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Bulk Delete Held Mail?

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Having got back from holiday, I find I have accumulated thousands of items in my Held Mail folder.

Rather than go through the tortuous process of moving them to Trash in chunks is there a way to do them all in one go? Basically I want to obliterate them all with minimum keystroke/time input.

Thanks in advance,


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I see you decided to post first, read second or not read at all

Before you posted the second thread in the forum deals with your question

90,000+ Held mail - stuck - HELP!, can't clean with Imap, or webmail
Since you would rather be spoon fed the simple work around is:

Log into web mail,

Click on the folder icon on the top tool bar

Place check mark on held mail folder

Note if only inbox is visible, expand the tree by clicking on the "+" in front of Inbox, or on "Expand All"

Check to be sure the ONLY the held mail folder is "checked" (checkmark in box)

Click on arrow in drop down box and select "Empty Folder(s)"

Acknowledge any dialog warning boxes about deleting the messages permanently.

The messages should now be deleted

If you have an excessive amount of messages this may not work or may have to be done more than once.

The second method that has been suggusted is to delete the held mail folder.

I found this to be problematic as the Held Mail folder will be unaccessable (it was deleted) until it is recreated by the system.

I received the following error message when trying to open the held mail folder

Cannot log into IMAP mailserver as username [at]spamcop.net

You can NOT recreate it yourself. You can create a new Held Mail folder but it is not the same thing as the one used by the system and you will find that there are now two "Held Mail" folders listed in the folder tree.

Note the procedure to delete folders is the same as to empty then just select "Delete Folder(s)" I do NOT recommend using it as I am still waiting for it to be recreated and may have to ask for help if the system does not do it eventually.

If my initial statement was considered rude, I am sorry for that. The error I found in testing the advise (I allways try to test things first or at least as I go as in this case) has change my tune a bit.


On Saturday, August 21, 2004 12:29 AM I sent a message to support <at> spamcop.net requesting help recreating my held mail folder.

On Tuesday, August 24, 2004 7:08 PM I received the following reply from Jeff

OK, I added that back so you should be getting your spam soon.


The following were the results:

All mail directed to the "held mail" folder beginning from the time I deleted it on the evening of August 20th until it was recreated on August 24th were permanently lost. (In my case, the odds are good that it was nothing but spam as I find very few false postives in the held mail folder.)

The message counter was reset to 0 it had been at 19,000+

The good news is that once it was recreated I did not have to do anything to get back up and running as before.

Even the IMAP connection in OE worked as if nothing had ever changed (which was a nice suprise)

Addiltional Update 8-25-04:

The following is a copy of a followup email received from support <at> spamcop.net


It shouldn't be a problem deleting it. In your case, it didn't get

completely removed from the server for some reason. So, you couldn't

re-delete it and you couldn't add a new one.


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I added your statements to the FAQ earlier today, but haven't seen any update to either post even hinting that the Help Folder was re-created yet .... is it taking more than a few minutes / hours / ????


Still waiting. Will have to send a message to deputies and have them fix it. It should be noted that the spam is not going into my inbox so it must be in limbo somewhere. Since it is not affecting my inbox traffic I have been taking a wait and see approach.
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Deputies have no access to this side of the house.  JT handles this side of things .. support <at> spamcop.net ....


Thanks for the reply. I wonder if I will ever get that right?

The interlinking sure does make it easy to forget which is which.

Do I have this right?

Held Mail = JT

VER = Julian

WebMail = JT

MailHosts = Julian

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Possibly easier ....

JT = newsgroups, these Forums, e-mail accounts

Julian = reporting, fuel-only accounts

(mail-host thing actually being a user account configuration, so details there would be on Julian's sde of things)

And just a bit more, though there is obviously an arrangement, JT's business is actually a separate enterprise. He provides services to more than just SpamCop users.

confusion comes in where you're logged into JT's e-mail account systems located in Georgia, and do some reporting which actually happens on Julian/Ironport's side of the house .. some/most in California ... and Julian still working the system from Washington State .... and recently added in are the mirrors of some database details, assumedly somewhere else in the world <g> I seem to recall JeffG touching some of this in one of the "disappearing e-mails" Pinned items, discussing the multiple failure point possibilities ....

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Ah, I see.

Actually I did have a good look for some information before I posted. For whatever reason I did not see the post you mention. I always seek to self-help prior to requesting 'outside' help. On the other hand I was having a bad day, what with trying to purchase the wretched Opera browser for my mobile phone. But that's another story.

To cut to the chase...

I have engaged folders view and selected empty folder on held mail, several times now, and, after a number of cup-of-coffee-making lengths of time, I seem to end up with browser errors.

I note that this should not necessarily be taken as indicative of failure, as such, but I still have 14 thousand items in held mail (ie no reduction). The items which I tried to remove, are now presented in strikeout font. If I try to view one of these items, it presents the header and then the message 'There are no parts that can be displayed inline'.

If I select the trash folder for viewing things get interesting(?). It seem that those I have tried to empty from the held mail folder are in trash, and, again are presented in strikeout font. What is interesting is that they are 'doubled up', in that, for each time I have attempted to empty the held mail folder there is an entry in the trash folder for each item.

Trying to empty the trash folder is no use either. Eventually just folds with a browser error. I have tried several times.

In other words, it seems like I may well have to delete the held mail folder. I would be more than happy to play with these things, but everything takes so long. Presumably due to the ever increasing amount of emails the system is holding on my behalf. Limitting the display to a handful of items does not increase performance.

I would be grateful for any more suggestions as to how to proceed. I suppose I could just leave things as-is, but I do like a good tidy up every now and then...



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Ah, I see.


The items which I tried to remove, are now presented in strikeout font.


The strike out font indicates that you have deleted the files.

You need to purge deleted items next

But to simplify things, it would be easier to change your set up.

Log into Web Mail

Click on Options in the top tool bar

In the middle column (Mail Management), click on Deleting and Moving Messages

Add a check mark in front of the line When deleting messages, move them to your Trash folder instead of marking them as deleted?

Add check marks in front of other items as desired

Click on Save Options

Delete | Undelete | Forward | Report as spam  Hide Deleted | Purge Deleted 

  #   Date   From   Subject [Thread]   Size 

  1 08/20/2004  Armando Gill  Get some tail tonight! homeric 5kb


Unseen  Answered  Important  Deleted  Draft  Personal

In the web mail view, display your held mail

Click on Purge Deleted on the lower tool bar just above the first message (see quote above)

That will remove the strike out messages from your held mail folder. Note: if you failed to add a check mark in front of each deleted message (you can add a check mark in the box right above the first message to check all) no messages will be deleted.

If you still have messages left, just follow the same procedure you did before, but since you have now changed your setting, the messages wll actually be deleted instead of simply marked as deleted.

Note: you can undelete deleted messages that are displayed in the strikeout font.

You may want to skip the purging step (as it will probably take too long) and simply return to deleting messages as you had before, but this time they should actually go away.

You can also click on Hide Deleted to see what if anything is actually left in your held mail folder.

Edit: Note: The Hide Deleted | Purge Deleted Options are only displayed in the tool bar if the Deleting and Moving Messages Option has been set to mark messages as delete (no check mark in front of When deleting messages, move them to your Trash folder instead of marking them as deleted?)

If for some reason the deleted messages do not do away, you will have to change your settings back, then purge the deleted message and change your settings one more time.

Edit: You can also perform these same functions using IMAP on your local client. See the FAQ, there are several separate listing on IMAP and how to set it up.

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Thank you for your indulgence.

Firstly, my options are already set for move to trash upon delete. This is why the item strikeout font is new to me! It simply has not happened before.

Secondly. we must be talking at cross purposes. My lower menu only contains the options Delete | Forward | Report as spam | Release | Release and Whitelist.

My *normal* sequence of events is to check the 'select all' check box in the top left, select delete, and then use the toolbar empty trash button.



Who is retiring to a bottle of wine...

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Secondly. we must be talking at cross purposes. My lower menu only contains the options Delete | Forward | Report as spam | Release | Release and Whitelist.
That would confirm that you are correct in saying that
my options are already set for move to trash upon delete
If you change the setting back again to NOT delete, then the tool bar will reappear. I would suggest doing that simply to be able to purge the deleted messages. After you purge the messages reset the flag again.

If you can use IMAP on your local client, you will have an alternate way of doing the same thing

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Well, finally, I am back in control of things. All folders, albeit temporarily, empty. I am still confused as to how you can have items marked deleted sitting in the trash folder, but I guess it's just another folder so behaviour is the same as any other.

Anyhow, thanks for your time and patience. Greatly appreciated in coming to terms with some of the nuances!



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Glad to here it is resolved.

Would you be kind enough to simply restate the steps you took that resolved the issue?


I think the key to getting things back to normal was your suggestion of using the purge deleted option. I used this to get rid of all my inbox deleted entries. I then did the same for those in the trash folder. Having done this, it seemed as though webmail could then assemble enough resources to deal with what remained, and process 'empty folder' requests OK.

Quite why I ended up with emails in the inbox folder marked as deleted, when my initial setting was to 'move deleted to trash', is beyond me. Also, why I ended up with multiple entries marked deleted in the trash folder for each email is worrying.

Although I am using SC for filtering, and not as a per-se email client, I will endeavour to play around with it a bit more, and learn the nuances. I guess I owe it that, as it certainly saves me from having to ditch my domain name because of spam influx.

Again, thanks for the help. Now I have discovered the forums I will pay closer attention! :)

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Thanks for your reply, it helps us to better understand what works and to be better able to help others (with all the different browsers, email clients, etc what will work for one may or may not work for someone else)

I am glad that we were able to help.

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