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Taking out the trash in Thunderbird


Does your Thunderbird trash contain a lot of old, unwanted emails?  Do you wish there was an easy to "take out the trash" in Thunderbird?  Well, there is, and it's easy to setup.

  1. Open your Thunderbird account
  2. Go to Tools...Account Settings
  3. Click on Server Settings
  4. Click the checkbox next to "Empty Trash on Exit", unless it's already checked
  5. Click the OK button

Now whenever you delete an email it goes to your trash and when you exit Thunderbird all of your trash is automatically deleted.  WARNING!!!  Do NOT do this if you use Trash as a holding area or if you think you may need to get back a previously deleted email.  Once the trash is emptied it is gone for good with no way to get it back.


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While we can't get our mail back once the trash has been deleted, isn't it true that copies are still kept on the server or somewhere? And, if true, how long are those kept?

Hi Dennis,

Copies of messages on the server are temporary, not permanent. Only messages received in the last N days (where your PC's TB configuration defines N) are kept. For response time reasons, SCLS recommends that N be small, not greater than 30.

We have looked at altering the email server configuration to allow for unlimited retention, but the footprint of that kind of change is very large.

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