gmail and thunderbird and deleting mail

secsteveAugust 9, 2014

I googled how to use Thunderbird with gmail and followed all the instructions.

The only problem I'm having is that if I delete an email on Thunderbird it also gets deleted on gmail. I've tried searching the subject every way I can think of, but don't get an answer to the situation.

I have posted on the gmail help forum also, but so far no response.

I'm hoping someone here can tell if a. there's a way to delete email in thunderbird without it being deleted on gmail or b. steer me to a site that gives me that info.


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In Thunderbird click,

tools -> account settings -> account_name -> server settings -> "when I delete a message."

What is it set to and What other options are available ?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 12:47PM
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It is set to "move to trash". There is a drop down menu there with In Box and the gmail. Clicking on gmail gives you a number of options - Drafts, sent mail,all mail, spam, trash, important and starred.

I'm guessing the all mail box under gmail should be the setting, correct?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 3:21PM
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Someone correct me if I have this wrong as it's been a while since I had my gmail forwarded to a mail program.

In gmail go to the gear icon in the upper right and click settings. In there go to the forwarding and pop/imap tab. In there look at the second one. You have to pick one, enable for all mail, enable for mail that arrives from now on. Then once you enable one of those you can pick to keep a copy on gmail, archive on gmail and such. I hope that is what you are wanting to do. Mary

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:30PM
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acrafty lady

Thanks for the suggestion. I tried that, but the enable for all mail, enable for mail that arrives etc. is under the POP sitting. I'm using IMAP which doesn't have those sittings. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying.

I want to delete email in Thunderbird, but not on the gmail account.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 8:36AM
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Yes that is what those settings are for to keep the email on gmail after it forwards to the mail program so that should be the setting as that's how I did it. I didn't think gmail was Imap but someone correct me as I don't understand that exept that I know my AOL mail is Imap but most others are Pop. I am using incredimail though not thunderbird so maybe that makes a difference. Alll I know is I use several email providers and I have to enable that setting from the email provider not from the mail program. Mary

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:10AM
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In TB:

Tools>Account Settings>Server Settings (for the specific account).

Three perhaps pertinent settings:

Leave messages on server
For at most 14 days (default)
Until I delete them

I have all three checked and my 5 Hotmail/Live/Outlook accounts stay on the web page accounts.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:20AM
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IMAP works such that what you do in the client is reflected to the server, and vice versa. That's the point of it vs. POP3. Any messages you want to retain on the GMail server, you can't delete them from the (IMAP) GMail account tree in Thunderbird.

I *never* keep long-term copies of mail on a server. It's *my* mail, I want it archived to *my* computer. IMO there's too much risk of a hacker getting access by brute-force or a server-side security flaw. My computer is more secure, less likely to be hacked, and I can back up the data. I have messages in Thunderbird that date 10 years back. And archived data MUCH older from Outlook Express.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:26AM
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Ok I have no clue. The few times I wanted to keep my gmail on the server I used that setting so when I deleted from my mail program it was still retained at I guess I assumed I have to use pop with gmail so will try the imap and see if I can set that from within my mail program instead. Mary

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:26PM
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