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how to retain emails deleted from the server

outinthesticks
Grafter
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Registered: ‎15-01-2008

how to retain emails deleted from the server

I recently deleted all my emails from one of my accounts on the server as I'd been messaged from Plusnet to say the mailbox size was too big. I took care to ensure that all emails had been downloaded to my IMac and Macbook. But after I deleted them from the server, they were still on the IMac but not on the Macbook (which I used when I'm away from home). 

Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening?

 

Thank you

20 REPLIES 20
Alex
Community Veteran
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

Are you using POP3 or IMAP?

outinthesticks
Grafter
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Registered: ‎15-01-2008

Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

IMAP
Gandalf
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

Hi there,

Are you using IMAP for both your iMac and MacBook? 

Based on what you've said, I suspect you've got your iMac setup as POP3 and MacBook as IMAP?

Deleting from the server would also delete from that device setup as IMAP, but emails would be retained if setup as POP3.

From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I’ve moved on to a new role.
Anoush Mortazavi
Plusnet
Townman
Superuser
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server


@outinthesticks wrote:

I took care to ensure that all emails had been downloaded to my IMac and Macbook. But after I deleted them from the server, they were still on the IMac but not on the Macbook (which I used when I'm away from home). 

 


Exactly how did you do this?

You imply that BOTH are configured as IMAP but do not state that explictly.

You imply that you downloaded to BOTH devices BEFORE removing them from the server.

 

How did you download them?  To local folders or to a folder under the SAME inbox / IMAP account folder?

 

If you "downloaded" them to another folder under the IMAP server on one device, you would see the same "download" on the other device, because that is how IMAP works.  All IMAP configured devices see the same view of what s on the server.

However you also state that they are still on the iMac which implies either...

  1. You down loaded them to a local folder on the iMac
  2. You are running the iMac in POP3 mode

In either case, the emails will no not be on the server and thus not available on the Macbook which uses IMAP to see what is on the server.

The good news is that you do have the emails on one of the devices.  Do remember to back it up!

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

outinthesticks
Grafter
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Registered: ‎15-01-2008

Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

Thanks. As the Help Team have suggested, the most likely explanation is that my IMac has POP accounts whereas the MacBook has IMAP accounts. I’ll check when I return home. I guess this means I’ll have to change the MacBook to POP accounts to avoid the same thing in future. I assume this means deleting the existing IMAP accounts and setting up new POP accounts.

Gandalf
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

That wouldn't avoid the issue as your e-mails would still be stored on one device not both. 

Ideally to put all your e-mails on all devices you'd need to set them all up as IMAP to sync with the server.

This though would mean that you may need to do a lot more housekeeping to clear e-mails off the server at webmail.plus.net either by manually deleting or archiving mail through a mail client via one of your devices. 

From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I’ve moved on to a new role.
Anoush Mortazavi
Plusnet
Townman
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server


@Gandalf wrote:

That wouldn't avoid the issue as your e-mails would still be stored on one device not both. 

That very much would depend on the precise setting of the POP3 configuration.  Putting POP3 on both could end up with some of the emails on one device and the rest on the other device ... with none of the stuff on both devices.

Attempting to use POP3 when there is more that one email client involved is asking for trouble unless one has a firm grasp of how the technology works.

POP3 is designed to harvest emails from the server, that is they are gathered in and REMOVED from the server, thus likely to be not available to a second (or nth) POP3 client.  POP3 sent items are only ever visible on the device which sent them, so there is no unified view of everything which has been sent.  The user is entirely responsible for maintaining a back up of their emails.

IMAP is very much designed to facilitate access to the same mailbox from multiple devices.  Mail is SYNCHRONISED to each device, each device seeing identically what is (or not) on the server.  Delete in one place and it is deleted everywhere.  More importantly, if configured correctly, IMAP clients will use the server's sent items folder so sent items, thereby something sent on the iMac will be accessible from the MacBook.  To some extent the user can place some reliance on the server for backing up emails ... but do not bet the bank on it!

All email configurations require some level of housekeeping, especially if there is a lot of history you want to retain.  Generally speaking we are all rather poor at culling detritus!

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

outinthesticks
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

Hi @Gandalf I  really appreciate your help with this.  I've now returned home and can see that my email accounts on the IMac are POP whilst on the Macbook they are IMAP. That explains why I've still got my emails on one but not the other. I am pretty sure that on my old laptop I had POP accounts also and found that emails downloaded to both devices. 

 

Whilst I can see the advantages of IMAP, there is a problem when I delete emails from the server as I've then lost everything everywhere. So I think I'll switch my Macbook IMAP accounts back to POP and see how I get on.

Townman
Superuser
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

Unless you really know what you are doing, running multiple clients configured as POP3 is very bad voodoo!

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Anoush
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

Hi @outinthesticks 

Personally I would use IMAP consistently across all devices and archive/backup e-mails to local storage periodically, then delete from the server. 

That way your emails will sync nicely across all devices, until you backup the oldest/those you just want to keep for reference on one device and clear off the server. 

Using POP3 across multiple devices runs the risk of having different emails stored on different devices. 

It may of course work for you as it’s an easy way of making sure things are tidy on the server, if the POP3 account is setup to delete emails from the server once read. Archiving/backing up then deleting from the server manually would be my preferred method.

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outinthesticks
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

Thanks Anoush. I take your point but the problem I have is how do I retain emails on both machines after I've deleted them from the server? Is there a way of backing them up so they stay in my folders on both machines?

Mook
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

@outinthesticks Can't you use the Archive option on Mac Mail?

Townman
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server


@outinthesticks wrote:

Is there a way of backing them up so they stay in my folders on both machines?


Yes...

  1. Back up (copy them) on one machine
  2. Back up on the other machine
  3. Delete from the sever if back up (2) did not 'move' them

A possible** alternative solution (depending on the email client you are using) configure a local data file which is in the cloud (iCloud, Dropbox or One Drive) ... and then configure the same file as a local email file on the other client.

**This might need some testing to see how concurrent access to the same file in the could is handled WHEN CHANGED.  Dropbox is not cleaver at that, OneDrive is fairly smart with Office documents and iCoud I have no idea.  However if you use these as read-only resources (except when backing up) you might geta way with it.

Where you chose to keep an email history greater than the mail service FUP on two devices concurrently, then it is up to you to determine a solution.  Be that either diligent house keeping and backing up your off-line archive (to off computer media) or moving your mail hosting to a server offering a bigger filing cabinet.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Champnet
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Re: how to retain emails deleted from the server

I use POP3 in Outlook on the desktop, all other devices use IMAP.  
Desktop PST file is backed up as part of the shutdown procedure.
Historically, emails go back to the mid 90’s.