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how to keep downloaded mail even when deleted online

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I've downloaded Thunderbird, which has downloaded all my mails, replicating my different online folders. At the moment it just copies everything I do online, including deleting in Thunderbird whenever I delete online. How do I fix it so Thunderbird just retains everything on my computer and adds to it each time i log on, even though I've "cleared out" my online mailboxes? Do I have to create the whole folder system again as "local files" and transfer them, or what? Sorry if this is an obvious question but I'm near my online data limit and don't want to lose whatI've already downloaded. Any help appreciated!

Isisombululo esikhethiwe

Hi

I think you are on the right track - Local Folders is the key if you are using IMAP mail (which does indeed exactly copy what's online).

  • Let TB continue downloading everything you have online.
  • Create a file system of folders in the Local Folders part of TB's file structure.
  • First test with a few emails to get comfortable with the process, then work up to larger batches.
  • Then copy either whole subfolders if they are fairly small (a few hundred emails), or batches up to 1,000 emails from the IMAP part to the Local Folders part. (Copy is safer, don't use move to or drag and drop.)
  • Be patient - this process will take time as the computer is downloading the messages, images, attachments.
  • Once they are safely in the new folders, delete online (which will also remove them from the corresponding TB folder).

Note: After deleting emails, compact the folder - look online for more about compacting in Thunderbird.

Please read these earlier answers for more details:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1234473

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1079742

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1117427 which has some useful feedback from the user too.

Funda le mpendulo ngokuhambisana nalesi sihloko 👍 0

All Replies (3)

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Isisombululo Esikhethiwe

Hi

I think you are on the right track - Local Folders is the key if you are using IMAP mail (which does indeed exactly copy what's online).

  • Let TB continue downloading everything you have online.
  • Create a file system of folders in the Local Folders part of TB's file structure.
  • First test with a few emails to get comfortable with the process, then work up to larger batches.
  • Then copy either whole subfolders if they are fairly small (a few hundred emails), or batches up to 1,000 emails from the IMAP part to the Local Folders part. (Copy is safer, don't use move to or drag and drop.)
  • Be patient - this process will take time as the computer is downloading the messages, images, attachments.
  • Once they are safely in the new folders, delete online (which will also remove them from the corresponding TB folder).

Note: After deleting emails, compact the folder - look online for more about compacting in Thunderbird.

Please read these earlier answers for more details:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1234473

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1079742

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1117427 which has some useful feedback from the user too.

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Agnes, many thanks for your helpful response - seems to be working! It still seems a bit weird you can't set the "live" inbox just to a one-way option so it downloads everything there and retains until the user deletes it in Thunderbird. When I "copied" into my local folders it seemed to be downloading again from my web mail rather than actually copying. Hmm.

Problem solved though! Much appreciated.

Okulungisiwe ngu bpfer

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Imap accounts basically can only show you what is on the server, so think of the imap folders as one and the same as the server which you can view via webmail account.

Do you have the Account Settings > Synchronisation & Storage options set up to download full copies ?

It is possible you have settings to download only headers or only some folders downloading full copies. If only headers are downloaded, when you select an email, it is retrieved from the server and stored in temp folder so you can read it.

One easy way of telling is to go into offline mode and then see if you can read emails. If you only downloaded headers then you will not be able to read emails.

Quick way of going into offline mode is to click on the 'two blue screen' icon located in the bottom left of Status bar. It changes to a 'two black screen' icon in offline mode. Click on that icon again to return to online mode.

Some info:

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