I just set up a Postfix+Dovecot Mail System. This system uses only virtual users. I set the mailboxes up in /var/vmail/DOMAIN/USER in the Maildir format. Now I connected (successfully :D) with my IMAP Client to the thing and created a folder and moved an existing mail from INBOX to the folder. And now I can't find this mail on the file-system. It is gone from cur but there is no other folder created in /var/vmail/DOMAIN/USER.

Where do the folders go?

  • How did you move the existing mail, if it was in another location previously? I would expect that you can only access /var/vmail/DOMAIN/USER via IMAP. Where is this cur you mention located in the file system? Did you perhaps move it to a local folder on your client? You do know that subfolders start with a dot in Maildir format (so you need ls -a option)?
    – wurtel
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 11:49
  • Thank you. I did not know that. Now I found the folder.
    – Martin B.
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


You probably did not use the -a option to ls, to show files starting with a dot (sometimes called hidden files because of this).

Maildir format dictates that sub-folder directories start with a dot, so when you see "Trash" in your list of folders in your IMAP client, the files are stored in a directory called .Trash, etc. These directories again contain the usual Maildir trio of new, cur and tmp.

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