Offline IMAP Content Deleted Between Sessions?

Discussion in 'Email Program Setup and Configuration' started by foggy, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    I was explaining IMAP to a relative and she had a question I can't yet find an answer to:

    For those who prefer not to have any email content stored locally on their computers (for whatever reason: security, privacy, etc.), is it possible, nevertheless, to have a desktop client as a "mail station," so that it can be used to read, move, file, delete, compose, send email IMAP-style, but will not retain downloaded email content between sessions, thus making it somewhat like an "email browser" ?

    IOW, the idea would be that when first started, the desktop client will access the account(s) as usual, with all account information (username, password) remaining in the client long-term. And during the mail session inbox message headers will be downloaded, individual messages from the inbox and any other folder will be downloaded and read, etc. But when closed the client will purge all downloaded content without at that point having that deleting/purging process cause any online content to be affected. So that when next started the desktop client itself will be 'empty' (except for account information and folder list).

    The idea also being that a draft can be begun with the client and saved on the server. But when the client is closed, once again only the local copy of the draft is removed, but the saved copy is still on the server.

    :thanks:
     


  2. rfs9999

    rfs9999 IMAP Tools

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    I am not personally aware of any POP or IMAP client that does just what you are describing.

    However, isn't this exactly what a webmail client does? Everything stays on the webmail server. When you log off there's nothing remaining on your PC since nothing was downloaded during the session.

    -Rick
     

  3. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    What about the synchronization and storage options in Mozilla Thunderbird?

    It looks like I can configure it to not save local copies on my computer by unchecking this box:

    Thunderbird IMAP Synchronization.JPG

    But at the same time use the Copies & Folders settings to save mail to the server:

    Thunderbird copies and folders.JPG

    Does this accomplish what you're trying to do?
     
  4. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    I'm testing this but I don't think it's doing what I think we want it to be doing.

    After restarting Thunderbird all the emails are still there, even when I say don't download over 1k from only today.

    I'll try clearing my folders, maybe the settings will work but only for new email going forward.
     
  5. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Thanks for looking into this, Ray. I'm trying to do some searching and test things with Outlook 2007. Nothing yet. I'll be glad to see whatever results you come up with using TB.

    Rick,

    Thanks for the reply. Actually, it's the "one-stop shopping" value of a desktop client that was the interesting thing to her. Rather than hopping around to the different sites, she could access all 3 of her IMAP accounts with one program, do her email business and close the client without having local data remain.

    It may actually be more like a desktop version of Mail2Web than anything else, I think. (Does M2W do IMAP or just POP?) But it is the local-data-purging IMAP desktop client aspect of it that piqued her curiosity.

    She's not neurotic about this. It was just a question she had and she said she'd be glad to try any client set-up that might work this way (as long as it wouldn't 'glitch' and purge her webmail data along with the local stuff).
     
  6. rfs9999

    rfs9999 IMAP Tools

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    > Rather than hopping around to the different sites, she could access all 3 of her IMAP accounts with one program, do her email business and close the client without having local data remain.

    In case you can't find a mail client to do what she wants ...

    Most webmail servers these days let you set up "foreign" mail access which will pull mail from other mail servers and consolidate them in the local mail account. Usually you can either pull mail with POP mail or use IMAP to access the mail.

    Not that I am pushing webmail over PC clients. :) I like IMAP clients better than webmail myself.

    -Rick
     
  7. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Yes, as it happens (and your comment reminded me of this!), my EuMX account uses Group Office as one of its interface options, and I can set up my own other ("foreign") accounts as IMAP accounts through it. I'm not really a fan of the GO interface, but I know the functionality is there if I need it.

    So it's possible one of my relative's own providers will have something like that, too.


    Well, in her case you wouldn't have to push webmail anyway. She already prefers it. ;) And at this point she's not really desperately looking for an offline/desktop way to manage her email. It was just a question she had that popped up in a discussion about IMAP. (no pun intended) But I have no doubt she'd at least try the desktop client if it would leave no traces of email content after using it. (She's not neurotic about all this. She just would rather not have her personal email 'physically' on her computer.)

    Thanks again for the input! :)
     
  8. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Okay! I think I've gotten things to work. I downloaded TB and set up my own FM account using the preferences Ray listed above, esp. Syncronization and Storage. Also: Options > Advanced > Network and Disc Space > Offline and answering 'no' to the question of downloading messages for offline reading.

    I've tested it and so far, so good. Messages can be viewed in the preview pane, moved, deleted, and drafts can be composed and saved to the online draft folder, all without having any of the content available when TB is closed and restarted! Each re-start will display the following when selecting a message previously viewed:
    Thanks for the suggestions, Ray! I'll have my aunt try TB with this set-up and see if she likes it. :)
     
  9. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    UPDATE:

    And, as Columbo would say, one more thing.... ;)

    I've been testing this TB set-up (before telling my aunt) and have found it quite a bit buggy in dealing with drafts. By "it" I don't know if it's more TB itself or just the particular account settings that were established to resolve the present issue. In any case, as currently set up TB sometimes will have two copies of the same draft showing in the draft folder. And I'll have to click around to other folders and accounts to try to get the draft folder to reload/update. Even restarting TB won't always get it straightened out.

    If I delete a draft via the web interface or another IMAP client, TB won't always delete it - or at least it doesn't appear to. And if I start a new draft at the webmail site, TB is slow in catching it.

    So, it seems that there's an issue with synchronizing the draft folder at times, though TB does seem to do a perfectly decent job auto-saving the drafts.

    TB has also sometimes changed the draft's font size for no apparent reason. It's set for composing in 'verdana small,' which, I assume, is equivalent to 13px/10pt. But it noticeably upped it to 12pt after re-opening a draft for editing. I used my Outlook 2007 client to open the draft and re-save it using verdana 10pt, which other clients (WLM and the web interface) recognized, but TB wouldn't update the draft right away. When it did finally register, it contained mixed font sizes (10pt and 12 pt) for some reason. :confused:

    [Is this a good time to say that I have tried many different TB versions in the past on different computers with different Windows OSs and have found none of them to be to my liking or without frustrating issues? :rolleyes: ]

    Anyway, I'll keep playing around with this (a little), even trying this in a few other clients (I know it won't easily work with Outlook 2007), but it may be that my aunt will have to stick to what she already prefers: webmail.
     
  10. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Turns out the same set-up works fine on WLM, too, so she might be able to use that. :)
     
  11. Big Dan

    Big Dan EQ Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    What about writing a batch script that runs on startup to delete the contents of TB's mailbox folders?
     
  12. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Thanks for the comment, Dan!

    It may interest you to know you're not the first one to mention that. At another forum (for Outlook users) I was told that would be the only way to get Outlook 2007 to do the IMAP folder clearing each time. At this point, I don't know if it would be necessary in TB's case, since the issues my only be mine. (As I say, my personal experience with TB has been less than stellar. Her own test using TB may go off without a hitch.) But based on your suggestion, I may go ahead and look into a batch file for Outlook (just to see if I could get it working in my own version).

    But, frankly, since my aunt doesn't use offline clients anyway, I don't think she would really have a preference of one over another. And since WLM seems to work just as well to achieve the intended result, she's going to try that one first. (She has Windows Live Essentials but never used WLM.) If she doesn't like WLM, she'll try TB and see if she even has the same issues that I have with it. And if she doesn't like TB either, she'll probably just stick with webmail.

    It's not really a big deal to her. She just thought she'd try a more 'consolidated' approach (IMAP-style moving/filing and deleting, etc. using an desktop client) to see if she likes it.

    I did show her the Group Office interface in my EuMX account (though I rarely use GO myself), and she liked the fact that it is a web interface that can connect via IMAP to external accounts. So, if WLM and TB 'fail,' she may spring for a year's worth of EuMX (or PolarisMail, which also uses it and is a bit cheaper) to see how things go.

    Thanks again for all the input! :thanks:
     
  13. Nirav D

    Nirav D Greylisted

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    @foggy

    So from what I have understood is that you were able to use TB like an email browser? ie without actually downloading emails onto the system?

     
  14. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Yes. Based on Ray's (popowich) suggestions, I set up TB as described in post #8 of this thread, but had a few issues as noted in the post following that. However, others may not experience problems as I did. You'd have to try it out for yourself and see. In any case, every time I opened TB, while the headers were still there, the message (in the preview pane) was not. So, I assume it was working as intended.

    The 'email browser' approach (not downloading) also works for Windows Live Mail. Menu (upper left) > Options > Mail > Read (tab) > deselect the box 'automatically download message when viewed in the preview pane.' Every time I restart WLM it needs to re-access a message for viewing, so I'm assuming that's working as intended as well (not downloading).

    (Come to think of it, since I've only been using the WLM preview pane for testing this -- and AFAIK, my aunt only uses that, too -- and since the option mentioned above only refers to the preview pane, I never tested whether the message downloads when actually opening the message in full view (by double-clicking). I'll have to experiment with that a bit later when I have time.)

    Oh,... FWIW, here's the reply I got to my question at an Outlook forum (short and to the point) about whether this could be done easily with Outlook (2007):
    I never actually tried this. (Don't know much about batch files.) I found it worked for me with TB and WLM, so I suggested my aunt try WLM first.
     
  15. Nirav D

    Nirav D Greylisted

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    Just like Outlook has .pst file which is email data file, can you check whether such data files in TB and WLM are actually created and the file grows when more emails are downloaded?

    I think such .pst / data file is sure shot way to know whether mails are actually stored on computer... This might sound very basic, but just my $2.
     

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