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How to delete mail I got?

Posted on 2000-03-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-06
How can I  delete mail after reading , which is very very long?
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Question by:clemend
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tfewster earned 90 total points
ID: 2617169
If you're just using the unix command "mail" to read your mail, type "d" at the ? prompt to delete the item you've just read.

If you've got lots of old messages that you don't want to re-read and delete individually, cd to /var/mail and do "cat /dev/null > your_user_name" - This will destroy all your mail messages & leave you with an empty mail file.
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by:paulqna
ID: 2617353
Prefer this one (looks safer to me):

/ # >/var/mail/<username>

This will empty the user's mailbox.

or edit the mailfile with vi, and delete eg 500 lines with "d500".
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by:tel2
ID: 2618947
Or, if you want to delete say message numbers 5 to 600, type:
  d5-600
at mail's "?" prompt.
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by:tfewster
ID: 2619215
clemend, it would help if you told us which Unix you use, plus which mail
reader...

Assuming it's the "mail" command:
If you have lots of messages, some of which you want to keep, you can list just the headers by using "mail -h" (On AIX "mail -H", but AIX displays just the headers by default). From the list, you can select which messages to delete.

Typing "?" at the mail "?" prompt will bring up the help screen. The command "man mail" will tell you more about the command line options.


If you want to empty the whole mail file, /var/mail is the right directory for Solaris & HP-UX; On AIX it's /var/spool/mail; On further thought, you can just delete your mail file - it gets recreated correctly the next time you get mail.

paulqna, the mail file must start with a valid "From " line on Solaris, so after deleting e.g 500 lines, you should do "d/From " - Note the space after the word "From", to distinguish it from "From:" :)

tel2, AIX obviously has a more flexible mail client than the basic Solaris 2.7 client, which doesn't allow you to specify a range :(
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