How do I make Mozilla Thunderbird leave a copy of my messages on the server?

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With Mozilla Thunderbird it's possible to leave a copy of each message on the mail server after you read it.

You'll want to do this if you read email in Mozilla Thunderbird and another program (or our Webmail system). If you don't set up Mozilla Thunderbird to leave your messages on the server, it will delete the messages as soon as it connects to read mail, and the other program (or Webmail) won't be able to see the messages.

You can also do this if you want your old incoming mail to be permanently stored in our backup system (see "E-mail backups" on our backup policy page for more details).

This page explains how to set up Mozilla Thunderbird to leave a copy of each message on the server. It assumes that you have already followed the basic instructions to set up Mozilla Thunderbird.

Please note that this only applies to POP mailboxes. (IMAP mailboxes always keep mail on the server and have no similar configuration option.)

Changing the Mozilla Thunderbird settings

To leave messages on the server, you will:

  • Open the server settings window for your mail account
  • Check the Leave messages on server checkbox

1. Start the Mozilla Thunderbird program.

When Thunderbird opens, click Tools, then Account Settings from the menu bar.

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2. The Account Settings window will appear.

  • Click the small "plus sign" to the left of the account to expand the list beneath it.
  • Click Server Settings.
  • Check the box next to Leave messages on server. You may also want to check the Until I delete or move them from Inbox option as well.
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3. Close the Account Settings window.

  • Click OK to close the Account Settings window.