How To Use Xpunge 0.1.7

The extension adds two buttons on the main Thunderbird toolbar, one called "Xpunge" and another one called "MultiXpunge". Notice that the buttons are not visible by default. You will have to manually add them to the toolbar, by following these instructions. Also, if you have not already done so, please read the following notice before installing this extension. The "Xpunge" button works on a single account, while "MultiXpunge" works on multiple accounts. In order to use "Xpunge", you first have to select any folder in an account and then use the button to empty the trash folder and compact all the folders of that account. On the other hand, you do not have to select any folders before using "MultiXpunge". You can do it from any place in the Thunderbird window.

Before you can use the two buttons you will have to configure the preferences of the extension. Open the extensions window in Thunderbird, select the Xpunge entry and then click on the "Preferences" button at the bottom of the extensions window. The "Xpunge Preferences" window contains two tabs, one labelled "Xpunge" and another one labelled "MultiXpunge", which control the functionality of the corresponding buttons.

The "Xpunge" tab contains two checkboxes that control the "Empty Trash Folder" and the "Compact Folders" actions. The idea behind this extension ever since its conception was to use both actions, however they have been made optional for more flexibility.

The "MultiXpunge" tab has a drop-down list on the right side that contains all the accounts you have set up in Thunderbird, a list on the left side that holds the accounts that are to be processed by the "MultiXpunge" button, and two buttons in the center that add and remove accounts from the latter list. The "Selected Accounts" counter displays the total number of accounts currently added to the list below.

The list that holds the selected accounts has three columns. The first one contains the name of the account, the second one contains a checkbox that controls the "Empty Trash Folder" action and the last column contains a checkbox that controls the "Compact Folders" action.

To add an account, select the account from the drop-down list and click the "Add" button. Note that when the "MultiXpunge" tab is displayed, the drop-down list will display the name of an account but the account is not considered selected (so the "Add" button is disabled). You will have to expand the list and select an account (either the one displayed or a different one) for the "Add" button to become enabled. Currently you can only add one account at a time and of course you are not allowed to add the same account more than once. When an account is added to the list on the left, none of the two actions is selected by default. You can subsequently choose which actions you want to be performed on each account by selecting the corresponding checkboxes.

To remove an account, select the corresponding row from the list on the left side and click the "Remove" button. This list allows you to select (and thus remove) multiple accounts at the same time. The "Remove" button should not do anything when no account has been selected, even if the button is enabled.

All entries in both lists display tooltips when the mouse pointer is placed over them, which contain additional information for each entry. For the checkbox columns in the list on the left side, the tooltips inform you of each checkbox's function. For the account names in both lists, the tooltips contain the URI of the corresponding account. In the (highly unlikely but "you know better") event that you wish to have two accounts with the same name, you can use the URIs to distinguish them. This is the only case when multiple entries with the same account name should exist in either list.

If you delete an account that has been added in the list of selected accounts, the account will probably still be present in the list next time you open the preferences window (although the account should not be processed if you use the "MultiXpunge" button). However, the deleted account should not be present in the list after you restart Thunderbird.

All accounts are processed in the order they have been added to the list of selected accounts. The extension is supposed to skip IMAP accounts if Thunderbird is in offline mode. It also skips emptying the trash folder for NNTP accounts, which do not have a trash folder, even if the corresponding checkbox is selected in the respective row.

Known Issues and Troubleshooting
  • If you are experiencing any problems with your accounts while compacting, take a look at the following articles to check if it is a known issue with Thunderbird. If not, please send me a bug report regarding Xpunge.

  • If you are having problems installing Xpunge or getting it to work as expected, as a first diagnostic step you can try installing it on a new, clean profile (e.g. without installing any other extensions or themes). If the problems do not appear in the new profile, there might be some conflict with settings, themes or extensions in your old profile. If however the problems persist in the new profile, please send me a bug report regarding Xpunge.

  • This extension does not print any messages of its own (e.g. on the status bar) to notify the user when compacting of each account is finished. It leaves this functionality to Thunderbird itself. However, there are known issues with this feature (see Compacting seems to take forever). Another way to see if Xpunge is actually doing something, is to use Expanded columns in folders pane and check that the size of the folders that need compacting does actually change. This is of course an empirical way to do it but it might give you an idea that something is indeed happening.

  • It is recommended to work offline while compacting folders because downloading email while compacting is in progress can lead to corruption (see How to compact folders). Xpunge does not currently take Thunderbird offline automatically when compacting non-IMAP accounts. It is up to the user to go offline before using Xpunge.

Contact Info
You can let me know what you think of the extension or report any bugs you may have discovered by sending an email to: xpungetb at gmail dot com.

If you think you have found a bug, please open the "Error Console" in Thunderbird and look for any entries related to Xpunge (if you are using a filter in the console, search for the string "xpunge"). Please attach all such entries in your email reporting the bug to me.

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