How to Leave a Copy of E-mail on the Server - dummies

How to Leave a Copy of E-mail on the Server

By Dan Gookin

In the standard email scheme of things, whenever your email program picks up new mail, the mail is sent to your computer and then deleted from the server. This keeps the server “clean” no matter how many emails you decide to save on your desktop. But, if you need to reach those emails from locations other than your desktop, you will want to leave a copy on the server.

Here’s how to set up that option in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, and Outlook Express:

  1. Choose Tools→Accounts from the menu.

    If you’re using Windows Live Mail, press the F10 key to see the menu bar, and then choose Tools→Accounts.

  2. Choose your mail account from the list.

    In Outlook Express, you can click the Mail tab to see only your mail accounts.

  3. Click the Properties button.

  4. Click the Advanced tab in the mail server’s Properties dialog box.

    The settings for leaving mail on the server are kept in the bottom part of the Advanced tab.


  5. Place a check mark by the option Leave a Copy of Messages On Server to prevent your email from being deleted after you receive it.

    Yes, the mail stays on the server. When you check your mail again, the same messages can be received again — and again and again.

    When you keep receiving the same email over and over, you should disable this option.

  6. If you want to have messages removed after a number of days, place a check mark by the item Remove from Server after X Days, and then enter the number of days.

    You can enter values from 1 through 100 in the Days box.

  7. If instead you want the messages removed when you delete them locally, place a check mark by the item Remove from Server When Deleted from ‘Deleted Items.’

    This means that you need to make sure you clean up your local mailbox regularly so that your server mailbox doesn’t become so bloated it can no longer receive mail.

  8. Click OK to confirm the settings and close the dialog box.

The reason for leaving mail on the server is simple: You can pick it up again. Indeed, when you keep picking up the same email over and over, the option to leave the mail on the server is probably set. But for most folks, leaving mail on the server is done on purpose.

Suppose you’re on the road with your laptop. You don’t have time to answer email, but you want to read it. Further, there’s no coordination of e-mail between your desktop and laptop computers. The solution is to leave the messages on the server.

That way, you can reply to email that requires an immediate response, and you can collect those messages again when you return to the desktop PC. (This scheme works only when the desktop PC is configured not to leave messages on the server.)

  • Laptop computers, smartphones, and other portable devices are commonly configured to leave mail on the server.

  • Other email clients have options to leave mail on the server. Generally speaking, edit your account settings (not the program settings). One option in your email account leaves messages on the server.