Cancel Sending Unwanted Email By Yanking Your Ethernet Cable

You've composed an email in a white hot rage, clicked 'Send' and then instantly regretted it. The quickest way to ensure it doesn't get sent is that old and obvious favourite: yank the Ethernet cable from your machine.

Lifehacker reader Gav Hudson offers that hint along with some strategies for those of us for whom any kind of cabled connection is a distant memory:

Just sent an email you didn’t mean to send? Accidentally pasted that link to your Facebook photos instead of the clients site in a newsletter? Or just forgotten that attachment in that really important email? If you didn’t mean to send it – act quickly when you get that “whoops!” moment. You can navigate to Outlook, click on the bottom right icon, select work offline and hope. Or... you can quickly hoik out your Ethernet cable and then deal with it. As much as you might be good with software, sometimes a bit of a physical solution is needed. No Ethernet? Unplug your router, shut your laptop lid, or if you’re really worried, quickly flip your battery out or disconnect the power from your desktop. Quick thinking might not save lives, but it might save a red face.

It's not a perfect solution, but it's worth remembering as an option the next time you have an email emergency. Thanks Gav!


    If you try this using GMail, you'll just look like a bit of a goose.

      Fortunately Gmail has 'Undo Send' in Labs which gives you a few seconds to change your mind about sending an email. Saved me on more than a few occasions!

    Great tip, unfortunately a mate of mine tried to do this once, but his pc was underneath his table, he quickly tried to go underneath his table, onl to misjudge and slice his forehead open on the side of the table, yikes!

    Gmail has an 'undo send' option under settings. You can set the cancellation period from 5 to 30 seconds.

    GMail actually has a labs feature where it gives you about 5 seconds after clicking send to 'undo' sending the email

      It's not just a lab feature any more, it's now a permanent addition to the main settings page.

    A simpler solution for a laptop is to switch the wi-fi switch to off, or press start+X and turn the wireless off there.

    Are you guys still using 80286's with dial up?

    You guys must have REAAAAAALY slow internet and PCs... when I hit Send that mofo is gone and there is no time to be pulling out cables.

    I say if your computer allows the Send/Pull move then it's time to upgrade!

      Well said Boris.

      It's not just that, but who uses cables any more, or has *quick* access to the ethernet port if they still do. By the time your arse is off the chair so your hand can get near the cable and your eyes can see what's happening ... game over and the email is gone.

      This. I've had instances where I have sent myself an email (to a different account - say, from my ISP web email to my gmail) and its arrived in less time than its taken me to switch tabs. I can't see myself pulling a cord in that time!

      boris, we're not far off dial-up speeds in Australia in certain areas.

    One way I stop this is to not add recipients until I've finished an email.

    Or just rage into notepad, or comments in code :P

    Unless you can move > the speed of light, I'm not sure why you believe that this will work.

    outlook can have the same delay send option that Gmail has.. you just need to turn it on..

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