Outlook does not delete but displays deleted messages as strike-trough

Jorey Bump list at joreybump.com
Sun Dec 11 11:21:14 EST 2005

Paul-Erik Törrönen wrote:
> On Sun, 2005-12-11 at 15:27 +0100, Thomas Schlosser wrote:
>>unfortunately I have some Outlook-users on my IMAP server.
>>When a Thunderbird user deletes a message, it vanishes from the
>>mailbox and moves into the "Deleted
>>Items" box. From an Outlook client the same deletion does not delete
>>the message but displays it in
>>strike through letters - the message can still be opened.
>>Does anybody know the reason? Can I change this behaviour either on
>>the client or the server side?
> This would be because in Thunderbird you actually can configure things,
> while in Outlook the users are forcefed. When you delete messages in
> Outlook, it merely marks them as deleted (strikethrough), the user must
> separately choose Edit/Purge Deleted Messages to get rid of the messages
> (no it's not even shortcutted by default). Thunderbird seems to be
> configured by default to _move_ the message to the Deleted Items-folder
> and thus they vanish from whatever folder they were.
> A few users of ours moved over to Thunderbird because of this MS
> 'feature'.

The IMAP specification was written with a bias towards flat-file formats 
that put multiple messages in a single file. The ability to mark a 
message as deleted, then remove them all in one operation is considered 
an important way to reduce the load on a server.

Even with file-per-message formats, like cyrus or maildir, a visible 
indicator that a message still needs to be purged is very useful, and 
arguably eliminates the need for a special trash container. Many webmail 
administrators were burned by this lack of feedback, as roaming users 
went over quota because they deleted without purging. It's not easy to 
explain to a user that delete doesn't actually delete the message, and 
this definitely presents a usability problem common to all IMAP 

I don't know how configurable Outlook is, but this might be a rare case 
where it chooses a sane default. In fact, whenever I configure 
Thunderbird for a user, I always set it to mark messages as deleted. It 
saves me a lot of headaches, and knowledgeable users are able to 
customize the settings to their liking.

I'll even go further, and say that Thunderbird, IMHO, does everything 
wrong during intial account setup:

- automatically shows only subscribed folders
- automatically selects plaintext logins
- defaults to a single SMTP server for multiple accounts
- default uses HTML for composing messages
- hides deleted mail

In spite of these flaws, I prefer Thunderbird as an email client. At 
least it lets me alter this behaviour, even if it is after initial 
account creation.

In any case, this is a client-side issue, and anything you attempt to do 
on the server is likely to cause more problems, especially for 
knowledgeable users.

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