Deleting or Hiding Default Folders in Outlook

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Microsoft Outlook has a bunch of folders it makes for you right off the bat, like Conversation History, Junk Email, Archive, Suggested Contacts, and RSS Feeds. They’re there to help keep your emails and stuff organized, but not everyone’s a fan or really needs all of them.

Even though getting rid of these built-in folders isn’t usually suggested since they’re part of how Outlook’s data file is put together, there are tricks for those who really want to tweak their Outlook look. This guide’s going to show you how to either hide or outright delete these default folders using something called MFCMAPI, which is a pretty nifty tool for those who like to dive deep into Outlook’s guts.

Deleting or Hiding Default Folders in Outlook

What is MFCMAPI?

MFCMAPI (Microsoft Exchange Server MAPI Editor) is a tool for the more tech-savvy folks. It lets you mess with MAPI stores through a graphical interface, mainly for troubleshooting Microsoft Exchange and Outlook issues.

Using MFCMAPI to hide or delete Outlook’s default folders is a bit of an expert move. It means changing your Outlook profile’s properties directly, which can be risky. So, it’s super important to make sure you’ve backed up your Outlook data before you start changing things.

Related resource: How to Get Outlook to Open Links in Chrome on Windows 11/10

Backing up your data and downloading MFCMAPI

Before you start tweaking your Outlook profile with MFCMAPI, make sure your data’s safe. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make sure you have a backup of your entire Outlook data file (.pst or .ost). This is super important because it’s your safety net if something goes sideways. Just copy your data file to another spot on your computer or an external drive.
  2. Close Outlook completely before you start up MFCMAPI. This helps avoid any mix-ups or errors while you’re working.
  3. Download the latest MFCMAPI from its Github page at And if you’re using the 64-bit version of Outlook, grab the 64-bit MFCMAPI too.Download MFCMAPI

Next, we’ll use MFCMAPI to hide or delete those default folders in your Outlook profile.

Deleting a default folder in Outlook with MFCMAPI

Want to get rid of a default folder in Outlook, like Junk Email or Archive? Here’s how you do it with MFCMAPI:

  1. Open MFCMAPI after downloading and unzipping it.
  2. Go to “Session > Logon” and pick your Outlook profile from the list. If you’ve got more than one profile, choose the one you use most.Session login MFCMAPI
  3. Double-click on your data file in the list that shows up. If you see more than one, the main one usually sits at the top, marked by “True” in the “Default Store” column.Select Outlook default profile for edit
  4. Open up the “Root Container” (or “Root – Mailbox” for Exchange accounts).Expand Outlook Root Mailbox
  5. Next, unfold “Top of Outlook Store.” For Exchange accounts, this is “IPM_SUBTREE.”Edit Microsoft Outlook default folders
  6. Look through the folder list and pick the one you want to delete.
  7. Right-click on the folder you’ve chosen and hit “Delete Folder.” Confirm the deletion when asked. Just don’t pick “Hard Deletion” because it usually doesn’t work on most folders.Delete default conversation history folder in Outlook
  8. Close all the MFCMAPI dialog boxes and open Outlook again to see the changes.How to delete default folder in Outlook

Important notes:

  • Deleting a folder wipes out everything in it. Make sure you’ve saved or moved anything important first.
  • Some folders are pretty important for Outlook to work right. Getting rid of them might cause errors or make Outlook act up.

Hiding a default folder in Outlook

If you’d rather hide a folder instead of deleting it, which is often a safer bet, here’s what to do:

  1. Start up MFCMAPI just like before.
  2. Head to “Session > Logon” and pick your Outlook profile.
  3. Double-click on your data file, making sure to select the one marked as your default.hiding default folders in Microsoft Outlook
  4. Open the “Root Container” or “Root – Mailbox.”
  5. Expand “Top of Outlook Store” or “IPM_SUBTREE.”
  6. Find and select the “Quick Step Settings” folder, then look for the “PR_ATTR_HIDDEN” entry near the top of the list.
  7. Right-click “PR_ATTR_HIDDEN” and choose “Copy Property.”
  8. Go to the folder you want to hide, right-click it, and hit “Paste…” to make it hidden.How to hide a default folder in Outlook
  9. Confirm by clicking “OK” twice, then close everything in MFCMAPI and check out Outlook to see the change.

These steps let you customize your Outlook by hiding or removing folders you don’t need. But be careful, as these changes can have big impacts on your Outlook setup. Always have a backup handy before you start.

Reversing changes or troubleshooting

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned, and you might need to undo changes or fix problems after messing with folders in Outlook using MFCMAPI. Here’s how to handle some common situations:

Restoring deleted folders:

  • The best way to get back a deleted folder is from your backup. Just swap in the backup data file to get your Outlook back to how it was before you made changes.
  • If it was a less important folder, like one you made yourself, you can just make a new one in Outlook. But remember, this won’t get back the stuff that was in the deleted folder.

Unhiding Folders:

  1. Use MFCMAPI to log into your profile again, find the hidden folder, and locate the “PR_ATTR_HIDDEN” property.
  2. Uncheck the Boolean field to make the folder show up again. It’s just the reverse of hiding it.Unhide a hidden default folder in Outlook

General issues:

  • Double-check that you only changed what you meant to. Messing with the wrong folders or settings by accident can cause problems.
  • Try using the Inbox Repair Tool (ScanPST.exe) if Outlook starts acting weird. This can fix data files that have gotten messed up.
  • If you’re still having trouble, think about setting up a new Outlook profile. This can sometimes get rid of problems that come from a bad setup or corrupted profile.

Playing around with Outlook’s default folders using MFCMAPI is a neat way to make your email setup more to your liking. But, it’s a bit tricky and can mess things up if you’re not careful. Make sure you’ve got your data backed up (especially if you have utterly important emails) and understand what you’re doing before you start.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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