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Making moves
Status: New idea

As time goes by local email database becomes larger. Thunderbird start to struggle with large database. most evident issue is it slows down, but occasionally, database corruptions occur.

There is archiving option that could help solving an issue but it needs some improvements:

It is big limitation that user must actually select messages to archive. If user has messages sorted by number of folders (usually with some filtering rules) it is nuisance to the level of not being usable - one has to open each subfolder, select messages and archive them.

It wold be good to have option to run archiving on folder, but with some date based rules, so for example, user can have all messages older than two years moved to archive without need to find them and select each of them manually.

Next improvement would be option to run Archiving automatically, similarly to automatic deletion. Almost the same principle may be applied: option to set archiving rules for each folder based on message age.

Actually, I would repurpose automatic date based deletion rules with archiving. That means, messages could be automatically archived date based, and some of them deleted on another date based rules.

I do not know inner workings of Thunderbird but it looks to me like simple duplication options for automatic deleting messages but instead of deleting, those rules would move messages to Archive.

Status changed to: New idea
Community Manager
Community Manager

Thanks for submitting an idea to the Mozilla Connect community! Your idea is now open to votes (aka kudos) and comments.

Strollin' around

Your recommendations are good. I wonder if Mozilla will address this?

Making moves

I found plugin that does help

However it has some limitations.

New member

I also suggest adding the Archive option in the "Filter Actions" to be able to create a filter that directly archives some mail messages with a particular subject without selecting them every time in the inbox and pressing the "A" key.

I currently use a filter set to "mark as read" and "move to folder" but every year I have to remember to change the filter...

New member

Fully support this feature request (age-based archiving of folders and subfolders); integrating it with TB filter tools sounds perfect.

However, I'd like to add one more use case: archive via age-based copy as option to the default age-based move (the copy option could be as simple as the check-box we had for Pop3 "leave messages in server mailbox after archive").

Specific scenario for this use case: one user accesses his mailbox from three distinct devices (laptop, desktop PC, home PC) via local TB/imap. The server mailbox is approaching quota, so the user decides to archive the messages to local folders. With age-based move the user can archive the messages on one of the devices only - causing the messages disappear from the imap server. The remaining two devices can not create local archives - so they lack all archived data. This is annoying, as consistent state is highly desirable.

The policy that I implemented (good old times, when AwesomeAutoArchive was compatible) was the following:
Device 1 TB rule: "Copy-Archive all messages older than 180 days from <sourcedir> to <local folder>"
Device 2 TB rule: "Copy-Archive all messages older than 180 days from <sourcedir> to <local folder>"
Device 3 TB rule: "MOVE-Archive all messages older than 360 days from <sourcedir> to <local folder>"

This way all three devices have consistent databases. The offset of 180 days between the copy-archive and the move-archive makes sure that no messages  are moved and disappear before being copied (e.g., in case of vacation, if I happen to use Device 3 first, which move-archives). 

Thank you in advance for your support,
kind regards, Joachim

New member

Definitely supporting this.

I was trying to move all my old emails (around ~100 000 emails which I don't really want to have to sort manually at this point...) from Gmail to an archive directory on my computer in preparation to eventually move off to a different provider in the future. The current implementation in Thunderbird... kind of works but is really cumbersome for the reasons others have mentioned above.

Another point: archiving should really appear in the pending actions in the "Activity Manager" window so that you can check the progress (and/or cancel it?) if needed.

(Archived emails were sometimes not deleted from the remote IMAP server when they were moved to the archival location, which made resuming a partial archival fairly difficult and generated duplicates. I'm not exactly sure what caused this, possibly just the massive size of the mailbox exposed issues in Thunderbird...)