Purging IMAP Items Marked for Deletion in Outlook

When an email on an IMAP e-mail server is marked for deletion, the email is displayed in strikethrough text in the inbox listing. However, the item is not removed from the IMAP mail server until a purge command is used. This functionality differs from POP3 accounts, which move an email to the Trash (or Deleted Items) folder when deleted.

As items are not automatically removed from the mailserver when marked for deletion, you may find that your quotas can quickly be exceeded. There are two methods that can be used to removed messages from your IMAP mailserver: manual or automatic purging.

Manual Email Purging

To permanently delete the items marked for deletion, do the following:

  1. Click a folder in your IMAP e-mail account.
  2. On the Edit menu, select Purge Deleted Messages.
  3. Note the following options:
    1. Click Purge Marked Items in “folder”.
      Only items marked for deletion in the folder that you are in are purged from the IMAP mail server.
    2. Click Purge Marked Items in “e-mail account”.
      All items marked for deletion in any folder for this IMAP e-mail account are purged from the IMAP mail server.
    3. Click Purge Marked Items in All Accounts.
      All items marked for deletion in any folder for any IMAP e-mail account are purged from the IMAP mail server.

Add the Purge command to a toolbar. On the Tools menu, click Customize. On the Commands tab, under Categories, click Edit. Under Commands, drag the Purge command to a toolbar.

Automatic Email Purging

You can also configure Outlook to automatically purge items when you switch between folders on your IMAP account.

  1. Click a folder in your IMAP e-mail account.
  2. On the Edit menu, point to Purge Deleted Messages.
  3. Click Purge Options.
    The Internet E-mail Settings dialog box opens.
  4. On the General tab, under Purge Options, select the Purge items when switching folders while online check box.