Closed Bug 231541 Opened 17 years ago Closed 11 years ago

"Leave messages on server" should be chosen by default (dataloss)

Categories

(Thunderbird :: Preferences, defect)

defect
Not set
critical

Tracking

(Not tracked)

RESOLVED FIXED
Thunderbird 3.0b4

People

(Reporter: netdragon, Assigned: Bienvenu)

References

(Depends on 2 open bugs)

Details

(Keywords: dataloss)

Attachments

(1 obsolete file)

The current default setting could cause loss of data because the user could be
expecting emails to be left on the server when they install Thunderbird, then
remove the program, and "lose" their emails.

Expected:

In account settings of a new account in the "Server settings" tab, "Leave
messages on server" and "Until I delete them or move them from Inbox" should be
checked.

Actual:

"Leave messages on server is unchecked"


This should be a simple modification of the default preferences js file, right?
Component: Account Manager → Preferences
I have just had this problem.  I am trying to evaluate Thunderbird as a possible 
replacement for other clients, but when I created an account on my main mail 
server it automatically connected, downloaded, and deleted mail - so I cannot 
download new mail into my original client.

This is just plain bad.  I'd put this down as "major"  Snag is that I'm not 
allowed to change that. You should not be deleting mail from our servers without 
the option.

Either, as the OP suggested, "keep on server" should be the default, or the 
setting should be available within the wizard when the account is created. 
All major email clients: mozilla, netsape, Outlook and thunderbird default leave
on server to true. We are no different than anyone else in this regard.
> All major email clients: mozilla, netsape, Outlook and thunderbird default leave
> on server to true. We are no different than anyone else in this regard.

Yes we are, because we don't leave it on server by default.
I said that wrong. they all leave it set to false and so do we. 
The logical way to do it would be to leave them on the server, because someone
can always change that later, and it saves unexpected deletions of someone's
emails on the server. If 100 people jumped off a bridge, it wouldn't make it the
right thing to do.
This would make bugs like bug 112356 not such a big deal. The patch for this
will be a one-liner, I believe for all.js, right?
Severity: normal → major
Keywords: dataloss
OS: Windows XP → All
Hardware: PC → All
I have seen less technical people accidently set outlook express to leave mail
on the server, and then wonder why they can't recieve any new mail after a
couple of months.

There will be more complaints from new users who fill their account storage
space than from those who lose mail. Maybe TB should actually prompt the user
when the account is set up?
Sounds good. My main concern is for when you are testing this mail client. A
little question such as:

Would you like messages to remain on the server after they are retrieved? If
yes, they will remain on the server until you delete or move them from the
inbox. You can change this setting later.
Yes [*] (Default)
No  [ ]
*** Bug 271874 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 254387 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Cross Reference: Bug 219488 (submitted and fixed by Scott MacGregor) was where
Thunderbird's new account default behaviour was changed from "leave messages on
server" to "delete messages from server".
 If the new account default were changed to

   [X] Leave message on server
         [X] For at most 7 days
         [ ] Until I delete or move them from the Inbox

then potential dataloss would be deferred for a short period (7 days) while
still removing the messages from the server. This ought to provide enough time
for those users who want to leave messages on the server permanently to find and
change this setting. Note that this solution depends on the details of how
Thunderbird calculates message ages on the POP server. I believe, but am not
certain, that message ages are calculated with respect to the time the message
was downloaded.

[N.B. Apple's Mail.app has "Remove copy from server after retrieving a message"
set to "After one week" by default for new accounts.]
It will be better for default setting to keep on server and then allow user to
reset for deletion.  Rather than default to 7 day as default which  will require
someone to go through each account and set them for permanent retention.

There are other issues about re-downloading and veiwing messages on server
without downloading etc that are parts of other bug reports. 
Scott, I believe this bug should be closed as "WONTFIX".
I think followings can expain why Bug 219488 exists and fixed by you at end of
experiment of initial Thunderbird.
> Bug 219488 : 	POP should not leave mail on server by default

(1) Majority of POP3 users have small mail storage space on server.
    Read comment #7 by Ben Morris.
    I also believe "There will be more complaints from new users who fill their
    account storage", if "Leave Messages on Server" will be defaulted.
    Gmail or SpyMac, 1GB mail storgae, is very special mail server.
(2) POP3 is mainly designed for use of "Move all mails to local PC".
    "Leave message on server" is enhanced mechanism.
    And IMAP exists for "mails on server" and "sharing mails on server" purpose.
(3) Enhanced functions should be used intentionaly.
(4) (1)/(2)/(3) are the main reasons why "All major email clients:
    Mozilla, Netsape, Outlook default 'leave messages on server' to FALSE".
Main cause of unwanted mail download & deletion is ;
 - Automatic mail download just after account wizard completion,
   even though all 'server settings' is impossible in account wizard.
This is already in discussion by Bug 112356, lo---ng discussion though.
And "download message now" option at last step of account wizard is already
implemented on TB 0.9, although this option is checked(enabled) as default.
Further, initial settings for new account on TB 0.9 is already changed ;
 - "Check for new messages at start up" => OFF
 - "Check for new messages every NN munutes" => ON, 10 minutes
 - "Automatically download new messages" => OFF
These changes seem to be based on discussion in Bug 112356, although no patch is
provided to this bug. 

I think there is no reason to change "Leave Messages on Server" to default any more.
comment #13:

> then potential dataloss would be deferred for a short period (7 days) while
> still removing the messages from the server. This ought to provide enough time
> for those users who want to leave messages on the server permanently to find and
> change this setting.

Why 7? Why not 4 or 14? Why not a year? I don't see why 7 ought to be enough
time. What if they only check their emails every 11 days?

WADA: re comment #14 -- average users don't care what the main intention for POP
is, nor what POP is. They enter in a server name, they download their emails.
They won't know, perhaps, that Thunderbird will "steal" their emails "from the
other client". If testing a mail client, the average doesn't want this to happen.

Anyway, I have a compromise: Make it leave on the server as the default setting,
and then implement bug 112356 and provide a message that the mailbox could
become full if they don't change the setting.
(In reply to comment #16)

> Thunderbird will "steal" their emails "from the other client".
Who is "other client"?
If other people who is using same POP3 account, this type of users are not so
many, then "accidental mail loss" will be rare since comment #15 is current
implementation.
If multiple mail clients of a person, I can understand your concern.
But consider numper of people -
 N1 : who will be in trouble due to unwanted mail delete from server
      because of "Leave Message on Server" is NOT defaulted
 N2 : who will be in trouble due to unwanted mail storage full 
      because of "Leave Message on Server" is defaulted
I believe N2 >> N1 as Ben Morris says in comment #7.
And consider impact of the trouble -
 Impact-1 : "data loss" is not real data loss, since mail is downloaded to PC,
            and there is a way to copy it to other PCs, although this will be
            hard work if he/she has many PCs and uses many many mail clients. 
 Impact-2 : "data loss" is real loss for user during not so short period,
            because mail server rejects accepting new mails,
            although mail sender can re-send after recovery.

> Anyway, I have a compromise: Make it leave on the server as the default setting,
> and then implement bug 112356 and provide a message that the mailbox could
> become full if they don't change the setting.

Brian, thanks for your compromise.
But since N2 >> N1, bug 112356 is better if as follows.
 - Keep "Leave Messages on Server" is OFF as default
 - Change default of "Download message now" to unchecked (I think it's better)
 - (Add your proposal here, please)
 - Provide a way to setting "Leave Messages on Server" in account wizzard
 - If wizzard change is impossible or hard to implement,
   issue a message of ;
     To user who is using multiple mail clients :
        If you want to keep mails on server after download,
        uncheck "Download message now",
        then go Server Settings and check "Leave Messages on Server",
        then ... (please add your concerns or worrys)
 I believe that the problem was that Thunderbird immediately attempted to
download messages after POP account creation /and/ defaulted to remove messages
from the POP server, without giving the user a chance to change these settings. 

 Recent Thunderbird releases have a "Download messages now" checkbox (checked by
default) on the final page of the account wizard when creating POP accounts, so
it would seem that this problem has gone away. As such, I see no extraordinary
problems with the current default setting (removing messages from the server
when downloaded).
> Who is "other client"?
mail clients, not people

> I believe N2 >> N1 as Ben Morris says in comment #7.
Well, I would disagree wholeheartedly. It is common for anyone who has multiple
computers and common for people testing out the mail client for the first time.
It has happened to me more than once. 

> "data loss" is not real data loss

That's arguable. If you install the client, download the emails, decide you
don't like the client before reading the emails, and uninstall the client, as
your average user might do without realizing they won't be able to view the
emails again, then it's data loss.

> although mail sender can re-send after recovery.

Mail sender can generally re-send, unless they don't save a copy of emails they
send.

In both cases it's data loss, but the 2nd case usually happens later whereas the
first case can happen right after you first download emails.

> But since N2 >> N1

Do you have proof gathered from widespread research? All Morris has said is that
HE has seen case number 2 as a real problem.

He also said that the user should be prompted when the account is set up -- I
wholeheartedly agree.

A warning if they leave the option as the default "Leave messages on server"
should suffice.

> - Keep "Leave Messages on Server" is OFF as default
> - Change default of "Download message now" to unchecked (I think it's better)
Should be done either way, or at least they should be prompted.
> - Provide a way to setting "Leave Messages on Server" in account wizzard
Should be done either way
> - If wizzard change is impossible or hard to implement,
It's not
My suggestion of how to do it:
- Provide a way of setting "Leave messages on server" setting in account wizard
  - Keep messages on server is default in the wizard
  - User is warned that they could fill their box and start having emails
bounced if they leave the setting alone
  - Remove "download messages now" checkbox
  - User is prompted at end of wizard if they want their emails downloaded.
RFC 1939 - Post Office Protocol - Version 3
<http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1939.html> says that "... normally, mail is
downloaded and then deleted." Thunderbird's current default behaviour is
consistent with this.
Standard date: May 1996

It's an RFC. RFC is "request for consideration". The request was used, but
extended on servers. For an analogy, there is another popular RFC, for Internet
Relay Chat. If you follow the RFC to the T, you will have an IRC client that
doesn't work. 
 Thunderbird's default setting to download-and-delete messages is consistent
with the intended and normal operation of the POP3 standard [1]. I don't believe
that this default setting needs to be changed.

 Issues with Thunderbird connecting to the POP3 server without giving the user
the opportunity to change the default setting(s) have been canvassed elsewhere
(Bug 112356 and Bug 270743, for example). I believe those issues should be
addressed.

[1] RFC 1939 - Post Office Protocol - Version 3 is an official standard
protocol, listed in STD 1 <http://www.faqs.org/rfc/std/std1.txt>. STD 1 is
current as of July 2004. In addition to the statements in RFC 1939 regarding the
normal operation of the protocol, RFC 2449 - POP3 Extension Mechanism
<http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2449.html> states in no uncertain terms that "POP3
is intended as a download-and-delete protocol." Finally, RFC stands for "Request
For Comments," as shown at the top of each RFC.
Add function to allow user to set the download setting to either leave mail on
server or download all now. Or use an extension or plugin to acomplish this.
I use TB 1.0 on win2003.

WADA worite :

> Further, initial settings for new account on TB 0.9 is already changed ;
Either they were changed in v1.0 or there is another bug, because ...

>  - "Check for new messages at start up" => OFF
 it is ON for me after creating a fresh profile/account

>  - "Check for new messages every NN munutes" => ON, 10 minutes
>  - "Automatically download new messages" => OFF
 this is too ON for me after creating a fresh profile/account

Sometimes ( why not always ? ) the account creation wizard has an option
"Download messages now" on the last page, but it is not honored. If I deselect
it, TB still tries do download mails.

I don't mind dowloading and deleting from server by default, but please give a
(working) option to not do it for us who prefer the other way. Thank you.
I just used the Thunderbird account wizard and had all my messages deleted from
Yahoo! upon completing the wizard.  Regardless of RFC 1939, I think this should
be listed as a "known issue" on release notes (in bold red text) and fixed to
"leave messages on server" in the wizard. 

With the amount of storage webmail provides give today, filling up the server
should not be an issue.

Put yourself in the place of an end user trying Thunderbird for the first time
with the wizard to understand that the current implementation is right up there
with having your hard drive erased (to me anyway). 
(In reply to comment #25)
> Either they were changed in v1.0 or there is another bug
As jwq said in Bug 112356 Comment #16, and as you and jwq reported to Bug
270743, the problem is Bug 270743.
(Sorry for late confirming of Bug 270743.) 
WADA: As has been said many times before, "Download messages now" is not the
problem, as people could click "Get Mail" and the same issue would occur, or
they could open and close the client, which would cause the messages to be
grabbed when it's opened.

The solution that has been agreed upon is:
1) Create the "Leave messages on server" option in the account wizard
2) Many have asked that this option be checked by default
(In reply to comment #1)
> I have just had this problem.  

I am very dissapointed that this behaviour has not changed by the time we get to
version 1.0.  I have just installed thunderbird on 3 machines I use, with the
intention of keeping the mail on the servers until read on my home machine.  I
have had to manually intervene to set the 'keep mail on server' setting in every
case.

Doubly bad, the linux installation attempted to download now on first account
creation even though I unchecked the 'download now' box.  I had not, at that
point, had the opportunity to edit the 'leave mail on server'.  Fortunately, and
because of this topic, I knew what to do - I crashed the attempt to connect,
went back and changed the setting, and started up.

It is an unforunate bit of behaviour in an otherwise superb project, and I
return again to the suggestion that 'leave messages on server' should be set up
in the wizard.  people should have to choose to have messages deleted.
(In reply to comment #28)
> WADA: As has been said many times before, "Download messages now" is not the
> problem, as people could click "Get Mail" and the same issue would occur, or
> they could open and close the client, which would cause the messages to be
> grabbed when it's opened.
> 
> The solution that has been agreed upon is:
> 1) Create the "Leave messages on server" option in the account wizard
> 2) Many have asked that this option be checked by default

I would accept the "Download messages now" option IF IT WORKED.  As of v1.0
(WindowsXP) it does not, and I just had all my messages deleted off my server. 
I was aware that most e-mail programs default to 'remove messages from server',
but had assumed that unchecking the "Download Messages now" option would let me
get to the properties box and uncheck it. Silly me.

'Expected behavior' or not, *good* software does not do destructive things
without giving the user an option to prevent it.  Trying to save the user from
him/herself by not letting their mailbox storage fill up is just plain
condescending and lazy.  Suggestions:

1. Change the default to NOT remove the messages.
2. Make the Thunderbird app option more obvious and easier to get to.
3. When the user deletes a file, ask if they want to remove it from the server,
and if they want to make that option the default.
4. Alternatively (my favorite), ask question #3 when the user empties their
local deleted messages folder.

Who gets to decide the final behavior?  Do we get to vote?  I hope we don't have
to stick with behavior that is based on old ideas and conditions just because of
tradition.  With the amount of mail storage available to most people now days,
the old rules are just that...old.

*** Bug 294650 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
(In reply to comment #17)

> Brian, thanks for your compromise.
> But since N2 >> N1, bug 112356 is better if as follows.
>  - Keep "Leave Messages on Server" is OFF as default
>  - Change default of "Download message now" to unchecked (I think it's better)
>  - (Add your proposal here, please)
>  - Provide a way to setting "Leave Messages on Server" in account wizzard
>  - If wizzard change is impossible or hard to implement,
>    issue a message of ;
>      To user who is using multiple mail clients :
>         If you want to keep mails on server after download,
>         uncheck "Download message now",
>         then go Server Settings and check "Leave Messages on Server",
>         then ... (please add your concerns or worrys)

While I have been a victim of the deletion behaviour, I think you are mostly
right, but I would go further into not disturbing average users, so I suggest
something like this in the account creation wizard :
  [X] Download messages now
      [ ] Leave messages on server
          This should be checked if you intend to access
          your e-mail account from another computer.
          Note that leaving messages on the server may cause
          your mailbox to be full and to reject subsequent 
          messages. It is not recommended to change this setting
          unless you know what you are doing.
          Please also note that you can change this setting later
          in menu 
          "Tools > Account Settings > (Your account) > Server settings".

I think checking "Download messages now" by default is not a problem.

The setting "Leave messages on server" should be unchecked by default since most
people use only one client and never connect to the webmail, and probably people
not doing so are more experienced.
This setting and its description may be disabled (grey) when the "Download
messages now" is unchecked. If you find it less error-prone, it is also possible
to hide it by default and make it available through an "Advanced" button :

  [X] Download messages now
      Note that the messages will be deleted from the server.
      [ Advanced ]

If not, at least an informing message should be added to prevent users from
accidentally deleting messages from the server, much like Wada suggested.
>      To user who is using multiple mail clients :
>         If you want to keep mails on server after download,
>         uncheck "Download message now",
>         then go Server Settings and check "Leave Messages on Server",
>         then ... (please add your concerns or worrys)
though it is not my favorite solution !

The most important thing is that this bug be solved, so that people are not left
unaware of the behaviour.
in suite this is bug 295611
Scott: Something needs to be done about this bug. This is also a dataloss bug as
far as the normal end-user is concerned. Can this be slipped onto the radar for
2.0? My suggestion is:
1) Immediately, have "Leave messages on server" set by default, with no option
set for when they should be deleted. This is important to get rid of the
possibility of dataloss.
2) Later, add the setting to the "new account" dialog, and a warning that their
pop server could become full and start rejecting messages if they don't check
the setting.

For a usage case, consider my situation where I check my emails at work, but
only want them removed from the server at home, where I archive them.

For me, I've messed up enough times that I remember now to uncheck it before I
"Send and Receive". Others, I guarantee, will come across this for the first
time, and immediately get angry about it, and possibly stop using Thunderbird
immediately.
Severity: major → critical
Flags: blocking-aviary2.0?
QA Contact: preferences
Having installed Thunderbird dozens of time I still get bit by this bug. In this
day of cheap mail storage it is important to opt for retention so users can
remove old e-mail as they choose. The default remove from server option is based
upon the older structure of cost of storage.
As a comparison point, it looks like mail.app now sets leave on server to true,
with a 7 day retention policy (deleted after 7 days). 

That could be the ideal compromise for Thunderbird 1.5. We aren't going to be
changing the account wizard for this release. And I'm not comfortable flipping
the default to just leave on server without a rention policy because that's
going to cause problems for existing users operating under the presumption that
mail is deleted from the server, who won't know they should that they need to
check this back when the upgrade to 1.5 until their pop account fills up and
stops taking on new mail.

Looks like Outlook and OE still set "leave on server" to false just like we
currently do.
(In reply to comment #36)
> That could be the ideal compromise for Thunderbird 1.5. We aren't going to be
> changing the account wizard for this release.
You're right. That's the better policy to be set immediately, as long as the
account wizard is not modified.

Two questions though :
1. Can you see a way of informing the user that the messages will be deleted
after 7 days ?
2. As I understand it, no messages are deleted before 7 days after the
_retrieval_. Or is it 7 days after receiving it on the server ?
For example, if I have received messages in April, then install the client in
September 10, will my April messages remain on server until September 17, or
will they be deleted at once as they are more than 7 days old ?
In which case, the problem would mainly remain...
it's 7 days after retrieval.
moving into 1.1 consideration just for discussion on changing to leave on server
with a 7 day retention, nothing more. 
Target Milestone: --- → Thunderbird1.1
Folks this is really not that hard. The simple solution is to allow the user a
default setting that does not destroy / remove data. It is much less of a
problem to have mail messages on your server when you thought they were deleted
vs having them gone when you thought they were still there. The old concept of
delete unless requested to save was when storage was much more expensive. Now it
is very cheap and many folks preffer to keep old useless messages on the chance
of needing only a few of them than to delete that special message and have to
resend it to get it to the other computer or worse have it deleted upon install
of mail client and not know it and clear that computer and get to the main one
and find thier mail server empty. There is no reason to delay a solution this
has gone on to long. It does not matter what any of the other clients are doing
Thunderbird is a leader it is time to lead.
> It does not matter what any of the other clients are doing
> Thunderbird is a leader it is time to lead.

I totally agree with this. It is much better to store too much information than
to lose some information.
Scott: Rather than tweaking the retention setting, perhaps simply telling the
user about the default (since it obviously comes as a very unpleasant surprise
to a significant number of users) would be a better choice? See RFE Bug 312431.
Target Milestone: Thunderbird1.1 → Thunderbird2.0
Flags: blocking-firefox2? → blocking-thunderbird2?
Only power users want this, casual users will end up bouncing when their messages fill up the server box and not known why. This is a feature to not be on by default.
This narrower issue might be acceptable to everyone:

When someone unchecks "Leave mail on server", at the next download it shouldn't delete anything.  Instead, add a button next to the checkbox for clearing msgs from the server:

  [ ] Leave mail on server   [Delete all messages from server]

I filed bug 326922 on this issue, with a fuller explanation.  Please carry on any discussion there.
I do not use Thunderbird yet (still prefer the suite) but if it really downloads emails straight from the new account wizard I vote for some warning and possibility to avoid the download/deletion. Changing the default pref would then be a secondary issue.
Version: unspecified → Trunk
Here's why treading carefully here is warranted.  We run a significant amount of 3rd part mail on our servers - 4000+ mailboxes.  We have never had a support complaint that "my mail client pulled down all the messages without asking me" however we do get daily complaints that the users mailbox is full because the "Leave a copy on the server" option has been selected.

I would say 80% of these users are unaware the setting exists or how to change it - don't ask me how it got set in the first place.

A default of 7 days storage is a reasonable compromise.
*** Bug 332696 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 299775 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I just lost a year of e-mail because even though I tried very hard to prevent Thunderbird from deleting messages from my IMAP server, I didn't know about the "right-click on folder -> Properties -> Retention policy" option, which was set to use the server's default policy of deleting old messages. In my opinion, Thunderbird shouldn't delete messages without warning - nothing in the account setup wizard suggested that this would happen, and I actually went through as many settings as I could find to prevent it, and Thunderbird still deleted all my archived mail. I think POP3 accounts filling up is a user education issue - deleting my mail without me reasonably expecting it is inexcusable because it's unrecoverable.
Sorry, reading that post again makes me think I shouldn't say things like "Thunderbird deleted my mail", since I don't know enough of the technical details to completely rule out the IMAP server being at fault, et cetera. So, if it turns out I've mistakenly blamed Thunderbird, I apologise :)
(In reply to comment #49)
> I just lost a year of e-mail because even though I tried very hard to prevent
> Thunderbird from deleting messages from my IMAP server, I didn't know about
> the "right-click on folder -> Properties -> Retention policy" option, which
> was set to use the server's default policy of deleting old messages. 

Did you check the setting for the server?  Automatic deletion shouldn't be turned on by default, for IMAP or anything else:
  Account Settings | <imap account> | Offline & Disk Space
(In reply to comment #51)
> (In reply to comment #49)
> > I just lost a year of e-mail because even though I tried very hard to prevent
> > Thunderbird from deleting messages from my IMAP server, I didn't know about
> > the "right-click on folder -> Properties -> Retention policy" option, which
> > was set to use the server's default policy of deleting old messages. 
> 
> Did you check the setting for the server?  Automatic deletion shouldn't be
> turned on by default, for IMAP or anything else:
>   Account Settings | <imap account> | Offline & Disk Space

I thought I had checked all the settings, but Offline & Disk Space was set to "Delete messages after 30 days". I'm sure I didn't set this, so I can only assume that it was the default setting, althought I'm happy to be corrected. Reading all the comments in this bug's discussion led me to believe that that is the intended default, in case people's inboxes fill up. Surely losing e-mail that I've carefully chosen to retain is worse than wondering why my new mail is not arriving? Or perhaps a simple heuristic would help, such as a pop-up message that says "Because of a setting, Thunderbird is about to delete more than 25% of your saved messages; are you sure this is what you want?". I'm now a little scared to install Thunderbird anywhere else, which is surely not good for increasing adoption of an otherwise excellent mail client.
(In reply to comment #52)
> I thought I had checked all the settings, but Offline & Disk Space was set to
> "Delete messages after 30 days". I'm sure I didn't set this, so I can only
> assume that it was the default setting, althought I'm happy to be corrected.

I can't say with 100% certainty that this setting is never turned on behind your back (and I don't have an IMAP account at the moment) but I'm sure that's not the intent.  If you can provide steps to reproduce, that would help debug it.


> perhaps a simple heuristic would help, such as a pop-up
> message that says "Because of a setting, Thunderbird is about to delete more
> than 25% of your saved messages; are you sure this is what you want?". 

This sounds like a good idea to me -- someone might set the retention on an account, forgetting there's a folder with saved mail under the account.  That pop-up would have to be on a per-folder basis, which might get annoying the first time thru...
this issue does need to be addressed.  my preferred solution would be to remove the default behavior of automatically retrieving messages.  every email client i've ever used has defaulted to deleting email from the server so i'm not specifically against this but when it's combined with automatically polling the server for email then data loss can result.

so, i support changing the default behavior to leaving messages on the server if the default behavior of thunderbird continues to be to automatically download messages.
This bug is now nearly three years old, the majority agrees, that is needs to be fixed. Now, not in another 3 years.
Moving off bugs that didn't make the deadline for Thunderbird 2. 
Flags: blocking-thunderbird2? → blocking-thunderbird2-
I was very surprised to read in a review of Thunderbird 2 ("Linux Format" magazine) that this silly bug is still there.  SUrely it is not difficult to change a default?
(In reply to comment #57)
> I was very surprised to read in a review of Thunderbird 2 ("Linux Format"
> magazine) that this silly bug is still there.  SUrely it is not difficult to
> change a default?
> 

Not a single other Mail application has this as the default setting. why should thunderbird do so?
Because it is a dataloss ? (resisting shouting)
(In reply to comment #59)
> Because it is a dataloss ? (resisting shouting)
> 

Um, no?

You have downloaded the mails to your local mailbox, so they are still there. no data lost here.

maybe the Add Account wizzard could ask if you want to set this pref. 

IMO it *should not* be set by default. this could result in a data-loss (the mailbox could easily get full and refuses to accept more incoming emails therefore causing all new mails to be lost).
IMHO, it is actually a dataloss because, with POP3, unlike IMAP4, there is no obvious way to send the messages back to the server and then to the usual mail client, in case you do not want to use TB any longer.

Still I think that the solution of keeping the default as it is now, but displaying a warning and a checkbox allowing to do otherwise, is the way to go. Moreover, it seems that almost everyone has been agreeing since 3 years. So what is keeping this bug from being fixed ? Lack of manpower ?

(NB : I do not use POP anyway, so this bug does not really concern me and I am not trying to put any pressure on the devs ;-). I am just curious of what is going on here.)
I think, this should be set in the mail provider rdf files. For providers with large mail storage capacity (Google Mail, Yahoo, etc.) TB should leave all messages on the server, for unknown providers or providers with little mail storage (Web.de) capacity it should be a reasonable default setting. Eg. 14 days.


In any case it should be user configurable from the account wizzard.
IMHO, the default of deleting messages from the server is fine. Thunderbird just needs a checkbox to allow the user to select "Leave messages on server" when setting up a new account, before downloading any messages. I recall that when I set up my mail accounts in the Mozilla Suite and SeaMonkey, I was presented with this option so I could leave all messages on the server.

Does anyone have any objection to my changing the summary of this bug report to:
Allow user to select "Leave messages on server" when creating a new email account?
It looks as though changing the default setting simply isn't going to happen.
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3?
(In reply to comment #63)
> IMHO, the default of deleting messages from the server is fine. Thunderbird
> just needs a checkbox to allow the user to select "Leave messages on server"
> when setting up a new account, before downloading any messages.


And please dont forget to include "Delete after x Days"!

Otherwise people wont get any new mails after their (small) POP3 account gets filled.
> Does anyone have any objection to my changing the summary

Yes. Just open a new bug.
(In reply to comment #65)
> Yes. Just open a new bug.

The problem with that is that bug 332696 is essentially the same as the new bug I would write (although it adds that changing the default would also be acceptable), and it was marked as a duplicate of this bug. Should I re-open that bug and remove "leave messages on server by default or" from the summary?
  Heh.. funny how things like this can go on for so long without resolution.  I was bitten by this bug/setting years ago, and have since been diligent in not setting a password or if it requires a password, I set it to something that is incorrect for my email account during the account creation wizard.

  This way, I am able to go to account settings and make any necessary changes before I actually initiate the first mail call (or at least the first one where I will put in the correct password to download the email).  I've found this to be my solution for this bug/issue.

  I still think that it is simple enough to add the 'Leave Messages on Server' and 'For at most X days' and 'Until I delete them' somewhere during the account creation wizard to cure this ill behaviour.  I agree that a short description of the settings should be included (at least 2 good examples provided throughout this thread) and beyond that, if someone is silly enough to click "Next" too quickly while creating an account and misses setting this option, then that comes down to user error, not program defaults, not installation options.

If responding to this thread with a 'no, its not happening' or 'I don't think this should be added/changed' type of answer, please provide some specific reasons why adding something like this to the account creation wizard is not viable, not possible, or not reasonable.

Regards,
Tyler.
(In reply to comment #67)
>   I still think that it is simple enough to add the 'Leave Messages on Server'
> and 'For at most X days' and 'Until I delete them' somewhere during the account
> creation wizard to cure this ill behaviour.

Adding the 'Leave Messages on Server' option is now covered by bug 332696. If you want the other options as well, please file a comment on that bug report.

This bug report is for changing the default, which almost certainly isn't going to happen. If it isn't going to happen, it should be promptly closed as WONTFIX.
It's a real gotcha in Thunderbird for new users.

I have to be careful to tell people to put in the wrong password, or something like that, in order to deny Thunderbird access to the mailbox at first.

This gives the user a chance to go through their account settings and make sure everything's OK, before letting Thunderbird tear into the mail.

It's nasty to have Thunderbird automatically default to deleting messages.  It can really sting an unsuspecting user.

Would you like it if your text editor defaulted to deleting files after you opened them?
The days of people accessing their mail from just one computer/desktop are mostly gone. Most people I know use at least three machines for e-mail: home, work, laptop, living room, kitchen, Mom's, etc. 

When you set up Thunderbird on one machine and it deletes everything off the server. That is data loss for all the other places you do or might want to get your e-mail at. And a data loss you may not even notice till your at one of those other machines. 

This is not user friendly! The default setting of delete from server is not for the convenience of the user but the Network Administrator and  his storage space.

Asking for confirmation before wiping out someones collected e-mails would seem to be a very basic courtesy and a very minor imposition on the program interface.
(In reply to comment #70)
> This is not user friendly! The default setting of delete from server is not for
> the convenience of the user but the Network Administrator and  his storage
> space.

Please do keep in mind that almost every mailbox has some sort of quota (although since Gmail these have increased markedly.)  I doubt sysadmins care, since your mail account can creep into his storage space more than he allows.

But, please do consider that it would be worse for a user not to realize things weren't being deleted off the server, and have people get bounces that he or she doesn't even know about.  That said, I agree this should be fixed and comment #12 has it spot on.

Though I'm pretty sure Outlook and Outlook Express have the same defaults as Thunderbird here, so it's really not something to cry horrible shame over.

-[Unknown]
I do consider this bug as a severe one, leading not only to data loss, but more than that, to possible rejection of TB from new users, as this is one of the first things one experiences in new installation/new account setup. I'm just saying that  "never have a 2nd chance to make a 1st good impression" and if trust and friendliness are at fault, new users may back away. 

Anyway, I do agree with comment #70 , as I take "asking for confirmation" as a general "telling user what is happening on important, non reversible action". 

And not agree with comment #71 that having a full box is worse than deleting mails. mess that bounce with full box are telling those people to eventually try again (or give a call!) and the data is not lost, while deleting mails in a "blind" way is by far harder to recover.

Aside from solution in comment #70 - Asking for confirmation ..
and comment #12 - default "leave for x days.."
*warning* and *guidance* is needed for a user to be "introduced" to these issues. Cause some new users may not even know the need to deal with such settings.

this should (if not already) be also subject to the recent discussions in newsgroups for account setting changes
Like I recommended in bug 112356 comment 24 I think this should be the default option.  A message needs to appear in the last page of the account wizard [1] explaining that this is the default behavior such that people who do not want it can change it before downloading.

I hope I'm nominating this correctly...

[1] http://wiki.mozilla.org/MailNews:Account_Wizard:Email
Flags: wanted-thunderbird3.0a2?
(In reply to comment #72)
> And not agree with comment #71 that having a full box is worse than deleting
> mails. mess that bounce with full box are telling those people to eventually
> try again (or give a call!) and the data is not lost, while deleting mails in a
> "blind" way is by far harder to recover.

Speaking as someone who has had to tell people (business people) that their emails are bouncing: I don't think you're right.

It's much easier for me to tell someone, "your emails are gone but you have a copy of them on your laptop.  Boy, that was a close one." than, "Oh, looks like all the emails people have tried to send you in the past week were bounced.  Most likely they don't even know because bounces usually show up as junk these days.  Luckily, the server logs these bounces so I can at least get you a list."

From different perspectives, the second is much more "dataloss" (so to speak) than the first.

I think the default needs to be on (as this bug states), but I also think the emails need to be deleted eventually by default also (as Mail.app does on Macs iirc.)  That is the best of both worlds and prevents both bad scenarios.

Leaving all mail on the server is bad for some.  Deleting all mail off the server is bad for others.

That's all I'm trying to say.

-[Unknown]
Maybe do some poll or so?
My point is: Default action should not be data loss. If a person know what does that setting do he/she will uncheck it. But for ordinary user who's trying to just setup the account he won't notice that option and will press finish as soon as he can.
(In reply to comment #74)
> Leaving all mail on the server is bad for some.  Deleting all mail off the
> server is bad for others.

That's a really good point.  We do need to have a better story for helping people manage their storage.  Is there a bug out there describing what you're talking about?  It would be a good time to start thinking that kind of consequence of the change here.
I think bug 332694 is dupe here. though bug 270743 mentioned there may improve this a bit
Duplicate of this bug: 332694
Taking.
Assignee: mscott → mkmelin+mozilla
Target Milestone: Thunderbird2.0 → Thunderbird 3
Flags: wanted-thunderbird3.0a2? → wanted-thunderbird3?
Is there a way to know that your POP server is running out of space?  Leave on server needs to be the default option, I'm planning on putting this as blocking.  However, as pointed out, we need to help people manage their server space.  This storage management could be done in a number of ways.  What is the best method of knowing when a person is running out of space?
(In reply to comment #80)
> Is there a way to know that your POP server is running out of space?

No, except by getting no new mail and calls from your communication partners that _they_ get bounces due to "mailbox full".
If you have a friendly/competent POP3 provider, you may get an special e-mail telling you that you're running out of space.

> Leave on server needs to be the default option, I'm planning on putting this
> as blocking.

That's not what POP3 is meant to do.
POP3 is just a *temporary* message store, it's not meant to be an archive.
That's what IMAP got developed for...
(In reply to comment #80)
> Is there a way to know that your POP server is running out of space?

Not really, unless you're going to send it an automated email and check that it came.  Which seems error prone and not particularly useful long-run...

>  Leave on server needs to be the default option, I'm planning on putting
> this as blocking.  However, as pointed out, we need to help people manage
> their server space.  This storage management could be done in a number of
> ways.  What is the best method of knowing when a person is running out of
> space?

Well, one option is entering in the quota.  This is likely to usually be incorrect and hardly be useful to most users.

Another would be to use IMAP at the same time.  Actually, for me, this would be an ideal situation... but also very complicated.  You see, I like the way POP works since I have a bunch of email accounts I aggregate - but I, like the majority of users, have both options available to me.

That said, getting the quota off IMAP, while simple in and of itself, would tireslessly complicate the account setup dialog in the greatest likelyhood and wouldn't make for clean code either...

(In reply to comment #81)
> That's not what POP3 is meant to do.
> POP3 is just a *temporary* message store, it's not meant to be an archive.
> That's what IMAP got developed for...

You're right.  However, there's a difference between temporary and FIFO.  Thunderbird doesn't necessarily have a responsibility to delete messages off the POP server right away (unless the user wants this), especially for interoperability with other mail clients.

-[Unknown]
Note that not every POP3 service also supports IMAP.
(In reply to comment #83)
> Note that not every POP3 service also supports IMAP.

Oh, really? News @ 11!

Actually, I think the problem is that users aren't aware of the implications - and actually they probably don't need to. But either way, they should get some info about *why* we're setting a certain default or what happens if they change it.

Real POP3 mailboxes tend to be rather small (disregarding GMail here), only those modern systems which are aware of IMAP also usually have large amounts of space available. So the choices are:
(a) Set default to "download POP3 mail, delete when savely on disk".
    That's what we're doing now.
    Main disadvantages: - no roaming access
                        - user can delete mails irrevocably
(b) Set default to "download POP3 mail, but don't delete them on the server".
    That's what this bug is about, we provide a checkbox for that.
    Main disadvantage: you can't tell when you're POP3 mailbox is full,
                       thus mailboxes will run full extremely fast (given this
                       day and age of spam), so users rapidly will complain
                       about "I can't get mails anymore!"

I don't think that (b) is a viable default.
Well, one solution would be to opt to retain on server, delete after 30 days or something like that.

I made comment #1 precisely because I am an experienced user who got caught out by something I was not expecting - an attempt to transfer mail before I had a chance to set the retention policy the way I like it.  

Recent objections centre on the problem of very inexperienced users not understanding how legacy mail systems work.

Perhaps the wizard needs to be better written?  To ask 'do you have another mail client you are already using?'.  'Do you want to keep mail on the server for use with another programme?'.  'Do you collect the same mail on more than one system?'.  That sort of thing.  

Perhaps the wizard needs to assume that first use is on a trial basis and arrange to leave the mail on the server, then pop up a new wizard a week or so later saying 'You have been using thunderbird a lot in the last 10 days.  If you have decided to use it exclusively, you might want to start deleting mail off the server.  Untick this box if you have decided to use this programme as your only mail client'.

Perhaps there needs to be a special help page with a prominent help page on teh wizard to explain things to newcomers.

Perhaps at the very beginning of installation we should ask 'Why are you installing thunderbird?' and offer choices like 'I am an experienced thunderbird user setting up a new system' 'I want to try it out in parallel with my existing mail client' or 'I want an alternative to my normal mailer to use on an occasional basis' and preset the retention policy based on that.

It seems that the resolution of this issue depends crucially on a philosophy about what installation of thunderbird is for, and what is expected from the new user.  That philosophy, of course, needs to be consistently applied to other dialogues so that a matching face is seen.
Ok, I've been working through what I think is a scenario that can work but I'll address some points from above first.

I had thought about asking people for their quota amount because it's the basic information we need to manage space effectively.  However I don't think most people will know what their quota is so we might as well not bother asking if we're not going to get a satisfactory answer from the majority of people.

IMAP would give us the information needed, but it would be complicated to try setting up a secondary connection and of course it's not available to everyone so it wouldn't solve the problem entirely.

Junk Mail shouldn't be left on the server, our policy should be to remove junk mail from the server right away or at least very quickly.  A person's quota shouldn't overrun because of mail they didn't want to get.

To avoid the scenario where we delete a person's email from the server we could ask them about deleting mail when they first create their account.  However for people just trying Thunderbird I don't want to pop up this kind of dialog in the very beginning for a question that is difficult to understand.  Let them use Thunderbird, having a good experience with few questions, and then we'll ask them some clean up questions.

So what I'm looking at right now is about asking the user about space saving 7 days after they've been had their POP account with Thunderbird.  I'm thinking of this more like a follow up phone call you'd receive from a business.  Initially we left all the person's mail on the server as a careful service to protect their data.  But after a number of days, I've chosen 7, it's time to start thinking about space saving.  

During this time, I think removing Junk email is still likely the right thing to do.

A problem with this question in general is that most people don't understand the different between their mail in Thunderbird and their mail on the "server".  So I think the dialog wording has to be framed in terms of "You may be running out of space for your email on example.com.  Thunderbird can clean up old emails, keeping them on your computer for later"  [ No, I have lots of space ]  [ Yes, Manage my space at example.com ]

I'll try to work out an exact dialog soon.  For people using GMail or Yahoo POP we shouldn't really be asking this question at all, though I'm not sure it'd be worth adding in the extra hooks.  I wonder if Gerv's ISP database could have POP quota information at least in the form of "lots" or "unknown".
Interesting that GMail's own instructions for setting up Thunderbird for POP with them explicitly say to _un_check "leave on server" (though lower down, in the instructions for Google Apps, they do correctly say to "Verify that the box next to Leave messages on server is unchecked" instead).

I look forward to seeing this dialog, both the three to five words most people will read before swatting it away and the fun question of which button goes in the platform-default OK position and what happens when it's closed without clicking a button.

Also interesting that switching to a default of 7 day retention, matching the only other client anyone has mentioned that doesn't just do exactly what we currently do, which would have been accepted three years ago if anyone had bothered to submit a patch, now seems to be off the table.

Oh, and deleting things we think are junk despite having a pref setting that says we aren't going to delete things from the server? Uh, nope. If it's been too long, go to Prefs/Privacy/Junk and reset your training data so you get the effect of starting from scratch, and see how long it takes before you get a false positive that you wouldn't want to have be deleted from the server, after you've carefully checked that we aren't set to delete from the server. Whatever we do, it has to be expressed in the prefs, so something more reasonable, like deleting junk when it's deleted in the client while marked as junk, is going to give you some... intricate prefs UI.
Gmail is a poor model for pop3, of course.  mail in gmail that is 'deleted' from the pop3 box is marked so as not to be visible in the pop3 box but still exists in the greater googleverse.  

I like the idea of coming back to the user after 7 days, and would suggest an advanced user toggle to expose the underlying settings to make it clear to the brighter among us why the question is being asked.
I think we need to simplify the issue in terms of the average end user whilst not demeaning the capable users. Let them know of the most common reasons for choosing either way and the consequences.

|X| leave messages on server
    thunderbird will only download a copy to this computer for you to view.
    select this option if you:
    * need to access this email account from other computers
    * also use a web page to access your messages (webmail)
    * wish to try thunderbird without affecting your current email program
      (close any open email programs that access this account)

    note: most email accounts have a limit to the amount of email they can
          store for you. if you leave too many messages on the server,
          you will no longer be able to receive new messages.

| | download messages
    thunderbird will fetch all messages from the server to this computer
    and not leave a copy on the mail server.
    select this option if you:
    * do not need to access this email account from any other computer
    * you wish to use thunderbird as your only email program

    You can change this option later in your account settings.

not perfect but you get the idea.
Duplicate of this bug: 452111
In bug 422814 the plan will be to leave messages on the server by default.  Server storage space may be an issue for some POP3 users, but we can handle that after account creation.  It's not important to immediately start delete emails off of a POP3 server when an an account is created as much as it is to start deleting mail off the server after you start receiving more new mail post account creation.
Re: When to warn the user to clear space:

We can't know capacity available or used on the POP server, but we do know (or can know) how much mail the user has downloaded. Maybe we warn the user to clear some space on the server after they've downloaded a certain volume of data.

(My apologies if that was suggested above; I admittedly only skimmed much of the discussion.)
Users will expect "leave messages on the server until i delete them in Thunderbird" because they think that pop3 is an imap replacement.
(deleting the mails on the server only if the messages are deleted from the trash folder)
submitted to early

i forgot to add that using  "leave messages on the server" will cause issues with many pop3 servers because the UIDL is changing from time to time and that will cause the client to download the mails again and you have each mail twice in your inbox.
The pop3 server from my ISP is doing that, not every session but from time to time (unknown cause, could be a database purge every week)

I suggest using "leave messages on the server until i delete them" as default for typical webmail pop3 providers with a non changing UIDL and for other/unkown servers ask.
as Bryan said, we plan on doing this in the new account wizard. Marking dependency. Users can always change the default. That being said, I wouldn't block on this.
Depends on: autoconfig
Flags: wanted-thunderbird3?
Flags: wanted-thunderbird3+
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3?
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3-
Target Milestone: Thunderbird 3 → Thunderbird 3.0b3
(In reply to comment #94)

> i forgot to add that using  "leave messages on the server" will cause issues
> with many pop3 servers because the UIDL is changing from time to time and that
> will cause the client to download the mails again and you have each mail twice
> in your inbox.
> The pop3 server from my ISP is doing that, not every session but from time to
> time (unknown cause, could be a database purge every week)

I don't think this problem is common. I've never seen it or heard of it until now and we've supported, for many years, many users who leave POP3 mail on the server. We've only seen duplicate messages when the client-side index of already downloaded messages gets corrupted or deleted.
Attached patch proposed fix (obsolete) — Splinter Review
I had to do this for some testing, so I figured I might as well attach it to the bug. I changed the default to 10 days. This will probably cause a bit of a stir, but it's just a default that users can change, and leaving on server is generally safer than not.
Assignee: mkmelin+mozilla → bienvenu
Attachment #359538 - Flags: superreview?(neil)
Attachment #359538 - Flags: review?(mkmelin+mozilla)
Comment on attachment 359538 [details] [diff] [review]
proposed fix

>+pref("mail.spam.markAsNotJunkMarksUnRead", true);

Was this intentional?
Comment on attachment 359538 [details] [diff] [review]
proposed fix

>+pref("mail.spam.markAsNotJunkMarksUnRead", true);

^^^ doesn't belong in this patch.

I'm more concerned for the current users who have messages set up to be left on the server indefinitely already - since you change delete_by_age_from_server they won't get much chance to change it, and I can foresee a lot of angry bug reports about losing mail on the server.

I think we need to do a migration and manually write out the delete_by_age_from_server=false pref for each server that have leave_on_server pref set to true and no age deletion.

I'd also like a larger day count, perhaps 14 or even 21. And a pony ;)
Attachment #359538 - Attachment is obsolete: true
Attachment #359538 - Flags: superreview?(neil)
Attachment #359538 - Flags: review?(mkmelin+mozilla)
Comment on attachment 359538 [details] [diff] [review]
proposed fix

ugh, pref migration is such a pain, but you're right.
How about merging "leave_on_server" = true and "delete_by_age_from_server" = true into one
4-state pref: 0 = remove after fetch, 1 = remove after n days, 2 = leave in server until delete on client, 3 = leave on server everything infinitely
I fear you'll still need pref migration to change the current boolean pref into an int pref, but for me, that combined one would be more logical. Also, "leave_on_server" = true and "delete_by_age_from_server" = true is a contradiction, if you don't know how they interact, and may be dangerously misleading.
(esp. if delete_by_age_from_server is *default* true and somebody changes leave_on_server from false to true (after the pref migration), and he doesn't know delete_by_age_from_server, and expects mail to stay on server)
we have UI for all these settings - if you don't know what you're doing, you shouldn't be messing with the prefs directly, IMHO.
Duplicate of this bug: 485670
the new account autoconfig sets leave on server by default, which is probably good enough for this bug. Marking fixed.
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Closed: 11 years ago
Resolution: --- → FIXED
Target Milestone: Thunderbird 3.0b3 → Thunderbird 3.0b4
Duplicate of this bug: 483995
The "immediate danger" part of this may be fixed, but the general dataloss problem remains for the current default settings:
- We are still deleting messages (now with a 14 days delay),
- and we're not informing the user about it,
- and we don't allow the user to configure it during assisted
(quick) account setup.
I'm an advanced user, and I suffered dataloss on server because of this.

-> followup bugs:
- Bug 531088 -  Need warning and autoconfig UI for destructive POP3 default setting "Leave messages on server for at most [14] days" or "until I delete them"
- Bug 531092 -  Need release note warning and help documentation for destructive POP3 default setting...
We're happy with the default. Other mail clients do the same (e.g., Mail.app). If we never delete messages from the server, you run the risk of not receiving incoming mail when your quota is exceeded, which is also data loss.
(In reply to comment #108)
> We're happy with the default. Other mail clients do the same (e.g., Mail.app).

Oh, it's not really about changing the default. It's about making the default and its implications transparent, and giving the user a choice during account setup.

> If we never delete messages from the server, you run the risk of not receiving
> incoming mail when your quota is exceeded, which is also data loss.

Yes, it's dataloss both ways, and therefore needs cautioning, explanation and choice. Avoiding a potential dataloss at some future point of time by doing a deliberate and guaranteed dataloss after 14 days is a very questionable strategy, especially if it's done without telling the user about it.

Furthermore: I think we have all reason to assume that
- the number of users who are accessing their mail from multiple locations is growing,
- that more and more email accounts come with a lot or even unlimited space (like google mail),
- and therefore many people might want to keep their mail in their server's inbox (and probably longer than just 14 days).

So for a potentially very large number of people, our default settings might be wrong and destructive. Probably David is also right, and for a lot of other people NOT deleting messages from server might be wrong. Again, it all points to the need of explanation and choice, during setup. I know it's not easy, and it will make setup a little more complex than now, but the current solution is not a solution.

> Other mail clients do the same
... is never a good argument in itself. We're Mozilla, and we're open source, so we can do better. In fact, openness, innovation, and choice might be the right keywords for successfully addressing this usability problem (rather than talking it away). This problem has been subject of many bugs and a lot of discussion for ages (e.g. this bug and SeaMonkey Bug 112356 from 2001, still open: No option to leave email messages on server when creating new account). History shows such things won't go away, until there's a really sustainable solution.
Thomas, while I agree with your general sentiment, I also think that most users are changing to IMAP for the same reasons you mention. POP is simply not made to leave stuff on the server, it's a mere "mailbox" where you take stuff out.

I disagree with the idea of putting stuff in the account creation wizard, because the mental burden there is too much and I don't think normal people will be able to understand and make he right decision at this point. I think most people (usually including me) are overwhelmed and stressed with all the install, account creation problems, password finding etc. and just want to be done with it and get at their mail. Also, they maybe don't even know whether they want to continue to use Thunderbird [for this account]. That's the whole idea of the 14 days.

I do think it would be good to notify users after 10-14 days again, in any case before deleting mail, to *then* make a choice. I think they can 1) make a much more informed choice at this point 2) are more able to concentrate and decide on this particular question. So, I think that should be done instead, in a new bug.
 install, account creation problems, password finding etc. and just want to be
> done with it and get at their mail. Also, they maybe don't even know whether
> they want to continue to use Thunderbird [for this account]. That's the whole
> idea of the 14 days.
> 
> I do think it would be good to notify users after 10-14 days again, in any case
> before deleting mail, to *then* make a choice. I think they can 1) make a much
> more informed choice at this point 2) are more able to concentrate and decide
> on this particular question. So, I think that should be done instead, in a new
> bug.

Nice idea!
To keep per-mailserver property like "user not warned about deletion". This property should be set true only by account wizard. It should be checked before purging server data, and data should not be purged until it false.

User should be warned and asked before first purging.

The case: user use not mozilla mail program, keep data on server.
user download mozilla mail program, tryes, set pop3 account, look into, shutdown and forgot.
After some time user hears about an new mozilla's version, or ust remember to give more time to mozilla's mail. 
He run mailer (old, or a new, that pickup a profile from old), and it delete all mail, because of purge time.

Second case - pop-->imap migration. Peoples often creates a new profile for it, and forgot about old profile when all work ok. After some time they forget old profile. But, maybe, after a year, they can found it, and run it - just to see, what is it... and, of cause, lost data.
Talking to bryan about it, something that could help mitigate some of these issues is to enrich the ISPDB config database to mark specific ISPs that we know have very large POP quotas (Yahoo, Google, etc.) as such, and to turn off this pref for those ISPs.  For older ISPs with small quotas, we could also consider enriching the ISPDB config with quota information ("this ISP provides 100Mb of storage"), thereby providing us out-of-band information about the limits of specific accounts that POP can't provide.
davida, most of such ISPs typically allow IMAP, and the ISPDB uses that. I think the ISPDB will also migrate more users to IMAP than we used to have.

Yahoo is an exception, but it may not even allow POP in the US.

The quota information won't solve the problem for the other ISPs, so I propose to just go with the warning dialog when the 14 days expire. I think that's needed anyways and solves the problem entirely.
There are other reasons not to leave all your messages on the server - we list all the uidls every time you try to get new messages, and the more messages you have left on the server, the longer that will take. POP3 is a fairly primitive protocol, and it really wasn't designed to leave all messages on the server.
How to apply "leave_on_server" to each account separately ?
(In reply to comment #115)
> How to apply "leave_on_server" to each account separately ?

It's a per-account setting. While quick-setting up an account, you could use "Advanced Settings" button. After account creation, use this:
Tools > Account Settings > YourAccount > Sever Settings > Leave Messages on Server (and don't forget to uncheck "for at most 14 days" and "until I delete them" as needed).
Hmmm, may be that not possible for IMAP ? For POP3 it's work.
Ooops, all work
Blocks: 534628
(In reply to David A's comment #112)
Bug 534629 - Add server quota information to ISPDB (account setup config database)
Bug 534628 - Implement intelligent "leave messages on server" default settings for POP3 accounts, based on storage quota size on server
No longer blocks: 534628
Depends on: 531088, 532092, 534629, 534628
No longer depends on: 532092
This bug has absolutely nothing to do with bug 532092; please use landfill.bugzilla.org for testing.
(In reply to comment #120)
> This bug has absolutely nothing to do with bug 532092; please use
> landfill.bugzilla.org for testing.

Chris, thanks for pointing out the typo, it's Bug 531092 of course.

I'm actually well beyond testing stage, and using landfill.bmo unfortunately won't prevent typos. If you're unhappy with getting cc'ed when other people do their work by adding value to the bug, please remove yourself from the CC list.
Depends on: 531092
(In reply to comment #121)
> (In reply to comment #120)
> > This bug has absolutely nothing to do with bug 532092; please use
> > landfill.bugzilla.org for testing.
> 
> Chris, thanks for pointing out the typo, it's Bug 531092 of course.

Certainly.

> I'm actually well beyond testing stage, and using landfill.bmo unfortunately
> won't prevent typos. If you're unhappy with getting cc'ed when other people do
> their work by adding value to the bug, please remove yourself from the CC list.

I'm unclear as to what value is being added to a RESOLVED FIXED bug by adding a bunch of dependencies to it four months after it was fixed, but sure. The only reason I'm on the CC list for this bug at all was because I had to come over here to clean up your mess. Please try to be more careful in the future.
(In reply to comment #122)
> The only
> reason I'm on the CC list for this bug at all was because I had to come over
> here to clean up your mess. Please try to be more careful in the future.

perhaps you're having a bad day, but a more congenial and collegial perspective and tone should be taken with fellow contributors. typos happen.
Duplicate of this bug: 565851
In what _release_ version of TB there will be a fix? 

I am asking because as for now, problem still exists -- but I use only release stable versions. Thank you.
(In reply to comment #125)
> In what _release_ version of TB there will be a fix? 

This is fixed in Thunderbird 3. However it will only affect new accounts.

If you are seeing issues in Thunderbird 3 or later, please file them in a separate bug.
See Also: → 455681
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