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I have thunderbird setup to use gmail IMAP. I followed the various guides that recommend setting Edit->Account Settings->Server Settings->When I delete a message->Remove it immediately. Unfortunately this didn't have quite the effect I wanted and after more digging I discovered here that:

[Thunderbird]              [Gmail]
Mark Deleted           =   Archive
Copy to [Gmail]/Trash  =   Delete Permanently
Remove it immediately  =   Archive

Unfortunately whenever I deleted (archived) a message it was also marked as read whether it had been or not. I didn't want this because I like to keep my inbox clean and archive anything that doesn't actually matter, such as funny emails, etc. and then go back and look through the archive later when I have time.

What settings do I need to prevent messages from being marked read when I delete them?

I'm using Thunderbird 17.0 on Ubuntu 12.04

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I've found the answer to this and wanted to post it here but since I don't have 10 reputation points I can't :-( Can someone tell me what the preferred way to post a HowTo is? – Jesse the Wind Wanderer Nov 28 '12 at 13:37
You can answer your own question (in the box below) if you have a solution - that's perfectly acceptable. – user76204 Nov 28 '12 at 15:17
I've now posted the solution, I had to wait 10 hours between posting the question and posting the solution. The stackexchange error message said the users with less than 10 reputation points have to wait 10 hours before they are allowed to answer their own posts and are not allowed to have more than two links in their posts. I assume this is to discourage spam. I now have 13 reputation points and so it's working for me. :-) – Jesse the Wind Wanderer Nov 29 '12 at 3:21

I found the answer!

There is actually a bug report for this here but it's very old and hasn't been fixed yet :-(

Fortunately I found a work around: Use Keyconfig to setup a shortcut to move a message out of the inbox thus leaving it's read status unaltered.

Here are the steps:

  1. Install keyconfig by downlaod from and install by going to Tools->Add-ons then click on the little config icon (at the top to the left of "Search all addons") and click "Install Addon From File..."

  2. Restart Thunderbird and goto Tools->Keyconfig click "Add a new key"

  3. Enter a name for your key e.g. "00_MyDelete" or something so you can find it. (keys are sorted alphabetically so the '00_' at the front makes your custom keys appear at the top ;-)

  4. Now right-click on your LOCAL trash folder and select properties. Next copy the text shown in Location:

    e.g. mailbox:///home/jesse/.thunderbird/7dtmd45f.default/Mail/Local Folders/Trash

    Note: I tried using the gmail imap "All Mail" folder but for some unknown reason the messages would be moved and then instantly moved back? Perhaps because it was already there or something? It's strange because when I manually move the message it works as it should, but moving it programatically with keyconfig doesn't.

  5. Back in the Keyconfig - Key Editor window enter the following (pasting in the location of your local trash folder which you just copied.)

    MsgMoveMessage(GetMsgFolderFromUri('LOCATION OF YOUR LOCAL TRASH FOLDER'));

    e.g. MsgMoveMessage(GetMsgFolderFromUri('mailbox:///home/jesse/.thunderbird/7dtmd45f.default/Mail/Local Folders/Trash'));

    NOTE THE SINGLE QUOTES! It won't work without them ;-)

  6. Click OK and then click in the small textbox to the left of the "Apply" button. Press the 'Del' key and Click "Apply".

    Note: If a warning comes up about conflicts just OK it, well deal with those next.

  7. Scroll down until you find the entry for "Delete Message". Select the entry and click "Dissable". Don't worry about the entries for "Delete" or "Delete Event" you probably want to leave those alone.

  8. Click close and your done! No need to restart.

P.S. I actually found this answer before posting the question above but wanted to share it. Obviously posting the question and then answering it isn't the best way to do this because I had to wait 10 hours before I could answer my own question :-/ What is the preferred way to post a howto?

Cheers :-)

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