Deleting mail from Tbird but keeping copies on server?

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Joined: October 26th, 2017, 6:45 pm

Post Posted October 26th, 2017, 6:47 pm

So Tbird is running sloe because I have so many email accounts linked to it and one account has years of email and it hitting near 100k. I'd like to delete all email stored on the comp besides the last 2 year's worth but leave copies on the gmail server, but I also don't want Tbird to then re download them. any clues?


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Post Posted October 27th, 2017, 1:47 am

POP or IMAP account?

Deleting messages in the inbox for a POP account should not effect the original kept on the server unless you enabled "leave message on server" plus "until I delete them" in the accounts server settings. However, its safest to log into webmail using a browser and move those messages to other folders first. That way it doesn't matter what Thunderbird tries to do as a POP account literally only knows about the existence of the inbox folder on the mail server. All other folders are local only regardless of whether you have a similarly named folder in webmail.

If you have a POP account you should be able to significantly improve performance by moving the messages to other folders, emptying the trash and compacting the folders . One way to do that is to archive them per . The reason for compacting the folders (not to be confused with compressing or zipping them) is that deleting a message normally just moves it to the trash folder, leaving the original message in the folder, hidden from view and marked deleted. Its not actually physically deleted until you compact the folder. This is done to improve performance. See and

Deleting messages in a IMAP account deletes the original on the server. Its optional whether you have local copies of the messages in "offline folders" due to "keep messages for this account on this computer" in the accounts synchronization & storage settings. You can't rely upon the offline folders for backup.

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