offline/local mail folders with Exchange

I’ve been testing this client to see if it will serve my purposes, but so far it’s falling short in one category.

In Outlook, I can maintain offline mail folders, which on my company laptop I have it setup to automatically move messages with a certain criteria to these offline folders so they’re removed from the server.  Additionally, periodically I manually move a mass quantity of mail from the server to an offline folder as we’re only given so much space on the server.

I do not see a way of creating and maintaining an offline mail folder tree like I can in Outlook.  I did find a thread that discusses it, but it does not ever answer the question pertaining to actually having offline folders…

The official response to this question was the messages are automatically downloaded for offline use, but that is not the use I’m looking for.  I’m looking for the ability to maintain offline folders so mail doesn’t clog up the server or I go over the limit, so I’m not just looking for offline usage of the inbox, but to actually, within the client, move them from the server to an offline folder tree.

Can this be done within eM Client?

I’m a paid-up user and have access to eM Client’s tech support. I have a support case going at the moment that might be at least partly related to the subject of your post. In theory the Local Folders feature in eM Client might do what you want. You can enable Local Folders via Tools > Settings > General — there’s a show-local-folders check-box. I haven’t found any comprehensive documentation yet for the local-folders feature yet. I have the feeling that for a POP3 account, messages copied to a Local Folders tree are much like those stored in the “regular” eM Client database — and it’s IMAP messages that become actually local when they’re copied within Local Folders.

The support case I have going pertains to removing mail from a POP3 server once I’ve copied it from Inbox to a local folder, or just a folder in the regular eM Client database. When I used Eudora, I would copy messages to my own folders, then delete them from Inbox. After selecting Empty Trash and checking for mail the next time, I’d be removing them from the server and keeping only a local copy.

eM Client has settings similar to some of Eudora’s. So what I’m after should be possible, but it isn’t working right in eM Client. If I delete a message from Inbox just after I’ve read it, the message is deleted from the server after I select Empty Trash. This fails if I first copy a message to a folder I’ve created (either in the main eM Client database or within Local Folders) and then remove it from Inbox. Something about the copying operation causes the “delete from server” command not to be sent. I’ve confirmed this with a number of tests. Tech Support is still looking into it.

I hope they can replicate this problem and fix it soon. Having to use my email server’s web-mail service and delete certain messages manually from the server kind of defeats one of my major purposes for having an offline reader.

Thanks a bunch.  Showing local folders worked and moving them from the exchange inbox to any local folder removes them from the server.  Perfect.

Good luck with your issue.  Hopefully it gets resolved for you.

So just the act of moving from Inbox to a local folder was what also removed the message from the server?

On mine yes, but I’m on an Exchange Server not POP3. That could be the difference.  Traditionally, POP3 downloaded the mail locally and removed it from the server at the time it was downloaded.  Although I do recall there were options in earlier clients to leave the messages on the server, which I have used before to download the same mail across multiple computers.  I always had one client setup to delete the mail though so I wouldn’t have to do it manually.  

In older mail clients that feature of leaving them on the server was turned off and by default it removed them from the server when they were downloaded.  It’s been 10 years since I’ve had an actual POP3 mail account, so things very well could have changed with the advent of webmail, but that is the behavior I would expect of any client with POP3.  In theory, if you only have one device that needs to pull the mail, there should be a setting that states to delete from server or leave messages on server.  Although I don’t have a POP3 account anywhere to set it up to look at those options.  Only my company’s Exchange account.

When I used Exchange at work, we never got into the habit of using Outlook as an offline mail reader unless we were working from home. So this never came up for me at the time. I once had Eudora (at that time, on a Mac) set up to delete mail from the server at the time it was downloaded locally. Then one day there was a major glitch of some kind during the download. Not only did the mail not get delivered locally, but it was removed in its entirety from the server. I lost it all. Might have been some rare “race condition,” but no matter — I never used that setting again. eM Client and Eudora have certain identical options: keep mail on the server (I enabled it); delete mail on the server after ‘x’ days (disabled); delete mail on the server when it’s emptied from the Trash folder (enabled). Worked exactly as advertised with Eudora; not so much with eM Client in all circumstances. Tech Support asked me to keep a log of POP3 activity and I think the log showed the error clearly: during a test there should have been four messages removed from the server. Two of them I copied to local folders and then deleted them, and two I only deleted (no copying). Only the two that weren’t copied were removed from the server. If it isn’t a bug, it’s a feature that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

That was certainly odd of Eurdora to loose it in both places.  That’s what always worries me about 3rd party clients.  They don’t necessarily behave as they should.  I’ve had issues with a POP3 account in the past where the client crashed mid-download, but since it doesn’t remove anything at all from the server until the full download is complete and verified, what ended up happening is that a large portion was downloaded twice, so I had duplicate messages.  To loose it completely sounds like the fault of the client.

I can’t say about any other POP3 client I’ve ever used to work in the fashion in which you’re expecting.  POP3 isn’t like an exchange server.  I’ve always just had them delete mail upon arrival, which it sounds like it will do that.  I think the only thing I might do as a precautionary measure in that case would be to set it up to delete mail on server every 30 days to keep things cleaner, since they are all downloaded and stored locally anyway.  Unless there’s a need to keep things on the server.  I’ve never had a need to keep them on the server myself.  Exchange just works that way and I struggled with it at first, but with Outlook there was always a way to just move them to an offline folder, which served the purpose.

It was odd, and it could have been due to some bizarre circumstances that aren’t likely to appear again. Bit of a wake-up call in any case — don’t let the program remove mail from the server immediately. It was a by-now-super-ancient Mac version of Eudora. Then again I have enough experience with devs to know that some can be inexcusably sloppy about error-checking (“there are no bugs; all of my code is golden, not to mention self-documenting”). If they have dev managers more concerned about their career-growth than about the products themselves (and stranger things have happened), you can get bad code going out the door — such as a program that doesn’t check for download errors before removing all mail from a server. All speculation, and the ancient Eudora misbehavior will have to remain a mystery. In the meantime it’s tempting to find out how to install v.6 of eM Client and see if the feature that isn’t working properly now did work as expected in v.6.