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IMAP folder cannot be deleted

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

Revision as of 13:10, 30 March 2006; view current revision
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When you try to delete an IMAP mail folder in Thunderbird (or Mozilla Suite), you may find that you cannot delete the folder and that you instead receive an error message that says "The current command did not succeed. The mail server responded: RENAME failed: Can't create mailbox [folder name]: File Exists."

In this case, try the following:

  • Thunderbird users: go to "Tools -> Account Settings -> [account name] Server Settings" and change the option for "When I delete a message" to "Remove it immediately."
  • Mozilla Suite users: go to "Edit -> Mail & Newsgroup Account Settings -> [account name] Server Settings" and change the option for "When I delete a message" to "Remove it immediately."

From reading a FAQ on email use from the University of British Columbia, a less drastic solution is possible for those who like to have the safety net of being able to recover emails that they previously deleted. The problem is due to the fact that:

"Certain servers may prevent you from renaming or deleting subscribed mail folders if you have specified that deleted messages should be automatically moved to the Trash folder. If you try to delete a mail folder and then see an error message that the command failed, you should choose Subscribe from the File menu, and then unsubscribe your Trash folder and leave it unsubscribed."