I have a bulk update to run on a large # of items in a list. I don't want to send out a couple hundred emails to people once I commence the updates. Is there a way in WSS3.0 to disable ALL alerts some how? or maybe block the emails from being sent out on exhange?

Is it possible to just remove the Outbound SMPT server in central admin too? or will it just send out emails once I configure the outbound email stuff?

2 Answers 2


There is a web application setting within Central Administration which allows you to disable alerts for the web application.

Simply switch these off, then run your block update, then turn them back on again.

Downside? Any alerts you may have wanted to send in this time will not be sent so you may want to do this at an appropriate time for your users.

  • 2
    Ok so I decided to give this method another try on my test site and nope ALERTs are still being sent out. Then I decided to disable the immediate alerts timer job in central admin too. That did disable the alerts, but when I enabled it, it would just send out all the old alerts.
    – user1211
    Oct 7, 2010 at 18:46

Ok so I found a 100% sure way of stopping ALERTs and only the alerts you want to stop.

First thing I did was stop the Immediate Alert Timer job waited to make sure it wasn't waiting to run 1 more instance.

now any task you create or edit that will send out an alert will get cached. This is when you open up your SQL Server Managment studio and connect to the content database of the sharepoint site the alerts are on.

In the EventCache table any row that has the columns [EventData] and [ACL] not = to NULL will send out alerts for that item. So by doing some simple SQL querys like

    UPDATE [sharepoint].[dbo].[EventCache]
       SET [EventData] = NULL
          ,[ACL] = NULL
    WHERE [EventTime] > '2010-10-11 00:00:00.00' AND [ListId] = 'LIST ID HERE' AND ModifiedBy = 'USER DOING THE MODIFY HERE'

will kill all alerts from a certain time onward and on a certain list and modified by a certain user. After you kill all the alerts turn on the Imediate Alert Timer job and no alerts will be sent out.

Of course you can always modify the SQL query with different criterias to meet your needs.

  • This will immediately through your installation into an unsupported state. Microsoft will not support any customisations or direct interactions with the content or config databases.
    – James Love
    Oct 13, 2010 at 21:00
  • 1
    Considering the turn off alerts via Central Admin doesn't actually turn off alerts, and everything in that table is set to NULL anyway except for stuff that needs to be checked for events and as long as you only NULLify your tasks. I don't see any harm in doing it this way? It hasn't screwed up anything yet and sharepoint still works like normal. So is there any harm?
    – user1211
    Oct 14, 2010 at 12:29

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