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Does my IMAP account have the emails on my PC?

Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Thunderbird
abrogard
 
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Post Posted November 11th, 2018, 5:12 pm

How does Thunderbird work? I just opened two yahoo accounts on a new thunderbird installation and watched while it peopled the inboxes and folders with hundreds of emails.

How is it doing this? Is it downloading all those emails?

I thought only POP accounts collected the emails onto the local pc, is that right?

So what has it got here, just a kinda 'title' for all those emails?

smsmith
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Post Posted November 11th, 2018, 8:06 pm

On an IMAP account, all emails are stored on the server. So what you were seeing was Thunderbird downloading the message list. When you view the mail, it will download a copy of the mail but leave the original on the server, but that's only to make it quicker the next time you come back to the message. Thunderbird is basically a window onto the server. Whatever action you take in Thunderbird is done directly on the server. Delete the mail in Thunderbird, it's deleted on the server. Move it in Thunderbird, it's moved on the server. Do nothing to it in Thunderbird except view it, it's still on the server.
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DanRaisch
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Post Posted November 12th, 2018, 5:54 am

On an IMAP account, all emails are stored on the server. So what you were seeing was Thunderbird downloading the message list. When you view the mail, it will download a copy of the mail but leave the original on the server,


Sean, that's correct as far as it goes. There are, however, settings in Thunderbird that would provide for downloading copies of messages from the IMAP server for storage on the local computer. That's to provide access to the message store when there is no Internet connection. Those settings are found under menu path Tools->Account Settings->Synchronization & Storage->Message Synchronizing. If that option is active (check in the box) local copies of all message will be downloaded for local storage. As the note there says, it is possible to change that so only messages in specific IMAP folders are downloaded.

I've had this one IMAP account running for so long I can't remember whether or not synchronization is "On" by default.

BuddhaNature

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Post Posted November 14th, 2018, 6:43 am

DanRaisch wrote:
There are, however, settings in Thunderbird that would provide for downloading copies of messages from the IMAP server for storage on the local computer. . . Those settings are found under menu path Tools->Account Settings->Synchronization & Storage->Message Synchronizing. If that option is active (check in the box) local copies of all message will be downloaded for local storage.


Mmm... I have IMAP Outlook accounts set up in my Thunderbird. I also did the settings so that copies of mail were stored on my local computer. On reading this thread I thought to test that was indeed the case, so I disconnected from the internet. What I found was that, yes, the textual content of any given email was indeed on my local computer. However, if the email contained graphics then the graphics, it appears, aren't stored locally (all that exists is sort of "anchor box" which lets you know a graphic should be there); you need to connect to the internet again to (in effect, re-)download the graphics.

Leading from this, I would like to ask if there is any way I can force graphical content of emails to be download and stored as intrinsic parts of the email copies stored on my local computer? (I have poked around inside "Account Settings" but I can't see anything that suggests this can be controlled by the user.)

Another question would be why does Thunderbird act in this way when it comes to graphics? Is there some kind of security risk involved with automatically downloading (and storing) graphics to the local computer?
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BuddhaNature

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Post Posted November 14th, 2018, 7:21 am

I found partial answers to my questions here: Remote Content in Messages

However, after whitelisting a couple of websites/email addresses and then testing, again I'm finding that the graphics still aren't stored on the local computer. It seems, even if you whitelist an address, you still need to have an internet connection to see the graphics.
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WaltS48

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Post Posted November 14th, 2018, 8:30 am

BuddhaNature wrote:I found partial answers to my questions here: Remote Content in Messages

However, after whitelisting a couple of websites/email addresses and then testing, again I'm finding that the graphics still aren't stored on the local computer. It seems, even if you whitelist an address, you still need to have an internet connection to see the graphics.


The preference is called Remote Content for a reason.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/remote
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BuddhaNature

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Post Posted November 14th, 2018, 9:03 am

WaltS48 wrote:The preference is called Remote Content for a reason.

I know what 'remote' means and can, and did, even surmise a meaning on what 'remote content' might mean with that understanding. However, it doesn't necessary follow, and this is something you're overlooking, that what is remote content at one point in time need necessarily be so for all time. I would assume that technically there might be no particular reason why Thunderbird couldn't download the graphics on first load, with the user's permission, and store them on the local system thereafter. Or do you think that scenario is impossible? If it is technically impossible, you have a point. If it is, even theoretically, possible then your statement needs qualification, though based on technicality, not on simple semantics.
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tanstaafl
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Post Posted November 15th, 2018, 6:51 am

"Leading from this, I would like to ask if there is any way I can force graphical content of emails to be download and stored as intrinsic parts of the email copies stored on my local computer?"

No. Remote images can get cached on your hard disk. tools -> options -> advanced -> network & disk space -> disk space lets you manage how much remote data from messages can get cached. However, they are not stored as part of the message when stored in the cache, and you can't guarantee that all of the remote images for a message will be cached.

If you only care about this for a few messages my first thought would be to print them using a "print to pdf" print queue, or use some archive tool that archives them as pdf files. There are numerous utilities such as PDFCreator that can combine the complete contents of several messages in one PDF file.

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Entire_messag ... AP_message
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Archiving_your_e-mail

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Post Posted November 15th, 2018, 7:05 am

Thanks very much, tanstaafl. I'm not really concerned about emails from companies where they regularly put the company logo as a graphic. However, I do occasionally receive emails where a graphic is inherently part of the email and referenced to in the textual content - those are the emails I'm really interested in preserving with graphics included.

I'll read up what you suggest and give it a try. Thanks again.
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