Deleting All Inbox Messages In Pine

Why Use Pine to Delete Messages?

This document assumes that you already have access to Pine through a SSH Secure Shell Client, Secure CRT or Mac OS-X terminal.

The most efficient way to clear many messages from an inbox or subfolder is to use Pine. Because this email program does not have a graphic interface like Webmail, Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, speed is improved and less application overhead is required.


The steps in this section are instructions for deleting and expunging messages.

STEP 1. Log into Pine and open your inbox. Note that each message is numbered, which will help you to select the ones you want to remove.

Figure 1 – Pine Inbox

STEP 2. Press the semicolon key (;) to select messages.

STEP 3. You will be prompted to choose your selection criteria. If you want to delete all of the messages in your inbox, press the a key for ALL . If you are not selecting all of the messages, press the n key for NUMBER and enter the number sequence. For example, you can enter 1-4 to select messages 1 through 4. To add others, type a comma, then enter the next number or block. As another example, entering 1-4, 8, 10-13 will select messages 1 through 4, message 8 and messages 10 – 13. (See Figures 2 and 3)

Figure 2 – Select Criteria

Figure 3 – Messages Are Selected

STEP 4. Press the a key to start the APPLY command. You will be prompted to enter the command to apply. Press d key to choose DELETE and mark all of the selected messages for deletion.

Figure 4 – Choose Command To Apply

Figure 5 – Messages Are Marked For Deletion

If the inbox is more than 50 MB, it may take a few minutes to completely select all of the messages. As the command is running, the inbox will display a “busy” status message:
STEP 5. Press the x key to EXPUNGE the messages. REMEMBER: This will permanently remove all messages that were selected for deletion! Again, if the inbox is more than 50 MB, permanently expunging the messages may take 5 – 10 minutes, depending on its total size.

Figure 6 – Expunging Messages

STEP 6. After the messages have been removed, the screen will display an empty inbox, along with the number of messages expunged: Figure 5 – Empty Inbox