Cleaning up Windows Live Mail

Some of the following applies to other mail programs. For example, Outlook Express or Outlook.

Email deleted in Windows Live Mail does not go into the Windows recycle bin that you see the icon for on your desktop.  Rather, Windows Live Mail has its own place where things go when they are deleted.  It is called the Deleted folder.

You can delete, deleted email from the deleted folder the same way you delete any file in any folder. You can delete them one at a time or in groups. It’s a good idea to empty some of it, and not let it get too full; although it is unlikely it would cause you a problem.

This selection technique applies generally across Windows:

  1. To select one item in a list, simply click on it once.
  2. To select an un-broken sequence of items in a list, click once on the first item in the list, hold down the Shift key, click the last item in the list.
  3. To select a broken sequence of items in a list, click once on the first item, hold down the Ctrl key, click on each item you want to add to your selected list.

You can do this in your email folders. After you have selected the portion of the list in your folder you want to delete, press the Delete key on your keyboard. When you delete from the Deleted folder, it will ask you if you are sure, because it will be gone for good.

If you are like me and place a high value on saved email and seldom print it, you may want to file your mail and keep it.

I have found that I have had too many instances when something that should have been kept, had been deleted. So you may want to adopt the following policies in managing your email folders:

Set up specific folders just like in your file cabinet (I have about 50 of them – some date back years). Put things in these folders that you want to keep. You can just drag an email from any folder to the specific folder.

  1. Show the size of email in your inbox.
  2. About once every 3 months, clean-up your inbox, sent and deleted folders.
  3. Find and delete selectively any email in your inbox that exceeds 1000k bytes, unless you really want it.
  4. Keep a minimum of one year’s mail in each of Inbox, Sent and Deleted folders. So, when it is clean-up day, you will have 15 months and delete the oldest 3 months.
  5. Always delete from the Inbox and Sent folders first because those go into the deleted folder

If an item refuses to be deleted from the Junk or Deleted folder, you can empty the entire folder by Right-clicking on the folder name and choosing Empty.

Please remember you must backup your mail.