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Keeping message windows open behavior Q

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JLJ

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Post Posted February 9th, 2020, 10:44 am

Windows 10 1909 / Thunderbird 68.4.2

Using Win7 my habit with Windows Live Mail was to open several messages at once, immediately delete them from the inbox, and close the mail client main window, leaving the individual message windows visible and functional to read/respond to until manually closed.

Now using Win10, WLM doesn't work well (display issues render it all but unusable), the Mail app is a joke, and I've found Thunderbird to be a good alternative. Set up and working fine, except for the habit noted above.

Using TB, as soon as I delete the opened messages from the inbox, the individual windows are deleted as well, replaced by the next series of messages from the inbox (ie, however many I had open). That is: if I open messages A, B, and C, deleting them from the TB inbox also removes them from display and replaces them with now-opened messages D, E, and F.

I've set what I thought were the relevant options / config entries ("Open messages in: a new message window" / "Close message window/tab on move or delete" = unchecked / "mail.close_message_window.on_delete" = false) but something's not working.

I'd like to be able to keep an opened message visible until manually closed even after deleting from the inbox in the main program window.

Any ideas? THX as always!
Last edited by JLJ on February 10th, 2020, 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted February 9th, 2020, 11:04 am

Use a IMAP account with "when I delete a message" in the server settings set to "just mark it as deleted". That sets a deleted flag and draws a line through the deleted message entry in the folder listing when you delete a message, but lets you still read the message. If the message is open in a window deleting the message has no effect on the window.

That seems to do what you want. You might need to restart Thunderbird for that setting to take effect. Ideally Thunderbird would support saving selected windows as a session so that if you manually close the windows you could re-open all of them again in one step. Similar to how you can save selected tabs in Firefox as a session and re-open them again later. But there doesn't appear to be that type of session management in Thunderbird.

JLJ

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Post Posted February 9th, 2020, 5:55 pm

tanstaafl wrote:Use a IMAP account with "when I delete a message" in the server settings set to "just mark it as deleted". That sets a deleted flag and draws a line through the deleted message entry in the folder listing when you delete a message, but lets you still read the message. If the message is open in a window deleting the message has no effect on the window.


That seems to do the trick. Like so many such things it seems obvious in retrospect but that, of course, is why I missed it. Thanks so much!

JLJ

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Post Posted February 10th, 2020, 1:29 pm

tanstaafl wrote:Use a IMAP account with "when I delete a message" in the server settings set to "just mark it as deleted". That sets a deleted flag and draws a line through the deleted message entry in the folder listing when you delete a message, but lets you still read the message. If the message is open in a window deleting the message has no effect on the window.

Just noticed that this method has its own oddities, at least here: deleted messages disappear completely -- they're not moved to the Deleted Items folder -- which means that anything accidentally deleted may be unrecoverable. I've seen references to a config setting "mark as deleted, do not move" but that's not present AFAICT in Thunderbird.

I have found a weird way around the whole thing, a kludge if ever there was one but until something better comes along: (1) reset server to "move on delete" - (2) instead of opening the desired messages from the Inbox, delete them - (3) open messages from the Deleted Items folder and they remain open/visible even after main program window is closed.

Deep sigh.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted February 10th, 2020, 3:25 pm

"which means that anything accidentally deleted may be unrecoverable."

No. Any deleted messages (if you use "just mark it as deleted") won't disappear from view or be physically removed unless you either compact or expunge the folder. If you accidentally delete something just delete it again. That toggles the deleted flag and its as if you never deleted it.

Its possible your webmail (browser based email) doesn't support displaying deleted messages with a line drawn through them. In that case it would hide the deleted messages. That depends upon the webmail implementation. But they are still there and accessible from Thunderbird in a IMAP account.

See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Deleting_mess ... P_accounts for more information

JLJ

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Post Posted February 10th, 2020, 4:46 pm

tanstaafl wrote:"which means that anything accidentally deleted may be unrecoverable."
No. Any deleted messages (if you use "just mark it as deleted") won't disappear from view or be physically removed unless you either compact or expunge the folder. If you accidentally delete something just delete it again. That toggles the deleted flag and its as if you never deleted it.
Its possible your webmail (browser based email) doesn't support displaying deleted messages with a line drawn through them. In that case it would hide the deleted messages. That depends upon the webmail implementation. But they are still there and accessible from Thunderbird in a IMAP account.

Not sure what the behind-the-scenes details are, but this is what's happening:

-- These are MS Hotmail/Outlook accounts handled as IMAP thru TB.

-- If TB server setting is "mark as deleted" the message is removed from the inbox after about half a second and does not appear in the Deleted Items folder.

-- It does appear in the Recover Deleted Items section if I log in through the outlook.live.com web portal -- but the whole point of using TB is to avoid having to deal with that. (I see no config in the website for relevant IMAP settings, though there is a POP selection to allow/disallow applications from deleting messages, default is "no" and I left it that way.)

So not wanting to risk deleted messages no longer being available locally, I think I'm more comfortable reverting to "delete on delete" and opening messages from the trash, strange as that may seem, at least until I can settle on a different habit.

I appreciate your assistance, and welcome any other ideas you may have. THX

tanstaafl
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Post Posted February 10th, 2020, 5:34 pm

Go to tools -> options -> advanced -> general -> config editor and type mail.imap.expunge_after_delete in the search field. Is it set to true? What are mail.imap.expunge_option and mail.imap.expunge_threshold_number set to?

I rarely use my IMAP Outlook.com account (I mainly have it just to test that I can get new mail there). I never heard of the "recovered deleted items" section in its webmail before but found the help for "recover mail that's been removed from your deleted items folder". However, "just mark it as deleted" should not move the message at all.

I deleted a message in my IMAP outlook.com account with mail.imap.expunge_after_delete set true. That normally physically removes the message when you delete it. It showed up in the "recovered deleted items" section after selecting Recover items deleted from this folder. It should never have been in that folder! Right clicking on the outlook name in the Thunderbird folder pane and selecting subscribe and then refresh shows there is a Deleted folder but no Deleted Items folder. So it sounds like the Outlook IMAP server is doing something non-standard that overrides what the email client told it to do. I know there are optional settings the POP&IMAP tab in Gmail webmail to override what a email client does. This sounds sort of similar, except you can't disable it.

JLJ

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Post Posted February 10th, 2020, 11:31 pm

tanstaafl wrote:Go to tools -> options -> advanced -> general -> config editor and type mail.imap.expunge_after_delete in the search field. Is it set to true? What are mail.imap.expunge_option and mail.imap.expunge_threshold_number set to?

mail.imap.expunge_after_delete = false
mail.imap.expunge_option = 0
mail.imap.expunge_threshold_number = 20

tanstaafl wrote:Right clicking on the outlook name in the Thunderbird folder pane and selecting subscribe and then refresh shows there is a Deleted folder but no Deleted Items folder.

Apologies for this confusion -- indeed the folder(s) is named Deleted -- I have been erroneously referring to it as Deleted Items because that's what it was in my WLM installation.

That said, I tested one of my accounts in TB again, server set to "mark as deleted" and on deleting from the Inbox the strikethrough font is visible for less than a second and then the message disappears from the list. It does not show in the Deleted folder (locally) or any other. So either there's a config I've got wrong, or Hotmail/Outlook/Live is overriding the expected TB behavior (which would hardly be a surprise, I'd say). Humbug.

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