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Emails stuck in outbox in Microsoft Outlook

We've all been there, those pesky messages informing you that Outlook failed to send and receive your messages. The constant loop is enough to drive you insane. Relax and be methodical in your approach or get help from an IT Support Company like SysFix.

Whether you use Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Mail, or some other email application, chances are, one of the following reasons are preventing you from sending emails.

  • An Incorrect Password
  • Incorrect SMTP settings
  • Your email software needs to be updated
  • Your IP address has been blacklisted for sending spam, most like due to your computer having a virus.
  • Or, your sending mail server is not functioning correctly or is offline.

Can an incorrect password prevent you from sending Email?

If no password was required to send an email, spammers could use mail servers to send junk to everyone. It's therefore important to protect such services with a username and password. Most email servers have a webmail service allowing you to access your email from a web browser like Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. is a typical example. First, try logging on to your webmail service to prove your current password works. If it doesn't, try to reset it or contact your email service provider.

What are my SMTP settings? 

Each email account requires a number of settings in order for you to be able to both send and receive email.

These include;

  • Incoming Mail Server Hostname (IMAP or POP3)
  • Outgoing Mail Server Hostname (SMTP)
  • A valid Username, sometimes your email address, and a Password
  • Valid port numbers and encryption type for both incoming and outgoing servers.

Each mail service will have different settings depending on the level of security they provide. If any of these settings are incorrect, you won't be able to send or receive emails.

 Email Providers SMTP, POP3 and IMAP Settings

Email Provider Link to Settings Page
Gmail / GoogleMail GMail and Googlemail IMAP, POP3 and SMTP Settings
Sky 7 Yahoo MailSky Yahoo IMAP, POP3 and SMTP Settings
BT InternetBTinternet IMAP, POP3 and SMTP Settings

How do I update Microsoft Outlook to the latest version?

Software developers often add new features and fix software errors by releasing new updates. It's therefore important you keep your email program up to date. 

Updating Microsoft Outlook is easy. In Microsoft Outlook, for example, if you have Office 365,  at the top, go to File > Office Account > Update Options > Update Now. Of course, you'll need an active Office 365 subscription to do this. 

On a Mac, simply go to the Apple Logo at the top left of your screen and check for updates. 

If you're using any other mail program, the easiest method is to search Google for your software of choice and download the latest version, followed by installing/updating it.

Your IP Address could be blacklisted

If you receive error messages when Outlook, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, or Microsoft Mail attempts to send your email, you have a problem. One such reason may because your IP address is blacklisted. This may happen for a number of reasons but primarily, it happens when your computer has a virus. I use the term virus generally, encompassing a trojan, backdoor, rootkit, or any other form of hijack. What tends to happen is that a virus uses your computer and internet connection to send out spam to other people. This could be for a product or service or a phishing attack, allowing the virus to replicate itself to other people.

It's important you use paid-for antivirus and firewall protection. The free ones are free for a reason, they simply don't compare to paid products in terms of protection and effectiveness. Check out one of the best antivirus products on the market here.

It may be possible to manually remove your IP address from these blacklists but a simple method, especially for home users is to simply turn off your router, wait 30 seconds then turn it back on again. IP addresses are on load to you for a period of time. More often than not, rebooting your router will generate a new IP address, but not always.

 It's not always your computer at fault!

Don't always assume there's an issue with your computer. Servers controlled by your service provider may be at fault. It's often worth a call to find out whether there are any ongoing issues that may affect sending emails. You can spend a good amount of time troubleshooting computer problems when there's often a service fault. Also, consider checking the website for reports of similar issues.

If your emails aren't sending and are stuck in your outbox, consider booking some online computer help with an IT consultant

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