox in database is 30GB.
  • When the purged mails storage exceeds the default storage of 30GB, the user unable to receive the mails, also unable to delete the mails from the “Deleted Items” Folder.
  • This can be identified by using the following command

“Get-MailboxFolderStatistics -Identity “Mailbox Name” -folderscope RecoverableItems | Format-table Name,FolderPath,ItemsInFolder,FolderAndSubfolderSize”

Work around solution for this problem:

  • This issue can be temporarily overcome by increasing the Default recoverable items storage for the database.
  • When this is done, the user can send or receive mails until the recoverable items reach the increased level of storage.
  • To increase the recoverable items folder manually, the following command can be used.

“Set-Mailboxdatabase -Identity “DB001” -RecoverableItemsQuota 50Gb -RecoverableItemsWarningQuota 40Gb”

Permanent Solution for this problem:

  • Increasing the Recoverable items storage without deactivating the Litigation hold leads to increase in the storage size of the Mailbox Database in the server.
  • To overcome that, we need to deactivate the litigation hold for that Mailbox and then Manually delete the Recoverable items.
  • Litigation hold can be deactivated by using the following command.

“Set-Mailbox “Mailbox Name” -litigationholdenabled $false”

  • After deactivating the litigation hold, it will take up to 60 minutes to take effect.
  • After 60 minutes, the Recoverable items contents have to be deleted manually, it can be done by using the following command

“Search-Mailbox -Identity “Mailbox Name” -SearchDumpsterOnly -DeleteContent -Force:$TRUE”

  • After running the above command, all the recoverable items will be cleared and the user can send/Receive mails normally.





  • To check the number of deleted items in a mailbox, the following command can be used.

“Get-MailBox “Mailbox Name” | Get-MailboxStatistics | select DisplayName,TotalDeletedItemSize”.