Thunderbird – why it needs a “purge” button/shortcut

In: Mozilla

2 Nov 2003

I have a confession to make: I’ve stayed away from using Thunderbird for my desktop email client despite my apparent Mozilla advocacy. The reason: I couldn’t for the life of me find a “purge” button to expunge emails marked as deleted for my IMAP accounts.

I still use Outlook Express and even recently tried out Outlook 2003 to see what the fuss was all about. Well, yeah Outlook 2003 looks pretty in a WinXP-ish sort of way, and the 3-pane layout really does give you bigger logical screen real estate to manage and read emails. Too bad I still can’t figure out why it doesn’t work with my university and primary IMAP email accounts. It works for one other IMAP account, which leaves me really puzzled because the account settings were all imported from Outlook Express. I even tried following special instructions for accessing those accounts on Outlook, to no avail.

Anyway, back to Thunderbird. One thing I always missed in Thunderbird ever since those days when it was still called Minotaur is the “Purge” button in Outlook Express, which expunges emails marked as deleted. I wasn’t the only one, apparently, from this thread at the MozillaZine forums. From a usability point of view, I find a 1-click access to a “purge” button highly convenient, and “Compact this folder” doesn’t exactly convey the impression that something is going to be deleted (or more correctly, “expunged” as in the IMAP RFC.

Thunderbird Compact this folder screenshot

Well, the good news is, someone has already submitted a bug report to add an expunge button to Thunderbird here. Until then, I’d probably be using Outlook Express on Windows, or until I get some insidious Outlook Express worm or virus, whichever happens first.

4 Responses to Thunderbird – why it needs a “purge” button/shortcut


Magnus Janson

April 30th, 2004 at 6pm

however you can use the “expunge on exit”… But i’d prefer a button or automatic function aswell!


Random Person

July 31st, 2004 at 12am

Somewhat different, but related.

It would be nice if in the ‘View’ filters, ‘Deleted Status’ was one of them items, *or* (better) there was an option along with the ‘delete model’, along the lines of ‘hide messages marked as deleted from display’

I dont so much need them expunged immediately, Im cool with later happening later, *but* I want them off my screen, especially when I grab a huge group of messages and move them to anotehr folder, I don’t want them displayed in the inbox anymore. The ‘move to trash’ is entirely too time consuming, so I turned it off.


Thunderbird Fan

September 8th, 2004 at 11am

Just for the record, there’s a Purge button extension available and it works:


tournament can expect boy

June 10th, 2006 at 4pm

I must say i got here by mistake, but now i know it’s destiny. Great site! beautiful grass win or not