Saturday, October 22, 2011

How do I Recall my Email.

This is one of those posts that really has no solution, but it is a question that is asked over and over again.

Email has no option to recall once it is send. So you can not put the cat back in the bag once it is let out.

Microsoft Exchange email server has an option to Recall an email, and this has led many people who work in corporate environments to think that it is a feature of email.  This is a feature of Exchange server, not email and there is a big difference.  Exchange can basically do what it likes, because all the mail in in the exchange database.  Once it leaves that exchange database and going out into the wild of the internet it is no longer under the control of the exchange server and can not be recalled at all. If the mail has been seen by the person it was sent to the recall does not work If the email is send outside the domain (that is to someone outside your business, the recall will not work.  For the full details you might read what Microsoft has to say about how their recall implementation works.

Google built a recall into their Gmail system as well, but again it is a fudge.  They simply delay the sending of the email for the time they give you to change your mind;.  So you get an undo option on the send, but it is not a real recall as the mail was never sent.

So Thunderbird does not have a recall option, simply becasue it is not a part of the mail RFC's which are the core of Thunderbird functionality.  So for those that want a similar option to change their mind, there is the send latter addon, which delays sending and provides the opportunity to change your mind and delete mail from the outbox before it is sent. 

But by far the simplest method is to make Thunderbird work off line (File > offline > work offline)  this means all messages will be stored locally and not sent until you repeat the process to go back on line, or press the get mail button.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Can't delete EML files

This came up on the get satisfaction support site, and I thought it worth noting here for my own future reference.

Apparently windows search uses some sort of modified file properties to 'enhance the search experience'.  The references I have read all implicate Live mail in the installation of this enhancement, but it could just as well be a windows update or an Internet explorer update.

The side effect of the enhanced search experience is that any EML files you have saved into the file system from your mail client can't be dealt with as files and nothing you do to move or delete them works.  The solution is to change the registry key as shown below.   Once that key is set to Zero and you have rebooted you will be able to modify the EML files as normal.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Folders can be confusing

The folders view in Thunderbird appear to cause some confusion, partly because of the may views available, and partly because the behaviour is different depending on where you create folders.

Thunderbird folder can be broadly separated into two groups.

IMAP folders and Local folders

IMAP folders are folder that are created within an IMAP mail account.  These folders are the same as those shown when you log into the server and are replicated with the server.  These folders must follow the limits and restrictions imposed by the server.  All IMAP server are not created equal, some have what appear to be rather strange restrictions on where a folder can and can not be created, and these restrictions are often times contradictory from one Server software package to another.

While we never really think about the program on the server we connect to to get our mail it does have relevance when creating folders for IMAP accounts.   Things like , there appears to be a 40 character limit in Gmail to total folder names, including parents.  On Other servers all folders have to be children of the inbox, other limit folder which have child folder to not actually containing mail.

These limits actually cause some problems as Thunderbird often does not know they exist and therefore will allow you to create a folder, which disappears almost immediately as it tries to replicate it to the server and fails.

Local folders

As the name implies, these folder are local to your computer.  They are not available if you access you mail account from a web browser, as mail in them is saved on the hard disk of your computer.

Thunderbirds local folders do not suffer from the limitations imposed by IMAP servers. You can have as many of them as you like and there can have as many levels as you need.  The total content of each local folder is currently limited to 4Gb of mail and attachments, but that is the only real limitation other than disk space on your computer.  This is also a good place to store your archive folder, as it frees space on your IMAP mail account.  While this is not all that relevant to Gmail users with their Gigabytes of storage, many mail server offer relatively small IMAP storage quotas and saving or archiving to local folders is a way to free space on the server while retaining a copy of the mail.

If a folder simply can't be foound, if you enter the following code into the error console in the Tools menu and click evaluate the entire folder tree will be opened out so that you can look without having to click a million time to open the folder.

Components.classes[';1'].getService(Components.interfaces.nsIWindowMediator).getMostRecentWindow("mail:3pane").gFolderTreeView.mode= "all"