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How do I delete all email quickly?

Delete all email messages from your account quickly

I have more than 8000 messages at Hotmail. How can I delete all these emails from my account without going through them page by page. I want to get rid of everything and start afresh.
Joseph Antonio

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Hotmail (now called Outlook.com) offers no direct way to delete all the email messages stored at the account in one go. At least, these is no option via the webmail interface. But there is a way by which you can clean up the account completely.

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The one solution which will work 100% is to use an email program. This involves setting up the account in the client (program), downloading all messages which will remove them from the server too! To do this correctly and quickly, there are a few points you need to note.

Though the logic is the same – setting up the account in an email client, downloading all messages and then deleting them – the instructions and exact procedure may vary depending on the operating system. Below are instructions for Windows and the Mac.

Delete all email from Hotmail through Windows

Under all the recent versions of Windows (Vista, 7, 8 or 10), a Hotmail / Outlook.com email account can be configured on Windows Live Mail email client. The program may be already be installed on your computer. If not, it’s available for free from the Microsoft web site.

By default, a Hotmail account will be set up on Windows Live Mail using the IMAP protocol. However, for our purpose, POP3 is a better bet because with it we can simultaneously download and delete messages. Thus, uncheck the “Leave copy of message on the server” option. Now when the emails are downloaded, they will automatically be removed from the Hotmail server. The final step is to remove the Hotmail account from Windows Live Mail client. You would end up with all email messages deleted from your account on the server.

For step by step instructions, please refer how to set up Hotmail email on Windows Live Mail using POP3.

Delete all email using a Mac

Quite like the process described for Windows, you can use the default Apple Mail client to set up Hotmail on the computer, download all emails and then delete them all at once. Here too, Hotmail would be set up through IMAP by default. Thus, you may like to change it to POP3 and specify that the messages need to be removed from the server when they are downloaded.

Please go through Hotmail POP settings to get the server information and understand how to configure the account using the Post Office Protocol.

NOTE: Though I will always prefer POP3 for the job of deleting all messages, IMAP would have been fine too. However, it wouldn’t have been so quick. You see, IMAP gets messages in bunches, for instance, 1,000 in one go. This means cleaning up the account would involve more than one deletion process (eight in your case).

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