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How to View and Delete Synchronization Issues in Outlook

If you used the Mailbox Cleanup tool to check the size of your Outlook folders, you may have detected three (or sometimes four) folders that begin with "sync issues." You can clear the "Sync Problems Conflicts" issue. Folder with the Mailbox Cleanup Tool, but that still remains the others. Let's take a look at how to access them, what they are for and whether they can or should delete their contents

How do you access the sync folders?

If you've never used them before, read our guide to using the Mailbox Cleaner tool. The Display Mailbox Size feature displays the size of all folders in Outlook. Scroll down to the bottom of the list to search for the synchronization issues folders.

By default, these folders are not displayed in the navigation pane of Outlook, so we'll make them visible first. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click the ellipses (the three dots) and choose Folders.

This changes the view in the navigation pane to show all e-mail folders in your mailbox, including the synchronization issues folder and its three subfolders.

Messages in the synchronization folders are only visible in the Outlook client on your computer, so you can not find them in the Outlook Web App.

What are the sync folders for?

In general, the sync folders contain messages informing you of issues that occurred while synchronizing emails in Outlook with those on the email server (or vice versa). This usually happens if you worked offline and Outlook could not connect to the mail server or if a connection problem occurred.

Each folder contains emails about a specific issue:

  • Synchronization issues: Outlook is periodically silently synchronizing with your mail server. Because of this, you can send an e-mail from Outlook to your computer and still see the message in the Sent Items folder when you check Outlook in the O365 online portal. The Sync Problems folder contains the logs for the syncs, so it reports common problems or delays in synchronizing with the mail server.
  • Conflicts: If Outlook had problems copying the same e-mail while synchronizing with the mail server. This often happens when you use Outlook in more than one place, such as At home on your laptop and on the road on your phone. The "Conflicts" folder contains several copies and allows you to choose which one you want to keep. If you've made a change to an item (such as an email, task, or calendar event) on your phone and it does not appear in Outlook, it's probably here.
  • Local Error: If Outlook Can Send When you send something to the mail server, this is called an error and a copy is placed in the Local Errors folder. This can be an e-mail, a task update, a calendar response, or anything else that synchronizes with the mail server. Outlook will continue to try to sync just because there is an item in this folder, this does not mean that it was not successfully sent to the server – only that Outlook had trouble sending it for a while.
  • Server Error: This is the reverse of the Local Errors folder. If Local Folders contains things that Outlook through can not synchronize with the mail server, Server Failures contains things Outlook of could not synchronize with the mail server. The local error items are always visible, but the server error items are only visible if you have an active connection to the mail server (because they are messages from the server). Server error messages are less common, so this folder is often not displayed in the Mailbox Cleanup> Folder Sizes window. For example, the account we use to show you how this works has been running in Outlook for more than three years, and the Server Failures folder never contained a single message.

Can you (and should) delete them? News?

Yes, you can delete this message like any other normal message in Outlook. Whether you should delete is a tricky question.

These are messages that are unknown to most Outlook users because they come from the Exchange Server and are used by administrators to troubleshoot. In most cases, these messages are not helpful to you unless you are troubleshooting an Exchange problem. If you have never done this and you need space, you can probably delete it without any problem. That said, these messages tend to be very small, text messages and you can not save much space by deleting them.

Another important caveat: If you're on a computer from your workplace, be sure to check with your IT support representative before deleting these messages. They might not need them, but they could.

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