Many users frequently complaint that they cannot delete a folder in Thunderbird, especially in an IMAP email account.
The error message received is generally:
“The current command did not succeed. The mail server responded: RENAME failed: Can’t create mailbox [folder name]: File Exists”.
Now the message itself is a bit confusing. It is not always the case while deleting a folder, and yet the message remains the same.
Cannot Delete a folder in Thunderbird – the solution
If you are also facing the same issue, here are some reason why it happens and what you can do about it:
- If it’s an offline folder, you should remove it from the list of ‘Offline folders.’ You can find the list in ‘Tools’ –> Account Settings –> Offline and Disk Space.
- Sometimes the server doesn’t respond to certain commands and there can be thousands of reasons for that that cannot be solved. The only solution is to try to the web-based email interface by directly logging into your email provider and deleting that folder from there.
- If there’s a cache on your IMAP folder, you should delete the contents from the cache folder from the web-based email interface first and then come back and delete the folder in Thunderbird. Make sure you don’t delete the cache folder altogether; just the contents inside it.
- Some folders are necessary for Mozilla Thunderbird to function. So if the folder is empty and you are trying to delete it, Thunderbird cannot get rid of it. Check under “Tools” –> Account Settings –> Copies and Folders if that’s the case. If it is, use a different folder than the one you’re trying to delete.
- Some servers don’t respond properly if there is a delay between a change in client and the syncing with servers. Try to set it as “remove it immediately” under Tools –> Account Settings –> Server Settings –> ‘When I delete a message.’ This will instantly ping the server to start syncing and update any changes made.
- Your database might be corrupt. Re-build the Thunderbird profile folder to fix the issue (and probably other issues as well)
- Clean some space if the space on servers is over the allowed limit.
- If the folder contains sub-folders, Thunderbird find it confusing to add that folder to the Trash folder. Either move all emails from sub-folder to the parent folder you want to delete, and then delete the main folder. Or you can also uncheck this sub-folder limitation by going to Tools -> Account Settings -> Server Settings -> Advanced -> “Server supports folders that contain sub-folders and messages.”