Where does purged email go?


I’m using outlook 2003 as my email client. When I purge deleted email, does it get deleted, or moved to a deleted-items/trash folder in the mailbox.

If it gets deleted, is there any way I can change it to move to a deleted-items folder (in the imap mailbox) instead.

Also, is there any way to read mail from the shell, for m??? type mail accounts?


Sorry I can’t help with the Outlook/Delete/Purge/Imap questions, as I don’t use IMAP (I like POP3, and like keeping the server as near empty of email as possible).

Yes! There are several tools on the Dreamhost Debian distro for this; I like pine (just type “pine” at the prompt).

SOmetimes very useful if you are stuck on webmail for any length of time due to traveling, etc., and need to review/delete a lot of mail very quickly (the webmail interface is virtually unusable if you have been unfortunate enough to gather 1500 or so spams in your inbox).


Thanks rlparker,

I use pine for the shell account I log in under regularly, however I don’t see how I can use it for M??? accounts (ones without a shell login)

The only way I can see to use Pine would be to create a new .pinerc file, pointing the the M??? account inbox. Where are those inboxes held?

I see your point…I incorrectly assumed you were talking about accounts for a shell user (my shell acount users are “m123456” type accounts - signed up in “the old days”). And now I see the problem…come to think of it, I don’t know where those inboxes are either.

Hopefully some *nix DH wizard will clue us both in, or maybe that’s a question for SSH Support. I’m sorry I don’t have a useful answer for you; I’m curious myself now, and I’m gonna go explore around a bit. I’ll post back if I learn anything.


Woops, sorry, I should have been clearer in my origional post. I wan’t aware that shell accounts used to have the m prefix.


You should be able to configure Pine to check any IMAP account. By default it logs in with your shell username but you can set it to use other login information, such as your m____ account. You might even able able to set up multiple accounts at once but I have never seen that done.

And as for your original question, I believe that Purge in Outlook is equivalent to Expunge in other IMAP clients. The IMAP way of deleting items is to flag them as deleted and leave them in their current mailbox. Many mail clients use a different scheme where they use a Trash folder on the server and move messages to the Trash folder instead of deleting them in place.

IMAP’s native deletion process is a two-stage delete, like most systems. First you flag messages as deleted, and then you send an expunge command to the server which actually throws away the messages which are flagged as deleted. I believe Outlook follows this structure, rather than using a separate trash mailbox. So when you delete an item, it stays in the box but disappears from view, or depending on your display settings it might stay in your mailbox view but have a strikethrough on the text, indicating the deletion status. The purge command purges (expunges) all the deleted messages from the server.

It may be that you can set Outlook to behave differently, but I use it very rarely so I don’t really know how.

Thanks for the very helpful post! I’m especially glad to hear about the ability to use Pine for multiple mailboxes, because I have had no love trying to “find” the “email only” users mail dirs in the Dreamhost file system (which, I suppose, makes perfect sense, given *nix permissions and all).