Open Bug 302205 Opened 17 years ago Updated 11 days ago

Need IMAP Purge/Expunge (without compact)


(Thunderbird :: Mail Window Front End, enhancement)

Not set


(Not tracked)


(Reporter: vladnc, Unassigned)



User-Agent:       Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
Build Identifier: 

I'm using IMAP, all folders are marked for offline use and downloaded locally. 
The largest folder has about 6000 emails (1GB). I have set "When I delete a 
message - Mark it as deleted".

After marking some messages for deletion in the large folder, and making sure 
that all the messages should really be deleted, I use the "Compact This 
Folder" command, or the "Compact All Folders" command, to really delete them 
from the IMAP server.

The "Compact" commands perform an IMAP purge, but they also compact the 
offline storage files, causing severe performance issues.

What's even more annoying, is that some of the operations are performed in 
background, and you have no visual cue that Thunderbird is the application 
that is slowing the system down. And if you close the application, it doesn't 
really close, but it continues to compact the files in background.

So, there should be two commands available only for IMAP folders 
called "Expunge(Purge) this folder" and "Expunge(Purge) all folders".

This commands should:
1. Execute IMAP purge on the server.
2. If the folder has offline storage, change the "mark deleted" flag in the 
offline storage to a custom flag "really deleted" that will cause the 
interface to completely ignore it. This will be much faster than compacting 
the offline storage.

I know you won't like this: "Works fine in Outlook Express (TM)" :)

Reproducible: Always

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Create a large IMAP folder (more than 100 MB, more than 1000 mails)
2. Set "When I delete a message - Mark it as deleted"
3. Mark the folder for offline use, and download the folder locally
4. Delete some messages from the folder (10-20 mails)
5. Run the "Compact This Folder" command

Actual Results:  
The mails are deleted from IMAP server, then Thunderbird starts compacting the 
offline store in background, slowing everything down.

Expected Results:  
Should have provided an option called "Purge/Expunge" that will delete the 
mails from the IMAP server, then mark the mails as "really deleted" in the 
offline storage file. This will be much faster than compacting.
I'm not sure if I'd go that way, or figure out some other time/way to compact
the offline store.
Assignee: mscott → bienvenu
Ever confirmed: true
There should be a button "Expunge" beside the "Delete" button and it should Expunge in the current folder.
So far I am using "mark as deleted" when I delete an email and the only way to really delete an email is to use the function "Cleanup Inbo on exit" which by the way cause two problems: 1. Not possible to cleanup any other folder than Inbox and 2. Once thunderbird is closed there is no second chance, the email is gone.
So far Thunderbird is the first imap client I have seen without this functionality .
QA Contact: front-end
emre, see also bug 236922
move to core:imap?
Assignee: bienvenu → nobody
Severity: normal → enhancement
OS: Windows XP → All
Hardware: PC → All
Duplicate of this bug: 440390
would this even be absolutely needed if bug 218075 were fixed?
See Also: → 218075


  • Expunge is relevant only for IMAP folders
  • Compact is relevant only for offline storage

When one right clicks on a folder, there is only the option "Compact". It is hard to understand what it does and its relation to "Expunge".

To remove this confusion, one can

  • for non-IMAP folders, keep the label "Compact"
  • for IMAP folders without local storage, rename it to "Expunge"
  • for IMAP folders with local storage, rename it to "Expunge & Compact"
See Also: → 1130277
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