C-Command Software Forum

Deleting spam

One of my users is finding it impossible to delete messages from her spam folder. I’m not sure it this is a mail issue, but here is that happens:

The spam rule is set up as per Michael’s instructions, populating the spam mailbox as expected. What happens, though, is that she cannot delete messages from the spam mailbox. One of two things happens: either nothing, or the selected messages are dimmed, in which case I figured that Mail is working in the background and will delete them, but it never happens.

There is some success if she selects say 50 messages at a time and deletes them, but not if she selects all of them, around 2500. Asking her to be more careful and clean out the folder more often has not been successful.

I wonder if there is a way to automatically delete messages in the spam box after a defined length of time? Or, perhaps my understanding of the issue is incorrect?

It’s a Mail issue. In all cases, the mail program is responsible for moving the messages into the spam folder and deleting them from it. SpamSieve merely decides which messages should be moved.

If the selected messages are dimmed, it could be because Mail’s preferences has “Move deleted messages to the Trail mailbox” unchecked and the View menu is set to “Show Deleted Messages.”

Another possibility is that Mail’s database is damaged or out-of-sync, in which case it might help to select the Spam mailbox and choose Mailbox > Rebuild.

As a last resort, you can quit Mail and delete the file:

/Users/<username>/Library/Mail/Envelope Index

and it will reconstruct a fresh database.

This is described in the Automatically Deleting Old Spam Messages section of the manual.


Well, it was as simple as rebuilding the spam mailbox. Thanks.

Now on the issue of deleting messages from the spam mailbox. I looked at your instructions [I hate it when someone tells me to RTFM, especially when they are right :-)], and while I don’t have a problem doing this I don’t trust the users to not use menu items and screw this up.

So, I wonder if this idea would interfere with Spamsieve: We don’t use Mail’s ability to assign a message priority, so how about adding to the Spam rule a step where all spam messages would be marked as low priority; then make another rule that deletes all low priority messages? Would this cause any problems with SS?

Michael Spencer*

You could avoid the confusion with the Junk mailbox by having it move the messages to the (auto-emptied) trash.

Where do you see that Mail can assign a priority to incoming messages? Also, Mail only applies the rules when the messages first arrive, so I don’t think changing the priority would help, even if you could do it.*