OE: what does "delete" do, depending on "leave a copy on the server"?

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Thread Starter
Apr 13, 2004
In Oulook Express (but I'm assuiming this is an issue in other email clients) my question is, what exactly happens when I "delete" a message from my inbox, in the TWO different cases depending on the setting for "leave a copy on the server"?
I want to have this setting checked on all my computers, and I will be responsible for deleting (on the SERVER, NOT just in my local copy on one computer) unwanted messages. My friend claims that a "delete" of a msg in my inbox only removes the local copy (when the "leave a copy" is checked). But I want to be able to delete on the SERVER, from any of my computers, so that the msg doesn't "come back" on another computer (sort of like what web-based email does, only I want this behavior with SMTP/POP). He says that to do this, I must have the "leave a copy" unchecked on at least one computer (of course in that case, getting the messages amounts to a server delete without any other specific "delete" action by me). But that means that I can't later get ANY of the msgs that were pulled by another of my computers, because all those msgs (not just the ones I want to delete) were deleted on the server. I don't mind having my various computers slightly out of sync (I can always sync them if needed) but I would like messages I DON'T delete to stay on the server. If I keep them ONLY in my local inbox, or copy to another local folder, I won't be able to access these from another computer. And I move around a lot on my computers during the week (work, school, home), so I really don't want to keep all this stuff with me via floppies or CDs. Seems like storing msgs on the email server until I explicitly delete them should work.
Anyway, my problem is only with ONE email account, where deleted msgs (with "leave a copy" checked) seem to come back later (on another computer). When I use the optional SMTP/POP method for hotmail, it works like I want.
Sorry for the length, but it's a little hard to explain. Please read carefully before replying. Thanks in advance!!!


Malware Specialist
Mar 10, 2004
OK. Essentially this is how it works with POP3 mail that you are using. When mail is sent to your email address it gets stored in your ISP's mail server. You then connect to that server and download the mail off of the server onto your machine. Once the mail is on your machine, it is no longer left on the ISP's mail server.

That is the default behaviour but can be changed. If you go into your Account/Advanced tab and specify to leave the mail on the server, when you download the mail to your local machine, a copy will still be left on your server.

In both situations if you delete a message from your inbox, it will have no affect whatsoever on the mail on the server and will be deleted.

Now if you want to make it so that you can manage your mail and have the same mail on all computers, specify on each computer that the mail should be left on the server. Then if your ISP has a webmail interface, which almost all do, use that interface to clean up the already received email.

If there is no web interface, then your friend is right and you will need one machine to remove the mail from the server.
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