Tech Tip of the Week: Keeping Mail Under Quota in Crunch Time
If you’re approaching your email quota there are some quick tips to get you under quota. You can skip right to the strategies if you want, or read a little about the quota first.
About Hampshire’s Email Quota
Your email quota is 2.5 GB (gigabytes) of storage. Included in this is everything in your Inbox, any mail folders you have, email trash and mail you’ve sent. If you receive attachments with email those also count towards your quota.
Where to Check How Much of the Quota You’ve Used
If you’re in Webmail, the percentage of quota you’ve used will show up at the bottom of the panel on the left when you’re looking at a list of messages (it disappears when you read a specific message). If you’re in Thunderbird it will show up on the bottom right if you get up to 80% usage. You can also go to https://password.hampshire.edu to see your quota displayed graphically.
In addition to you keeping your eye on your quota, our system monitors quotas as well. As you approach the quota limit you will start receiving warning messages from Hampshire IT.
What Happens When You’re Over Quota
If you do reach quota you will no longer receive new emails until you bring it down under 100%. Note that messages that would put you over quota will never be delivered to your mailbox, so if you’re close to quota and are sent a large message and a small message, the large message could be refused but the small message might be able to be delivered.
While you’re over quota, messages that are sent to you will not be able to get into your inbox, but they’ll keep trying at increasing intervals. Once you bring your quota enough under the limit you will receive the messages that have been waiting to be delivered; note that this might take some time because it depends on the delivery attempt interval.
One side-effect of being at quota level is that you may not be able to store copies of messages that you send. Normally when you send a message a copy is stored in the Sent folder. If you send a message while you’re at quota, you get an error that the message couldn’t be saved in the Sent folder; the message has been sent but you won’ t have a copy of it.
Quick Strategies for Getting Under Quota
Try them all or pick and choose what works for you.
- Empty your email trash. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on your email trash can and select “Empty” or “Empty Trash.”
- In Webmail, view more messages at once. Deleting messages is easier if you can see a large list at once. Go to the Settings panel and in Preferences/Mailbox View change the “Rows per page” to the maximum of 200. Make sure to click “Save” to keep the changes.
- Delete a bunch of messages at once. To delete a group of messages at once, click the first message to delete and then Shift-click (hold down the shift key while clicking) the last message to delete. Then use the “Delete” key on your keyboard to send them in your trash. Now empty your trash to really delete them.
- Delete messages from your sent mail folder. Email messages that you send are automatically saved in a folder called “Sent.” Select that folder and delete any sent messages you can live without.
- Get the biggest bang for your buck. Quota issues are often related to the size of attachments in a few messages. To find the biggest files, sort your messages in order of size and tackle the biggest ones. In Webmail, simply click on the “Size” column header twice (the first time it sorts from smallest to largest, and the second click reverses that). Save any important attachments to your computer and then delete the message. In Thunderbird:
- If you don’t have a “Size” column header at the top, click on the little icon all the way to the right of the column headings.
- Check “Size.”
- You can now click on the “Size” column header twice to sort them with the largest messages on top.
- Thunderbird has the option to detach attachments from messages, so that you can keep the email message in your inbox without the attachment. Select the message with the attachment you want to detach, and use the “Message→Attachments→Detach All” menu to save the attachment(s) to disk and keep just the message in your inbox.
When you’re done, don’t forget to click on the “Date” header (twice) to get your messages sorted by date received again.
- Use Thunderbird’s Local Folders. If you’re using Thunderbird, you can create “Local Folders”, which store email on your computer instead of the server. The advantage is that anything in a local folder doesn’t use your quota space; the disadvantage is that they exist only on your computer and if you don’t have a backup system in place you could potentially lose the messages. To move messages to local folders:
- Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) the “Local Folders” heading on the left-side panel in Thunderbird, and choose “New Folder…”.
- Enter a name for your new folder, such as “2008 Inbox”.
- Go back up to your email messages and select the group of messages to transfer to this local folder (remember to use click/shift-click to select a big group of messages).
- Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) somewhere on the selected group of messages, and chose “Move To…” and navigate to the Local Folder you just created.
- Empty the trash and then compact when you’re done. Empty the trash if you’ve deleted more messages. To make sure you’ve recovered the maximum space possible, it’s also a good idea to compact the Inbox–this happens automatically a lot of the time but it doesn’t hurt to do it explicitly. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on the Inbox and choose “Compact.”