How to Quickly Clean an Inbox Folder in Outlook.com

Swiftly Deal With All Messages in a Folder

Your Outlook.com Inbox and other folders tend to fill with mail, and sometimes only a radical cure can help. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to swiftly and smartly clean an Outlook.com folder with a few clicks.

Clean a Folder, Your Inbox Radically in Outlook.com

To clean a folder radically in Outlook.com, here are two methods to do it quickly.

1. The Right-Click Method

  • On the folder list, right-click on the name of a folder and select Empty folder.
  • You will get a pop-up asking you to confirm you want to move all items in the folder to the Deleted items folder.
  • If you confirm with OK, you will get a little trophy saying "You're all caught up."
  • The messages are not gone forever, yet. They are in the Deleted items folder in case you still want to review them.
  • This is a very radical solution as you don't even have to open the folder to delete every message in it.

2. The Select All Check Box Method

  • Select the folder you want to clean, so the messages show in the message list pane.
  • You won't immediately see the checkbox to the left of the name of the folder at the top of the message list until you hover your cursor over it.
  • When the checkbox to the left of the name of the folder appears, check it to "Select everything in this folder." When you check it, you will now see checkmarks in boxes for every message. If you scroll down the list, you will see every item in the folder has a checkmark.
  • Click Delete. You won't get any warning; it will move all of the items to the Deleted items folder.
  • Note that you can choose a different option, such as Archive or Move to a different folder.
  • With this method, you can also uncheck some of the messages before choosing Delete. If you take a minute to scroll through the list and pick out a few messages you want to save, you may have fewer regrets.

    Did You Delete Something You Didn't Want to Delete?

    With either method, you can go to the Deleted items folder and find messages that you would have preferred to save in a different folder or return to the Inbox. Simply choose those messages and use the Move to function to move them back to where you want them.

    If you have deleted the mail from your Deleted items folder, you still have the chance to restore it. This is a risk especially if you have Outlook.com set to delete the Deleted items when you close your session. You can use the Recover deleted items function to bring them back from the dead. In the Deleted items folder, choose the Recover deleted items link.

    However, for children's accounts, once messages are deleted, they are gone forever and cannot be recovered.