C-Command Software Forum

Deleted messages reappear

Set up: Spamsieve 2.6.5, OS 10.5.1 and 10.4.11

I’m using Spamsieve on two computers, a MacBook laptop (OS 10.5.1) and a MacPro desktop (OS 10.4.11). My email accounts are set up identically on both machines. Note that the MacBook is running Leopard while the MacPro has Tiger. The MacPro is connected to a university server, whereas I use my laptop with broadband at home.

On my MacBook, messages that I deleted from my Spam folder reappear each time Mail logs into my account. If I don’t delete the mail prior to the next time Mail checks for new mail, then Mail downloads duplicate copies of the same spam. So if I start with 10 spam messages in the Spam folder, the amount increases to 20, then 30, and so on each time Mail logs into my account. If I delete the messages, then the original 10 (plus any new spam) will appear again in my Spam folder.

It’s strange because I can successfully delete other, non-spam, messages (such as from my inbox). Only messages in my Spam folder on the MacBook can’t be deleted. Also, if delete the same Spam messages from the Spam folder on the MacPro, then the messages will not appear on my MacBook. In other words, I can delete the spam from my MacPro, but not from my MacBook.

Any ideas as to why I can’t delete Spam on my laptop?


Is this Spam mailbox local (“On My Mac”) or on an IMAP server?

No, except that it sounds like a problem with your Mail data store and/or your mail server. Have you tried using Mail’s Mailbox > Rebuild command on the Spam mailbox?

The account uses IMAP but the Spam mailbox is kept “on my Mac”.
Yes, I rebuilt the mailbox. Problem persists.

Then it sounds like you have two problems on the MacBook:

  1. Messages that should have been deleted from the server and moved to the Spam mailbox stay on the server and get downloaded again.
  2. Messages in the local Spam mailbox reappear after deletion.

When you talked about deleting the same messages from the Spam mailbox on the Mac Pro, what did you mean by “same”?

Please make sure that you have “Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox” checked in the Mailbox Behaviors section of Mail’s Accounts preferences.

Also, it might help to create a Spam folder on the server and set the MacBook to move the spam messages there instead of to the local Spam mailbox.

When I said I was seeing the same messages on both machines, I meant that the spam messages are identical (i.e. identical sender, recipient, subject, and date). If I log into my mail account on the MacPro, my Spam folder shows the identical messages that I see when I log into my account on using the Macbook. But if I delete the spam messages from the Spam folder while logged in using the MacPro, the messages do not reappear on either machine.

The "Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox” is checked.

Why do I need to create a spam folder on the server? SpamSieve runs on my machine, not the server. Wouldn’t storing spam on the server defeat the purpose?


So, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that you have local Spam mailboxes on both the MacBook and the Mac Pro. If the Mac Pro downloads a spam message and moves it to the Spam mailbox, this same message will appear on the MacBook? But if you delete the message from the Mac Pro’s Spam mailbox before the MacBook has downloaded it, then it will not appear on the MacBook?

This is all very strange. If your Spam mailbox is local, the message should be deleted from the server when the Mac Pro moves it to the Spam mailbox, not when you delete the message from the Spam mailbox.

Is Mail running at the same time on both Macs, or do you shut one down before using the other one? The former is generally not a good idea when using SpamSieve, because it makes it hard to train SpamSieve properly.

Because I think the problem may be with the way Mail is moving the messages from a server mailbox to a local mailbox. Moving them from one server mailbox to another might work better. You said that you had no trouble deleting messages from your IMAP inbox, so perhaps you’d have better luck deleting them from an IMAP spam mailbox than a local one.


I think the purpose is to separate the spam e-mails from the good ones. Thus, it doesn’t really matter where the spam messages go, so long as it’s someplace else.

Crap! I just checked my settings on the MacPro again and discovered that the "Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox” was not checked! Doh! I have checked and rechecked the settings so many times I’m getting loopy.

This must be the root of the problem: the mail was not being moved off the server, right?

Hopefully having this box checked will solve the problem. At the moment I don’t have any spam to test it.

Thank you for your time and assistance. Your suggestions helped to track down and solve the problem.

That’s my guess, although it doesn’t explain why Mail didn’t realize it had already downloaded those messages.

Apparently I’m not the only one having trouble deleting mail. See


It seems the issue is related to Leopard. As I pointed out in my first post, I have Leopard on my Macbook, but Tiger on the MacPro.

And I’m still unable to delete mail from my IMAP account using my Macbook!