redownloaded many gigs of mail

Nicolas Sebrecht nicolas.s-dev at
Tue May 15 16:32:53 BST 2018

On Tue, May 15, 2018 at 02:06:54PM +0200, Sandra Snan wrote:
> Nicolas Sebrecht <nicolas.s-dev at> writes:
> > It's not easy to explain what you could do because it's not clear what
> > you intend.
> My INBOX on the server right now has thousands and thousands of email.
> And our tiny li'l server is getting pretty full.
> So what I want to do right now with my maildir is:
> • Email to exist on my local computer
> • Email to exist on a local backup hard drive, I'll use some USB disk
>   for it
> • Server to be cleared out. Either the emails not to be there, or, the
>   emails to live in some non-INBOX folder, such as "archive".

I'd say you want usual 2-way sync between the server and the local
maildir plus a cumulative local archive.

You might like to keep the offlineimap configuration pretty simple. The
usual 2-way sync is what offlineimap does by default. With this setup
you're able to clean the remote by removing emails locally and starting
a new offlineimap run.

For the cumulative additional backup you have to write a small script
for the purpose or use any archiving tool which support cumulative data
(no removal on the backups) from the local maildir to the USB archives.

> But I guess I have a hard time understanding not only the syncing
> process but the idea of a local maildir in the first place and how it
> works.

There's no need to understand the technical details. Offlineimap just
mirrors the remote emails locally in a maildir structure. Syncing
updates both sides. That's all.  Bear in mind that it's a 2-way sync, so
changes done locally in the maildir structure are propagated back to the

> The local app I've been using haven't really been touching the emails,
> setting their flags at all etc etc, or so it seems.

Keep things simple. Don't try to make offlineimap do everything you
need. Add a new local process for cumulative backups. After each
offlineimap sync, start a new local backup process to archive to the USB
device (with archives history).

Nicolas Sebrecht

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