How do I make sure email stays gone?

A reader wants to know how to make sure deleted email messages stay gone.

“How do I delete email messages, that will stay deleted, or prevent them from sending the same email again?”

You don’t say if you’re accessing your email via browser or using an email client. If you delete messages using a browser to access the inbox and then follow up by emptying the deleted messages or trash folder for your inbox, they should disappear for good.


If you’re using an email client like the Windows Mail app, Thunderbird, or the Outlook email client that’s part of Office, you can make sure you have IMAP settings enabled. That way actions you take on one device will be reflected on all your devices. Or, if your account permits POP settings and offers the option, you could tell it to delete messages from the online server once they’ve been downloaded to your device. That means you won’t have copies of your email stored on your email provider’s server. So when they’re gone, they’re gone. You won’t be able to access your inbox from another device.

If you’re getting repeats of spam emails, there’s not much you can do about that other than mark them as spam. You could try to block the sender, but they often change it up so that the messages don’t come from the same return address twice.

If you’re getting repeats of legitimate messages and are using an email client, it could have something to do with the way your program is accessing the server of your mail provider. If that’s what’s going on, contact me again with details on your email client and your mail provider and I’ll see what I can find out.

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