I've succesfully set up Postfix and Dovecot at my home server to use Maildir as the mailbox storage format. However after I tried out a couple of different mail clients like Thunderbird and Outlook and connected through Dovecot's IMAP server, I found out that they're all a bit inconsistent in the way they make use of the mailbox.

Two examples:

  1. To indicate forwarded messages, Thunderbird uses a Maildir label called "Forwarded", while Outlook just sets the R flag (which subsequently causes other clients to interpret that message as "Replied").
  2. Each client uses its own "special" folders which can't be deleted. What's called "Trash" in one program might be called "Deleted Items" in another.

Is there a logical consistent way to access my e-mails through multiple different client programs without them confusing each other (and me)?

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately at present there's no strict standard on IMAP folder/flag usage, and no easy way to unify behaviors of all IMAP clients.

Most clients, including Outlook and many mobile device apps, are incapable of changing behavior other than its default settings. The best bet might be to configure most flexible one (Thunderbird in many cases) to conform to others.

Related pages I found by random search:

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