How to Delete POP3 Messages From the Server


The POP3 service makes e-mail messages available for download from an e-mail server. An e-mail client lets you access multiple e-mail accounts via one program, though each account comes from a different server. But if you don’t regularly delete messages from the server, excess e-mail--particularly spam--can build up and clog the system. Luckily, there’s a way to clear out the mail stored on the server without having to access the server directly.

The steps following are specific to Windows Live Mail--a widely used mail-retrieval program, or client--but the process is quite similar in other clients, such as Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird. The setting is always located through e-mail account settings, usually under a server-settings tab or panel.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • E-mail software
  • Internet service provider
  • Locate the top menu bar and click on “Tools,” then “Accounts.”

  • Select the e-mail account you want to configure.

  • Click on “Properties,” then "Servers."

  • Click on “Advanced.” Under the “Delivery” setting, uncheck the box that says “Leave a copy of messages on server.” This setting will ensure that just one copy of each message exists--the copy in Live Mail, which can be read off-line, since it remains in your e-mail program once retrieved--and the server will remain clear.

Tips & Warnings

  • This setting ensures that no future messages will stay on the server. However, if you need to delete old messages directly from the server, ask your server’s administrator how to purge old messages.
  • If you check your e-mail from multiple computers, Microsoft advises you to not use this setting, as messages downloaded from the server to your home computer, for instance, will no longer be available at your work computer. However, you can ensure you won't clog your server--and will still be able to retrieve messages at work or at home, via POP3--by changing the configuration in the "Delivery" setting. Instead of unchecking the box that says "Leave a copy of messages on server," check this box and then in the next setting below, indicate how many days you'd like copies to remain on the server before deletion.

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