How to set Thunderbird to leave mail on the server

This very brief tutorial will guide you through the steps to set Thunderbird to leave mail on the server. Leaving your mail on the server can be helpful if you use Thunderbird on a portable USB drive to check your email while away from your main computer. That way when you return to your main desktop/laptop, you can still download all of your email.

  1. Launch Thunderbird and select Tools from the top menu, then Account Settings… from the drop-down list.

    thunderbird tools menu

  2. Select Server Settings from the left window. In the Server Settings section of the right window, place a check in the box labeled Leave messages on server. Click OK.

    thunderbird server settings menu
    click to enlarge

  3. Now when you check your email with Thunderbird, a copy will be left on the server.

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  • me ajudou muito, obrigado!

  • Dennis

    this option is not available on tbird 3.0.1. Ouch!

  • elmer0224


    It seems that this option was removed in Thunderbird 3. I love this option back in Thunderbird 2.

  • Just try a Thunderbird, but i didn’t see “leave message on server”. I try to delete the old account, and create a new one. Then i see “leave message on server”. Very Funny. But thanks for the info. So i know, Thunderbird have that option.

  • Hari

    I have installed thunderbird in my system. But I wont be able to get “leave a copy on server” option in thunderbird apart from that , when i delete the mail from my web server , It is automatically deleting from my thuderbird which is installed in the local system.

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  • I just installed Thunderbird and was looking how to leave emails on the server. This tip did it. Thx, Richard

  • gerardd

    My messages are staying on the server of my email provider. I received a note from my provider (Charter) that my server space was running out of room. When I went to my server email via a web brouser, deleted all the messages in my inbox, and went back to Thunderbird, all my inbox messages were deleted there too. Somehow, my inbox messages on the server and my Thunderbird computer are connected — however, if I delete a message from my Thunderbird inbox, it does not delete from the server inbox. From comments on this site, it appears it’s a T-bird “enhancement” and a real additional pain. My provider told me that Outlook does not have this problem.

    I checked the website you sent John. It appears out of date since the “leave messages on server” option does not exist.