Resolve Thunderbird Cannot Delete Email & Folder Easily

admin | November 21st, 2017 | MS Outlook

Mozilla Thunderbird, a free & open source email client application is used by well known and established organization. Each user is aware of its ability to manage emails, chats, news feeds, and newsgroups very efficiently. But like any other application, Thunderbird too has some errors and problems. Most of them are easily resolved by users itself but some may require extra focus and attention. One of the error that falls under this category is “Thunderbird cannot delete email” which force a user to face –  Thunderbird deleted messages reappear issue.

Being a desktop based email client, a user might need to delete some emails or empty his mailbox due to the size issue. Or may want to delete a particular message by choice. But on removing the emails, Thunderbird won’t delete messages and user might face trouble in further deleting them. Hence this blog will give you an exact solution of completing the deletion procedure. But before directly jumping into solutions, let’s take a look at the user scenario to understand the situation.

“Recently I was in need of deleting some emails referring to a particular user. I deleted them using the basic method but later I noticed that the emails had not been deleted. Thunderbird deleted messages reappear in the mailbox and my attempt was failed. Then I re-tried to delete them but the same thing happened again. I have tried every possible solution to resolve Thunderbird cannot delete email issue but my every attempt was a failure. Even restarting and re-installing is not the solution. Can someone help and guide me what should I do next?” 

Expert Advice to Resolve Thunderbird cannot delete folder Error

To correctly overcome Thunderbird won’t delete messages, experts suggest using an automated and a professional tool. The tool like MBOX file to PST converter software is considered to be the best choice in this situation. This approach provides better and accurate results by basically shifting your email client to MS Outlook. It has better organizing and managerial features. Moreover, this approach will give you quick and efficient results than any other procedure. Otherwise, you have also an option of using a manual method which is discussed in the following section.

Solution for How to delete emails in Thunderbird

Note: The Reason behind can’t delete emails in Thunderbird can be due to the corruption in the trash folder. If the trash folder is itself facing damage issues then, a user will definitely face Thunderbird cannot delete email error.


In order to overcome the situation, you need to follow the exact same manual steps mentioned below:

  1. Run Thunderbird Email Client Application.
  2. Open profile folder from the Menu button available on the top right of Thunderbird Window.
  3. Press Help button followed by Troubleshoot Information. Then click on Show Folder option available under Application Basics.
  4. The window will show the profile files and after that Quit the Thunderbird application.
  5. Now open File Manager, click on Mail folder or Imap Mail folder (as per your POP and IMAP account that you are using).
  6. Then open the folder with the incoming mail server name like or
  7. Select the Trash and MSF files and them permanently erase them. Note: In several accounts, this file can also be named as Deleted or Bin.
  8. Finally, restart the Mozilla Thunderbird email client application.

Things to Know

After deleting the trash or bin folder, it is not like these folders are permanently deleted. Both IMAP and POP user account will have different behaviors after implementing the solution for Thunderbird cannot delete email error.

  • In case of IMAP user account, a new trash folder will automatically be created as soon as the user deletes an email message.
  • While in case of a POP user account, you have to manually create the trash folder as it is not automatically created. To do you have to open the Folder List and then right click on the user account name. There click on New Folder button to create Bin folder. Give a name to the folder i.e either Trash or Bin and then click on Create Folder to confirm.

Limitations with Manual method to Solve Thunderbird cannot delete email

The above-mentioned method has some drawbacks that will force a user to look for another alternative. These limitations are:

  • This technique can be the solution for Thunderbird won’t delete messages for a limited time period. After some time Thunderbird deleted messages reappear issue can again be encountered.
  • A user might have to repeat the procedure, again and again, to delete emails successfully.
  • It is a very time-consuming and lengthy procedure for just deleting the files.
  • There is no guarantee that this technique will resolve the can’t delete emails in Thunderbird issue.

Final Words

The blog covers the most appropriate solution for Thunderbird cannot delete email error. The manual method discussed for Thunderbird deleted messages reappear issue is not considered as the best solution. An alternative approach to troubleshoot the error is also mentioned which is the most recommended fill-in option for the users.