There is a little trick to the way POP3 email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Thunderbird store the email messages you receive. A “deleted message” is not really deleted! Did you know that?
All your email program does is to rewrite a few characters in the file in order to tell itself that a particular email has been “deleted.”
One particular marking in the file indicates that the email has been deleted, so the program shows it in the Trash folder. A different marking shows it has been deleted from the Trash folder. But, it really has not been removed from the big email storage files.
In Eudora (which I use), it is under Special / Compact Mailboxes. In Outlook Express, it’s found at File / Folder / Compact All Folders.
In Outlook Express, the process is similarly easy — File, Folder, Compact All Folders.
In Outlook, the process is much more complicated to compact one of its .pst files. The process, from the main Outlook Express window is to select File, Data File Management, select a file, click the Settings button, then click Compact Now button.
- On the main Outlook window, Click on File, then Data File Management.
- This will open a dialog box labeled "Outlook Data Files" — and Inbox, Deleted, Sent etc ARE NOT displayed or choices in this dialog box.
- In my case, the only folder shown has the name “Personal Folders”. I click on it to select it, then click on the Settings button. This opens another dialog box labelled Personal Folders.
- It has two buttons "Change Password…" and "Compact Now"
- Click "Compact Now" — it will take a while.
- Then click OK to close the dialog box.
Regardless of which email program you use, you need to Compact the Folders occasionally. Only in this manner are the emails actually deleted — and this is the only way that the email files and folders actually get smaller.