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Can Thunderbird download messages from webmail folders?

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ginahoy
 
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Post Posted November 20th, 2017, 2:10 pm

I don't think this is possible, but I thought I'd ask anyway in case I'm wrong...
I set up a filter on one of my POP email accounts that moves email from a certain sender to a folder I created on the webmail server. Since those messages bypass the webmail Inbox, Thunderbird doesn't download them.
Is there a way to set up Thunderbird so that it will download those messages? I realize I could accomplish the same thing locally with a Thunderbird filter but there's a reason I need to reclassify these emails at the server.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted November 20th, 2017, 2:53 pm

The POP email protocol only permits an email client like Thunderbird to access the server inbox folder.
If your purpose calls for a copy of those messages to be on the server you could copy, rather than move, the messages from the server inbox to the target folder and then set up a comparable filter on the client (Thunderbird) side. That filter could include an action to delete the downloaded message from the server inbox folder. http://kb.mozillazine.org/Filters_%28Thunderbird%29

ginahoy
 
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Post Posted November 20th, 2017, 3:59 pm

DanRaisch wrote:If your purpose calls for a copy of those messages to be on the server you could copy, rather than move, the messages from the server inbox to the target folder...

Unfortunately, webmail filtering for this particular email service doesn't support the COPY operation. Matching emails can only be moved to spam, trash or a custom folder. I appreciate your prompt reply.

makaiguy

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Post Posted November 20th, 2017, 4:54 pm

Does this mail server support the IMAP protocol as well as POP3?

The IMAP protocol permits access and downloading messages from additional folders other than just the Inbox. There are other differences as well.

Here's an introduction to the differences: https://help.aol.com/articles/what-is-t ... 3-and-imap
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tanstaafl
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Post Posted November 20th, 2017, 8:56 pm

If you don't have the option of using a IMAP account there is a webmail extension. However, it only supports a few domains . See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Using_webmail ... ail_client

If your mail server is running Exchange you might be able to use Davmail to provide a POP/IMAP/SMTP/Caldav/CardDAV/LDAP gateway allowing any e-mail/calendar client to access Exchange via OWA. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/MAPI_Support

Another possibility would be to configure Gmail webmail to periodically fetch mail from your POP server, use its filters to classify/organize the messages, and then use a Gmail IMAP account in Thunderbird to access those folders. See http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answ ... swer=21288 if you want to do that. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Replace_sever ... ne_account if you want to be able to treat the Gmail IMAP account as if it was for the other email provider (be able to send messages using that email address etc.)

ginahoy
 
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Post Posted November 21st, 2017, 12:34 pm

@makaiguy, I've been using IMAP for years for my personal email accounts, which are through AOL. I recently discovered AOL supports POP, so I switched over last week.

I've always used POP for my business email. I prefer POP as I can leave mail on the server for x number of days. I don't know how many times that's saved my butt when I later find I need to refer to a deleted email. But with IMAP, once I delete an email in TB, it's permanently gone (I have Server Settings option checked to "move deleted message to Trash" but in my experience, this action is very transient). Switching my AOL accounts in TB to POP solves that problem, but breaks my filters that use a local folder on AOL webmail.

@tanstaafl, thanks for tip re: webmail extension. According to the docs, it supports downloading from folders other than Inbox.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted November 21st, 2017, 12:45 pm

@tanstaafl, thanks for tip re: webmail extension. According to the docs, it supports downloading from folders other than inbox.

Be cautious with that extension. It hasn't been updated in three yeards and, historically, has had failure problems whenever the email providers changed the layout of their webmail pages. An update would resolve the issues but without a recent version listed, it's not clear how compatible it would still be.

Another alternative would be to switch your accounts to IMAP but create "archive" folders under Thunderbird's Local Folders pseudo-account. That structure is not linked to the IMAP servers so messages you wished to retain or archive could be moved (or copied) from their original account folders in Thunderbird to sub-folders of Local Folders where they would then be available for as long as you wish to keep them.

ginahoy
 
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Post Posted November 23rd, 2017, 2:06 am

DanRaisch wrote:Another alternative would be to switch your accounts to IMAP but create "archive" folders

That's exactly what I've been doing for more than a decade. My Thunderbird profile now has almost 900 folders and subfolders and takes up 1.8GB on my harddrive! As I said, the reason I switched AOL to POP is to protect against accidental deletions as well as intentional deletions that I later regret. I appreciate the heads-up on the webmail extension. It should be pretty obvious if the scraping code is broken for AOL. The page tanstaafl linked lists some other options.

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