If you’re using POP3 for your e-mail, you have probably encountered the following scenario: Someone has sent you a huge email that you don’t really want, and you have to download it or you won’t be able to get any of your other emails. If you’re on dialup, this can be a real annoyance.
Luckily, deleting the offending message is very easy. People that use webmail just click it and press delete, and that’s what we’re going to do, in a way. The way your client (Outlook, Thunderbird or whatever) talks to the server is by issuing simple text commands.
Here we go, if you’re in windows run “telnet <yourserver> 110”, without the quotes and replacing <yourserver> with your e-mail server. For example, if your email is firstname.lastname@example.org, then your server is name.com. Run it, and a window will open. If you’re on Linux, telnet to your mail server at port 110. The server will politely greet you, saying:
+OK Hello there.
Only the +OK part is mandatory, the server is free to say anything it
wants after that. Now, type in
user <your email>, and when the
server says +OK type
pass <yourpassword. Here’s what I did:
user email@example.com +OK Password required. pass ihatespam +OK logged in.
Good, now you’re logged in. If you made a mistake just retry, if the
window closes just run it again. Now that you’re logged in, you can find
the offending message. You can use the commands
list to see
the messages and their size.
stat +OK 2 1909 list +OK POP3 clients that break here, they violate STD53. 1 804 2 1105 .
As you can see, we have two messages. One is slightly larger than the
other, but I can’t remember which one I want to delete, so I’ll just
read the top few lines of it, by issuing the
top command (the syntax
top <message number> <lines to read>):
top 1 10 +OK headers follow. Return-path: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Envelope-to: email@example.com Delivery-date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 18:28:52 -0500 Received: from \[22.214.171.124\] (port=1401 helo=changed) by someone.com with esmtpsa (TLSv1:AES256-SHA:256) (Exim 4.52) id 1F84Ad-0007Lf-Lc for firstname.lastname@example.org; Sat, 11 Feb 2006 18:28:52 -0500 To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Test From: Myself <email@example.com> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; delsp=yes; charset=iso-8859-7 MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 01:28:39 +0200 Message-ID: <op.s4t0t1cc85fbr2@pwnage> User-Agent: Opera Mail(BETA2)/9.00 (Win32) X-Antivirus-Scanner: Clean mail though you should still use an Antivirus Hi, this is a test. .
This is the message I want to delete, so I’ll go ahead and do it, using
dele command (
dele <message number>):
dele 1 +OK Deleted.
Beware though, the message hasn’t been deleted yet, the server is lying to us. It’s only been marked for deletion, and we need to quit in order for the deletion to be completed, so don’t just close the window (on the other hand, if you made a mistake, just close the window without quitting and the message will reappear). Issue the “quit” command and your session will be terminated:
quit +OK Bye-bye.
That’s all, our email has been deleted. If you want to delete more, just repeat the “dele” command and delete them all. Also, just for the record, if you want to get an entire message the command to use is “retr <message number>”. Now you can impress your friends by reading your emails through a command line. It will also make you especially popular with the ladies (or, if you’re a woman, it will actually work for geeks).