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How to Configure an Email Program to NOT Keep a Copy of Emails on the Server

Thunderbird, Outlook, and Outlook Express have a default setting that leaves a copy of each email on the server even though you download them to your computer using POP3. You can configure your program to leave a copy of each email on the server for a certain period of time or indefinitely. This might be beneficial if you also use webmail from another computer and want to read emails again. Most people who use POP3 however don't use webmail as well and don't realize that a copy might be stored on the server. Furthermore, emails can quickly build up and fill your quota for the email account eventually leading to an inability to send or receive email messages.

If you want to see if you're currently keeping a copy on the server, log in to your webmail and clear out any emails/copies you don't need. Then make sure to configure the option to not leave a copy on the server in your POP3 email program. The instructions are below.

Outlook 2003

  • Go to Tools, then Email Accounts
  • Select View or change existing email accounts, then Next
  • Double click the email account
  • Click the More settings, then go to the Advanced tab
  • UNcheck the box that reads Leave a copy of messages on the server
  • Click OK, Next, then Finish

Outlook Express/Outlook 2000

  • Go to Tools, then Accounts
  • Double click the email account
  • Click the Advanced tab
  • UNcheck the box that reads Leave a copy of messages on the server
  • Click OK, then Close

Mozilla Thunderbird, Netscape Mail

  • Go to Tools, then Account Settings
  • Go to the Server Settings section on the left under the specific email account
  • UNcheck the box that reads Leave messages on server
  • Click OK

Apple Mail (Mac Mail) for Mac OS X

  • Go to Mail, then Preferences
  • Click the Accounts icon and your specific email account
  • Click the Advanced tab
  • Check the box that reads Remove copy from server after retrieving a message. Select Right Away from the drop down.
  • Click OK

Eudora 6

  • Go to Tools, then Options
  • Go to the Incoming Mail section on the left
  • UNcheck the box on the right that reads Leave mail on server
  • Click OK


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