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Thunderbird uses wrong Trash folder with Gmail

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Sess
 
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Joined: January 10th, 2009, 2:29 pm

Post Posted January 10th, 2009, 2:40 pm

SHORT VERSION:

How do I make Thunderbird send trash to [Gmail]/Trash?


LONG VERSION:

I'm using Thunderbird to access my Gmail through IMAP. In thunderbird, the Gmail folders are seen under the [Gmail] parent folder. This is where the Drafts, Sent Mail, All Mail, Spam, Starred, and Trash folders are. In account settings -> copies & folders, I've been able to point Sent and Drafts to the proper folders by selecting 'Other' and by selecting "'email address' -> [Gmail] -> Drafts" and same for Sent.

The trash folder is on the Server Settings page, however, and has a different setup. For that, under the "When I delete a message:" the only options are "Move it to the Trash folder", "Mark it as deleted", and "Remove it immediately." I have selected "Move it to the Trash folder" but it does not allow me to specify where that folder is. So while it should send emails to the correct [Gmail]/Trash folder (where Gmail will automatically delete emails after 30 days), it instead creates a new folder at [IMAP]/Trash that is just a regular folder with 'Trash' as the name. Emails in there just stay there. I also check email on my iPhone which sends email to the correct Trash folder. As a result I have two trash folders filling up with different emails.

So how do I make Thunderbird send trash to [Gmail]/Trash?

tanstaafl
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Post Posted January 10th, 2009, 6:33 pm

Do the the advanced settings in tools -> account settings -> server settings have the IMAP server specified as [Gmail] ?

bkennelly
 
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Post Posted January 10th, 2009, 10:11 pm

You can set the Trash folder name with a hidden preference: http://kb.mozillazine.org/IMAP_Trash_folder

But, it is not recommended to move messages to [Gmail]/Trash by default, because it can lead to unexpected message loss, if you have a message with multiple labels. Instead, use the Mark Deleted or Remove Immediately trash models. You can enable the Advanced IMAP Controls in Gmail, if you want the messages to be moved to trash or deleted after all visisble copies have been expunged.

Sess
 
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Joined: January 10th, 2009, 2:29 pm

Post Posted January 11th, 2009, 1:45 am

tanstaafl wrote:Do the the advanced settings in tools -> account settings -> server settings have the IMAP server specified as [Gmail] ?

tanstaafl: For some reason, I thought I had tried that and it didn't work. But just to check I did it again and it worked! I had created a few custom labels, like "Save" and "Financial" that didn't show up in Thunderbird at first. But I just renamed those to "[Gmail]/Save" etc and they showed up again. Thanks!

bkennelly: Now that I have this working, can you explain exactly what the dangers are? I read what you said several times, but I just don't understand what the problem is.

bkennelly
 
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Joined: June 26th, 2005, 4:36 pm
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Post Posted January 11th, 2009, 10:09 am

Sess wrote:bkennelly: Now that I have this working, can you explain exactly what the dangers are? I read what you said several times, but I just don't understand what the problem is.


Basically, if a message has multiple labels, in IMAP it looks like a copy in each folder. If you delete one "copy" by moving it to [Gmail]/Trash, it also deletes the other "copies", because there is only one copy on the server. As long as you are aware of that, it is not a danger, but it could be perceived as data loss.

Although I use it on one of my accounts, there are disadvantages to settting the IMAP server directory for Gmail accounts. First, only the strangely named labels appear as folders in Thunderbird, which is less convenient when using the browser. Second, the labels are limited to 40 characters, which must contain the entire folder path. With [Gmail]/ as the server directory, you lose eight characters, and have only 32 left. (UK users lose 14 characters with [Google Mail]/.) Again, it is not too bad, but it limits lolder lengths and nesting.

Sess
 
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Joined: January 10th, 2009, 2:29 pm

Post Posted January 11th, 2009, 3:57 pm

bkennelly wrote:
Sess wrote:bkennelly: Now that I have this working, can you explain exactly what the dangers are? I read what you said several times, but I just don't understand what the problem is.


Basically, if a message has multiple labels, in IMAP it looks like a copy in each folder. If you delete one "copy" by moving it to [Gmail]/Trash, it also deletes the other "copies", because there is only one copy on the server. As long as you are aware of that, it is not a danger, but it could be perceived as data loss.

Although I use it on one of my accounts, there are disadvantages to settting the IMAP server directory for Gmail accounts. First, only the strangely named labels appear as folders in Thunderbird, which is less convenient when using the browser. Second, the labels are limited to 40 characters, which must contain the entire folder path. With [Gmail]/ as the server directory, you lose eight characters, and have only 32 left. (UK users lose 14 characters with [Google Mail]/.) Again, it is not too bad, but it limits lolder lengths and nesting.


Ah, well I use the labels simply as "Folders" in Thunderbird. I carried over my organization when I switched from Outlook. I never make multiple copies of emails. I either delete them or file them in the appropriate folder. So with the way I use Gmail, there should never be a situation where an email has multiple labels.

As for the labels all having to have '[Gmail]/' in the front taking up 8 of the characters, it's not that important that they have very long descriptive names. I only have a couple "folders" so it's no big deal. You are right that it looks a little strange when using the website to check email with all these labels having '[Gmail]/' in the name. But it's certainly not as strange as having a normal Trash folder managed by Gmail and an additional one called '[IMAP]/Trash' and having email deleted from different clients go into different Trash folders.

I suppose I could have the best of both worlds by editing that prefs file, then I could keep the normal labels and use the proper Trash folder. But the truth is, I almost never check email at the website, so I'll usually just see the proper "Folders" in Thunderbird. I don't use the website because I don't like the nested/tabbed/whatever way they display emails that are part of a "conversation." Yes I realize some people think it is Gmail's best feature, but coming from Outlook, it's very annoying to me. I doubt I will get used to it because the IMAP clients will not display emails like that, and I don't intend to give up using them.

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