Retrieving all mail headers from emails that are currently stored on the mail server can be useful for several reasons. The first is that it is possible to delete mails without having to retrieve them completely.
This can come in handy if mails with huge attachments are blocking the retrieval of other emails, or if you are victim of a mail attack and notice that hundreds of thousands of emails arrive in your mailbox per hour.
The option to retrieve all mail headers can be useful to speed up the retrieval of important messages. Very helpful if you use your mobile phone to go online with your notebook and pay by the amount of Kilobytes that have been downloaded.
A second use is to fight spam before it is retrieved and downloaded to the local computer system.
Basically, it gives you control over all emails that have not yet been downloaded to your local system. You can delete mails that you do not want to download to speed up the transfer for mails that you want to download.
Pal Mail is a tiny secure application that can retrieve the mail headers of an unlimited number of accounts. Its main feature is the ability to delete mails right on the mail server. Retrieved are the mail headers and the messages but not the attachments of mails.
Every mail can be marked for deletion which effectively deletes it from the provider's mail server. The consequence is that your primary mail client will not retrieve the messages that have been deleted before.
Pal Mail is a standalone application that does not require any dlls or other files to run. This makes it an idea software for a portable device.
Update: The program has not been updated since 2002. While it may still work on some systems, it is likely not working on newer versions of Windows. What you can use instead is a portable version of Thunderbird if you like to use a portable email client.
Another interesting option is to sign in to the web mail client if available, and either access messages directly using it, or delete messages that you do not want your desktop mail program to download.
There is also an option to configure Thunderbird to only retrieve headers and not full mails. This can be useful as it offers the same advantages as the Pal Mail software: select the mails that you want downloaded, and delete the rest.
Please note that this only works for POP accounts and not IMAP.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.